Singapore Airlines releases very little award space to Star Alliance partners, but due to upgrading their computer systems, saver award availability that is normally only available to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer members is now available to United and other Star Alliance partners.
So if you've been wanting to try Singapore Airlines First Class (or Business Class) book now, via United.com. Ben has noted that Singapore's systems are supposed to be back up 10pm Singapore time July 8, which is 10am Sunday ET, so that gives you 12 hours to book tickets such as this SFO-HKG-SIN trip in First Class:
Now, I recently helped a client book Singapore Airlines First Class from Moscow (DME) to Houston (IAH) one way for just over 57K Membership Rewards points (MR points transfer 1:1 to KrisFlyer, and there's a 15% discount when booking online), whereas this will cost 67.5K United miles, so not every route will offer a savings in miles, especially if you value United miles more than Membership Rewards points, as I do. That said, using United miles is a great way to bring down the taxes/fees involved. Using KrisFlyer miles, the taxes were $269 per ticket, whereas for the United redemption, the taxes are just $32.20. So your decision on whether to go for this will also depend on your mileage balances and how you value your miles/points.
Just be aware that there's probably a frenzy of booking going on right now, so availability may be significantly worse if you were planning to book using KrisFlyer miles for later in 2012 or through early June 2013.
If you have Ultimate Rewards points, they transfer virtually instantly to United miles; I just did a transfer and it really was instant. This is another reason to be maximizing your Ultimate Rewards points, so you can easily take advantage of chance deals. Worry about seat assignments later; see Singapore Airlines Seat Assignments and Selection Using an Award Ticket.
Enjoy, and let me know in the comments where you're headed in Singapore First or Business Class!
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