With 2018 right around the corner, I spent the past several days finalizing some trips that have been in the works for a while. After all, I want to make sure I start 2018 off right in terms of the products I review. I just finalized my latest trip that includes travel in China Southern business class, Singapore’s new A380 business class, Singapore’s new A380 Suites, and China Eastern’s 777 first class.
Here are the details:
The Singapore A380 tickets I already had booked
Singapore Airlines began offering their new A380 premium cabins between Singapore and Sydney as of December 18, 2017. They didn’t provide much notice in terms of introducing the product, as they only revealed the cabins in November. Prior to that they did drop some hints as to what the first routes with the new cabin would be, but that’s it.
When Singapore introduced these new products my concern was that they wouldn’t make any award seats available, as was the case when they first introduced their last generation of premium cabins over a decade ago. That’s why I tried to make some speculative bookings, especially given what reasonable award redeposit fees they have.
I booked two sets of these tickets — one for early February, and one for late March. While I wanted to try and review the new Singapore Suites earlier, this blog is largely about miles & points, and there’s certainly some pride I take in reviewing products using miles whenever feasible.
I redeemed 58,000 KrisFlyer miles to book Singapore to Sydney in Singapore’s new business class.
Then I redeemed 80,000 KrisFlyer miles to book Singapore’s new Suites from Sydney to Singapore.
For my second trip I booked the cabins the other way around, with Suites on the outbound and business on the return.
How I’m getting to Singapore
The above flights have been booked since August, though just in the past few days I’ve finalized how I’m getting to Singapore, so I wanted to share that in this post. I’ve reviewed most transpacific premium cabin products, and I’d say the two transpacific products that can be booked with miles that I most want to review are China Eastern first class and China Southern business class.
My top priority was China Eastern first class, given that it’s one of only a few international first class products I haven’t yet tried. The most practical way to book China Eastern first class between the US and Singapore is using Korean Air SkyPass miles — they charge 200,000 miles for a roundtrip first class, and one-way redemptions aren’t allowed. I transferred over the points from Chase Ultimate Rewards (transfers are instant), so this is a great use of points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, etc.
I managed to even get the flight between Shanghai and Singapore in first class (as it’s also operated by a 777-300ER), meaning that in one direction I could try China Eastern’s first class twice.
Since I primarily fly with the purpose of reviewing new products, there’s diminishing marginal return in the third and fourth flights in a given product. So I figured I might as well fly China Southern business class across the Pacific in the other direction, even if it’s a bit of a “waste,” since I’m paying the first class price for business class. Until recently you could redeem Korean Air miles for China Southern first class, though unfortunately that’s no longer possible.
Since Korean Air SkyPass only allows roundtrip redemptions on partner airlines, I paid the roundtrip first class price, which I’d still consider to be a good deal, given what I was getting. I had to book this award by phone, and the fees totaled about $250 roundtrip, which I thought was pretty decent.
As of now, the only international first class products I haven’t flown are Cathay Dragon (which I’m counting separately from Cathay Pacific), China Eastern, Kuwait Airways, Oman Air, and TAAG Angola. I’ve now booked flights in first class on Cathay Dragon and China Eastern, meaning I only have three airlines remaining to review in first class. I’m getting there!
I can’t wait to try Singapore’s new Suites & business class, and also to be able to check out two new products enroute to Singapore. I’ve had very interesting experiences in China Southern first class and China Eastern business class, so we’ll have to see how these flights compare. Between now and that trip I’ll be doing two other big trips, so stay tuned for the details of that, as I’m in the process of finalizing those tickets.
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