One of the most common question someone new into redemption would ask:
ISN’T IT BETTER FOR ME TO DO A LONG HAUL ECONOMY/PREMIUM ECONOMY REDEMPTION INSTEAD OF REGIONAL/SHORT HAUL PREMIUM?
The answer is NO. The 2 rules I will tell my friends would be:
- No Economy / Premium Economy redemption
- No ADVANTAGE redemption (this however may work to your ADVANTAGE)
I have broken both rules before – and this was for a special reason – SQ22 Inaugural and SQ21 return.
Let’s take an example
A random search for travel to Shanghai (PVG) in September in First Class/Suites cost SGD $6228 return. The total miles required would be 106,000. Ignoring the taxes, this will give you a value of 5.88 cents per mile burnt (lets take 5.5 cents, factoring in the miscellaneous fee such as tax and miles conversion fee).
A search for travel to Los Angeles (LAX) of the same date in Premium Economy cost $1547 return. The total miles required would be 136,000 miles (pre 2017, this is the miles required for a return Business Class to Europe and USA West Coast). Ignoring the taxes, this will only give you a paltry value of 0.88 cents per mile burnt! (I shall not even factor in the miscellaneous cost for this).
CLEAR CUT WINNER? REGIONAL SUITES
Conclusion – you get better value for your miles for Business / First Class redemption
Wait – that is not the end of things. If I had paid for the revenue ticket to LAX instead ($1547 return), this will net me 17,526 elite miles! This is almost enough for a one-way redemption to Denpasar (DPS) in Business Class! (which is value at $1175 – of course this is not accurate as a return ticket will probably cost the same) – but you get where I am getting at.
So back to the first 2 questions – is Economy / Premium Economy redemption really that bad? There are exceptions of course. 2 examples:
- Last minute tickets which can potentially cost a bomb
A return ticket on Economy Class to DPS in Sept cost $422 while the same ticket departing in 5 days cost $877! At 15,000 miles, your value per mile shoots from 2.81 cents per mile to 5.81 cents per mile!!! (almost on par with the value of the Suites redemption to PVG!). Hence, Economy redemption works well for such last-minute getaways (except Spontaneous Escapes).
- Flights on certain sectors (sweet spots)
There are sweet spots on Economy Class and one of the routes I am looking at is within Pacific Southwest region. Redemption on Air New Zealand from Auckland (AKL) to Papeete (PPT) in Tahiti is only 12,500 miles one way (for a flight of almost 5 hours!). For comparison, flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur at 1 hour requires 7,500 miles!
As for question 2, ADVANTAGE award can work to your… well… advantage for flights NOT originating from Singapore (on routes not available on SAVER). SQ 221 (SIN-SYD) which is operated on the new Suites have no availability on SAVER. The ADVANTAGE award requires a whopping 155,000 miles per person! (this is more than enough for you to reach New York in Suites with 31,000 miles to spare). If I were to do a Hong Kong (HKG) to Sydney (SYD) flight via Singapore (SIN) – how many miles do I need?
That’s right – 155,000 miles in Advantage. You get to take 2 flights on the new Suites with no additional cost (not counting the cost required to fly to Hong Kong). You can further stretch your award by putting in a free Stopover and you get 2 separate holidays – 1 to Hong Kong and 1 to Sydney!
Another way of making use of Advantage Awards to your benefit – by making use of the Zonal system. Again, SQ346 (SIN-ZRH) is operated on the new Suites. One Way advantage from Singapore to Zurich is 220,000 miles per person. If I were to add in a PVG-SIN segment, the additional miles required would be……. 8,000 miles only. For a mere 8,000 miles only, you get an additional 5 hours ride in the new Suites! Again, there is no stopping you to add in the FOC stopover and tada! 2 separate holidays – 1 in PVG and 1 in ZRH.
To each his own – there is no right or wrong in redemption. My ideas of redemption may not be in line with others and this is just my preference.
Happy miles hunting, everyone!