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By: Anya Kartashova
Have you ever wanted to book a round-the-world (RTW) trip but didn’t know where to begin?
Did you know that it’s possible to book such an extravagant journey with just one award ticket? Although many frequent-flyer programs have done away with RTW awards, it’s still possible.
One of the few programs that still allow you to book these fun awards is Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
Let’s take a look at how you can book a RTW award with Singapore KrisFlyer miles!
Why Singapore KrisFlyer Miles?
There are two reasons you might want to book with KrisFlyer miles:
- Reasonable redemption rates for round-the-world tickets
- Ease of accumulation
If you’re thinking, “But wait! I don’t have any Singapore miles,” do not fret. They’re much simpler to obtain than you think, especially if you prefer collecting transferrable points.
You can transfer points to Singapore KrisFlyer from all major transferable points programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points. Each of these programs transfers points at a 1:1 ratio.
Marriott Rewards points can also be transferred to Singapore KrisFlyer as well at a 3:1 ratio Additionally, every 60,000 points you transfer at once will provide a bonus of 5,000 miles. In other words, 60,000 Marriott points will net you 25,000 KrisFlyer miles.
It’s even possible to redeem miles for another traveler, which means you can book both tickets from the same account and share this unforgettable experience.
To make a redemption in someone else’s name, you can nominate five people as your redemption nominees in your Singapore KrisFlyer account and choose from the list. You can nominate anyone you want, but they have to remain on your list of nominees for at least six months. Keep in mind that adding nominees is free, but deleting a nominee from the lists costs up to $55, or 5,5000 KrisFlyer miles, depending on your status.
Remember that to make a RTW trip possible, you have to be able to find saver award space on all segments of your desired itinerary.
KrisFlyer Round-The-World Award Rates
Think of the level of comfort in which you want to complete your journey around the globe. Although economy class requires the fewest miles, you might be more comfortable in business class or, dare I say, first class!
Based on your desired class of service, these are the KrisFlyer award rates:
- Economy class: 180,000 miles
- Business class: 240,000 miles
- First class: 360,000 miles
When a simple round-trip between New York City and Singapore costs 184,000 miles at saver level for business class, you could be jetting around the globe for only 56,000 more miles!
It only takes a few sign-up bonuses to earn the necessary points for a RTW KrisFlyer award in business class.
Star Alliance Round-The-World Trip Rules
Because Singapore Airlines is part of the Star Alliance—the largest airline alliance in the world—you’ll have no shortage of destinations to include on your trip and airlines to fly.
Keep in mind that you can make no more than seven stops and have to travel in the same direction, either eastward or westward, and finish your trip within a 12-month window.
You’re allowed up to 16 flight segments, and you can include open-jaws (arriving in one city and departing from another in the same country). Be careful, though. Each open jaw counts as a stopover.
Your trip cannot be longer than 35,000 miles in total travel distance and must end in the same country it began.
The most important thing to remember is that you cannot make any changes to your itinerary once you set foot on the first plane.
While all airlines in Star Alliance operate flights with business class cabins, not all offer a first class option. Don’t be disappointed just yet, business class is often more than enough for an amazing flight experience.
Airlines that do offer first class products do not always release those award seats to partners far in advance, and you probably don’t want to plan a RTW trip on a short notice.
For these reasons, I think it’s best to focus on business class, which we’ll use in our example itinerary.
How To Book A Round-The-World Trip
Because of its user-friendly interface, I recommend using Singapore Airlines’ Star Alliance partner United to search as it provides a flexible date search option. This lets you see award space for dates across two months.
Singapore Airlines is only able to search one day at a time, which can really slow down your search. United should display the same availability as what you can book with Singapore KrisFlyer miles with one big exception.
Singapore KrisFlyer doesn’t allow members of partner programs, such as United MileagePlus, to book most premium cabin awards. If you want to book a Singapore-operated flight on a specific route, it’s best to search on Singapore’s website itself to make sure it’s indeed available for a mileage redemption.
Once you find a flight you want with United, input the data on Singapore’s website to double check availability. You will be using KrisFlyer miles to put it all together in the end, and you want to make sure the flights show up on your end.
Keep in mind that United sometimes releases award space to its own members that won’t be bookable with KrisFlyer miles (or other partner miles).
It’s always a good idea to double check everything when putting together a complicated trip because one unavailable segment can mess up your whole itinerary.
Now, let’s use the following example of a round-the-world journey using KrisFlyer miles.
- New York (JFK) to Vienna (VIE) on Austrian Airlines
- Vienna (VIE) to Cape Town (CPT), on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul (IST)
- Johannesburg (JNB) to Singapore (SIN) on Singapore Airlines
- Singapore (SIN) to Haneda or Narita (HND/NRT) on Singapore Airlines
- Tokyo Haneda (HND) to New York (JFK) on All Nippon Airways (ANA)
When you input the itinerary into GCMap, you’ll see that it fits all the requirements. You travel in the same direction—in this case, eastward—the whole time. The itinerary consists of six segments, including a layover, totaling 25,645 miles.
If you were to book this trip as a bunch of one-way segments, you would need 303,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles — yikes!. However, as part of the RTW trip, you’ll redeem 240,000 miles to fly around the world in business class! The value of such a redemption is apparent even to a novice award traveler.
You do have to keep in mind taxes and fees that come with booking KrisFlyer miles as Singapore Airlines will pass on any carrier-imposed surcharges — commonly known as fuel surcharges.
For example, the itinerary above will set you back about $1,100. However, the out-of-pocket price comes out to pennies on the dollar when you consider how much the whole trip would have cost if you paid cash for the whole shebang.
I was able to find award space for our example itinerary from early April to early May 2019 — business class on all segments! Of course, if you have more vacation time saved up or are taking a sabbatical, you can extend the trip.
If you’re in the opposite corner of the time-off ring and have to fight your boss for vacation time, feel free to adjust the length of the RTW trip based on your preference and availability.
Unfortunately, round-the-world awards cannot be booked online. You must call Singapore Airlines at 1-800-742-3333 to complete the booking.
Before you call, make sure to write down all travel dates and flight numbers of your chosen itinerary so you can easily provide them to a phone agent — who might not be familiar with booking a round-the-world flight with miles. Writing down the info will simplify the process and hopefully make your phone call shorter.
How To Earn More KrisFlyer Miles
If you’re thinking about which cards can help you earn the necessary KrisFlyer miles, check out of some the great options below:
What Other Programs Can I Use to Fly Around the World?
Although many programs no longer offer the option, Singapore KrisFlyer isn’t the only one that allows you to book an award trip around the globe.
They’re now harder to earn, but you can redeem Korean Air SkyPass miles for such a trip. It’s also possible to redeem Aeroplan miles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles miles and ANA Mileage Club miles.
Now that you understand how to book a RTW trip using Singapore miles, go ahead and create a trip of your dreams. With 27 airlines and 192 countries to choose from, your possibilities are endless.
All it takes is 240,000 KrisFlyer miles to do it all in style. With so many transferable points options, it can only take 3 or 4 welcome bonuses to get there. Not to mention, many of these Amex, Chase and Citi cards have great bonus categories.
Now, all you have to do is figure out when to set off on this great adventure!
Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.