Feb282008

The SIN of Travel – a Mileage Run Primer

SIN is Singapore, Changi Airport.

Beware of Falling Coconuts Singapore

Loyalty Travelers based in the United States learn that Singapore is the farthest destination in flight miles a person can easily fly to from the USA on a variety of carriers and have an easy and affordable experience.

fishing at Singapore Changi

Singapore generally requires a US-Japan-Singapore routing and this is an 8,444 mile flight distance from San Francisco-Tokyo-Singapore (SFO-NRT-SIN).
New-York City-Los Angeles-Tokyo-Singapore (JFK/LGA/EWR-LAX-NRT-SIN) is an astounding 11,250 miles one-way. Mileage runners even figure out ways of adding additional flight segments to these basic routings for 1,500 or more flight miles.

The rationale for making a “mileage run” long distance itinerary is apparent when considering the miles earned in the frequent flyer member’s account and the elite qualifying flight miles credit. After attaining 50,000-flight mile elite status, a flyer earns a 100% flight mile bonus on qualifying economy fares with any one of the major airlines Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, or US Airways. The perks of complimentary flight upgrades, international lounge access, and other benefits await the elite flyer.

 United Red Carpet Club Singapore

It is always good to know the rules for miles earned for your ticketed fares. The booking class of your ticket determines upgrade eligibility, miles earned, and eligibility for frequent flyer elite status qualifying miles (or points).

April 2008 Mileage Run Sample:
I’ll use United Mileage Plus as the carrier for this example, although a nearly identical calculation will apply for flyers in the other major airline loyalty programs of Alaska, American, Northwest, Delta, Continental, or US Airways.

Feb 28, 2008 a New York, (JFK)-Singapore (SIN) ticket, prices today at under $1,100 for all United Airlines itineraries. (Prices fluctuate and may occasionally drop below $1,000 from eastern US or below $800 from western US departure cities).

Tip: Quick mileage calculations between airports is available from the website: Great Circle Mapper, http://gc.kls2.com

The first choice of the lowest-priced itineraries offered by United.com is JFK-NRT-SIN routing in economy class “S” booking code. “S” booking code is ineligible for Mileage Plus cabin upgrades with miles or elite certificates since it is an all international flights itinerary.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

United Airlines Flight #837 (1-stop, plane change)
Depart New York, JFK 7:09
Arrive Tokyo, Japan, NRT 14:10 (next day, Thursday)
Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and Award Miles Earned: 6,745 miles

Thursday, April 3, 2008

United Airlines Flight #803
Depart Tokyo, NRT 17:50
Arrive Singapore, SIN 23:55
Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and Award Miles Earned: 3,324 miles

Thursday, April 10, 2008

United Airlines Flight #804
Depart Singapore, SIN 7:15
Arrive Tokyo, NRT 15:15
Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and Award Miles Earned: 3,324 miles

United Airlines Flight # 852 (1-stop, plane change)
Depart Tokyo, NRT 18:00
Arrive New York, JFK 22:33
Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and Award Miles Earned: 6,745 miles

Summary: JFK-SIN, United Airlines, “S” booking class,
$1,069.24 and earns 20,146 Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and
20,146 frequent flyer Award Miles (+ elite and/or promotional bonuses)

Although the screen states the flight is a one-stop, the ticket buyer must click the Plane Change links on the United reservations screen to see where the plane stops. A change of aircraft is required in San Francisco.

The New York to Tokyo routing requires a plane change in San Francisco, yet the two separate flights are given a single flight number. United Mileage Plus calculates the ticket as a non-stop flight for frequent flyer flight miles earned. This ticket will earn 20,146 flight miles for $1,069.24.

An alternative routing for the New York, JFK to Singapore “S” booking class ticket provides the frequent flyer with 22,363 award miles for $1,087.24, and also adds Hong Kong airport to the itinerary.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

United Airlines Flight #877
Depart: New York, JFK 8:00
Arrive: Los Angeles, LAX 11:14
Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and Award Miles Earned: 2,475 miles

United Airlines Flight #867
Depart: Los Angeles, LAX 12:56
Arrive: Hong Kong, HKG 18:45 (Thursday, next day)
Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and Award Miles Earned: 7,246 miles

Thursday, April 3, 2008

United Airlines Flight #895
Depart: Hong Kong, HKG 20:00
Arrive: Singapore, SIN 23:35
Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and Award Miles Earned: 1,603 miles

Thursday, April 10, 2008

United Airlines Flight # 804
Depart: Singapore, SIN 07:15
Arrive: Tokyo, Japan 15:15
Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and Award Miles Earned: 3,328 miles

United Airlines Flight # 838
Depart: Tokyo, Japan 16:05
Arrive: San Francisco, SFO 09:10 (Thursday, same day)
Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and Award Miles Earned: 5,124 miles

United Airlines Flight # 010
Depart: San Francisco, SFO 11:20
Arrive: New York, JFK 20:03
Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and Award Miles Earned: 2,586 miles

Summary: JFK-SIN, United Airlines, “S” booking class,
$1,087.24 and earns 22,363 Elite Qualifying Flight Miles and
22,363 frequent flyer Award Miles (+ elite and/or promotional bonuses)

Perhaps the greatest benefit is the ability to upgrade the transcontinental USA flights in “S” booking class since these are now domestic flights. Although the other itinerary also has two transcontinental domestic flight segments, these flights are under a single international United flight number and thus international upgrade rules apply.

A United ticket from New York, JFK to Singapore has itinerary choices that make a huge difference in loyalty program benefits for a small difference in cash. $18.00 is a small price to pay for 2,217 extra flight miles towards elite status and mileage upgrade credit, in addition to the extra frequent flier miles for awards and the potential for a transcontinental domestic upgrade.

Elite Frequent Flier Bonus Miles

A Premier Executive, 50,000-mile status member with a 100% flight miles bonus will earn 22,363 elite bonus miles on the Hong Kong routing.

$1,087.24 fare / 44,726 Mileage Plus miles = $24.31/1,000 miles earned.

Travel earns miles at a lower rate than buying miles through the airlines or credit cards.

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The Quest for Frequent Flier Elite Status

Two trips between New York and Singapore a year on United can easily earn 45,000 elite qualifying miles and earn 90,000 frequent flyer miles. These earned miles are redeemable for a Business Class Star Alliance award from the USA to Europe (80,000 miles) or South America (80,000 miles) or North or South Asia (90,000 miles). And a frequent flyer would only need one additional 5,000 mile trip, like New York City – San Francisco (JFK-SFO), to earn 50,000-mile elite status within the calendar year with United Mileage Plus.

United Airline Mileage Plus Business Class Star Alliance Awards:

80,000 miles Business Class award, US/Canada-Europe using United Airlines or any of these 11 Star Alliance partner airlines which currently operate flights between North America and Europe: Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Austrian Airlines, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, TAP Portugal, US Airways.

90,000 miles Business Class award, US/Canada-Asia using United Airlines or any of these partner airlines which currently operate flights between North America and Asia: Air Canada, Air China, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. How many frequent flyer miles are required for a round trip flight between ewr and nrt?
    Thanks.
    Mitch Morse

Comments are closed.