Singapore Airlines brings back direct flights to New York, and is also bringing the A350 to Christchurch

A guide to redeeming points for travel in Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 3 minutes
POSTED: June 7, 2018
UPDATED: February 3, 2019
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer

The world’s longest commercial flight is returning after a five-year hiatus.

Singapore are also deploying its A350 aircraft to New Zealand for the first time, with operations to Christchurch scheduled to commence from 7 January 2019.

In this guide, we look at the A350’s current and future routes, the onboard product, points pricing and how to book an award flight using KrisFlyer miles.

New route: Singapore – New York

This service will return on 11 October 2018 three times a week, going daily by the end of that month.

Travel time will be a lengthy 16 hours 55 minutes on the way to New York and 18 hours 45 minutes on the way back to Singapore.

While there are far quicker options to the US available from New Zealand, this flight may interest those who have business in Asia, or quite simply would like to take advantage of KrisFlyer’s free/cheap stopover policy to spend some holiday time in Singapore on their way to/from the US.

As the launch customer of the ultra-long-range version of the Airbus A350, there will be no Economy Class but rather a premium-heavy configuration of just Business and Premium Economy seats, which are pictured in the next section.

Singapore Airlines currently flies to New York JFK via Frankfurt and will keep this service. In choosing to fly into and out of Newark (New York’s second-biggest airport), passengers on this service will have access to United’s new Polaris lounge, which opens on 4 June.

Paid tickets and awards are now available on this flight. For Business Class, I am not seeing any awards at the Saver level but if you are keen on locking in a seat, then you may consider paying more for an Advantage Award. You can choose to waitlist at the Saver level. For Premium Economy, there is plenty of award availability.

Direct Singapore – Los Angeles flights are to follow, with a third North American city in the works.

Singapore already services Los Angeles via Seoul/Tokyo, San Francisco nonstop and via Hong Kong, and Houston via Manchester.

Upgraded route: Christchurch – Singapore

Singapore are also bringing their A350-900 to New Zealand, scheduled to commence daily from 7 January 2019 when SQ297 departs for Christchurch.

This will significantly enhance the product experience between Christchurch and Singapore, replacing the existing 777-200ER which flies this route. Premium Economy will be available to book for the first time.

Paid tickets and awards are also now available for this flight – I can find plenty of awards at the Saver level in Economy, Premium Economy and Business.

The cabin and seat

Singapore Airlines’ A350-900 has 42 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, with fully-flat beds and is 25% more fuel-efficient than aircraft on similar routes.

The ultra-long-range version (A350-900ULR) has 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats.

Premium Economy

The cabin feels much more spacious due to the fact that there are no overhead lockers in the centre – but for this reason, it is recommended not to travel with large carry-on items.

Here is a 360-degree virtual tour of the A350:

Current and future routes

The A350 flies between Singapore and:

  • Amsterdam
  • Barcelona
  • Brisbane
  • Christchurch (from 7 January 2019)
  • Dusseldorf
  • Hong Kong
  • Jakarta
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Johannesburg and onto Cape Town
  • Los Angeles (launch date unknown)
  • Manchester and onto Houston
  • Melbourne
  • Milan and onto Barcelona
  • Moscow and onto Stockholm
  • Mumbai
  • Munich
  • New York Newark (from 11 October 2018)
  • Rome
  • San Francisco
  • Tokyo Haneda

Perth and some Asian cities now enjoy a new regional Business Class product on Singapore’s Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft.

Some other A350 flights servicing New Zealand include:

  • Auckland and Christchurch to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific
  • Auckland to Taipei with China Airlines

Qatar Airways A350 Business Class

Points pricing

The following redemptions are for one-way travel using KrisFlyer miles:

DestinationBusiness Class (departing New Zealand)Premium Economy Class (departing New Zealand)
US West Coast110,00090,000
US East Coast118,00095,000

Given that Business and Premium Economy redemptions are so closely priced, it makes much more sense to redeem your miles for a Business Class ticket (subject to availability, of course).

Taxes on the New York flight are ~$80 SGD departing Singapore and only ~$24 USD on the way back in Business Class.

KrisFlyer does not apply fuel surcharges to flights on Singapore Airlines.

How to book a seat on one of these flights

The two main currencies travellers based in New Zealand can use on Singapore Airlines flights are KrisFlyer miles and Velocity points.

It is worth comparing pricing between KrisFlyer and Velocity as points can be transferred between the two programs.

You can easily book an award redemption through the KrisFlyer and Velocity websites.

Summing up

Flying on one of the world’s newest commercial jets on an airline with a reputation for great customer service represents a great opportunity and a good-value use of points.

Supplementary images courtesy Singapore Airlines and United.

Singapore Airlines brings back direct flights to New York, and is also bringing the A350 to Christchurch was last modified: February 3rd, 2019 by Matt Moffitt