Travel

How to Book a Free Ticket on the World's Longest Flight

How to Book a Free Ticket on the World's Longest Flight

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Use points and miles to earn a free ticket on the longest flight in the world.
How to Book a Free Ticket on the World's Longest Flight
How to Book a Free Ticket on the World's Longest Flight Source: Getty Images

This week, Singapore Airlines relaunched a Newark to Singapore direct flight that claims the title as the world's longest, clocking in at 18 hours and 30 minutes. Round-trip tickets start at $1,350 for Premium Economy and $4,000 for Business class—and there's no economy cabin. With a little strategy and planning, however, you can book this itinerary for free by using miles and points to earn an award ticket. The cheapest redemptions available are 140,000 points for Premium Economy and 184,000 points for Business class.

Quick Summary

  • The cheapest round-trip award ticket on the direct flight between Newark and Singapore costs 140,000 points for Premium Economy service. With that many points, you could take three coach class round-trips to Hawaii.
  • Consumer credit cards typically award sign-up bonuses around 50,000 points—meaning you'd have to score at least three bonuses to afford this flight.
  • Using points to book a Premium Economy ticket on this flight isn't worth it. Your points will be worth less than 1 cent per mile for that redemption. On average, frequent flyers should expect at least 1.3 cents per mile when booking awards. However, the Business class redemption is a much better deal, awarding an above-average 2.2 cents per point.

Earn Points with a Rewards Credit Card

The easiest way to earn points toward your Singapore award flight is to open a credit card with a rewards program that can transfer points to Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer. Currently, all four of the major U.S. credit card rewards programs—American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou and Starwood Preferred Guest—are transfer partners with KrisFlyer, so you'll have a variety of options when choosing a card. We recommend that you shop around and select a card that fits your lifestyle, spending habits and travel goals.

There are rewards credit cards that fit any budget, as long as you pay your balance in full every month. Consider that some starter rewards cards have no annual fee, while the high-end options can cost upwards of $550 per year. These premium cards have added benefits like lounge access, travel credits and dedicated service concierges. The best cards with annual fees also reward you with 50,000 or more bonus points for spending a few thousand dollars within the first three months of opening your account.

If your main goal is to earn points toward the Newark to Singapore flight, your best option will be to open a mid-tier rewards card that earns bonus points in categories like dining and travel, so long as it fits in your budget. The best of these cards come with annual fees under $100 per year and earn 2 to 3 points per dollar on dining and travel expenses. You won't get added benefits like luxury lounge access, but with the right card, you'll qualify for a sign-up bonus and accelerated points earning on your everyday expenses.

Once you've earned 140,000 points, you'll be able to book your award ticket through your credit card company's travel portal or by transferring your points to KrisFlyer. This will depend on the guidelines of your credit card rewards program, and whether or not award space is available on the portal. The Newark to Singapore direct flight has traditionally been a popular route—and there are only 161 seats on each flight—so your best bet may be to transfer your points to KrisFlyer and look for availability on the Singapore Airlines website.

Sign Up for a KrisFlyer Account

Before you can transfer and redeem points toward your trip, you'll need to sign up for Singapore Airlines' frequent flyer loyalty program, KrisFlyer. Once you have an account, you will be able to transfer points from any of the four transferable currency programs. Note that American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points have a 1:1 transfer ratio with KrisFlyer, while Starwood Preferred Guest points have a 3:1 transfer ratio.

To create a KrisFlyer account, you'll need to visit Singapore's website and input your basic information. Once you have an account, you can use your frequent flyer number to earn points for booking flights on Singapore Airlines or any of its partner airlines. Singapore is part of the Star Alliance, which includes popular carriers such as Air Canada, Lufthansa and United Airlines.

If you're not a frequent traveler, you'll likely earn the majority of the points needed for your award ticket through credit card spending. However, you can use your KrisFlyer member number to get a few extra points whenever you happen to take an eligible flight. Otherwise, you can use your KrisFlyer account to search for award ticket availability when you're ready to transfer points and book your ticket.

Book Your Award Ticket on Singapore Airlines' Website

For a round-trip between Newark and Singapore departing on Dec. 4, 2018, and returning on Dec. 12, 2018, award tickets are showing on the Singapore website at 140,000 points for Premium Economy seats at the Saver level. Saver awards are the cheapest option, but they are usually more limited and harder to book. You may need to join a waitlist to book a Saver award.

In contrast, Singapore Airlines' Advantage level awards are pricier but more widely available. Consider that on the itinerary mentioned above, Business class award tickets at the Advantage level are priced at 270,000 points, while Business class Saver awards are priced at 184,000. If you're traveling for pleasure and your vacation dates are flexible, it's always better to search for Saver awards and join a waitlist, if necessary. You may find that the most award space is available for flights in the middle of the week on Tuesday and Wednesday, as these days tend to have the least demand.

Business Class Redemption: Newark to Singapore Round-Trip
This is how many points it takes to redeem a Business class round-trip on the Newark to Singapore direct flight route.

Once you find award space and select your ticket, you can book your itinerary on the Singapore Airlines website. If you have at least half of the needed points for a redemption, you can reserve your award ticket. This will give you time to transfer in points from a partner program like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards.

Is It Worth It?

Beyond the novelty factor of taking the world's longest flight, is it worth spending at least 140,000 points on this redemption? Below, we've broken down the value you'll be getting for your miles when redeeming at each level. On average, miles are worth 1.7 cents for this redemption. This is an average of 1.0 cents per mile when redeemed for Premium Economy and 2.2 cents per mile when redeemed for Business class.

Paid Ticket
Price
Award Ticket
Price
Value of miles
Premium Economy Lite$1,347.60Premium Economy Saver140,000 miles1.0 cents per mile
Premium Economy Standard$1,545.60Premium Economy Saver140,0000 miles1.1 cents per miles
Business Lite$3,997.40Business Saver184,0002.2 cents per miles
Business Lite$3,997.40Business Advantage270,0001.5 cents per mile
Business Standard$5,047.60Business Saver184,0002.7 cents per mile
Business Standard$5,047.60Business Advantage270,0001.9 cents per mile
Average1.7 cents per mile

Note that the difference between paid Lite and paid Standard tickets is in itinerary flexibility. Standard tickets are more expensive but are cheaper to change and cancel. Premium Economy Lite and Business Lite tickets cannot be canceled or upgraded with miles.

For comparison, miles are worth 1.3 cents on average when redeeming for domestic economy or domestic Business class flights. On international redemptions, the average value of a mile increases to 2.1 cents per dollar. As such, redeeming for a Business class reward on the world's longest flight will give you an above average return on your points.