Cheapest ways to fly between Singapore and North Asia using Miles/Points from Singapore cards

Have you been accumulating a lot of miles/points by using the best cards for your spending? In this article, I’ll be ranking the cheapest award flights to/from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mainland China that you can redeem your hard-earned credit card miles/points for.

Have a look at the other versions of this article, for the cheapest award flights to/from:

  • Europe (Italy, United Kingdom, Spain etc.)
  • US/Canada (New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver etc.)

Singapore Credit Card Transfer Partners

Miles/Points from most credit cards can be transferred to KrisFlyer and Asia Miles. However, as shown in the table below, Citibank cards have many more transfer partners than most others, giving cardholders fantastic flexibility when redeeming for an award flight.

In the Miles Game, flexibility is very important. For this reason, when deciding which card to transact with (between cards with similar earn rates), I recommend picking Citi and HSBC cards over the others.

P.S. Although AMEX has many transfer partners too, they do not have any good cards for earning miles/points.

Frequent Flyer
Program
CitibankHSBCOCBCDBSUOBMaybankAmerican
Express
Standard
Chartered
Singapore Airlines
KrisFlyer
Cathay Pacific
Asia Miles
EVA Air
Infinity
MileageLands

     
Qatar Airways
Privilege Club

      
British Airways
Executive Club

    
Finnair
Plus


      
KLM/Air France
Flying Blue

     
Qantas
Frequent Flyer

    
Turkish Airlines
Miles&Smiles

      
Thai Airways
Royal Orchid
Plus

      
Etihad
Guest

     
Malaysia Airlines
Enrich
      
Vietnam Airlines
Lotusmiles
 
      
Air Canada
Aeroplan
 
      
United Airlines
MileagePlus
 
     
Hainan Airlines
Fortune Wings
Club
 
      
Vistara
Club Vistara
 
      
Japan Airlines
Mileage Bank
 
      
Emirates
Skywards
       
China Airlines
Dynasty Flyer
       
Marriott Bonvoy 

    
Hilton Honors       
Accor
Live Limitless
 
     
IHG
One Rewards

     
  = Poor transfer ratio
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Frequent Flyer Programs and Partner Airlines

The following are the top 5 Frequent Flyer Programs (FFPs) that Singapore credit cardholders should consider, when booking award flights between Singapore and North Asia.

Check for award availability on these pages:

Frequent
Flyer
Program
AllianceBooking
Link
Singapore Airlines
KrisFlyer
Star
Alliance
All airlines
Cathay Pacific
Asia Miles
oneworldAll airlines
EVA Air
Infinity
MileageLands
Star
Alliance
EVA Air
Star Alliance
KLM/Air France
Flying Blue
SkyTeamAll airlines
Finnair
Plus
oneworldWebsite
or Call/Chat
Qatar Airways
Privilege Club
oneworldWebsite
or Call
Turkish Airlines
Miles&Smiles
Star
Alliance
Star Alliance

Miles/Points from every airline’s FFP can also be redeemed for flights on partner airlines.

For example, miles in EVA Air MileageLands can be redeemed for flights on its Star Alliance partners like Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and All Nippon Airways.

Star Alliance

Here are some Star Alliance airlines that you can fly in, between Singapore and North Asia:

  • Singapore Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • Thai Airways
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asiana

oneworld

Here are some oneworld airlines that you can fly in, between Singapore and North Asia:

  • Cathay Pacific
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Japan Airlines

SkyTeam

Here are some SkyTeam airlines that you can fly in, between Singapore and North Asia:

  • China Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Vietnam Airlines

Cheapest ways to fly between Singapore and North Asia

The award rates shown below are only for the lowest rates available on each FFP, ignoring low-value “Advantage” or “non-promotional” rates that some FFPs offer.

Economy Class

Travellers are usually advised against redeeming miles/points for Economy Class flights as they can often get far better value on Premium classes. For example, Business Class flights from Singapore to North Asia cost as much as 400% more in cash (vs Economy), but only require as little as 43% more in miles.

However, travellers who can only travel during peak holiday seasons (when Business Class availability is bad), or have a large family to redeem for can still get good value by redeeming their miles/points for Economy Class flights on some airlines/FFPs, especially when the cash fares are very high.

Here are the cheapest ways to travel between Singapore and North Asia, in Economy Class, with miles/points from Singapore credit cards:

Frequent
Flyer
Program
AirlineMiles
(one-way, Economy)
Taxes/
Fees
(estimated)
Hong Kong,
Taiwan,
China
Japan,
Korea
Privilege
Club
Cathay
Pacific
11k
(HKG)
~S$70
Finnair
Plus
Japan
Airlines
15.5k
(Japan)
~S$220
Infinity
Mileage-
Lands
EVA Air17.5k17.5k~S$100 –
S$150
Infinity
Mileage-
Lands
Singapore
Airlines
20k –
25k
25k~S$65
Infinity
Mileage-
Lands
Star
Alliance
20k –
25k
25k~S$190 –
S$250
Asia
Miles
oneworld10k –
27k
20k –
27k
~S$85 –
S$280
Flying
Blue
China
Airlines,
Korean Air
14.5k –
29.5k
24k –
29.5k
~S$65 –
S$150
KrisFlyerSingapore
Airlines
16.5k –
21.5k
27k~S$65
KrisFlyerStar
Alliance
16.5k –
27k
27k~S$190 –
S$250
Miles&
Smiles
Singapore
Airlines
35k35k~S$65
Miles&
Smiles
Star
Alliance
35k35k~S$190 –
S$250

Premium Economy

This is a smaller list, as not all airlines have Premium Economy seats on flights to/from Singapore. On top of that, not all FFPs have the Premium Economy class listed in their award charts.

Here are the cheapest ways to travel between Singapore and North Asia, in Premium Economy Class, with miles/points from Singapore credit cards:

Frequent
Flyer
Program
AirlineMiles
(one-way,
Premium Economy)
Taxes/
Fees
(estimated)
Hong Kong,
Taiwan,
China
Japan,
Korea
Infinity
Mileage-
Lands
EVA Air20k20k~S$100 –
S$150
Asia
Miles
Cathay
Pacific
23k –
38k
38k~S$100 –
S$180
KrisFlyerSingapore
Airlines
26.5k –
34.5k
37.5k~S$65

Business Class

Here are the cheapest ways to travel between Singapore and North Asia, in Business Class, with miles/points from Singapore credit cards:

Frequent
Flyer
Program
AirlineMiles
(one-way, Business)
Taxes/
Fees
(estimated)
Hong Kong,
Taiwan,
China
Japan,
Korea
Infinity
Mileage-
Lands
EVA Air25k25k~S$100 –
S$150
Infinity
Mileage-
Lands
Singapore
Airlines
35k –
40k
40k~S$65
Infinity
Mileage-
Lands
Star
Alliance
35k –
40k
40k~S$190 –
S$250
Finnair
Plus
Japan
Airlines
41.5k
(Japan)
~S$220
Privilege
Club
Cathay
Pacific
22k
(HKG)
~S$70
Flying
Blue
China
Airlines
28.5k –
59k
54k –
60k
~S$100 –
S$150
Asia
Miles
oneworld32k –
63k
58k –
63k
~S$100 –
S$280
KrisFlyerSingapore
Airlines
34k –
43k
52k~S$65
KrisFlyerStar
Alliance
46k –
52.5k
52.5k~S$190 –
S$250
Miles&
Smiles
Singapore
Airlines
50k~S$65
Miles&
Smiles
Star
Alliance
50k50k~S$190 –
S$250
Redeem miles for EVA Air Business Class (read my review)
Redeem miles for Cathay Pacific Business Class (read my review)
Redeem miles for Singapore Airlines Business Class (read my review)
Redeem miles for China Airlines Business Class (Image: China Airlines)
Redeem miles for Japan Airlines Business Class (read my review)

First Class

This is also a small list as not all airlines have First Class seats on flights to/from Singapore, and not all FFPs allow booking of First Class awards for partner airlines.

Here are the cheapest ways to travel between Singapore and North Asia, in First Class, with miles/points from Singapore credit cards:

Frequent
Flyer
Program
AirlineMiles
(one-way, First)
Taxes/
Fees
(estimated)
Hong Kong,
Taiwan,
China
Japan,
Korea
Infinity
Mileage-
Lands
Singapore
Airlines
62.5k62.5k~S$65
KrisFlyerSingapore
Airlines
45k –
58.5k
77k~S$65
Redeem miles for Singapore Airlines Suites/First Class (read my review)

Why are some taxes/fees so high?

The taxes and fees on award flights depend on a number of factors:

  1. Airport fees
  2. Whether the airline carries fuel surcharges (e.g. Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines do not)
  3. Whether the FFP passes on fuel surcharges (e.g. KrisFlyer does not, but only on Singapore Airlines flights)
  4. The amount of fuel surcharges (e.g. EVA Air has fairly low fuel surcharges but Thai Airways has much more, for the same flight distance)
  5. Other additional FFP/airline fees

Should you only aim for redemptions with low taxes/fees? The short answer is no.

In some cases, the FFP-airline combination that has low taxes/fees, also has a much higher mileage requirement.

For example, to travel to Tokyo in Business Class, a traveller can redeem just 25k miles + ~S$150 in taxes/fees for EVA Air flights with Infinity MileageLands. With KrisFlyer, the traveller needs 52k miles + ~S$62. That’s S$88 less cash for 27k more miles (worth S$430)!

While Infinity MileageLands looks like a clear winner here, there are also other factors that can influence your decision, as everyone’s a different traveller:

  1. Do you care about the values of miles?
  2. Is there award availability for your preferred route/date?
  3. Do you only want to fly direct?
  4. Are you earning miles much faster than you have time to redeem them?
  5. Do you only want to fly for (close to) free?
  6. Does the airline fly to your preferred destination?
  7. Do you have miles that are expiring very soon?
  8. Are there any special transfer bonus or award discount offers?
  9. Do you prefer the seat/food/service on some airlines?
  10. Do you feel the need to “make good use” of your airline status by sticking to a particular airline/alliance?

How to search for award space

To check if there is award availability, travellers can visit the respective FFPs’ website. However, most of them are slow as they only allow users to search date-by-date or week-by-week.

Search faster with calendar views

For oneworld flights, travellers can search for partner award availability much faster through the calendar view on American Airlines’ website.

For Star Alliance, this can be done on Avianca Lifemiles’ website. However, I do not find the calendar view to be very accurate in displaying award availability.

Use these websites only as a guide and ignore the mileage requirements that are listed. When you see availability, repeat the search on the website of your preferred FFP.

Do note that some FFPs, like KrisFlyer and Infinity MileageLands, may release more award seats on their own airlines. This means that members will not be able to see the additional award availability on partner websites like AAdvantage or Lifemiles.

Independent award search engines

Travellers can also find near-term award availability across different FFPs, airlines or alliances through independent search engines like seats.aero and awardfares.com.

Again, use these websites only as a guide and repeat the search on the website of your preferred FFPs.

Get alerted when there is award space

Travellers can also receive alerts when there is award availability on their preferred date and route, with paid services from websites like expertflyer.com and seatspy.com.

Bottom line

The “best” award redemption depends almost entirely on your preferences. There is no right answer, as everyone’s a different traveller.

Travellers who earn flexible miles/points through their credit cards will always have the upper hand in finding award availability across multiple FFPs.

I hope that this article gave you the required knowledge to make the best decisions to suit your travel needs, when redeeming miles/points for flights between Singapore and North Asia.

12 thoughts on “Cheapest ways to fly between Singapore and North Asia using Miles/Points from Singapore cards”

  1. Since you included Hong Kong in the article, the cheapest way to get there is via Avios on Cathay Pacific I would say

    Reply
  2. HI Fai, wonder what’s the availability for business class to Tokyo/Seoul for EVA (SQ) during period of December compared to SQ if I only look at 3-4 months in advance. Seems like limited cards with 4mpd from Citi Rewards, HSBC Revolution.

    Reply
    • Hey, you’ll need sufficient miles on EVA to see Star Alliance availability. EVA’s SQ award availability tends to align with what we see on Air Canada Aeroplan, so, maybe you can get a little clue there.

      Reply
  3. Is the redemption for Infinity
    Mileage for economy class SQ or *A really 20k? I seem to be getting 25k miles on the Eva air website and based on the redemption chart

    Reply
    • Thanks for pointing it out! The *A mileage requirement for Economy Class to Taiwan, Hong Kong and China is 20k, but for other North Asian cities, it is indeed 25k. I’ve corrected the table.

      Reply
  4. Hi I’ve heard for redeeming flights on Eva airways for family members travelling with me, I’ll need to credit my credit miles into their own Eva airways FF accounts and I can’t book all 4 tickets required using my account. Any idea if this is true?

    Reply
    • Hi, I’ve not personally redeemed EVA miles for family members, but a member of the Suitesmile Chat Telegram group mentioned that too: https://t.me/suitesmilechat/41252

      Reply

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