How to Book a United Airlines Award Flight through Singapore Airlines?

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I have been planning a trip to Tampa Bay, Florida for some time. After looking at all of my options, I decided to redeem 25,000 Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer miles for the outbound leg of the journey. You might ask, why would you redeem 25,000 miles to fly domestically on United when the Saver Awards are 12,500? The short answer is that I had quite a few KrisFlyer miles so the 25,000 miles was not that big of a deal.

For those of you that do not know, Singapore and United Airlines are members of the Star Alliance network. The network includes 27 full members and their affiliates. Presumably, I could book a flight through a member airline for a flight on another member’s aircraft. That was simply not the case here. United and Singapore, while they are partners, have a strange relationship. Instead of helping each other, the airlines seem to be in competition…a lot. This was apparent when United launched the longest flight in there network, Los Angeles to Singapore on the Boeing 787, only to cancel it to add more flights from San Francisco to Singapore.

In the spring, as I was planning my trip to Asia, I checked United’s website to see if there was any chance to redeem United Airlines’ miles between Beijing and Singapore on Singapore Airlines. The website did not deliver any returns. I ultimately booked the flights through Singapore Airlines’ Krisflyer program after transferring miles from my American Express Membership Rewards account.

That brings me back to the topic, how to book United Airlines flight through Singapore Airlines? The first thing that I did was use United’s website to search for the exact flights that I wanted. I then went to Singapore Airlines’ website (in another tab), to see if the flights would show. The flights did not show on the website because the destination could not be found, so I used the app and was able to see my origin and destination.

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I proceeded to the “Book Flights” menu where the exact flights that I wanted were displayed. Score! To add icing to the cake, the cost in miles was 12,500 + $5.60 in taxes. This was the same the Saver Award on United Airlines.

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This was great, so I thought. After verifying my information (passport, known traveler number, etc.), I proceeded to the checkout screen. I received the following surprise.

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That certainly took the wind out of my sails. LOL. I proceeded with the checkout anyway. After entering my American Express Platinum card’s info, I waited a few seconds for the transaction to process. The screen displayed an error and told me to call customer service at the number below.

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I phoned the number and a guy with a thick accent answered. He obviously felt the same way about me because we asked each other to repeat a few times during the 10 minute conversation. I told him all the steps that I had taken. He punched some keys and found the stalled reservation. The agent confirmed the flights and asked for my card number for the taxes. Voila, it was over.

Final Word

While there are wayyyyy better redemptions for Krisflyer miles, I decided to give a shot. The Singapore Airlines’ website and app were frustrating to use for this booking, but the agent was really helpful. I will skip technology altogether if I have to make a similar booking in the future.

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