How to redeem Singapore Airline Suite class within a year with only RM50

If you haven’t heard of the coveted Suite Class by Singapore Airline (SIA), you have got to check out this blog post. Suite Class is the must luxurious class on commercial flights, and Singapore Airline’s is one of the biggest with 50 ft2 of private space. And if you are lucky there’s no one seated next to you, you get twice the space, and the best part – the cabin opens up to make room for a double bed!

I’ll save you the details on the service, amenities, food etc. – you can check out Derek’s post where he captured every single detail of his unforgettable experience.

SIA Suite Class (Source: www.singaporeair.com )

What does it cost?

Now, ever since I found out about the SIA Suite Class, I have done some research and developed a “game plan” for me to able to experience it at least once in my lifetime.

First, let’s look at how much it cost if I were to self finance my frivolous dream. And then, I immediately concluded that “No, I am never paying that much money for air flight alone!”

Next, I checked to see if it is feasible to redeem using air miles.

From Singapore to One way fareKris Flyer miles
(per one way)
Hong Kong3,052 SGD (RM 9.2k)40.5k
Tokyo5,512 SGD (RM 16.5k)70k
London9,532 SGD (RM 28.6k)125k
Price and miles redemption per one way

Now that I know how many miles I need to redeem, I need to figure out how to save up those miles as fast as I can!

Note: Suite Class miles conversion is equivalent to about RM 0.23 per mile; while Business Class miles conversion is under RM 0.17 per mile. Hence, if you are going to save up your air miles to redeem a ticket you can never get yourself to buy in cash, best to save it all up for the best!

Malaysia Airline A380 Business Class (Not Suite Class)

How to earn air miles?

First, you need to register a Kris Flyer account. Once, you have it set up, you are one step closing to achieving your goal! There are few ways to earn air miles,

1. Fly with Singapore Airlines

You can as much as possible choose to fly with SIA, and by doing so, you earn Kris Flyer miles. However, the conversions are usually very slow, especially if you always choose the cheapest fare and only fly Economy Class (like me). Promotional (Economy) fares only earn you 50-75% of the miles travelled.

E.g. Singapore to London is about 6,765 miles one way. Economy promo fare will only earn you 3,382 to 5,073 Kris Flyer miles one way. You would have to travel at least 4 SIN-LHR return trips to earn Kris Flyer miles to redeem SIN-HKG Suite Class.

2. Purchase Kris Flyer Miles

While you can outright purchase Kris Flyer miles, it is the worst possible conversion, setting you back at USD 0.04 (RM 0.16) per mile – which is almost the same as buying the ticket by cash. Purchasing is usually the last resort, and only used to top up, especially if you are just a few points short.

3. Credit card miles redemption

You probably already know this – credit card miles redemption is still the most efficient and popular way! You don’t need to spend additional cost, all you need to do is charge all your expenses to your credit card (and be sure to always pay your outstanding in full, and on time). And with enough research, you’ll find the best credit cards with the best conversions, as well as lucrative sign on bonus miles!

And I am going to share with you my “game plan”, and some tips to help you achieve your goal as early as you can!

My game plan

A quick google search for “best air miles conversion credit card in Malaysia”, you’ll get lots of articles with detailed comparison of many credit cards offered in Malaysia.

TL:DR version – the best air miles conversion is Maybank American Express Reserve (which is offered as a dual card package, i.e. Maybank 2 cards Premier). While AMEX is not always acceptable by all merchants, it has since gained more traction, in fact you can use it is most large grocers, and retailers.

Other credit cards I own include, Citibank Premier Miles, and UOB Visa Infinite.

Credit cardKris Flyer
miles redemption
Sign on bonusFees & charges
Maybank
American Express Reserve
RM 1/ mile2,000RM 800 annual fee (first year free,
subsequent years waivable with RM80k spend per year)
RM 25 service tax
Maybank
Visa Infinite
RM 5/ mile2,000RM 25 service tax
Citibank
Premier Miles
RM 4.5/ mile (local spend)
RM 2.25/ mile (overseas spend)
6,666RM 600 annual fee
RM 25 service tax
(both waivable with no minimum spend)
UOB
Visa Infinite
RM 7.5/ mile (local spend)
RM 1.5/ mile (overseas spend)
3,000 RM 600 annual fee
RM 25 service tax
(both waivable with no minimum spend)
My credit card portfolio

As you can see from table above, sign on bonus alone, I have collected a total of 13,366 Kris Flyer miles for free (34% of SIN-HKG Suite Class redemption).

Next, I just need to intelligently manage my credit card usage.

  1. Every time I want to use my credit card for payment, I first ask if I can use AMEX.
  2. If the merchant doesn’t accept AMEX, my next best card is Citibank Premier Miles. (Note: This is not the second best credit card for local spend, but I don’t want to be carrying too many cards, and paying an additional RM 25 service tax)
  3. When travelling overseas, if the merchant doesn’t accept AMEX, I will use UOB Visa Infinite.

Note: Before using your credit card overseas, be sure to check the currency exchange rates. Credit card conversion rates are often ridiculously high. Which is why I prefer to use BigPay prepaid card, which offers the lower foreign currency exchange rates!

With this game plan, I can easily reach my goal in less than 2 years (depending on my destination)!

DestinationRemaining miles
(less 13,366 bonus miles)
AMEX card spend
per month in 1 year

per month in 2 years
Hong Kong27,134RM 2,261RM 1,131
Tokyo56,634RM 4,720RM 2,360
London111,634RM 9,303RM 4,651
Monthly AMEX spend to reach Suite Class redemption goals

Fees & charges

Do note that Maybank 2 cards Premier does come with a hefty RM 800 annual fee, though free for first year, subsequent year is only waivable with minimum RM 80k per year (RM 6,666 per month)! It is a huge commitment, but you can always choose to cancel the card after one year (just pocket the sign on bonus and maximise your miles collection in that one year). If you manage to get it waived, you will still have to pay RM 25 service tax per card, and Maybank is very strict when it comes to covering this tax charge for customers.

Citibank and UOB on the other hand, are very competitive. First time calling the call centre, they may not be willing to waive any of those charges. However, all you need is to put in a card cancellation request, and the next working day, another staff will call begging you to keep the card, and on top of waiving all those charges, they will give you some more cash rebate.

In short, my “maintenance fee” for my game plan is RM 50 per year, for the Maybank 2 cards Premier.

Closing

I officially started implementing my game plan in late 2019, and I charge like at least RM 3000-4000 to my credit card per month. To date, I have accumulated enough points to redeem 2 Suite Class tickets! Unfortunately, it is not the best time to travel! So, I am keeping my points, and saving it till we can all travel again!

Note: Kris Flyer miles expire in 3 years, however SIA is extending all miles validity considering COVID travel restrictions in 6 months block.

So, I am one final step to my Suite Class dream! I hope you’ll find this post helpful for you, or at the very least I managed to convince you to start dreaming (Suite Class) “bigger”!

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