10 Most Popular Year-End Destinations And How To Use Miles To Get There

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If you’re thinking of a last-minute getaway after Christmas, the ship has long sailed for snagging a cheap deal. It’s no secret that this period is popular with Singapore travellers, and the cost of airfares often reflect this fact.

Take Bangkok, for instance, where round-trip Economy fares are reliably around $180-220 for most of the year. During the post Christmas period, the price can more than double, as shown below where you pay more than $460 for a budget flight!

Round trip Price

It’s the same story if you were to look at other popular destinations like Bali, Seoul, Manila or London. If you don’t already have your tickets, be prepared to shell out big time.

But, hey, there is a better way, apart from going cheap when looking up destinations. Or, better still, if you have miles. Although cash fares fluctuate according to demand, the cost of redemptions remains the same throughout the year (at least for frequent flyer programs in this part of the world). 

Round Trip: Singapore to Perth

True, you may not be able to find award seats during times of peak demand, but if you’ve got some flexibility in your dates (and destinations), miles can help you score that post-Christmas getaway for less. 

Picking the right program for your destination

It’s worth noting that not all mileage programs are equal. Some may represent better value than others depending on where you’re flying to. 

For example, it takes 40,000 miles to redeem a round-trip Economy Class ticket to Perth on Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. However, the same direct flight (via Qantas) would cost 26,000 miles on British Airways Executive Club. 

Round trip Economy Class to Perth
Taxes and surcharges are $145 on KrisFlyer versus $181 on British Airways Executive Club. Be sure to take these into account when doing your comparison, in order to have a complete picture (it helps if you know how to value a mile!)

Assuming you were earning miles at a 1.2 miles per dollar rate, you’d need to $33,333 to redeem that free Perth ticket on KrisFlyer, versus $21,667 with British Airways. That’s a 35% difference! 

This implies that you want to have flexibility in terms of where you transfer your credit card points. While most banks in Singapore support transfers to KrisFlyer and perhaps Asia Miles, only a handful offer anything beyond that. The table below summarises your transfer options:

Transfer Options

As you can see, Citibank, American Express, and Standard Chartered have the most transfer partners, which makes the Citi PremierMiles Visa, the Citi Rewards Visa, the AMEX Platinum Credit Card, and the SCB X Card good options for those wanting flexible points. 

Credit Cards

It doesn’t mean these cards earn the most miles on every transaction – but that’s the tradeoff you face between flexibility and raw earning power. 

So earning your free ticket faster depend on knowing the right program to use for a given destination. In this post, we’ll look at the 10 most popular destinations for Singapore travellers according to Skyscanner, and find the cheapest way of getting there with miles*.

Let’s focus on frequent flyer programs, which are available through credit card rewards in Singapore. 

Bangkok

Bangkok

With shopping, eating and cheap massages galore, it’s no surprise to find Bangkok at the top of the list. You can save 30% of the miles required by redeeming British Airways miles with Cathay Pacific (there’s a direct flight on Cathay between Singapore and Bangkok). 

Round-tripBritish Airways Executive ClubAsia MilesKrisFlyer
Fly viaCathay Pacific (direct)Cathay Pacific (direct)Singapore Airlines (direct)
Economy Class18,000 miles20,000 miles25,000 miles
Business Class33,000 miles50,000 miles43,000 miles

Tokyo

Tokyo

Singaporeans are big fans of Japanese food and culture, and it’s possible to get to Tokyo for just 35,000 miles round-trip if you pick EVA Air’s loyalty program. It’s even better value if you treat yourself to an upgrade, as the round-trip Business Class mileage is about half what KrisFlyer requires. 

Round-tripEVA Air Infinity MileageLandsAsia MilesKrisFlyer
Fly viaEVA Air (one-stop)Japan Airlines (direct)Singapore Airlines (direct)
Economy Class35,000 miles44,000 miles50,000 miles
Business Class50,000 miles90,000 miles94,000 miles

Seoul

Seoul

If Seoul is where you want to be, EVA Air’s good value awards to North Asia apply here too. Keep in mind that just like Japan, you’ll need to make one-stop in Taipei. But for just a small premium, you can redeem Etihad Guest miles on Asiana for a direct flight too. 

Round-tripEVA Air Infinity MileageLandsEtihad GuestKrisFlyer
Fly viaEVA Air (one-stop)Asiana (direct)Singapore Airlines (direct)
Economy Class35,000 miles36,000 miles50,000 miles
Business Class50,000 miles 60,000 miles94,000 miles

Taipei

Taipei

Taipei is a perennial favourite for Singaporeans, and can be reached for just 20,000 miles with Asia Miles via Hong Kong. If you prefer a direct flight, KrisFlyer may be the better program, unless you’re hoping for Business Class, in which case go with EVA for a direct flight. 

Round-tripAsia MilesEVA Air Infinity MileageLandsKrisFlyer
Fly viaCathay Pacific (one-stop)EVA Air (direct)Singapore Airlines (direct)
Economy Class20,000 miles35,000 miles30,000 miles
Business Class50,000 miles50,000 miles 61,000 miles

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Given the current climate in Hong Kong, it’s quite clear that no one’s going to be headed there for a vacation anytime soon. But when things return to normal, Asia Miles is your go-to- for Economy Class awards, and Britsih Airways for Business Class. 

Round-tripAsia Miles British Airways Executive ClubKrisFlyer
Fly viaCathay Pacific (direct)Cathay Pacific (direct)Singapore Airlines (direct)
Economy Class20,000 miles22,000 miles30,000 miles
Business Class50,000 miles44,000 miles61,000 miles

Bali

Bali

Sun, surf and sand…who doesn’t love Bali? It’s actually a good value redemption for KrisFlyer, starting at 15,000 miles for a round-trip. 

Round-tripQantas Frequent FlyerAsia MilesKrisFlyer
Fly viaJetstar (direct)Malaysia Airlines (one-stop)Singapore Airlines (direct)
Economy Class24,000 miles30,000 miles15,000 miles
Business ClassN/A60,000 miles38,000 miles

Manila

Manila

It’s easy to get to Manila on the cheap because there’s no shortage of budget flight options. So, I’d only advise looking at mileage redemptions in times when fares are absolutely sky-high. 

Round-tripAsia MilesEVA Air Infinity MileageLandsKrisFlyer
Fly viaCathay Pacific (one-stop)Singapore Airlines (direct)Singapore Airlines (direct)
Economy Class20,000 miles 30,000 miles25,000 miles
Business Class50,000 miles55,000 miles43,000 miles

London

London

London may not be an affordable place to visit, but you don’t need to splurge on the tickets. Turkish Airlines will fly you there and back in Business Class for just 90,000 miles.

Round-tripTurkish Airlines Miles & SmilesAsia Miles KrisFlyer
Fly viaTurkish Airlines (one-stop)British Airways (direct)Singapore Airlines (direct)
Economy Class60,000 miles70,000 miles76,000 miles
Business Class90,000 miles140,000 miles 184,000 miles

Penang/Kuala Lumpur

Penang/Kuala Lumpur

Just like Manila, it may not make sense to redeem miles for Penang or Kuala Lumpur given the abundance of budget flights. But you still have the option.

Round-tripBritish Airways Executive ClubAsia MilesKrisFlyer
Fly viaMalaysia Airlines (direct, KL only)Malaysia Airlines (direct, KL only)Singapore Airlines (direct)
Economy Class12,00020,00015,000
Business Class25,00040,00038,000

Conclusion

The prices in the tables above apply throughout the year, but you’ll also want to watch out for periodic award sales. For example, Singapore Airlines runs a monthly promotion called Spontaneous Escapes, where you can get 30% off selected Economy and Business Class awards.

Once again, there’s no guarantee that award space will be available during peak periods, so this isn’t necessarily a magic bullet to high cash fares. However, it may provide you with an alternative option, and that’s still worth knowing about in my book. 

Read these next:
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Travel Insurance Promotions and Discounts for December 2019
Best Cruise Deals and Promotions in Singapore 2019
Mobile Data Roaming: What Are Your Cheapest Options When Travelling?
Best Money Changers In Singapore With The Best Exchange Rates


By Aaron Wong
Aaron started The MileLion to help people travel better for less and impress “chiobu”. He was 50% successful. This is his story.