Singapore Krisflyer Miles Have Value for West Coast Virgin America flyers

Singapore Airlines has released their redemption chart for flights on Virgin America. Keep in mind that Singapore Airlines is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, and since it is a foreign partner, there are no transfer fees involved (unlike transfers to say, Delta Skymiles).

VXRedeeming

While I agree that this isn’t a particularly lucrative award chart for premium cabin flyers, there are a couple of options that could make some sense to those with Membership Rewards points who don’t mind economy.

Intra West-Coast

One is the intra-West Coast redemption option, which includes flights between Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. It’s 9,000 Krisflyer miles for a one-way flight + $2.50 for the security tax. Most of these flights can be purchased with just 4500 or 7500 Avios provided you find a direct flight on American or Alaska Airlines. However, San Diego to Seattle may require a connection along the way, which would increase the price to 9,000 Avios or 12,000 Avios. This means that a connecting itinerary makes as much sense to book with Krisflyer as with Avios.

West Coast to Mexico (including Cancun)

In addition, Cancun from the West Coast seems to be a good option as well at 16K miles per person one-way. Virgin America flies from both LAX and SFO to Cancun, and since you don’t have to pay miles per segment (like with Avios), you can position from other west coast cities for only $2.50 per segment. Seattle-Cancun via Dallas on American Airlines would cost 17,500 Avios, compared to 16K Krisflyer for Seattle-San Francisco-Cancun (and you get funky mood lighting on the way to your Mexican vacation).

Free Stopover Analysis vs. Avios

If you book a one-way flight, you get no free stopover. However, round-trip itineraries can take advantage of a free stopover. With a free stopover, that means I could fly something like Los Angeles – Seattle, Seattle – San Francisco, San Francisco-Los Angeles for 18,000 miles + $7.50. The same trip using Avios for flights on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines would cost 19,500 Avios + $7.50. Granted, there have been multiple transfer bonuses for Membership Rewards -> Avios transfers, and the transfers are instant unlike Singapore Krisflyer. However, if you’re west-coast based and have some spare Krisflyer miles hanging around, a Virgin America redemption could be worthwhile.

Amol (@PointsToPointB) joined HMT in 2012. An ardent manufactured spender, he's an American Executive Platinum, Delta Platinum, and United Platinum.
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  • ScottHB

    AMEX membership rewards points transfer at a 2:1 ratio into Virgin America Elevate, but it looks like MR points are 1:1 for KrisFlyer. Am I interpreting this correctly that now there is a way to get a 1:1 transfer of MR points to Elevate by using KrisFlyer as the intermediate?

    • Scottrick

      Not quite. This is a way to book partner awards on flights operated by Virgin America using KrisFlyer’s miles and award chart. So you can still fly on Virgin America using your Membership Rewards points, but you will be subject to the rules of Singapore’s KrisFlyer program.

  • http://twitter.com/CTravlr Carolina Traveler

    How can you check for Virgin America’s award availability?

    • Scottrick

      That’s unknown right now. Virgin America uses a fixed-value points program, so technically it doesn’t have separate award space. You just redeem points toward the cost of the flight. And on top of that, Singapore has a habit of publishing different award space on its own planes for its customers vs. its partner’s programs.

  • Russf

    Trying to explain a free stopover to the krisflyer bookings person is an impossibility. I have tried to book this exact flight as your scenario above and they just dont get it. Do you have any tips? (They tried to charge me for 3 sectors)

  • http://twitter.com/sastaSaman Bargain Hunter

    I also like the award chart other way.. elevate points for SQ flights. 35k points for LAX to NRT round trip is hard to beat and I might do that