The Lufthansa First Class award availability bonanza between Denver and Frankfurt was the perfect catalyst to begin planning a trip in early 2015. Ideally, I was hoping to find a way to also work in a flight aboard the Singapore Airlines A380 in Suites Class.
I sat down in front of the computer, and 3 hours later had found the perfect routing on the exact dates that I was looking for. It doesn’t get much better than that!
That is, until it was time to book.
With everything happening so quickly, all the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles I needed to complete the booking weren’t in my account. In fact, they were still sitting in my American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards accounts, ready to transfer over.
The problem was that while all of the US airlines and many of the international ones, such as Birtish Airways, offer instant transfers, Singapore Airlines does not.
How long does it take to transfer points to Singapore Airlines
This is a pretty typical scenario that many people find themselves in. A huge benefit of the Amex and Chase programs are that points can be transferred across a wide array of partners. Therefore, it doesn’t really make sense to speculatively transfer points until you find the award space that you need. That isn’t a problem for programs that have instant transfers, but does present some risk for programs such as Singapore Airlines where there’s no no guarantee that your award flights will still be available by the time the miles hit your account.
I submitted a total of 5 transfers across multiple Chase and Amex accounts, and prayed that the award space would will be there when the miles posted. The requests were submitted at Thursday night at 8PM PST, and the miles arrived in my account at 10PM PST on Sunday night.
During those 38 hours, besides constantly refreshing my AwardWallet account every 5 minutes, I also did some research in the attached thread from Flyertalk which provides many more data points.
Here are some high-level takeaways:
- How quickly you receive your miles is highly dependent on the day of the week and time of day that you submit the request
- Transfers are handled in batches, with most reports indicating that processing occurs on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursday
- Since the process involves a human component, as you can guess processing occurs during normal business hours in Singapore, which is 12 hours ahead of EST and 15 hours ahead of PST
- Related to the 3rd bullet, nobody has reported receiving miles posted over the weekend in Singapore time
- Miles transferred from Starwood SPG reportedly post only once a week on Tuesdays (Singapore time)
Since everything is processed in Singapore local time, that’s why I mentioned that both the day of the week and time of day come into play. For example, if you submit a request on Sunday 2PM PST, which is Monday 5AM Singapore time, there’s a strong possibility that you could receive your miles in a matter of hours.
So what does this all mean for you? If you think you’ll need to use miles from your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account, then it’s important to plan ahead.
In general, you can expect to receive your miles in 2-3 days when transferring from Amex or Chase, but may take up to a week when transferring from SPG if you miss the last cutoff until the next week’s batch is processed.
Overall, Singapore’s frequent flyer program is quite generous when it comes to miles and flight awards, and here are a couple reasons why I would have no hesitation pre-emptively transferring miles into my account:
- Singapore Airlines has a generous award expiration policy of 36 months, with the ability to extend for 6 months. It’s worth noting that miles expire on a rolling basis based on when they posted, and new mileage activity does not extend the expiration of all previously earned miles
- Singapore has a fairly generous change fees structure with no fees to change dates, and $12-$20 fees for flight/route changes, and only $30 fees to re-deposit miles.