Singapore Airlines (SQ) and its Star Alliance partners have — for years — had numerous issues regarding award availability. That ranges from SQ at various times intentionally blocking partners from being able to access award space on its own flights, to a number of supposed “IT challenges” that prevented partners from booking Singapore Airlines flights. These problems go back years and varyingly resolve and then pop up again.
One of the more egregious issues in more recent history involve United Airlines intentionally blocking access to a number of Star Alliance partners, including Singapore Air. Matthew over at Live and Let’s Fly has been following this closely and discussed the ongoing issues as recently as this past weekend.
Breaking It Down:
United And Singapore Problems Resolved
Whatever the cause of the problem, it seems that United MileagePlus members are again able to search for and book awards on Singapore Airlines, as of this morning.
Several friends of mine are in the midst of planning a trip to Southeast Asia and booked an itinerary months ago from the US to Asia, but found themselves unable to connect on SQ to their ultimate destination, Singapore itself. This is despite seeing award availability (via ExpertFlyer and other Star Alliance partners) on SQ flights.
One of these friends has been tirelessly checking United’s award search on a daily basis hoping for the issue to resolve. To her surprise this morning, the United award search was, for the first time in months, displaying Singapore Airlines award space.
Having run some searches myself, I can confirm that United is again showing Singapore Airlines award space in business class for intra-Asia routes. As most astute miles/points enthusiasts already know, Singapore Air does not release long-haul premium cabin award space to any of its partners and these flights can only be booked through Singapore Krisflyer. However, examples of available award space on SQ from SIN to various cities in Southeast Asia and vice versa, are again available via United, as seen below.
For those who are interested in trying out SQ’s new Boeing 787-10, there is award space on some of those routes as well:
Phone Agents Can See The Singapore Award Space Too
Not only is Singapore award space now showing up again on United, phone agents are able to see this space as well. My friend was able to call in earlier today and change her existing itinerary to tack on a segment in Singapore Airlines business class. Other than having to hang up and speak to multiple agents, most of whom were unknowledgeable or helpful, the process went smoothly and she is successfully confirmed now on SQ metal (and was able to verify this through Singapore Airlines’ own site).
Of note, on some of her earlier unsuccessful calls, she encountered agents who stated they were able to see the award space but also saw an alert message on their end stating that Singapore Airlines awards required “authorization” to be booked.
After calling managers to request authorization to book, those requests were denied. I’m not quite sure if something changed between earlier this morning and now, or even if the agent who booked these flights for my friends simply missed/disregarded the alert message, but the fact that my friends’ tickets were confirmed suggests that others may have the same luck.
United MileagePlus members have been unable to search for or book Singapore Airlines award space for several months now, but it seems that this is finally resolved or in the process of being completely resolved. As of this morning, United’s award search tool and its phone agents are again able to see Singapore Airlines intra-Asia award space, and despite having to make several calls into United, we now have a report that Singapore award space has been successfully confirmed.
While at this time I’m not sure what exactly has changed on the back end or what discussions SQ and UA have been having, this is undoubtedly good news for those looking to redeem their United miles for intra-Asia travel.
And of course, no one can be certain how long this will last, given the tenuous history that Star Alliance partners have had with booking Singapore Airlines awards. My advice for those that this might benefit is to lock things in sooner rather than later.
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