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Advice:Airline strategy, Singapore-based wanting to travel Business class to US

Advice:Airline strategy, Singapore-based wanting to travel Business class to US

Old Jul 16, 13, 9:01 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Advice:Airline strategy, Singapore-based wanting to travel Business class to US

I've recently started a new job in Singapore with a US company and to my horror its travel policy is economy only. Having been spoilt at my last job and being 6"5 feet tall, lying flat is a priority I am happy to work for!

Commuting will be (2-3 US trips per year) Singapore to SFO, LAX, NYC etc...as well as APAC travel of around 1-2 flights per month.

Currently I have been collecting all my points with Singapore airlines as well as Star Alliance where possible, such as United and Air NZ. Points balance sitting around 120,000 at the moment.

Advice: if my company buys economy to US, my gut feeling is that United is going to be easier to hack for upgrades to business.

Some considerations /questions based on my own research:

- Is it better to try and stick to Star Alliance rather than OneWorld and SkyTeam?
- Anyone heard of booking a Y-UP ticket? (Read it displays as an expensive economy ticket but upgrades to business)
- I am a US Airways member and take advantage of buying up points with them when they have 100% bonus offers. Can you use these points to upgrade a purchased economy ticket?
- Would it be cheaper simply to upgrade on United using Star Alliance points
- Given I am a gold elite member with SQ, should I try and status match with United now?
- Anyone know which routes are the lowest yields? Best days to travel?

Any advice greatly appreciated.
SleeplessInSingapore is offline  
Old Jul 16, 13, 11:11 am
  #2  
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Welcome to FT! And even though I'm "only" 6'2", I really sympathize with your situation. Folks who fly in and out of Singapore much more than I do will likely provide much better advice, but a few initial thoughts:

1. Get a new job.
2. Perhaps more realistically, check which airlines offer premium economy seats and whether your employer will at least cover that. On many airlines such seats are much better than UA's economy plus, which only offers a few inches of extra legroom. They are considerably roomier, with a few extra perks. I believe that Thai, Cathay Pacific and Eva have them, for starters, with perhaps Thai having the best premium economy cabins. Unfortunately, Singapore Airlines does not offer premium economy, as far as I know.
3. If even premium economy is beyond your company's budget, get a new job.
4. Again, more realistically, investigate what status on which airlines at least get you exit row access and which airlines have the roomiest regular economy. Not to boost Thai too much, but I'm again under the impression that it offers the best legroom in regular economy on some of its transpacific planes.
5. As for using your miles to upgrade, you'll find that you have to put down a healthy co-pay of $$$ in addition to your miles on UA (and perhaps other airlines) - if the upgrades are even available. The further in advance you can book, the better your chances of securing an upgrade at time of ticketing. If you book UA in hopes of later getting an upgrade, you're in a real cr*p shoot and will often end up losing.
6. What's even worse about UA in this regard is that to even have a chance of upgrading from economy to business you can't buy the cheapest economy ticket. You have to buy a more expensive one that is at least a W code. Hopefully your company will at least pay for that.
7. If your company won't pay for that...well, I've already provided enough useless advice in that regard.
8. Expertflyer.com is a very useful service of about $10/month that can come in handy for many purposes, including finding upgrade availability on many airlines' flights.
9. Seatguru.com is a free site that is far from reliable in providing information on airline seats, but can be useful in getting a sense of the legroom (i.e., pitch) on many airlines.
10. Keep an eye out in the "Good Deal Premium Fares" thread in the the "Mileage Run Deals" forum here in FT, by subscribing to that thread: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milea...es-2013-a.html Folks post good business class deals that sometimes might be cheap enough to make it worthwhile for you to pay the extra over economy.

Again, I hope that others can provide more useful insights re some of your questions. Good luck!
Thunderroad is offline  

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