Airline: Singapore Airlines (SQ)
Aircraft: Airbus A380-800
Flight #: SQ 26
Route: Frankfurt (FRA) to New York (JFK)
Date: July 28, 2022
Duration: 8 hours, 35 minutes
Cabin and Layout: Singapore 1-1 Suite configuration
Seat: 1A Suite
Points/Cash Used: 143,500 KrisFlyer miles + $120 in taxes
I’ve flown some of the best business and first class products in the sky — Emirates’ A380 first class (hello, onboard shower!) and Etihad’s Business Class studio product from Abu Dhabi (AUH) to name a few — so I feel comfortable reviewing premium products.
One flight that had eluded me for years: the new Suites on Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380. I’d been hunting for award availability, stacking my points, and opening new cards in anticipation of finding award space on any of the routes SQ flies with the new Suites product … and in early July, I finally found it on Singapore’s fifth-freedom route between Frankfurt (FRA) and New York (JFK).
However, such luxury comes at a serious cost. So, was it worth wiping out my entire Capital One miles balance? Keep reading to find out.
Booking Singapore Airlines Suites
Finding award availability for this flight proved to be quite a challenge.
After stacking enough points and miles across several programs, such as American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One Miles, I finally had enough miles to book Singapore Suites.
Initially, I’d waitlisted for a flight in early July at the Saver rate of 86,000 miles one-way between Frankfurt (FRA) and New York (JFK). That flight ended up getting canceled, and I was, essentially, back to square one.
While I didn’t have much luck scoring a Saver rate, I figured I’d at least be able to lock in an Advantage rate, which was 140,000 miles one-way. I found last-minute open availability in late July — but there was a big catch. Singapore recently devalued its program and raised the rate of Saver and Advantage rates, pushing the latter up to 143,500 miles.
But alas, flying Singapore Suites was a travel goal of mine, so I wasn’t going to be deterred by a slight devaluation.
When I saw the availability pop-up, I immediately transferred 143,500 Capital One miles — virtually my entire balance — over to Singapore KrisFlyer. Capital One transfers to KrisFlyer at a 1:1 ratio, meaning 1 Capital One mile equals 1 KrisFlyer mile. I wanted to ensure I could secure the ticket, and luckily Capital One transfers to KrisFlyer almost instantly.
Hot Tip: Learn about the best ways to book Singapore Airlines first class using points in our step-by-step guide.
How I Accumulated Nearly 150,000 Capital One Miles
In late 2021, I opened the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which is the bank’s newest premium rewards credit card. When I opened the card, it came with a whopping 100,000-mile welcome bonus after spending $4,000 or more on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Aside from the 100,000-mile bonus — worth $1,800, according to our valuations here at Upgraded Points — I also accumulated thousands of points through the CapOne Venture X card’s amazing elevated earning bonuses, including:
- 10x miles on hotels and rental cars purchased through Capital One Travel
- 10x miles when you book on Turo through May 16, 2023
- 5x miles on flights purchased through Capital One Travel
- 2x miles on all other purchases
Those points came in handy when booking this flight, as the cash cost of the FRA-JFK flight would have been a whopping $6,000 one-way. All told, I paid just 143,500 miles, plus $143 in taxes and fees, for about 4.2 cents per point in value.
How I Positioned for the Flight
To get to Europe to position for this flight, I flew United Polaris business class between Newark (EWR) to London (LHR), using 48,000 Aeroplan points plus $235 in fees.
After spending a few days exploring London, I took an hour-long commuter flight from London City (LCY) to Frankfurt (FRA) on British Airways, paying about $270 in cash.
Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
Frankfurt Terminal 1 isn’t particularly noteworthy, but the split-flap departures board was a nice touch.
Singapore Airlines First Class Check-in
I arrived at Frankfurt Airport around 6 a.m., ahead of my 8:05 a.m. flight.
Suites passengers are treated to expedited check-in, and after verifying my documents, I was handed my boarding pass and shown the direction to the security line.
Unfortunately, there’s no dedicated line at FRA for just first class Star Alliance passengers — and the economy line was shorter than the premium line — so the queue moved pretty slowly.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
Singapore Suites passengers have their pick of premium Star Alliance lounges at FRA.
At check-in, an agent told me I could use the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (it was also printed on my boarding pass). This lounge is in Terminal 1, Level 3, Concourse B.
However, if you’re looking for a premium lounge experience, I’d skip this lounge altogether. It was perfectly fine (with great views of taxiing aircraft) but relatively small and uninspiring.
There were some breakfast options, such as eggs and yogurt.
Still, it didn’t appear to be well-stocked.
A small station was set up with gummy bears, popcorn, pretzels, and more.
Lufthansa Senator Lounge B (Non-Schengen)
Singapore Suites passengers can also visit the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, and I’d highly recommend spending a few hours at this lounge. I visited the Lufthansa Senator Lounge B (Non-Schengen) location at Terminal 1, Level 2, Concourse B, next to gate B43.
This lounge had much better food and beverage options than the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.
The hot breakfast options were plentiful.
Next to the hot food station was a section with whole fruit, including kiwis, which I haven’t seen too often in an airport lounge.
There were ample places to rest, relax, and get work done.
For those that preferred a more traditional space to work on a laptop or charge devices, high-top tables with stools were available.
I didn’t have time to check out the CHI-MAS Senator Spa (note that services are fee-based), but it was a nice feature to have available.
The Lufthansa Senator Lounge had incredible views, including this pretty Qatar Airways A350.
Overall, it was an excellent lounge to unwind away from the hectic gate area.
Boarding at FRA
Singapore Suites passengers board through a completely different section than economy passengers, so after scanning my boarding pass, I took an escalator to the jet bridge.
On the way, I snuck a peek at the behemoth of a plane that would be transporting us across the Atlantic Ocean — this Airbus A380, with a whopping 471 seats across 2 floors.
Onboard Singapore Airlines A380-800
There are many adjectives to describe Singapore’s A380 Suites, but the first that came to mind is … spacious. There’s ample room to stretch your feet — or even do a stretch yoga pose.
First Class Seat
Unlike other premium international first class products, such as Emirates’ A380 and 777, the new Singapore Suites features a separate seat from the bed.
The seat is more like a throne and reclines at a 45-degree angle. It’s incredibly plush, made with full grain leather, and includes a comfy pillow.
Perhaps one of the best features is the sliding door that seals you from the rest of the cabin, and the divider for privacy, if you aren’t traveling with a companion. It felt extremely private.
You can control the seat functions to position the seat facing the window, bed, or table during meal service.
One minor downside — if you’d planned to catch some views during takeoff, you’re out of luck as the seat is relatively far from the window.
There’s ample space in the locker and it fit my Away carry-on, Telfar shopping bag, pajamas, blanket, eye mask, and slippers — with plenty of room to spare.
Food and Beverage
I settled in Suite 1A — which a passing flight attendant noted was the best in the cabin — and was immediately greeted by the inflight service manager who asked if I wanted a glass of Champagne, a 2009 Krug that retails for about $220 on the ground.
Singapore’s first class dining rivals a 5-star restaurant on the ground, and that is not an exaggeration.
It’s clear, even before takeoff, how much time and investment the airline puts into its food and beverage service.
Shortly after takeoff, the inflight manager came by and asked if I wanted Champagne — a 2008 Vintage Dom Perignon this time, which retails for about $200 on the ground.
Passengers on Singapore Suites (as well as business class and select premium economy flights) have access to the “Book the Cook” feature, a dine-on-demand service.
There are plenty of options to keep you well-fed during your flight.
Unfortunately, I didn’t pick my meals ahead of time, so I opted to have the flight attendants pick my meals once in the air.
They didn’t disappoint.
Service started with caviar, which was my first experience with the delicacy. Not bad!
Shortly after came a delicious Singaporean chicken satay, paired with onions, cucumbers, and a spicy peanut sauce. I mistakenly thought this was the appetizer, so I was (pleasantly) surprised with the next dish, a hearty barley soup topped with smoked sausage.
By this point, I’m starting to get full — and wondered if I would get through the entire meal service. I’m glad I did. The main course was a slow-braised short rib, garnished with sweet potato and cabbage, with a bread dumpling on the side. It was just what I needed, and I’m glad I’d saved my appetite (and didn’t eat at the lounge).
By this point, I was already stuffed, so I opted to take a nap to let my meal settle. A few hours before landing, I had a hearty chimichanga.
And finally, I ordered a little sweetness to wrap up my inflight dining with a hazelnut meringue for dessert.
All told, I enjoyed a 6-course meal on a flight of just under 8 hours, and it might have been the best meal I’ve ever eaten on a commercial airline.
The lavatory for Singapore Suites passengers was about as large as my bedroom in my New York City apartment. For an airplane bathroom, it was impressive.
While Emirates’ A380 still comes out ahead due to having the onboard shower for first class passengers, the lavatory on Singapore is a close second.
It’s decked out in calm whites, tans, and purple accent lighting, and is stocked with essentials such as razors and hand wipes.
Entertainment and Wi-Fi
Singapore Suites features 3 monitors, including the 32-inch TV and an additional hand tablet. The noise-canceling headphones were from Bang & Olufsen.
One downside to note: even though Wi-Fi is free for first-class passengers (all you have to do is enter your name, seat number, and email to connect), the service was frustratingly slow. As FRA-JFK service is a day flight, I’d planned to work on this flight, which proved practically impossible.
Admittedly, the Lalique amenity kit isn’t as nice as the first class amenity kit from Emirates, which partners with the Italian luxury brand Bulgari, or even the United Polaris amenity kit from Away. Still, it did the trick, and I’ll add it to my rotating cast of kits used for travel.
It features the standard things you’d find in a first class amenity kit, such as lotion, socks, and lip balm.
Suites passengers are treated to a comfortable pajama set from Lalique, which I ended up taking home and adding to my pajama collection.
When it was time for bed, a flight attendant came to my suite to make up my bed.
The bed is a little on the firm side, even with a mattress pad, but I was able to get about 4 hours of solid shut-eye on the flight. Two pillows on the bed ensured I had a comfortable nap.
I’d heard excellent reviews about Singapore’s attention to detail on the ground and in the air, and the airline didn’t disappoint.
Even with a completely full first class cabin, every flight attendant was incredibly personable and happily explained the menu and functions of the suite and chatted about upcoming travel plans.
The flight attendants and purser seemed genuinely excited to chat, which I’ve noticed about international airlines.
After a quick taxi, we were at the gate.
The flight attendants apologetically explained that first class passengers would have to deplane downstairs.
I didn’t mind, as it was the first time I’d ever walked down the stairs on an airplane.
After clearing customs quickly, due to my Global Entry status, I was returning to the city (and already missing my Singapore Suite).
I had high expectations ahead of my Singapore Suites flight, but the experience exceeded virtually all of my lofty expectations.
From the 6-course dining menu to the seat and comfortable bed, this is by and large the best way to fly between New York City and Europe. If you have the miles (and the patience of looking for award availability), Singapore Suites should be at the top of your points and miles redemption bucket list.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.