The $100 Bangkok Trip

During the second webinar I did as part of The Milelion-iPayMy travel hacking series, I alluded to a trick I called the “$100 Bangkok trip”.

Because of time constraints I couldn’t explain it as clearly as I would have liked to. But I feel this is a great feature of the Krisflyer award chart that doesn’t occur to many people. So I’m going to explain what the $100 Bangkok trip is and how you can book it.

The key to understanding this is to know what a stopover is, and how many free stopovers you’re entitled to on different categories of award tickets.

A stopover means a break in the journey of more than 24 hours. It’s not the same as a layover. A layover is a break in the journey of less than 24 hours, usually to refuel or change aircraft.

SIN-HKG on SQ2 with a layover of about 1.5 hours

For example, if I can fly SIN-HKG-SFO and do a layover in HKG for 90 minutes before continuing my journey. But I could just as well do a stopover in HKG for a week, and pick up the HKG-SFO leg of my trip a week later.

Krisflyer offers the option to add a stopover to your trip, the price of which varies depending on whether you’ve booked a one way or round trip award, in the saver or standard class.

  • One-way saver- 0 free stopovers (but can be added for US$100)
  • One-way standard- 1 free stopover
  • Round trip saver- 1 free stopover
  • Round trip standard- 2 free stopovers

How long can the stopover be? As long as up to 1 year from the time your ticket is issued.

So what is the $100 Bangkok Trip? The $100 Bangkok Trip refers to a quirk of the Krisflyer award chart that lets you add on a trip to another destination at the end of one-way saver award back to Singapore for US$100.

Note that despite the name, it doesn’t have to be Bangkok. It can be any of SQ’s destinations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

Confused? Let me try to explain again

The Krisflyer award chart splits the world into different zones as follows

And the number of miles needed to fly between different zones is shown below

10 points to Gryffindor for anyone who can spot that the number of miles needed to fly from Zones 6-13 to Zones 1-3 is the same. That’s to say, for example, you can fly from London to Zone 1, Zone 2 or Zone 3 for the same number of miles.

In order to get from London to Zones 2 and 3, you need to transit through Singapore. That creates the opportunity to add a stopover to your one-way saver itinerary for US$100.

Still unclear?

Flying LHR-SIN costs the same number of miles as flying LHR-SIN-BKK. By booking a trip from Zone 11 (Europe) to Zone 3 (Thailand) and adding on a stopover in Singapore for US$100, I can then take the SIN-BKK leg to start off my next vacation! And assuming I’ve redeemed a business class award, I’m really getting a one-way Singapore to Bangkok trip for US$100. Not too bad, if you ask me.

Image result for sq a330 business class
not world class, but for a hundred bucks I’ll take it!

I keep saying Bangkok, but like I stated before the end point can be any city in Zones 2 or Zone 3.  Similarly, I keep saying London but the start point can be any city in Zones 6-13.

Here are some frequently asked questions you might have.

Does this have to be a one-way saver award? Could you do this on any other type of ticket?

Yes- you could book a one-way standard award (assuming you’re willing to part with nearly double the miles) and add a stopover for free. In that case, the title of this article becomes “the free Bangkok trip”. But given how few people book standard, that’ll probably come off as click baity. AND YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT/WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WILL SHOCK YOU!!!

You could book this as part of a round trip saver award. The issue then is positioning yourself to Bangkok to start your trip (eg BKK-SIN-LHR-SIN-BKK), and you’d end up having to buy yourself a round trip ticket to Bangkok (one leg to position yourself, the other to come home), which makes no sense.

How do I book this online?

Short answer- you can’t. You need to call up Krisflyer membership services to book. But you’ll still get the 15% online redemption discount because adding stopovers is a limitation of the website. The vast majority of call centre reps will be familiar with this, if you get a rep who insist no 15% discount applies hang up and call again.

What if I’m flying First Class back Singapore- SQ doesn’t offer First Class to Bangkok or any of these regional destinations, right?

Mostly right (see below). What happens in this case is that your SIN-BKK/wherever else leg will be flown in Business Class, but you’ll still pay the First Class rates indicated on the cart. So if I go LHR-SIN-BKK, with LHR-SIN in First and SIN-BKK in Business, I’ll still pay 107,500 miles (before 15% discount).

What other interesting permutations exist, other than Bangkok?

I mentioned that SQ does not operate First Class on any regional routes (i.e within South East Asia). There is one exception- First Class is offered on SIN-CGK (Jakarta, for the uninitiated).  So if you love your Private Room experience, you can book LHR-SIN-CGK for the same price as LHR-SIN and return to the airport another day for your First Class experience (SIN-CGK is operated out of T2 which does not have a private room of its own, but you can go over to T3 and they won’t turn you away).

EDIT: SQ operates F to MNL as well. Thanks Vin

The only issue I can see arising from this is when their is availability on the first leg of your flight. It could be that LHR-SIN has space, but not SIN-BKK. But really, it’s going to be a lot more likely that LHR-SIN doesn’t have space but SIN-BKK does. SQ’s award space availability is a lot better on their short haul routes than long haul ones.

Why not give this a try on your next trip?

30 thoughts on “The $100 Bangkok Trip”

  1. For the LHR – SIN – BKK route. After returning to SIN for a couple of month of stopover, can i make changes to the date for the SIN – BKK flight?

  2. Omg I wished I knew this earlier! I almost always have a short holiday after a long haul holiday and this couldn’t have been more useful to me! Thanks for sharing! 🤗

    Btw, if we add a stopover, I realised the taxes is slightly higher despite using same amount of points for redemption. Am I right to say that the real cost is $100 (to add a stopover under Saver) + difference in taxes?

    1. yup! technically you’re right, there will be some additional taxes since you’re going to pay SG airport departure/transit fees. but how much additional is that?

      1. I tried checking flights from several departure points in Europe. The difference in taxes is only less than S$40. Totally worth it! 👍🏻

  3. Actually you can book the stopover online (on a standard award). But it’s not the most obvious of all clicks. Also, it cannot be more than 30 days.

    I haven’t tried just booking the long haul first, and then calling in to add the stopover. If somebody has, please share experience.

    By calling in, by the time you HUACA to the fifth agent, the JFK-SIN suite is gone, all for the sake of a miserable BKK trip.

    For the aspirational trips, we usually have to book 1 year in advance, thus only left with a few days to do the BKK trip.

    These various limitations make this “loophole” not too useful, which is perhaps why it hasn’t been closed.

    1. If you’re worried about the space disappearing, wouldn’t it make sense to book online as soon as you see it, then call up krisflyer later to add the stopover? For example, i book my jfk-fra-sin-bkk then later call in to shift the SIN-BKK leg out after my stopover (although i think you alluded to this alr) The second point you’ve raised is important too though, if you are booking your trip almost a year out you won’t have much time to take the SIN-BKK trip. That said, i might be wrong in my reading of the rule. I read it as one year from date of issuance of ticket, someone else told me one year from date of first departure. Anyone can clarify?

      1. Sorry I did commingle a couple of points.

        1. Need confirmation that stopover can be more than 30 days over the phone. The rules appear to say no more than 30 days. I suspect you got an exception.

        2. Usually booking far out means the long haul is available but the short haul is not (yet) available. I read that if you already booked the long haul, calling in to add the short haul is near impossible because the agent will have to rebook the whole itinerary (but you already chope the long haul booking so no more seats). Your example is a change of the last leg which is already booked by you, so slightly different. Again, stories of success seem to be the exception.

        1. regarding point (1) when i was researching this article i called in to krisflyer and they told me 1 year. this is a very important point because if the stopover can only be a max of 30 days then the value of this is dramatically reduced. will do a few more follow up calls.

          regarding (2), I dunno, i’m looking right now at award space in J for BKK in november 2017 and i’m seeing everything open in saver. I’m also seeing wide open space in saver for Samui, Jakarta, hanoi etc.

          1. I meant that if you’re booking JFK-SIN 355 days out, BKK (or other) flights on Day 356/7 aren’t even loaded yet.

            But thanks for zealously responding. What this would be most useful would be to extend the trip to MNL all the time, and then starting all the next trips from MNL. 🙂

            1. ah ok I get what you mean. yes, that’s one limitation. i want to confirm that 1 year thing because the whole thing sort of falls apart if you need to take the second trip within 30 days. but 1 year is what the KF officer told me anyway. will get back on this.

              1. i’m told the maximum stopover duration is 1 year from date of issuance of ticket, not 30 days. 30 days may be a limitation in the website.

                1. This is awesome, thanks for explaining Aaron.
                  I have an existing FCO-SIN J award so I have to see if they will let me add a stopover and another leg.

                2. if you have an existing award they may force you to cancel and rebook FCO-SIN-BKK as a new award. depending on whether FCO-SIN is immediately available for confirmation, this might create some problems. this is because from the system’s point of view, FCO-SIN and FCO-BKK (via SIN) are two different tickets, it’s not simply changing a date or a flight, it’s changing destination. therefore their system may not allow them to modify the original FCO-SIN to add on BKK at the end.

                  that said, let me know how it goes.

  4. Hi. I read on OMAAT that KF does not allow you to set your home (start country) as a stopover if you book a return reward ticket. Does that mean I am unable to do SG-LHR-SG-BKK? (In order to get the free stopover for return reward ticket)

    Which means if i set off from Singapore, I won’t be able to redeem a free stopover for return rewards with SG being the stopover country.

    A little bit confused over the terms and condition.

    1. but this only really makes sense on a one way ticket. of course you can’t do SIN-LHR-SIN-BKK because your start and end points are different. you could do BKK-SIN-LHR-SIN-BKK, but then you’d effectively have to position yourself to BKK to start and then fly back, effectively negating the benefit.

      1. Thank you for your prompt reply!

        So it could do as a two one way redemption with addition $100 to make SIN a stopover instead of a return. Understood and thank you! 🙂

  5. u guys only talk about the return trip we can add a stopover.

    what about doing a stop over in the states on the first leg of the trip? for example

    SIN-LAX-LHR

    or something else

  6. Hi Aaron

    In my case i want to book different class of round trip ( i book separately on each way), Do i still entitle for free additional stopover ?

  7. Why stop at just BKK? I’m thinking that we can even extend this to say, NRT? (assuming availability)

    So say LHR -> SIN -> NRT on J class, I would pay an extra 10k miles.. but that’s still less than half the price of the usual SIN – NRT ticket (34k).

    Food for thought…

  8. So assuming I wanna book LHR-SIN-BKK, should I book the one way redemption online first? Then call up customer service? Or call up customer service to get them to set it up for me in my KF account?

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