Award seats now available on Singapore Airlines’ Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble flights

Surprise! Singapore Airlines releases year-end award space on the high-demand ATB route to Hong Kong.

When Singapore Airlines announced the details of its Air Travel Bubble (ATB) flights to Hong Kong, what was notable was the lack of any award space whatsoever, at least until the end of 2020. This meant that cash was king on this route, and Economy Class fares quickly shot up to almost S$1,000. 

But here’s some good news: it appears that KrisFlyer has now opened up some award space on this route for 2020, although you will have to pay the higher Advantage prices, or gamble with the waitlist. 

What’s the ATB flight schedule?

As a refresher, here’s the ATB flight schedule for Singapore Airlines. Flights will initially be on alternate days, before going daily from 7 December 2020.

Singapore to Hong Kong
Date Flight Depart/Arrive
22 Nov 20 SQ890 1000/1400
23 Nov 20 SQ890 0800/1145
25 Nov 20 SQ890 0735/1120
27 Nov 20 SQ890 0735/1120
29 Nov 20 SQ890 0735/1120
30 Nov 20 SQ890 0735/1120
2 Dec 20 SQ890 0735/1120
4 Dec 20 SQ890 0735/1120
7 Dec 20 onwards (daily) SQ890 0735/1120
All flights operated by A350-900 (Long Haul Config)
Hong Kong to Singapore
Date Flight Depart/Arrive
23 Nov 20 SQ891 1255/1655
25 Nov 20 SQ891 0800/1145
27 Nov 20 SQ891 1230/1630
29 Nov 20 SQ891 1230/1630
30 Nov 20 SQ891 1230/1630
2 Dec 20 SQ891 1230/1630
4 Dec 20 SQ891 1230/1630
7 Dec 20 onwards (daily) SQ891 1230/1630
All flights operated by A350-900 (Long Haul Config)

Only SQ890/891 are designated as ATB flights; passengers on other flights (except CX 734/759, Cathay’s corresponding ATB flight) will be subject to quarantine and SHN requirements as per usual. 

Which dates have award space?

In general, KrisFlyer award space opens up significantly from January 2021, so I’ll focus mainly on dates till the end of 2020. The searches below are for one award seat, on the Singapore to Hong Kong route (it’s largely the same in reverse). 

Saver Award Space
Green= Available | Yellow= Waitlist | Y= Economy, PY= Premium Economy, J= Business
  22-Nov 23-Nov 24-Nov 25-Nov 26-Nov 27-Nov 28-Nov
Y              
PY              
J              
  29-Nov 30-Nov 1-Dec 2-Dec 3-Dec 4-Dec 5-Dec
Y              
PY              
J              
  6-Dec 7-Dec 8-Dec 9-Dec 10-Dec 11-Dec 12-Dec
Y              
PY              
J              
  13-Dec 14-Dec 15-Dec 16-Dec 17-Dec 18-Dec 19-Dec
Y              
PY              
J              
  20-Dec 21-Dec 22-Dec 23-Dec 24-Dec 25-Dec 26-Dec
Y              
PY              
J              
  27-Dec 28-Dec 29-Dec 30-Dec 31-Dec    
Y              
PY              
J              
Advantage Award Space
Green= Available | Yellow= Waitlist | Y= Economy,  J= Business
  22-Nov 23-Nov 24-Nov 25-Nov 26-Nov 27-Nov 28-Nov
Y              
J              
  29-Nov 30-Nov 1-Dec 2-Dec 3-Dec 4-Dec 5-Dec
Y              
J              
  6-Dec 7-Dec 8-Dec 9-Dec 10-Dec 11-Dec 12-Dec
Y              
J              
  13-Dec 14-Dec 15-Dec 16-Dec 17-Dec 18-Dec 19-Dec
Y              
J              
  20-Dec 21-Dec 22-Dec 23-Dec 24-Dec 25-Dec 26-Dec
Y              
J              
  27-Dec 28-Dec 29-Dec 30-Dec 31-Dec    
Y              
J              

The pattern we’re seeing is a good amount of Premium Economy space from mid-December onwards, and Economy Class popping up around mid-December, just before Christmas and just before the New Year. 

Unfortunately, there’s nothing available for immediate confirmation in Business Class, and you’ll have to take your chance on the (mostly Advantage) waitlist. 

What’s particularly interesting to me is that as of the time of writing, it’s still possible to get a seat on the inaugural flight, albeit at Economy Advantage prices. I was under the impression the flight was 100% sold out, but it’s not too late!  

How much will I pay for awards?

One-way costs Saver Advantage
Economy 15,000 30,000
Premium Economy 24,500 N/A
Business 30,500 50,000

The table above shows the cost of one-way awards in each cabin. Do note that Premium Economy awards only come in Saver flavors.

On top of the miles costs, you’ll pay the following airport taxes:

  • From Singapore to Hong Kong: S$41.50 (all cabins)
  • From Hong Kong to Singapore
    • Business Class: HK$310 (~S$54)
    • All other cabins: HK$260 (~S$45)

Taxes are higher on Business Class awards due to a higher Hong Kong Airport Construction Fee (HK$160 instead of HK$90). 

I normally don’t recommend redeeming miles for Economy Class, but when revenue fares are this high, I wager you could get good value (assuming you redeem Saver). 

Upgrade space is also open

Photo credit: TPG
Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class | Photo credit: TPG

I still can’t figure out if upgrade awards and full awards are pulled from the same inventory, but whatever the case, I managed to upgrade my return leg from Hong Kong to Singapore to Business Class.

This cost 25,000 KrisFlyer miles, and for some strange reason they didn’t collect the additional HKS$130 of Hong Kong Airport Construction Fees.

Again, my usual advice is that it doesn’t make sense to buy Economy Class tickets and upgrade them with miles (since the miles you save are generally worth less than the cash paid). Quite frankly, I’m only doing this so I can review both the Economy and Business Class experience during COVID-19. 

Conclusion

It’s an unexpected surprise to see award space open on the ATB route, and for those of you turned off by the high cash prices, this could be a way of salvaging a year-end trip to Hong Kong after all. 

Don’t forget that from now till 27 December 2020, Singapore Airlines is offering a 15% bonus on bank points transfers to KrisFlyer. This helps to reduce the cost of awards somewhat, although I still wouldn’t be willing to pay Advantage prices. 

Anyone else planning to fly by the end of the year?

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Sam

My original non-ATB flights have been cancelled and was moved to the ATB flights. Perhaps that’s why they blocked off all redemption tickets for awhile due to this change.

Cappy Hamper

Do note that both governments have not given approval to SQ or CX to operate travel bubble flights beyond December. You’re subject to award ticket T&Cs should flights be subsequently cancelled if unlinked cases spike.

Louis

Should be quite firm given that it’s unlikely moving average of unlinked cases will surpass 5 unless the next 4 days goes crazy.

BSLTW

I received text from SQ yesterday that the SG to HK flight on 3 Jan has been designated as ATB. Keep Calm and Bubble Fly !

Bryan

If ATB flights are cancelled, or I decided to cancel my award ticket, does cancellation fee apply? But miles can be redeposited back?

BSLTW

After I bought the ATB flights, they offered to change my Scoot Christmas flights (booked in early Sept) to the SQ ATB flights without cost subject to availability. it was successful, so I changed by extra ticket to CNY. Now they have award space…… sigh…..
Whatever it takes to go home (sg) for a visit, I take it.

Ocelot

Side topic but when is it okay to redeem tickets at advantage prices? New suites?

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