Now that Singapore’s vaccination program has gone into overdrive, there’s hope that quarantine-free travel will soon be possible. Ong Ye Kung has already mooted the US and Europe as possible destinations for year-end, assuming their vaccination rates continue rising and new cases remain low.
At the risk of counting chickens too early, Matthew has spotted that Turkish Airlines is offering some sensational Business Class fares out of Singapore to Europe and the USA, with travel from November 2021 till May 2022.
Fares start from just S$1.8K, and outside of a pandemic, I doubt you’d ever see this kind of pricing.
Turkish Airlines Business Class deals
I set my price filter to S$2,500, and found the following round-trip fares:
|Destination||Round-Trip Business Class|
|New York (JFK)||S$2,318|
|I also spotted a S$1,907 fare to Malta on Emirates, for anyone who’s interested|
In general, all fares are available daily from November 2021 till May 2022, with very minor price variations on certain dates.
The only city available in North America is New York, but it’s a fantastic deal at S$2,318. You can get to Athens for just S$1,844 (they’re already open to tourists from Singapore without quarantine, even if you’re not vaccinated), or Munich for S$2,250.
Basically, any round-trip Business Class fare from Singapore to Europe/USA below S$2,500 would have been near impossible to find before COVID-19.
What’s the accruals and flexibility policy?
These Turkish Airlines tickets book into the J fare bucket, which earns the following mileage credits depending on program:
Fares are non-refundable, but can be changed for free anytime up to departure (a US$260 penalty applies for no shows) as part of Turkish’s COVID-19 flexibility policy. This applies to all tickets bought till 31 December 2021, with travel till 31 March 2022.
Here’s the T&Cs of the flexibility policy:
What’s Turkish Airlines’ Business Class like?
Turkish Airlines operates two types of long haul cabin products.
The A350-900s and B787-9s are equipped with Turkish’s latest Business Class seats, which are actually the same seats Singapore Airlines uses on its regional flights. All seats have aisle access, go full flat and have a good amount of privacy, and the only caveat I’d make is that they’re on the narrow side.
The A330-300s and B777-300ERs are equipped with the previous generation seats, and fair warning: they’re 2-3-2 on the latter. A middle seat in Business Class is poor on short haul flights, never mind long haul.
The schedule up till 31 October 2021 calls for flights between Singapore and Istanbul to be operated on a B787-9, before switching to a B777-300ER from 1 November 2021. I’m quite certain they’ll stick with the B787-9 however, if their pre-COVID plan is anything to go by.
In other good news, Turkish has also restored full inflight catering as of earlier this year, serving hot meals in Business and Economy Class flights of at least 2 hours 15 minutes.
What card should I use to book?
Turkish Airlines airfares out of Singapore will code as online transactions in USD, so you can use the following cards to maximize your miles. I’ve left out the UOB Visa Signature because of the uncertainty as to whether they might be processing payments in Singapore, albeit in USD. I think it’s unlikely, but there’s always that risk with UOB cards.
|4.0 mpd||Max S$1K per c. month|
|DBS Woman’s World Card|
|4.0 mpd||Max S$2K per c. month|
|UOB Lady’s Card|
|4.0 mpd||Max S$1K per c. month. Must choose travel as 10X category.|
|UOB Lady’s Solitaire|
|4.0 mpd||Max S$3K per c. month. Must choose travel as 10X category.|
|3.0 mpd||Max S$5K per c. month|
Even if you’re not optimistic about borders opening up this year, you can still make plans for Q1 or Q2 travel in 2022. Dates and destinations can be changed as much as you like, although do note you can’t get a refund unless your flight is cancelled by Turkish.
The main question on my mind is whether a transit in Istanbul will affect your ability to enjoy quarantine-free travel. While Turkey’s seven-day average of new cases is relatively low at 5 per 100,000, several European nations have yet to grant quarantine-free travel to arrivals from Turkey.
As it stands, transit in Turkey won’t present any issues traveling to the USA, Germany (if vaccinated), France (negative COVID-19 test required), and Switzerland (if vaccinated). The situation is fluid, so update yourself with the latest restrictions at the IATA TravelCentre.