My Solitaire PPS experience so far

Is life at the top of Singapore Airlines' loyalty programme as good as it's made out to be? Here's my thoughts so far.

Back in June, I finally got my hands on a Solitaire PPS card after decades of lobbying my father for the supplementary membership. Part of me thinks the reason he waited so long was to teach me the virtues of patience and simplicity, part of me thinks he really hated paperwork.

Solitaire PPS luggage tags

But it’s all done now, and based on remaining Reserve value, I’ll have Solitaire PPS status till February 2025.

I’m already a KrisFlyer Elite Gold member till October 2024 thanks to the recent earn-on-the-ground campaign, but if you know how the Singapore Airlines elite ranks work, you’ll understand that PPS membership, let alone Solitaire, is a massive step up. You could fly a million miles in Premium Economy or Economy Class and never get close; PPS qualification is based on dollar spend in First or Business Class only. 

It stands to reason that the benefits should be a cut above, and for the most part they are.

Complete Guide: Solitaire PPS Club and PPS Club benefits

Now that I’ve had a chance to test drive the perks for a few months, I thought I’d share some insights based on the experience so far. 

More Saver awards (but not exactly free reign)

One of the biggest perks of being a Solitaire member is the additional allotment of Saver awards.

Singapore Airlines promises that Solitaires will be given the “highest priority to Saver Awards flight availability”, and I’ve observed it in real life when cross-checking search results against The MileLioness’ account (regular KrisFlyer member).

Search results from regular KrisFlyer account
Search results from Solitaire PPS account. Note the extra saver space

However, it’s not quite the promised land some make it out to be. Let me first deal with one of the biggest misconceptions out there: being a Solitaire member does not magically open up Suite Saver availability. 

Outside of medium-haul routes like Mumbai and New Delhi, the best I can find for Suites are Advantage awards or the Saver waitlist, even when I search more than a year out. 

Heck, even Business Class is far from a sure shot, especially if you’re looking at peak periods on popular routes like London. I’m seeing absolutely nothing to London in December, not even the option to waitlist for an Advantage award.

So I don’t doubt that Solitaire members see more Saver space than the average joe, but it’s far from carte blanche.

The waitlist is still a problem

OK, so Solitaire members might not get all-you-can-eat Saver space. But surely they have higher priority on the waitlist, right?

In theory yes, but I’ve yet to notice a big difference. In fact, it might just be bad luck but I haven’t had a single waitlist flight clear since becoming a Solitaire member. Business Saver waitlists to Brisbane, Cairns, Tokyo (Haneda and Narita) and New York were all unsuccessful. 

Veteran Solitaire members tell me that it all boils down to how hard you push, that if you call in and make noise to the right people, good things can happen. I’m not keen on playing the DYKWIA card though, and long story short I’m not seeing a significant difference from KrisFlyer Elite Gold days. 

PPS Connect service is a lifesaver

Of all the Solitaire perks, the biggest quality of life improvement has to be be PPS Connect. With PPS Connect, instead of calling SIA, SIA calls you. All you need to do is send an SMS, and you’ll get a call back as soon as possible.

It doesn’t necessarily mean a shorter wait time. Sometimes, I get called back in as little as 10 minutes. Other times, I’ve waited as much as 18 hours (like the day before the KrisFlyer devaluation).

What it does mean is no time spent waiting on the phone, which to me is the bigger problem. Until we get a service like Google’s Hold for Me in Singapore, this is as good as it gets. 

Pick any seat in the house

Extra legroom seats on B737-8

Solitaire members are exempt from all seat selection fees, whether for Extra Legroom, Forward Zone or Standard Seats. They can even select the Solo Seats on the A350-900 ULR flights to the USA for free.

By right, this benefit applies only to the Solitaire cardholder. Non-Solitaire companions travelling on the same booking enjoy complimentary Forward Zone or Standard Seats (this logic is hardcoded into the seat selection system). However, in my experience I’ve been able to get an exit row seat assigned to my companion just by calling up and asking. 

Row 11 seats on the A350. Note the lack of a restrictive footwell

Solitaire members also get priority access to the coveted Row 11 seats on the A350-900 and B777-300ER, which don’t have a restrictive footwell and allow passengers to sleep straight instead of diagonally.

First Class Lounge access (even on arrival)

SilverKris First Class Lounge, Sydney Airport

Solitaire members are invited to the First Class section of the SilverKris Lounge whenever they fly on Singapore Airlines. 

🍸 SilverKris Lounges with First Class section
SilverKris First Class Lounge, Changi Airport

While The First Class Lounge isn’t Singapore Airlines’ “true” First Class lounge at Changi Airport (that would be The Private Room), the F&B is still a step up from the Business Class section, and it’s significantly less crowded. There’s four dedicated nap rooms, larger shower cubicles, productivity pods and a tended bar (though sadly the cocktails list is decidedly prosaic).

Review: Singapore Airlines SilverKris First Class Lounge, Changi Terminal 3

In fact, it might be more accurately named the Solitaire lounge, since virtually no one there is actually flying First Class (the only Star Alliance carriers operating a First Class cabin to Singapore are Lufthansa and SWISS). 

The best part is that access isn’t just available on departure; Solitaire members can visit the First Class Lounge on arrival in Singapore, together with a guest on the same flight. All they need to present is their inbound boarding pass for a same-day Singapore Airlines flight. 

This provides an opportunity to freshen up and grab a shower, should you be headed straight to work, or have a quick drink and bite, should you be headed home. I’ve sometimes found myself abstaining from the onboard champagne, if only because I know there’s Piper-Heidsieck Rare waiting on arrival!

First Class Lounge buffet
First Class Lounge champagne

It’s for this very reason I keep hoping my plane lands at Terminal 3 (SIA flights can land at T1, T2 or T3 depending on operational requirements; you could of course hop over on the skytrain and clear immigration at a different terminal, but that won’t work if you have checked bags), and it even influences some of my travel decisions within the region. 

Before this, it was a no-brainer to buy a cheap one-way Scoot ticket back home, but I sometimes find myself redeeming SIA Economy Class awards just so I have dinner settled on arrival.

Free Wi-Fi

Solitaire members enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi

The nature of my job means I need to stay connected as much as possible, and therefore having a free onboard Wi-Fi allowance is a guaranteed money saver.

📶 SIA Wi-Fi Allowances
 PPSKFNon-KF
Suites & FirstUnlimited
Business100MB
Premium Economy100MB2-hrs chatN/A
Economy
For avoidance of doubt, allowances do not stack. A PPS Club member in Business Class receives 100MB, not 100MB + 100MB.

Solitaire PPS and PPS Club members receive at least 100MB of free Wi-Fi on all Singapore Airlines flights, which has been temporarily upgraded to unlimited, as part of an ongoing trial.

Onboard touches

Solitaire members in Economy still get some personalised service

Here’s another myth debunked: Solitaire members don’t get upgraded. I mean they might, if the flight is overbooked and there’s an operational need, but it’s not a regular occurrence the way it is for elites in other frequent flyer programmes.

That said, there are some nice small touches that make you feel like more than just self-loading cargo, even when flying Economy. For example, the inflight supervisor (or someone equally senior) always comes around to introduce him or herself to Solitaire passengers before each flight, which is an opportunity to request any comfort items you may need (or a pre-departure drink!). Flight crew also make an effort to address you by name, even when flying in Economy. 

I’ve heard some anecdotal stories about Solitaires in Business Class managing to sneak a glass of the First Class wines on flights where that cabin is offered, and I’ve received the odd glass of champagne in Economy Class before, served in an inconspicuous plastic cup.

Conclusion

Even as someone who frequently redeems Business Class tickets, I can still see the benefits of Solitaire PPS membership. The ability to access the First Class lounge on departure or arrival, PPS Connect and additional access to Saver space would be the top three perks for me, though whether that’s worth spending S$50,000 per year is something else entirely.

Solitaire members- any other experiences worth highlighting?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Bent

Thought they used to have those bday upgrades (subject to avail) if u travel within 3 days of bday or something

Alian

Yup they still do. Got mine in Apr this year

let

the only benefit is they kneel before you whatever class you are sitting…

Xin

if you enjoy people kneeling before you, maybe you shouldn’t be flying commercial.

Spoon

sounds like one of those tikos..

Leo Liang

Fly those MEA then

Xin

as PPS can validate that calling in, and being friendly and respectful, is the best way to get a waitlist cleared. success rate >50%

D C

Seem like the benefits very close to PPS club, only differences perhaps is the lounge.

Benny

Wife and I got sneaked Bak kut teh in plastic cups from biz class on their own accord when we were in economy 🙂 very nice touch. When VTLs first open, our J saver redemption waitlist to london cleared within 2 hours of placing redemption order. Shocker really. T3 checking in at the dedicated First class “building” is always very nice and private, followed by the dedicated immigration counter just for them. Most often, they greet and entertain every member of the family travelling together as if we were all Solitaire, rather than just the member only. Wife is the… Read more »

Doug

Totally agree with your opinions and experiences above. Also there’s the added first class check in experience that is extremely seamless. If you have family it’s very convenient. Once I sent my mum off and they allowed me to leave the car at the porte cochere whilst I got my mum settled inside. In addition, there are some non travel perks. I’ve been attending some dinners/events organized by them (it’s free). The last dinner I helped myself to a very generous amount of Chateau Pichon Lalande – I think I had 6 glasses.

Ray

Yes, this: You do get invited to really nice events/dinners (eg. recent summer Euro-event with the chef from Odette doing the catering, etc). SQ sees it as an opportunity to get to know their PPS-travellers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ray
Kelvin

Are these events/dinners for all PPS members or restricted to Solitaire?

Ray

It really depends — I rmb being invited to some as QPPS. I presume if you are based in Europe or the US, it might be higher as there are fewer PPS in general (SQ has bigger FF competitors there) v places like SG, CGK, or a country like Australia, where SQ is huge.

Alian

QPPS also gets. Based in SG. I’ve attend about 3-4 movie nights when QPPS b4 getting TPPS but ever since Covid it’s been dry. Hope they do more next year

Tony

The invite for movies have completely dried up. Used to be twice a year for me. Even before covid, it dried up.

Han

Since long, my husband is PPS SOLITAIR for life. Used to get redemption flights easily, but not so anymore…
Been on waiting list for >3 months, but didn’t get to redeem the miles for a businessclass flight.

Can miles from now on only be used to buy perfumes and other stuff from the Krisshop??

Ben

Does PPS connect apply to solitaire only or do regular PPS folks get it too?

Ray

QPPS can also

Matrix.RX1

I noticed the call back times are much shorter now as Solitaire

Ray

That could be true

Spoon

I am TPPS and was waitlisted on a single LHR-SIN Suites ADVANTAGE award in June 2022. SQ never cleared it and the flight went out with 5/6 suites seats filled. This was confirmed by dummy revenue booking the day before flight departed and also on expertflyer. Highest priority my backside.

Don

goes without saying in any business that cash is the highest priority. solitaire would be highest priority amongst redemptions 😛

Ray

I would generally agree with this, though, the nature of what it takes to attain T/QPPS (and in particular TPPS) makes this a bit of a grey area. Otherwise, I would not be able to reconcile why my F/J savers cleared during busy period.

Spoon

Irrelevant since there was no cash received for the empty seat. don’t forget that SQ has hundred of millions dollars worth of miles in unearned revenue on its balance sheets.

Don

They couldn’t have known that there would be no last minute purchase until the last minute. At which point it wasn’t meaningful to clear a redemption waitlist.

Spoon

Incorrect. I asked at the reservations desk at T2 before flying back. They will then patch a call back to the Singapore desk to ask for approval. Which was not forthcoming. In fact I used to do this in the years before Covid much more easily, but clearly they have decided to give Solitaires less “priority” ever since reopening.

Last edited 1 year ago by Spoon
SHLim

Guaranteed economy seat is a life saver esp. on the shuttle flights between KL and JKT.

SHLim

I mean SG-KL and SG-JKT

ctk

“This provides an opportunity to freshen up and grab a shower, should you be headed straight to work, or have a quick drink and bite, should you be headed home. I’ve sometimes found myself abstaining from the onboard champagne, if only because I know there’s Piper-Heidsieck Rare waiting on arrival!”

What happens to your checked baggage? Where should you go to collect it? I figure it’ll all be removed from the belt by the time shower and breakfast is done.

Matrix.RX1

@Aaron: do you mind me asking how long it took you to get the physical card/tags? I became Solitaire early September and was told the turnaround time is up to 20 weeks.

Aaron waite

Was it posted to your address, or the principal’s address? I have also not received mine

Matrix.RX1

data point: mine arrived today, so roughly after 5-6 weeks.

Aaron waite

Early sept for me too but have yet to receive. Not sure which address to look for it

Ray

Wasn’t there also access to ANA suite lounge or something in NRT for TPPS regardless of class? One of the few (if not only) TPPS benefit provided by a non-SQ carrier?

You don’t need to push or pull DWKIA for award space to be confirmed. But luck may play a role on any given day.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ray
Hoho

Hi aaron
what are the requirements to be a supplementary card holder?
what relationship do we need to have with the primary care holder?

Alian

Hi Aaron

Another perk is u get better lounge overseas like in JFK TPPS get VS Club Lounge while QPPS gets a sad sorry SWISS lounge (past now I’m not sure which it is)

Other perk I’d APEC card $100 redemption

H S

I’ve been Solitaire PPS for the past +5 years. I’d classify the scheme as “okay”, but it’s mostly just a consumer grade suck-up & nowhere commensurate with the charges required to achieve this tier. As Solitaire, in most respects you’re just the same as any other cash buyer. If I had to pay for membership, at best I’d assign a cash value of, say, USD1000. People reaching this tier with personal funds wouldn’t fly economy anyway, so upgrades are immaterial. Nor do they care about points, especially since points is a somewhat inflexible way to book travel. Besides, super frequent… Read more »

Ray

True. But isn’t this the same for most FF programs, particularly in * Alliance (you could argue OWE on average provides greater utility across carriers to make it worthwhile)? The truly top * Alliance tiers require significant flying and spend in premium cabins where the status benefit is marginal at best. I do think some of the “on the ground” TPPS events are nice as is access to F SKL when arriving in SIN on a SQ flight. While of no direct benefit to you, gifting the benefits via supp card to someone else (cf Aaron as the beneficiary from… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Ray
H S

Indeed. When it gets down to it, I do find questionable value with all FF programs. My somewhat underwhelming appreciation of Solitaire probably stems from a couple of recent episodes where membership wasn’t helpful in sorting out an actual travel issue. For instance, forget using points for any kind of useful, flexible business travel. (post-covid) Also being rejected F lounge access on a technicality. (* Alliance flights doesn’t qualify, only SQ flights – I know this is a published limitation, but still,…this was together with my wife, who was flying SQ on a separate ticket, paid by me, ironically 😉… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by H S
Ray

Was this at an outstation where they refused you access to F SKL on a * Alliance ticket?

Given how relative few TPPS there would be compared to other ex-SIN SQ destinations, such as London, for example, I can see why you might feel this way.

Leo Liang

It comes down to how divided the whole *A are currently, earning anything above gold status is only applicable to the airline that you earned at more or less. While with OWE, you can get first-class lounge access even flying economy and also the FFD at various AA hubs.

Matrix.RX1

I would provide another viewpoint. I see the highest value in the way you get treated if there is an issue. For example I recently wanted to fly earlier to a destination, around a couple of hours before. The PPS hotline quoted a new fare for several thousand dollars more. At the airport I then asked again and after a few keyboard clicks I was told to go to the transfer desk and there I got a new ticket for no charge. That is incredible service and there is for me no value amount in said help. Note: on the… Read more »

H S

Flew back from LHR a few weeks ago in biz – My seat’s inflight entertainment system turned out to be broken (handset controller & audio didn’t work) – a bit annoying on a 13 hr flight, but hey, stuff happens and wifi was free & available instead, so that’s okay. The cabin crew went into full overcompensation mode for the service lapse, did everything they could to reset the hardware, which unfortunately was definitely broken. Also flight was completely full in C & Suites, so no reseating possible. (however, they did “offer” me a seat in premium economy) Cabin crew… Read more »

chk

PPS solitaire
Wong Aaron
Years qualified: 31 😊

Colin

One December few years back in Chitose Airport was exceptionally chaotic. Access to ANA’s premier lounge checkin with my Solitaire card probably saved me 2 hours of waiting

Tom

Thanks for the details, helpful. Can you please write a similar one for ‘PPS Members’ (not Solitaire PPS).

Matrix.RX1

re: Priority seat selection (Example row 11 on the A350). What does SQ mean by priority for Solitaire? I was able to get those even without PPS as long as they were free when booking. Does priority here mean I can kick out a non-PPS/TPPS pax?

Matrix.RX1

my own data point: you cannot.

Leo Liang

Can you be PPS without *AG or are *AG granted once you get PPS?

Ray

You can go straight from blue to PPS. You don’t get KF Gold on the way.

Sqt

Once a tpps sat at a window seat in Y, ifm, cs and ls came throwing themselves at him. It’s overdone making the passengers at the isle and center seat feeling very awkward. That 3 ended up offering the same gestures to the 2.

Fees

When I was a QF platinum one (via business) I usually booked cheap economy reward seats for my personal travel and it was embarrassing having the CSMs hunt me down at the back of economy with an effusive greeting.

Jel

I’m a supplementary Solitaire PPS and when I flew Economy, I would also be one of the first few to get served my meals.

Always awkward when strangers seated beside me waited much longer for their meals and realised the crew would always greet me and called me by my name.

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