After my completely devastating forced cancellation of my Etihad Apartment due to COVID (thankssss again), I had shelved any thoughts of flying First (on any airlines) as the roller coaster of disappointment was not something I want to go through again. Yeesh.
But but but….
A friend (bad influence haha!) alerted of Singapore Airline’s A380 Suites availability to New York (SIN-JFK) route or dates almost one year out and due to erm maybe-could-be-I-don’t-know residual emotions about missing my Apartments, I ended up booking myself in. Okay. Yup.
Pardon me for sounding so muted but I am actually really excited about it, but a good part of that excitement has been eroded by the drama of all that waiting, hair-pulling, endless stalking & scrolling, hyperventilating, ranting (#firstworldproblem) but after months of tussling, I am (almost) flying on the highly raved about crazy good SQ Suites for the following itenary – the return journey will be split into 2 separate posts as I am taking that layover in Frankfurt before coming home:
- SQ26 SIN-FRA-JFK (24hours 20mins including layover)
- SQ25 JFK-FRA (7hours 35mins)
- SQ25 FRA-SIN (12hour 10mins)
[below images grabbed from SQ’s official site]
The Singapore Airlines A380 Suites does not need any more introduction but if you must, here are a few travel blogs that I’ve found useful when researching my trip for the 660985533808th times.
Even booking almost one year out, I still wasn’t able to get Saver for SIN-FRA-NYC so I bit the bullet and ticketed on Advantage, with my return ticketed on Saver (yayyyyyyyyyyyy) – which meant a grand total of 369,000 (hard earned) miles for a total of 24×2 flight time (okay fine, including 2hr layover). After all, the trip was planned around the maximum no. of hours in Suites – I can deal with the destination later bit.
Earn & Burn maximus.
BUT alas, my NYC-FRA got stuck in the infamous SQ waitlist and had been so for the past 10months+ and with time running out, I gave up and splurged on a cash J ticket on the same flight. But I haven’t tried the A380 J before so I’m still excited! After all, flying business on SQ is hardly difficult.
So total damage in terms of miles is 362,000 though I very much would prefer to spend that 7,000 miles.
I’ll be getting to experience 3 different lounges this trip, and interestingly, on three very different ‘tier’ despite using it as the same SQ Suite passenger.
Singapore Changi Airport – The Private Room (TPR)
Located within the SilverKris Lounges @ 0530 – 0230 daily.
This space opened to much fanfare on 31 May 2022 after an extensive makeover, and The Milelion provided a first actually-flying look in June 2022. Plenty of love-hate comments swirling on the internet but you know what – private day rooms, nap rooms, shower suites and bubbles? Sure!!!!
John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport – Centurion Lounge
Located in T4, just beyond the TSA checkpoints / 6am-9pm daily
Well this was a long loop as it was supposed to be Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse before SQ nerfed the access in July, then was to be Wingtips Lounge but that closed unexpectedly. So thanks to a Centurion friend, I was able to exprience this although it won’t be a full review of sorts due to the crowds at the time of my visit. But turns out it was so crowded that I only took a few cursory photos.
Frankfurt International Airport – Luftansa Senator Lounge (website)
Located near Gate B41 / 0600 – 2130 daily
Okay, this is my least anticipated lounge and I ended up trying this during my 2hour layover in FRA airport but it did the trick.
Did I mentioned at any point that this trip will be 16 nights out? It’s longer than what I think is ideal but the scheduled was mapped around the availability of those Suites redemption so ah wells.
I tried to maximize points redemption with any Free Night / Suite Night awards I have, with a strong focus on Marriott Bonvoy and Hiltons to take advantage of my elite status so breakfast and dinner. I also tried to make sure I was in convenient locations, coupled with fresh renovations, and some bucket-list properties. I also wanted to minimize too much packing and unpacking as it will drive me nuts.
Hotels in New York (9 nights in total)
New York Marriott Marquis (website) (4 nights) – Being a suaku in New York, I wanted to stay in Times Square to be in the centre of the actions, and this property with its fresh refurbishment and an actual operating M Club was the most suitable candidate. Figured 4 nights here is enough, plus I was also able to use up my 50k Free Night Awards with some top up required to minimize my cash outlay even if it means I had to book 1x cash night (which was seriously expensive!).
The Ritz Carlton New York, Nomad (website) (2 nights) – and then this came into play – brand new Ritz opened in July 2022? Yes, yes, YES! I could not resist booking this property for 2nights because one night will not suffice and anything more than two nights will bankrupt me quite a bit because of course I had to book a room with club access. I opted for points + cash for my two nights and it came up to be my most expensive property for this entire trip. Eye watering is an understatement.
Kimpton Eventi (website) (2 nights)
IHG was interestingly enough never my choice because I don’t have elite status with them but then the Kimpton annual sale came along, and I found really good rates – even cheaper than using the Ambassador weekend night! AND THEN the Straight To Diamond happened and kind of sealed the deal. Plus, its only a few mins walk to/from Ritz so I can save on 1x Uber. Yay.
Conrad Downtown (website) (1night)
My last night in NYC was meant to be TWA but then I found a great rate on Hotelux which convinced me to try out this property and see what Diamond gets me here. I’ve deliberately not looked at any Hilton spots because of their breakfast nerf but the Hotelux rate included breakfast AND usd100 credits – what’s not to like!
FRANKFURT (6 nights in total)
The Westin Grand Frankfurt (website) (5 nights) – at the point of booking, this property was still closed for renovation slated to open near my stay dates so yays to staying in a fresh hotel yet again! It was also surprisingly not an expensive points redemption even with dynamic pricing in place, so I took advantage of the 5th redemption night free and looked forward to experiencing the super modern room currently shown on their website.
Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel and Conference Centre (website) (1 night) – I figured it was good to be in the airport one night prior due to my early flight back home and this no-frills property seem to do the trick. I was however a little scuttled by the super bad reviews on Tripadvisor but I am crossing fingers!
And so there we go.
- The Private Room
- SQ26 SIN-FRA-JFK Suites
- Luftansa Senator Lounge
- New York Marriott Marquis
- The Ritz Carlton New York Nomad
- Kimpton Eventi
- Conrad Downtown
- SQ25 JFK-FRA Business
- The Westin Grand Frankfurt
- Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel and Conference Centre
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
- SQ25 FRA-SIN Suites
Turns out, while I was on my trip, SQ announced that they are removing A380 from this exact route wef May 2023 so there will only be the regular First Class on this route thereafter. I am so happy that I got this now.