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How to access the new Qatar Singapore Lounge using miles or points

You can score several hours in the new Qatar Airways Singapore Premium Lounge from just 6,950 Avios points or 20,000 Asia Miles. We review the options.

Foyer Orchid

The big news at the end of January 2020 was the opening of what we’ve already dubbed, not unfairly, Changi’s finest Business Class lounge. Qatar Airways has reset the bar with its new facility in Terminal 1, which boasts á la carte dining, spacious relaxation pods, a tended martini bar and no fewer than five private shower suites.

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The downside

Qatar Airways applies fairly strict access policies for its own lounges, with the Singapore one being no exception.

One of the easiest ways to get in to a oneworld Business Class lounge for many of our readers is through the alliance’s Sapphire or Emerald status, such as:

  • British Airways Executive Club Silver or above
  • Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold or above
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich Gold or above
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold or above
  • JAL Mileage Bank Sapphire or above

Those are no good to you at the Qatar Airways Singapore Premium Lounge, which restricts access only to those flying on Qatar Airways or a oneworld carrier in First or Business Class.

Eligible frequent flyers in lower cabins are instead directed to the SATS Premier Lounge.

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What are the options?

Let’s take a look at the redemption options in Business Class from the shortest 1-hour hops to Kuala Lumpur, up to approximately the 8-hour mark such as flights to Sydney and Doha.

We’ve also listed the specific flights you’ll need to redeem on to give yourself some quality time in this lounge, based on the northern summer 2020 schedules (applicable from approximately April to October 2020).

Also note the summer 2020 daily opening hours of the Qatar Singapore Premium Lounge, which shift slightly from the current schedule, as they are based on Qatar Airways’ flight departures.

Qatar Airways Singapore Premium Lounge
Opening Hours
Nov – Mar Apr – Oct
Morning 07:55 – 10:55 07:45 – 10:45
Evening 17:25 – 02:00 18:25 – 02:15

More precisely the summer opening hours (Apr-Oct) kick in from 29th March 2020 and the timings revert to the winter hours (Nov-Mar) on 25th October 2020.

While for the morning opening there’s only a 10 minute difference between the two seasons, note that the lounge opens its doors 1 hour later in the evening between April and October, which does restrict a couple of options in the summer months.

‘Sensible’ trips

Where we’ve listed the flights you’ll need to book award tickets on to be able to experience the new Qatar lounge, we’ve included only what we’d call ‘sensible’ journeys.

With Early Check-in of up to 24 hours in some cases, serious lounge-hoppers could easily visit for both the morning and evening opening periods, for example:

  • Book CX712 at 13:15 to BKK in Business Class departing on Wednesday for 16,500 Avios + S$77.
  • Check-in at 2pm on Tuesday (23 hours before departure).
  • Visit the Qantas and BA lounges 2.30pm-6pm.
  • Visit Qatar lounge 6.25pm-2.15am.
  • Stay in one of the transit hotels (if you wish), or decamp to one of the 24-hour Priority Pass lounges.
  • Re-visit the Qatar lounge 7.45am-10.45am for breakfast.
  • Head to T4 for some Cathay lounge dim sum for around an hour from 11.30am-12.30pm, then board your flight.

That’s a significant amount of time in some very nice airport lounges, including a lot of food and some fine wines and Champagnes along the way, but realistically most people don’t have the time or energy to do anything like that.

While those kind of trips are possible (and perfectly ‘legal’), we’re just focusing here on journeys that are more sensible for most travellers.

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Malaysia Airlines

MHtrans

Malaysia Airlines flies up to 68 times per week on the busy Singapore – Kuala Lumpur route. The short 1-hour hop (35-45 minutes is a typical airborne time) even includes a daily Airbus A330 option, with 27 Business Class seats installed, which all goes to ensure:

  • Good award availability (excellent in fact);
  • A short transfer to/from Terminal 2; and
  • Departure timings that suit both opening periods for the Qatar Premium Lounge.
Right Side Seats
One of Malaysia Airlines’ departures from Singapore to KL each day (MH616) is operated by an A330. Business Class redemption seats aplenty. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

There is also a daily Malaysia Airlines flight from Singapore to Kuching.

A Malaysia Airlines award flight in Business is exactly how we both reviewed this lounge; Andrew on a lunchtime flight to experience the lounge’s breakfast opening, and Eddie opting for the evening A330 flight to check out the cocktail and dinner options.

Award pricing

MH 738 (Aeroprintscom)
Malaysia Airlines Business Class Awards from Singapore
FFP SIN – KUL / KCH
AVIOStrans 12,500
MHtrans 18,000
AM Logo trans 20,000
QFF 20,000
EKtrans 20,000
AAtrans 22,500
JALMBtrans 24,000
QRtrans 25,000

Avios is your cheapest redemption option here, with 12,500 points (+S$57.90) enough to secure you a seat in Business Class.

Availability is also generally very good on this route, especially on midweek days.

MH Avios Example
Award availability on Malaysia Airlines flights to KL is usually excellent. We had no trouble picking up a pair of redemptions just 12 hours in advance using Avios for our review trip.

There’s also the ability to part pay with Avios and cash when flying Malaysia Airlines, if you’re short of points for example, with the following options available:

  • 12,500 Avios + S$57.40 (full miles rate)
  • 11,250 Avios + S$78.40 (buy Avios at 1.7 cents each)
  • 10,000 Avios + S$102.40 (buy Avios at 1.8 cents each)
  • 9,050 Avios + S$118.40 (buy Avios at 1.8 cents each)
  • 7,800 Avios + S$142.40 (buy Avios at 1.8 cents each)
  • 6,950 Avios + S$167.40 (buy Avios at 2 cents each)

This effectively allows you to ‘buy’ Avios (either by keeping them in your account, rather than using them, or topping up because your balance is insufficient) for 1.7 to 2 cents each – a reasonable proposition.

KL Business Example
Your lowest miles outlay to enjoy the Qatar Singapore Premium Lounge

Which terminal?

Malaysia Airlines flights depart from Terminal 2, and the airline does participate in the early check-in scheme, allowing you to drop your bags and print your boarding pass up to 12 hours before departure at the Jewel Early Check-in lounge, between 06:00 and 23:59 each day.

How easy is it?

Relatively simple, with a few options available to reach the Qatar lounge prior to departure:

  • Check in early at Jewel (> 3 hours before departure), then clear immigration in T1.
  • Check in at T2 then take the landside SkyTrain to T1 and clear immigration there.
  • Check in at T2, clear immigration there, then take the SkyTrain to T1 and walk to the Qatar lounge.
  • Check in at T2, clear immigration there, then take the SkyTrain to T3, cross the platform to the train directly opposite and board the SkyTrain to T1, which takes you almost directly to the escalator beneath the Qatar lounge.

We recommend leaving the Qatar lounge no later than 50 minutes before your Malaysia Airlines flight departure, to allow for the short transfer to T2.

Which flights can you take?

Flight Malaysia_AirlinesMH604 KUL Malaysia_AirlinesMH614 KUL
Departure Time 09:55 11:05
Check-in from 21:55* 23:05*
QR lounge usage 07:45-09:05
(1h 20m)
07:45-10:15
(2h 30m)

* Previous day

Flight Malaysia_AirlinesMH628 KUL Malaysia_AirlinesMH642 KCH
Departure Time 12:15 12:50
Check-in from 06:00 06:00
QR lounge usage 07:45-10:45
(3h)
07:45-10:45
(3h)

* Previous day

Flight Malaysia_AirlinesMH606 KUL Malaysia_AirlinesMH624 KUL
Departure Time 13:40 15:35
Check-in from 06:00 06:00
QR lounge usage 07:45-10:45
(3h)
07:45-10:45
(3h)
Flight Malaysia_AirlinesMH620 KUL Malaysia_AirlinesMH608 KUL
Departure Time 16:35 18:10
Check-in from 06:00 06:10
QR lounge usage 07:45-10:45
(3h)
07:45-10:45
(3h)
Flight Malaysia_AirlinesMH616 KUL Malaysia_AirlinesMH610 KUL
Departure Time 19:15 21:15
Check-in from 07:15 09:15
QR lounge usage 07:45-10:45
(3h)
18:25-20:25
(2h)

Which flights can’t you take?

MH602 departing at 06:40 is too early to make use of the new Qatar lounge, unless you check in the night before (from 18:40) and take advantage of the evening opening. That’s a lot of time to kill between 02:15 and 06:00 though!

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Cathay Pacific

CXtrans2

Cathay Pacific operates several flights each day from Singapore to Hong Kong, plus a single service to Bangkok (which then continues to Hong Kong).

Award pricing

CX B77W 2 (Cathay Pacific)
Cathay Pacific Business Class Awards from Singapore
FFP SIN – BKK SIN – HKG
AVIOStrans 16,500 22,000
AAtrans 22,500 22,500
AStrans 22,500 22,500
JALMBtrans 24,000 30,000
AM Logo trans 25,000 25,000
QRtrans 30,000 40,000
QFF 30,000 43,800
MHtrans 55,000 55,000

Again Avios is your cheapest option on these shorter routes (transfer points within a day from Citi cards).

As with Malaysia Airlines redemptions, there’s also the ability to part pay with Avios and cash when flying Cathay Pacific, as follows on the Bangkok route:

  • 16,500 Avios + S$77.20 (full miles rate)
  • 14,850 Avios + S$107.20 (buy Avios at 1.8 cents each)
  • 13,750 Avios + S$126.20 (buy Avios at 1.8 cents each)
  • 12,100 Avios + S$156.20 (buy Avios at 1.8 cents each)
  • 11,000 Avios + S$175.20 (buy Avios at 1.8 cents each)
  • 8,800 Avios + S$195.20 (buy Avios at 1.5 cents each)

Here are the Avios part payment options on the Hong Kong route:

  • 22,000 Avios + S$73.20 (full miles rate)
  • 20,000 Avios + S$109.20 (buy Avios at 1.8 cents each)
  • 18,050 Avios + S$142.20 (buy Avios at 1.7 cents each)
  • 16,050 Avios + S$172.20 (buy Avios at 1.7 cents each)
  • 14,100 Avios + S$191.20 (buy Avios at 1.5 cents each)
  • 12,100 Avios + S$221.20 (buy Avios at 1.5 cents each)

Notice how on both of these routes you can effectively ‘buy’ Avios for as little as 1.5 cents each – well worth considering. Avios is already the currency of choice for redeeming on these routes, and these options can make the deal even sweeter.

Which terminal?

Here’s the downside. Cathay Pacific flights depart from Terminal 4, which isn’t physically connected to the main T1/2/3 complex, but is instead linked by a transfer bus both in the landside and airside sections.

The airline does however participate the early check-in scheme, allowing you to drop your bags and print your boarding pass up to 24 hours before departure at their T4 check-in desks from 04:30 to 00:30, or at the Jewel Early Check-in lounge between 06:00 and 23:59 each day.

How easy is it?

If you’re using a Cathay Pacific redemption flight to access the Qatar lounge, our strong recommendation is to check in at the Jewel ECI facility, then clear immigration in T1 and follow the signs to the Qatar lounge.

Note: You will need a physical boarding card, or one printed from home and also stamped by the airline at the check-in desk, in order to access via the T1 transit area when flying Cathay Pacific.

The journey back to catch your flight from T4 is the arduous bit.

Our recommendation is to:

  • Take the SkyTrain to T3, which is located almost directly beneath this lounge, near the bottom of the escalator.
  • On arrival in T3, cross the ‘platform’ to the opposite SkyTrain which takes you straight to T2 (through the Jewel, for a nice rain vortex view). This is quicker in our experience than walking to the T1 > T2 SkyTrain, which is at the opposite side of the terminal from the Qatar lounge, near the D gates.
  • Walk to gate F51, where the airside transit bus to T2 departs every 20 minutes or so.

We recommend leaving the Qatar lounge no later than 90 minutes before your Cathay Pacific flight departure, to allow for the (long) journey to T4. Allowing at least 2 hours before your flight should also give you some time in Cathay’s own lounge before boarding, if that’s of interest.

We have taken the airside transfer between T1/T3 and T4 (via T2) a few times now, and it has never taken us more than 40 minutes in total.

Which flights can you take?

Flight Cathay_PacificCX652 HKG Cathay_PacificCX712 BKK
Departure Time 12:55 13:25
Check-in from 12:55* 13:25*
QR lounge usage 07:45-10:45
(3h)
07:45-10:45
(3h)

* Previous day

Flight Cathay_PacificCX734 HKG Cathay_PacificCX716 HKG
Departure Time 16:05 18:00
Check-in from 16:05* 18:00*
QR lounge usage 07:45-10:45
(3h)
07:45-10:45
(3h)

* Previous day

Flight Cathay_PacificCX714 HKG
Departure Time 01:20
Check-in from 04:30*
QR lounge usage 18:25-23:50
(5h 25m)

* Previous day

Which flights can’t you take?

CX710 departing at 08:00 and CX658 at 09:50 are both too early to make use of the new Qatar lounge. The evening CX636 at 20:10 doesn’t give you sufficient time in the Qatar lounge before you would have to leave for your flight.

Note: At the time of writing, Cathay Pacific flights from Singapore are suffering short-term cancellations due to the coronavirus outbreak. You may not see all the options above available to book during this period.

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SriLankan Airlines

Oneworld carrier SriLankan Airlines operates three times daily out of Singapore Changi Airport to its Colombo hub, using a mixture of A320/1 and A330 aircraft (flat beds are on offer in Business Class on the A330, so try to pick one of those flights).

Award pricing

UL A320neo (SriLankan Airlines)
SriLankan Airlines Business Class Awards from Singapore
FFP SIN – CMB
AVIOStrans 22,000
AM Logo trans 30,000
JALMBtrans 30,000
AAtrans 40,000
QFF 43,800
QRtrans 50,000
MHtrans 55,000

It’s Avios again at the top of the list, though the more accessible Asia Miles scheme starts to come into play on this route.

Part pay with Avios and cash is an option when flying SriLankan, with some fairly attractive rates at which to ‘top up’ your balance:

  • 22,000 Avios + S$168.80 (full miles rate)
  • 20,000 Avios + S$204.80 (buy Avios at 1.8 cents each)
  • 18,050 Avios + S$237.80 (buy Avios at 1.7 cents each)
  • 16,050 Avios + S$267.80 (buy Avios at 1.7 cents each)
  • 14,100 Avios + S$286.80 (buy Avios at 1.5 cents each)
  • 12,100 Avios + S$316.80 (buy Avios at 1.5 cents each)

Which terminal?

SriLankan Airlines flights depart from Terminal 3, but the airline does not participate in any of the Early Check-in options at Changi. That means you’ll have to show up as normal at the T3 Row 2 check-in desks from a maximum of 3 hours prior to scheduled departure time.

How easy is it?

Thankfully the Qatar Premium Lounge sits right at the end of the T3 > T1 airside SkyTrain, so once you’ve cleared immigration in T3 it’s just a 10 minute transfer between the terminals.

We recommend leaving the Qatar lounge no later than 50 minutes before your SriLankan flight departure, to allow for the transfer to T3 including the short SkyTrain ride.

Which flights can you take?

Flight SriLankan_AirlinesUL307 CMB SriLankan_AirlinesUL309 CMB
Departure Time 09:45 20:10
Check-in from 06:45 17:10
QR lounge usage 07:45-08:55
(1h 10m)
18:25-19:30
(1h 5m)

While just over an hour in the lounge seems on the tight side for both of these flights, we were served both breakfast and dinner in the Brasserie within 20 minutes of ordering on our visits, so it’s actually ample time to sample some food from the á la carte menu and enjoy a drink or two.

Beef Tenderloin
There’s time to enjoy a beef tenderloin, cooked to your choosing, even for SriLankan passengers departing in Business Class on the evening Colombo flight. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Once the Qatar lounge reverts back to winter opening hours from November to March, opening at 17:25 in the evening, UL309 passengers will then have a much more comfortable 2 hours to enjoy this space before having to catch their flight.

Which flights can’t you take?

There’s no way to use the new Qatar lounge if you’re departing on UL303 at 15:15.

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Japan Airlines

JLtrans

JAL has two late night departures to Tokyo Haneda each evening from Singapore, with generally good partner award availability especially on JL38 leaving in the early hours of the morning.

Award pricing

JL 787 Climbing Narrow (Masahiro Takagi)
Japan Airlines Business Class Awards from Singapore
FFP SIN – HND / NRT
AStrans 25,000
AAtrans 30,000
EKtrans 37,500
JALMBtrans 40,000
AM Logo trans 61,000
QFF 61,200
AVIOStrans 62,000
QRtrans 70,000
MHtrans 82,000

Alaska Mileage Plan is your ‘cheapest’ option here, though without any direct credit card transfer partners in Singapore you’ve probably had to ‘buy’ those miles in one of their regular bonus promotions, so you may wish to save them for something more valuable like a USA trip.

Emirates Skywards miles is a surprisingly cheap option on this route, though you’ll have to book over the phone, and reader experience suggests it’s best to check availability via the airline’s own Mileage Bank scheme first.

Note that the part pay with Avios + cash option is not available on JAL flights.

Which terminal?

Good news for JAL passengers, the airline uses Terminal 1 at Changi and participates in the early check-in scheme, allowing you to drop your bags and print your boarding pass up to 12 hours before departure at the T1 Early Check-in lounge or the Jewel Early Check-in lounge, between 06:00 and 23:59 each day.

How easy is it?

Since you’re already in Terminal 1 – simple! Just clear immigration then follow the signs to the Qatar lounge.

Which flights can you take?

Flight