Malaysia Airlines is a heck of a program. Particularly the award chart for actually flying on Malaysia is actually pretty decent. Then there are all kinds of options with a 15% discount booking online, and stack that with cash + miles redemptions.
Right now, you could book a business class ticket for $1,500 with cash + miles and just with the 1,000 bonus miles for creating an account.
But first I’ll go over all the details, all the different stopover rules, all the different award charts, and companion travel awards. This is a heck of a program to outline, and I’m not aware of any other writings on this program, so it’s my pleasure to present you with an outline of our new Citi transfer (1:1)… *drum roll* the awkward, the mediocre: Malaysia Airlines Enrich Miles.
Obviously I would start with the stopover rules. There are 3 different sets of stopover rules and two main award charts. So for figuring out how many stopovers you’re allowed to have, look to these 3 categories.
(Even more details found in the terms and conditions).
- Up to 5 stopovers are allowed in an oneworld Award
- Surface sectors (i.e. open jaws) are not permitted
- Up to 8 sectors, excluding surface sectors are allowed in an oneworld MCR Award
Single Partner Awards:
- Stopover and open jaw are not permitted when using an Airline Partner Award
- What is an “Airline Partner Award”? Exactly 1 oneworld airline partner, or exactly 1 non-oneworld airline partner
Malaysia Airlines Award:
- A passenger traveling on a Travel Award is allowed to make one turnaround open-jaw per return trip journey
- Open-jaw travel is not allowed on a one-way journey
- A passenger traveling on a Travel Award is allowed to make one stopover per one way or return trip journey
Gosh. More award charts and separate rules all for the same mileage program. Basically, Don’t use exactly 1 partner (OneWorld or Non-OneWorld) and you get a stopover. And if you book two separate tickets with Malaysia so it’s two oneways, you’d get a stopover. Let’s bring some clarity.
Malaysia Award Charts
When looking to price a ticket look at these two award charts.
OneWorld Award Chart
Multi-carrier redemption on oneworld member airlines (for award flights on two or more oneworld member airlines):
Just checking out these prices I’m looking at basic OneWorld Routes and comparing them to other airlines. Prices will be in Econ/Biz/First for roundtrip prices (as the award chart above appears to be) and compared to other OneWorld partners. But note Asia Miles is the only other Citi Transfer partner.
US to Europe (DFW-JFK-DUS), is 10,280 flown miles:
- Malaysia Airlines miles: 80k/145k/210k
- Asia Miles: 85k/115k/155k
- AA: 40-60k/100k/125k
- British Airways: 60k/120k/180k
There’s plenty of room still left as the same Malaysia price goes all the way to 14,400 flown miles. And compared to the other Citi transfer (Asia Miles) it’s actually better priced for economy. And British Airways is a bit unfair as BA favors fewer segments and if we tack on another segment the price goes up a bit. Over all, decent prices for the Citi transfer options, not good compared to AA or United. But on this route you’d completely avoid fuel surcharges regardless of which mileage program you use. An advantage of OneWorld.
US to South America (ORD-MIA-LIM), 7,611 flown miles:
- Malaysia Airlines miles: 60k/105k/140k
- Asia Miles: 60k/85k/115k
- AA: 35k/60k/125k
- British Airways: 45k/90k/135k
Again, prices are comparable to Asia Miles for economy and again, AA is way better.
US to Hong Kong (LIT-ORD-HKG), 16,691 flown miles:
- Malaysia Airlines miles: 105k/155k/220k
- Asia Miles: 90k/135k/190k
- AA: 70k/110k/135k
- British Airways: 79k/158k/237k
US to India/RTW (ORD-DUS-VIE-TLV-DEL-HKG-ORD) 18,832 flown miles, but comparing to a reglar roundtrip to India:
- Malaysia Airlines miles: 105k/155k/220k
- Asia Miles: 95k/140k/205k
- AA: 90k/135k/180k
- British Airways: 85k/170k/255k
The advantage of using Malaysia Miles or Asia Miles over standard redemptions like AA or United, is that you’re allowed multiple stopovers. With Malaysia, you’re allowed 5 stopovers in an award ticket with multiple OneWorld partners.
Still, there remains little benefit of choosing Malaysia over Asia Miles, both which transfer from Citi.
Malaysia Airlines Enrich Award Chart
The Malaysia Airlines Award Chart was pretty difficult for me to read, so I made my own… which at least is organized properly.
|Zone 1||0 – 500||7,500||17,500||45,000|
|Zone 2||501 – 1,200||12,500||22,500||55,000|
|Zone 3||1,201 – 2,400||15,000||27,500||70,000|
|Zone 4||2,401 – 4,800||22,500||40,000||110,000|
|Zone 5||4,801 – 7,200||30,000||55,000||160,000|
|Zone 6||7,201 – 20,000||40,000||60,000||170,000|
This is actually a great award chart. Not as good as Avios for short hauls. And when you book online (with Malaysia only), you get a 15% discount on awards. So a oneway from Paris to KL is only 25,500 miles for economy.
The problem with this award chart is not the prices but the simple fact that Malaysia doesn’t fly to the US. For Europe to Asia to Australia, this is a good chart. It would be extra great, if they had flights to the US.
PLUS, Malaysia has little to no fuel surcharges to pass on. The fees are very mild and it’s a great option for Europe to Asia. Ironically taxes and fees comes out to ~$100 on all tickets, long or short. Makes it a great option long and not so good short.
AND keep in mind that you’re allowed a stopover per oneway.
Cash + Miles
It’s always interesting when programs have cash and miles, isn’t it…
- Only Malaysia Airlines
- Only online booking
- No stopovers/open-jaws
- 15% discount and other discounts would apply
The interesting thing is that you can book cash + points starting out with only 1,000 points. And guess what? You get 1,000 points just for signing up for an account. Basically, anyone could book any of the follow tickets, right now.
Booking with miles or cash+miles: Create an account, sign in to enrich.malaysiaairlines.com, click “flight redemption” on the left, and then “Choose Your Route” below.
Here’s an example of KL to Paris as a oneway with Cash and Miles:
For the economy ticket above we’re looking at (converted to USD):
- 25,500 miles for a regular award ticket + $134 in taxes/fees
- or 1,000 miles + $526
For the business class ticket above we’re looking at (converted to USD):
- 46,750 miles for a regular award ticket + $232 in taxes/fees
- or 1,000 miles + $1,686
For the economy ticket above we’re looking at (converted to USD):
- 25,500 miles for a regular award ticket + $236 in taxes/fees
- or 1,000 miles + $4,956
Do I dare say any of these are a good deal? Straight awards (no cash) for Econ and Biz for KL to Europe, yes, good deals.
Cash + Miles for economy? $526 for a oneway from Asia to Europe? I mean, in a pinch, maybe it’s better than Kayak, and maybe last minute. Actually, let’s look. NO. Found a Vietnam Airlines flight for $352 and SriLankan for $443. This is absolutely a terrible deal. And with SriLankan you could still be earning OneWorld miles.
Is Cash + Miles for Business class a good deal?
That’s $1,686 instead of $3,000 for the exact same flight. It’s like half of a not so good deal. But I’d never pay for Biz in the first place. In fact, I’ve never truly paid for an economy flight that long. So let me ask you? Is $1,686 a good deal for 13 hours of business class in an A380? Also considering you don’t earn miles?
First class for $5,000 in the A380 suites. Way out of my price range, and normally it goes for $7,511. Wow, what a oneway ticket. Good deal? No. Does it save money? If you were actually considering paying for it. Maybe someone pulling arbitrage around here can use this but not me.
This may be a cheaper option than miles + cash if you have the Citi points. And you’ll at least earn miles for one person.
If you buy a business or first class ticket with Malaysia, you can use miles to get a second ticket for cheaper. Looking for a flight from London to KL and roundtrip the price would be:
- 136,000 miles for First
- 28,000 miles for Business
- Half for oneway
Click here to see the award prices for Malaysia and companion awards. But 14,000 miles per direction in Business class is a great deal. GREAT… if you’re paying for an overpriced ticket already. Or who knows, maybe there will be some freak fare to combine this with as I don’t off hand see fare restrictions.
If I was paying for business class tickets this would actually be a good deal. Could you book the companion ticket and then cancel the paid ticket and get Biz tickets for 14,000 miles? No idea, but I seriously doubt it. Someone should try it and tell me.
Single Partner Awards and Mix (1 Partner + Malay)
Talk about mystery of mysteries. Okay, look at this award chart and the description for it:
This next chart says: Redemption on [one] oneworld member airlines and Enrich partner airlines.
What’s odd is that there are now 3 charts and I was still unclear which one would be used if I did a single OneWorld airline redemption, or just a single OneWorld airlines with Malaysia. So I did a test call… LAX to HKG to KUL. A distance of 8,835 flown miles, which should fall under zone 6… right?
Single OW Airlines
First I tried Cathay and she quoted 48,000 miles + 162.20 for just Cathay.
“So what award chart is that under? Like, is it the partner award chart?” I asked.
“Oh no. Only Cathay fly from lax,” she said pronouncing LAX like lacks.
“Yea, I know but how do you figure out the price of the ticket? Like, which award chart do you use?”
“Oh no. Just Cathay fly, because you come from lax.”
1 Partner + Malaysia
“Nevermind… can you try booking LAX to HKG on Cathay, and then HKG to KUL on Malaysia.”
“No, only Cathay fly to LAX.”
Mind you, I’m actually calling Malaysia to do this. Either way, she quickly understood what I meant and priced out LAX to HKG on Cathay, and then HKG to KUL on Malaysia. Miles? 46,000.
How it actually prices: On a roundtrip, it’s saying you would take the distance of the oneway to find the region. *blinks*. So for LAX-HKG-KUL-HKG-LAX you would simply take the oneway distance (LAX-HKG-KUL) to find the pricing region. And if you only fly oneway, you cut the award price in half.
That’s how it got 48,000.
How did it get 46,000 on a Partner/Malay mix? I’m not too sure.
For an award itinerary taken on 2 or more airlines, of which at least one is a non-oneworld airline partner, please note that a separate redemption ticket is required of non-oneworld airline partner(s).
- Air France
- Jet Airways
- Virgin Atlantic*
* Says partnership with Virgin “will come to an end in the near future.”
None of these nor the partner award charts are that interesting. But I did note that two discount airline partners have their own award chart. MasWings, which is terribly overpriced, and FireFly.
FireFly Partner Awards
Call me a nerd but I made a map to show FireFly routes. It’s actually not that bad of a redemption. Considering I actually couldn’t find any OneWorld flights from KL to Koh Samui for using Avios, I actually wish I’d known about this redemption.
Finally. The end of this post.
I did a lot of digging the last two days and found a plethora of mediocrity.
- Cash + Miles if you’re willing to pay tons of money.
- If you’re paying tons of money though already, the Companion Award may be a great deal.
- 25,500 miles for Europe to Asia with the Malaysia Airlines Award chart.
- or 5 stopovers around the world on the OneWorld award chart.
- Or simple intra asia tickets for 7,500 miles on Malaysia or FireFly
Tons and tons of decent options, but unfortunately tons of info to sort through. Making it not the easiest program to redeem miles with.
Either way, I hope you continue to appreciate this style of research.