Best Use of Malaysia Airlines Enrich Miles

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.

Stopover Rules

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).

OneWorld Awards:

  • 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):

Malaysia Airlines OneWorld Award Chart MultipleJust 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.

Malaysia Airlines Miles Economy Business First
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.

Malaysia Airlines Route Map

 

Cash + Miles

It’s always interesting when programs have cash and miles, isn’t it…

Rules:

  • 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:

Economy

Malaysia Cash points economy

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

Malaysia Cash Points Business class

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

Malaysia Cash Points First class

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? 

Malaysia airlines prices

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.

 

Companion Awards

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.

Malaysia Airlines OneWorld Award Chart

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.”

Right…

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.

 

More Partners?

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
  • Alitalia
  • Jet Airways
  • KLM
  • MasWings
  • Virgin Atlantic*
  • Etihad
  • FireFly

* 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.

Malaysia Airlines award chart for FireFly FireFly Route Map

 

Conclusion

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.

Drew

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21 Comments

  1. The MH Inter-asia awards do have YQ to pass along. It’s most noticeable on domestic flights, as the domestic Malaysia departure/security tax is <$5. As good as a 7500-15% redemption sounds, you can often fly 3K for cheaper than the YQ on the redemption. I have 4 accounts with ~5-10k MH miles in each and struggle to find a worthy domestic/SIN redemption with them

    Reply
    • Thanks James. Really good point. Added a note about it. I looked and BKK-KUL is 2,700 THB + 10,000 some miles. Not cool at all. Might be cheaper on Air Asia.

      Reply
    • SIN-KUL had ~$80SGD in YQ+Carrier fees, don’t forget you’ll need to add in the $35 for tax. You can get a 3K or AK flight for ~$40-50 all-in most days of the week. It would almost be a good deal if you are flying ultra-peak and have 30kg of checked bags.

      Reply
    • What the what?! Have you really been to that many McDonalds?

      Reply
    • Holy smackadoodles! That’s a lot of McDonalds!!!
      I. am. fascinated.

      Reply
    • That’s hilarious.

      Reply
  2. What a mesmerizing post with original research and hard work stamped all across. Reading such articles creates so much joy and a longing to use this information even though i dont have any travel plans. Will use your paid service during my next award travel for sure. Hats off, Drew. You keep skyrocketing in to a different league altogether, off late :)

    Reply
    • Thanks Kumar! As always I appreciate the kind supportive words,
      Drew

      Reply
  3. Wanted to add anither voice echoing the kudos for these styles of posts.

    Reply
    • Thanks Dan, appreciate it.
      Drew

      Reply
  4. Drew, great write-up. The YQ is a killer, but I will have to read your post a few more times to sort through it. I appreciate that I do not have to read all the crappy credit card post and when you post something and actually looking forward to reading it!

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t reread, personally. But I appreciate the thought. 😀

      Reply
  5. This is an amazingly original post. Thanks for doing the hard work here. For revenue tickets, a flyertalk thread started this morning (US time) with ridiculously cheap fares from SIN on MH to much of SEA.

    Reply
  6. Excellent Drew! But when I read awkward and mediocre, thought you were still talking about UA…

    Reply
    • Oh no you didn’t. UA is just awkward. But aren’t all US legacy airlines with computer systems two decades too old? 😀

      Reply
  7. Good work, as usual.
    What a great day: original, if somewhat obscure, and potentially useful info posted on your blog, and EVERY useless, self-serving, credit-card-pimping, BoardingArea blog is offline. What a breath of fresh air.

    Reply
  8. The award chart looks good but how on earth do you accumulate 150k+ miles as a US credit card holder? That’s a lot of spend on a TYP card:)

    Reply
  9. It’s also only 51000 miles each way for Aus to Europe in Business which is pretty amazing.

    Reply
  10. Hey Drew, would love to see an update to your great work on MAS, the program got updated. If it is still no YQ and 5 stopovers on multiple OW carriers, 160K RTW would actually turn out cheap?

    Reply

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