How to Book Deeply Discounted Awards Flying Around Asia

A couple of years ago I wrote about flying for as little as 5000 points.

That’s the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank promotional discount for travel on their partner Bangkok Airways. I wrote about the offer shortly after it was launched.

And then it was extended for all of 2014.

Now Rapid Travel Chai points out that it has been extended through March 2016.

Here’s the discounted award chart:

For under 1000 miles, they give examples:

  • Bangkok-Siem Riep
  • Bangkok-Phuket
  • Bangkok-Koh Samui

For 1001 – 2000 miles, they give examples:

  • Singapore-Koh Samui
  • Bangkok-Phuket-Chiang Mai-Bangkok

The promotion applies to economy redemptions only.

You can transfer Starwood points to JAL, but the transfer isn’t instant. It’s just once a week, so I’ve always suggested planning on about a week for things to go through. Bookings need to be made by phone with no award holds available.

I’ve found availability pretty good on most routes in the past, although Koh Samui can be tight.

If you’re going to be traveling around Southeast Asia, have a look at the Bangkok Airways route map. This award sale certainly offers some bargains. They offer service to some interesting, underserved markets as well such as Luang Prabang and Ventiane, Yangon, Dhaka, Siem Reap, and Male.

And if you do travel on Bangkok Airways, join their FlyerBonus program because membership alone entitles you to an extra 10kg baggage allowance.

See also:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Have you found any way to find PG availability? Now that flightstats doesn’t show it anymore, is there another way?

  2. I transferred SPG to JL for PG awards for our family’s trip to SE Asia last summer using this promo. I transferred after verifying there was availability, but before hearing the taxes/YQs. Needless to say, even with the promo, it was a HORRIBLE deal because PG does $1 base fares with $80 fuel surcharges and JL passes along the YQ. In one case (BKK-DAC) I wasn’t getting robbed–the points covered the base fare at about 1 cpm, but it’s waaaaaay lower than I like to redeem at. I would have much, much preferred to just buy the ticket (three clicks online), earn a few PG points, rather than going through the transfer rigmarole, getting rid of my super valuable SPG points, and making multiple calls to JL to get things booked.

  3. @HansGolden Thanks for posting your experience. This has been on my list of must try redemptions for a couple years, but I think it might fall off now that I learned abt how much YQ comes to be. Shame.

  4. Similar to HansGolden, I used Starwood points to redeem on PG via JAL for SIN – USM, and the YQ and taxes were more than the LCC fare would be.

    I was OK to do it because an LCC fare would have required a connecting flight, but working with the call center in Japan, transferring the miles and paying the YQ makes this not such a great deal.

  5. I was working with narrow set of routes: BKK-DAC-BKK-USM-BKK-REP-BKK, so don’t write it off entirely, but take a quick look at tax/YQ before transferring points to avoid repeating my mistake.

  6. @HansGolden Please start posting on all the blogs I read…….your insight is most needed and welcome……..

  7. Thanks, JustSaying. I read a large number of blogs and I’m very quick to comment (or email the author) if I see a mistake or something I think is misleading or incomplete. 97.5% of the stuff I agree with, but there are those little things I notice often and those bigger things every once in a while. (I just emailed two corrections/clarifications to a blog author tonight, both substantive; one a typo that most folks probably saw through, the second adding info he posted that he was unsure of.) The only prominent blogs I don’t read are TPG, MMS, Mommy, FTG; I’ve recently discovered some great original content on TPG via Google, so am considering taking TPG off my list again. What made me stop reading TPG was sheer overwhelming volume of posts, not quality. What are some of your favorite blogs you’d like to see occasionally “fisked”?

  8. FM is the bomb……..but you won’t find much to fisk……..Pixie has some interesting takes but can use a fisk now and then if only because she is brave enough to be raw……I disagree with much of TPG posts but read to glean not expecting much………here needs a fisk because of all the content that gets thrown on the wall……….and One Mile at a Time needs an occasional fisk of the unwashed masses that drink the kook-aid and post their loyal gibberish……..That should keep you busy! Keep them on their toes or on the edge of their First Class seat…….

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