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Travellers with a sizeable chunk of American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points are in for some seriously discounted travel with Qantas’ Oneworld alliance partner Malaysia Airlines.
To begin, AMEX cardholders pick up 15% more miles when shipping MR points across to Malaysia Airlines’ Enrich loyalty scheme on or before October 8 2014.
With the conversion rate from MR to Enrich already 1:1, 10,000 MR points transform into 11,150 Malaysia Airlines Enrich miles under the deal – which isn’t anything to be sniffed at.
To provide layers of icing on the proverbial frequent flyer cake, Malaysia Airlines is also slashing the number of Enrich miles needed to redeem for economy, business and first class seats on selected routes until October 15.
Malaysia Airlines Enrich: discounted awards
While flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur aren’t discounted, Perth residents can jet to KL for just 24,000 Enrich miles in business class, Adelaide flyers can do the same for 20,000 miles and Darwin-based travellers can get in on the action at just 13,750 miles.
At full price, travellers would need to fork out 40,000 miles for a one-way business class flight from both Perth and Adelaide, or 27,500 miles from the Territory capital.
Malaysia Airlines does provides a 15% discount on award bookings made via its website, although that additional saving doesn’t apply on these already-discounted awards.
Once you’ve reached Kuala Lumpur, it’s a mere 8,750 miles to fly onwards to Singapore or 16,500 miles to Hong Kong in business class, although you’ll need to book this connection as a separate ticket from your Australian flight to benefit from the discount.
For the Europe-bound, services to Istanbul and Frankfurt drop from 160,000 to 112,000 miles in first class; 55,000 to 38,500 miles in business class and 30,000 to 21,000 miles in economy, one-way.
Those discounts also apply on the airline’s Airbus A380 flights to Paris, although not between Kuala Lumpur and London or other European destinations.
You’ll need to redeem your Enrich miles by October 15 to enjoy the discount, but you’re free to travel on these tickets until December 15 2014.
Transferring points from American Express
If you’re new to the Enrich scheme and are starting your balance from scratch, be aware that your full serve of miles from American Express “may take up to 14 days to transfer into your Enrich account”.
When sending points across, you may be lucky enough to have your balance boosted before the October 15 redemption deadline – although even if the points arrive a little too late, you’ll still receive 15% more than you normally would.
Membership Rewards points are earned on credit cards such as the American Express Platinum Edge and the American Express Business Accelerator cards, giving travellers the freedom to build a bounty of points without locking them in to one particular airline.
While Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane residents are left out of the deal – at least, on flights between their home town and Malaysia – savvy travellers who followed Australian Business Traveller’s advice and stocked up on miles in the United MileagePlus scheme could get there on the cheap.
From these cities, it’s only 30,000 United miles to fly in business class to Kuala Lumpur via Singapore with Singapore Airlines or via Bangkok with Thai Airways, thanks to UA’s generous redemption rates for Aussie travellers.
Then, you could spend a little time in Malaysia or simply fly onwards to Europe – but as you’ll be travelling on two different tickets and connecting from Star Alliance to Oneworld, be sure to leave plenty of time to arrive in KL, collect your bags and then check-in with Malaysia Airlines for your onward flight.
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