Up next: Thailand & Laos

Back in Feb 2013, Turkish Airlines published an error fare between Warsaw (WAW) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL) via Istanbul (IST).  For a short period of time (less than 48h), you could book a roundtrip in business class for just €638.  This was ~€2100 cheaper than the regular business class fare.  My ticket to Kuala Lumpur for Nov 2013 should have priced €2800 but due to the error I was able to save €2162. 🙂  On top of the cheap fare, I’ll also earn ~18000 status miles with Lufthansa Miles and More. As with most error fares, this one too required a positioning flight.  I had to book an additional roundtrip Brussels – Warsaw which was €155 with LOT Polish Airlines in economy class.

At the time of booking (Feb 2013), I had no idea which places I was going to visit in South-East Asia in November.  I’m quite familiar with Kuala Lumpur, as I’ve been living there from Nov 2007 till June 2008 for a short-term expat assignment.  I also recently visited KL on my way to Fiji in Jan 2013.  So no stopover in KL this time and straight to one of my favorite countries: Thailand.  Lufthansa has an A340-600 fifth freedom flight between Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok with cheap business class tickets.  I paid €232 for a business class roundtrip KUL-BKK-KUL, which was only €100 more expensive than economy class and will earn me 2380 status miles.

After a night of sleep in Bangkok, I’ll continue my journey to a country I haven’t visited before: Laos.  I chose Luang Prabang as destination, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Luang Prabang International Airport is served by a handful of airlines which results in high airfares.  My return trip BKK-LPQ would have been €269 on a revenue ticket with Bangkok Airways.  After some research I came across this deal with the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank loyalty program.  Only 5000 miles for a round trip Bangkok – Luang Prabang with Bangkok Airways.  I didn’t have 5000 JAL Mileage Bank (JMB) miles, so I had to be creative.  I read on Ben’s blog the SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) hotel loyalty program offered 1:1 transfers to JMB.  With only 1500 SPG points in my account, I had to buy the remaining 3500 for €90 ($122).  The purchased points posted instantly, allowing me to transfer 5000 SPG points to JMB.  It took 3 days for the miles to post in my JMB account.  I booked the award over the phone and found the agents at JMB very helpful and friendly.  72€ in taxes and fees were added to my award, so I ended up paying €162 (+ 1500 SPG points which I had in my account) instead of €269.  Not a huge saving (~€100), but still worth the effort.

Pic: Bangkok Airways Cabin Crew – Check the funny safety demonstration video!
After my visit to Laos, I’ll head to Phuket for a relaxing vacation at the new Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach.  My Bangkok (BKK) – Phuket (HKT) roundtrip with Bangkok Airways was €99.  Total cost of my 12 flights (incl. 6 business class) = €1286.

15 Comments on “Up next: Thailand & Laos

  1. Pingback: Cape Town, South Africa | travel.bart.la

  2. Pingback: Lufthansa First Class: B747-400 Tokyo – Frankfurt | travel.bart.la

  3. Any reason in particular you’re going for the Pullman in Phuket? Expecting something for that Accor Platinum status? Still can’t decide on a hotel for Khao Lak or Phuket.

  4. I’ll keep an eye on that trip too. I like your blog but since I’m half french and half Lao and I’m going to Laos every year, this trip report will be especially interesting 🙂

  5. how do you get hold of error rates? do you have any alert system/programme/blog?

  6. FYI the KUL THY flights are operated by pretty worn out a340s – don t have high expectations

    there s a new arrival lounge in IST

    if you have an overnight in IST ask for a hotel and get a renaissanse POLAT (try to avoid the radisson hotel which is a bit closer to the airport but the POLAT is a much more interesting location and quality of the place is great etc etc let me know if you need any other hints

    • I have twice a 6h30 min layover in IST (afternoon and evening). What’s the name of the new arrival lounge? Better than the CIP lounge?

      • the arrival lounge is much smaller

        CIP lounge in general is better than others at IST

        but i guess it s better to go and see the city (a free sightseeing tour than sitting so long in a great lounge – u ll find more details on the THY www)

        as you know you can get a private room at the CIP but KUL flights do not qualify (there are some flighst like EZE, LAX etc on the list)

  7. as a gold M&S you ll over 10 000 miles for IST – KUL and then around 1500 for WAW _ IST ie in total approx 26 000 miles

    as for redemption in C class with THY – u need eg BRU – BKK 70 000 miles + 300 euros (redempion for *A is higher)

  8. Some of these THY flights to KUL are on metal MH and M+M gives you ZERO Miles – even if its a code share

    the only way to get any miles on these MH flights is to add them to your MIles and Smiles accounts which are BTW much better value than M+M accounts

    • Greg, thanks for the heads-up. I did verify my flights are on TK metal. LH M&M offers 150% of the mileage flown, TK M&S offers 200% (I’m Elite Gold) but I’m not familiar with their award redemption process. Can you give some examples of great value awards at TK M&S? Thanks!

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