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. 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!

  2. 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)

  3. 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)

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

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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.

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

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

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