How to fly to Oz/NZ in Business for 63,000 Amex Membership Rewards points

This deal is probably the most generous mainstream redemption you can get.  After all, we are talking about flying all of the way to Australia or New Zealand in business class for not a lot more than an economy flight to California.

This is not an easy redemption to snag and only readers with a high credit rating will be able to access it.

It is a very simple redemption to explain, though, and it involves using Malaysia Airlines and its little known Enrich loyalty scheme.

Yesterday I wrote about how you can earn a 60% bonus on your entire UK Membership Rewards balance by taking out a free American Express Green International Dollar Card and transferring your UK points to the International Dollar Card points scheme.

Your existing balance is grossed up by the current £/$ exchange rate, so if you currently have 100,000 UK Membership Rewards points you would receive 160,000 points in the International Dollar Card MR scheme.

I also wrote about how certain airlines have a 1:1 transfer ratio from the International Dollar Card Membership Rewards scheme.  This includes Malaysia Airlines and its Enrich programme as you can see here.

The Malaysia Airlines loyalty scheme is not heavily understood by many people.  The US blog Travel Is Free wrote an outstanding overview of how it works in this article although – as he is US focussed – he did not pick up on this deal.

Malaysia A380

Here is the Malaysia Airlines reward chartThis is only valid for flights on Malaysia Airlines itself not oneworld partners such as British Airways.  Scroll down to the bottom and the table for Zone 6 (7,000+ miles) redemptions.

This shows that a ‘basic’ return flight in Business Class of over 7,000 miles would cost 120,000 miles return.  Malaysia offers a 15% discount for booking your rewards online so you will only need to spend (120,000 – 15%) 102,000 miles.

That will get you a Malaysia Airlines A380 from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur (fully flat beds) and then onwards to Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or Sydney.

Here is a screenshot from a dummy booking I did on the Malaysia Airlines website to prove that it works.  You will see that London to Sydney, business class, is just 102,000 Malaysia Enrich miles.  That would require just 102,000 points in the International Dollar Card Membership Rewards scheme which (at a $1.60 / £1 exchange rate) would need 63,000 points in the UK Amex scheme.

Malaysia pricing

You can see now why this redemption is, to put it mildly, not for everyone:

  • You need 63,000 UK Amex MR points per person – although Malaysia also has a ‘cash and miles’ option which can reduce that if needed
  • You need to be able to get accepted for the Amex International Dollar Card in order to transfer your UK MR points to the IDC MR scheme
  • You need to hope the transfer ratio to Malaysia does not move
  • You need to hope that Malaysia does not devalue its reward chart
  • You need to hope – and this is key – that the upcoming scaling back of Malaysia’s operations does not impact your plans

If you are looking for a bit of a challenge and are thinking big, though, this is something worth considering.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Which could happen to any airline…

    The tax is bit high. No more than BA of course, but does have to be factored in.

  2. Bad luck comes in threes, right?

  3. Raffles .
    you mentioned you need a v high credit rating for this.
    what is the credit criteria for other cards?

    eg lloyds avios and ba premium.

    iv never had any bad credit , just i dont have much of it. iv only recently taken my first credit card from my nationwide. i thought id use this for a year before i applyed for anything else. i was just wondering how difficult these cards are to get generally.

    • Amex is very picky about who they give the international currency cards to. It is not really about credit rating in itself, more about you having long established banking relationships. They used to drop the bank reference if you had been an Amex client for 10 years for example (although it seems they may have dropped it anyway.)

      I think this is partly because you are legally running up a debt in another country (the Green card needs to be settled by making a payment to Standard Chartered in New York) and if you did not pay up they would struggle to sue you.

      It is very unlikely in my opinion you would get one if you have only just got your first credit card.

  4. Also worth noting that there’s no premium on one-way, i.e. it’s ~32k MR which is more achievable (for one person or a couple), if you have a few AA miles or something else for the other way.

  5. Also worth consideration is that redemption availability for Enrich members is usually good, availability on BA.com gives no indication of Enrich redemption availability.

    Also, Enrich do regular redemption sales which range from 30% to 50% off the usual points rate – bargain.

    Main problem with Enrich is finding a way of earning points, not so easy when you live in UK.

    Currently MAS have a great promo on for flights leaving BKK. I priced a one way BKK to KUL, then KUL to HKG in business one way at £400.

    • May be confusing them with some other carrier but do MAS not operate dynamic pricing on awards? I have largely ignored Enrich because I thought this was the case but following Robs post today I will need to take a closer look. Loyaltylobby reported great MH fares exBKK a few weeks ago too. When I checked for a flight to LHR though AY was about half the price with a 3-4 hour shorter journey.

      • MAS definitely run redemption promos, I have friends in MY who wait for these prior to boking as they happen quite regularly. Selected routes.

        Link to the details on the last one below:

        http://flystaytravel.com/malaysia-airlines-50-off-enrich-miles-redemption-promotion-2014/

        • There were 3 such promotions in 2014 in May October and August. They vary from 30-50% off usually and don’t include the 15% so more like 15-35%. As you say they are usually on selected routes.

          • Thanks to both for feedback. I do quite a bit of point to point flying in Asia but usually just use Air Asia as I can get just about anyplace direct and at very low prices and with virtual 100% on time performance in recent years. The revenue J fares on MH within Asia merit more of my attention though but would need to decide whether to credit to BAEC or Enrich.

          • I use Air Asia as default airline when in Asia, but have started to look at combining with MAS/CX using Avios redemptions when the taxes are low (i.e. flights within Malaysia, flights out of Thailand). So I often mix airlines up. Was very tempted by the MAS Business class seat deals out of Thailand, but my Avios balance is well stocked at moment and flights already booked.

            The Enrich programme remains pretty good, both for offers and seat availability. The points do expire though, and being based in UK makes it hard to earn points.

          • Agree James, we mix and match in that area too, got CX HKG to Bali for 20k miles and £77 total for both of us return, cash price asked was £480pp return, so def worth storing avios for those routes. I guess you could use enrich miles too. But I feel best keep miles in the one program. Air Asia goes in so many directions,it’s a fab set up.

  6. Amazes me that people think it’s ok to make comments like that whilst families across the world are left suffering the consequences. Then there is an airline and its staff suffering from lack of moral and job cuts for situations they had no control over.

    Bear in mind that there was a Singapore Airlines flight flying just a few minutes behind MH17, it could so easily have been any other airline.

    • Whilst I agree with your point in principle and would have no hesitation to fly MH, it is incorrect to say it could have happened to “any other airline” as some airlines were diligent enough to avoid the airspace (BA. quantas, Cathay)

      • I could list out a load of airlines which flew on that route (e.g. Lufthansa). Airlines were advised at the time that as long as they flew at cruising altitude there was no risk and it was unrestricted airspace.

        Based on specific information received from the UK government BA took a different route – information which wasn’t shared with other airlines.

        http://www.ttgdigital.com/news/mh17-tragedy-could-have-been-avoided-if-airlines-shared-info-emirates-ceo/4692701.article

        Prior to the incident who didn’t trust the airlines and checked themselves the route an aircraft flew prior to buying their ticket? I have been on plenty of flights which have flown over Iraq.

        • I agree with all that, I was just pointing out that your statement was factually incorrect.

        • Lady London says:

          ditto. and Afghanistan. I don’t think Ted or JQ meant to be insensitive CXMAS. Ted just expressed a little bluntly the fear that has brought home to all of us. The sympathies of everyone will be with the families as it could so easily have been anyone who flies.

          I feel for the management of Malaysian who must feel they have suffered for reasons out of their control in at least one of their incidents and I know it’s unfair but having said that I was planning to fly them but changed those plans.

          Thanks also for the hint about SQ CXMAS I’m shocked and will check their routes on my next flight with them.

          • You will find on my flights to or from se Asia you will fly over a few of the ‘stans’ into Russia but now I believe all carriers avoiding Ukraine. Personally I find the turbulence over the Bay of Bengal much more frightening than thoughts of which war zones I’m flying over. Hope you fly MH in future sometime, service and product exLHR on a380 is good.

  7. As an Australian Membership Rewards cardholder, where MR AU partners with Enrich, this is the best bargain use of AU MR points to get to Europe and back. I’ve done it a few times and while the product on the KUL – Australia leg is angled flat, their A380 is pretty good.
    Review at http://www.pointhacks.com.au/malaysia-airlines-a380-a330-business-class-review-mh21-mh141-paris-kuala-lumpur-sydney/

  8. grex9101 says:

    No way I’m ever going on a Malaysian Airlines flight.
    Bad things happen in threes.

  9. Mike Martin says:

    My reading of the article and the Malaysian redemption chart is that 63,000 Amex points would only apply to a single person travelling. If you had a companion travelling with you, you would only need 39,313 points per passenger. That is even more amazing.

    The reason why is that the Malaysian redemption chart shows you only need an extra 28,000 miles for a business return companion redemption for a flight of over 7,200 miles e.g. for LHRAUZ/NZ return.

    FYI:- 39,313 = 50% x (120,000 + 28,000) x 85% / 1.6

    • That does not appear to be the case, at least with online booking – I just did a dummy booking and it wanted 204,000 for 2 people.

    • Your reading is wrong.

      A companion award is to be used in conjunction with a qualified revenue ticket.

      • Yup correct a revenue ticket is required for booking the additional Enrich Travel Companion fare. However you’ll be earning Enrich Miles on the revenue fare so it’s a pretty good use for couples or families if you are a regular MH passenger.

  10. Alistair says:

    A lot of work to get this deal but great spot and thanks for highlighting it as I qualify for a few of those categories already but as said not sure how the restructuring will go.

    It could have happened to any airline, its a shame for MH what has happened to them but this would not stop me using them, I find their staff very polite and competent in my dealings with them and it’s those that I feel sorry for. Did BA back in August not say they would continue to fly over Iraq when a lot of other carriers were diverting around?

  11. This is the worst comment from any HFP’S readers that I’ve ever read. And I’ve been reading Rob’s website from day one.
    Well done Ted.

    • Quite a lot of competition for that award as well!

      I would happily get on a Malaysia flight tomorrow. In all honestly, though, my wife probably would not.

      • I flew MH on my current trip and never gave it a second thought. In actaual fact I changed from QR to MH after the formers debacle introducing a380. My partner flying MH in January too. I actually read in a report that J passengers on the KUL-LHR route are actually UP 40% this year and Y down only 5% so it is obviously not a huge issue for many people. The same article suggested MH were weathering the storm not too badly except on China routes and that cutbacks in restructuring would focus on the backroom operations. Before this year, MH had a good safety record and I would guess they are extra diligent with maintenance etc now. Risks need to be kept in perspective, we are much more likely to have an accident on way to the airport than in the air with any airline. As far as airlines go I would rather fly MH than 787 with any operating carrier; that said, I’m no longer avoiding 787 either and will happily now fly it if it pops up pn any of my itineraries.

  12. Later this month I will become a Platinum member with Malaysia Airlines which means that I have flown a great deal with them this year.

    I totally agree with the comment about the comments that refer to the two terrible incidents that MA have had this year being the worse comments on HFP.

    With all my MA flights this year (which have all been LHR to KL and onwards) I have nothing but praise for the staff and the airline.

    I for one would have no hesitation in using MA and will do so in the future.

  13. I tend to hope those things regardless of who I fly with, tbh.

  14. Moving on…

  15. Googled it. Your new post just backs up my thoughts on you after reading your first post at 0729.

  16. Ok let’s draw a line under it.

    Ted: there’s bluntness/ immaturity/ autism spectrum disorder/ stupidity/ dead drunk etc – all of which could explain your posts.

    But this isn’t really a forum to debate that kind of thing, we’d rather stick to the HFP stuff.

    OK? Just take 24 hours out.

    I know I have 😉

  17. I have used MAS several times in the last few months, in both business and economy, and they have been outstanding on each occasion. The hard product is good, and the staff are exceptional. Very sad to see such short-sighted views on here, regarding events which could have happened to any airline.

  18. I wish there was a way I could transfer my BAEC points to Enrich for this deal.
    Any hints would be helpful as I don’t have enough MR points.
    The American Express store in Haymarket, London takes payment for foreign currency cards.