Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to save Avios flying to Asia with Malaysia Airlines

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Malaysia Airlines joined the oneworld alliance in September 2013.  This means that it is possible to book flights with them using your Avios points.

Malaysia offers a decent option for getting to Kuala Lumpur, and from there you can easily pick up a connection (either for cash on a local carrier like Air Asia, or on Malaysia with Avios) to elsewhere in the region.  Here is the Malaysian route map if you want to look at the options for connections.

If you want to go to Singapore, which is just over 100 miles away, you can even get a bus – there are plenty of local operators – or a train.

How to save Avios flying to Asia with Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia also flies to Australia and New Zealand, so this strategy can help you get down to that part of the world with lower taxes.  (It also flies to the Maldives, but that is a very expensive trip in Avios compared to flying directly on BA from London.  It would give you an interesting ‘two centre’ holiday however.)

From Heathrow, they are flying brand new A350’s with impressive business and First Class seating.

You may remember this fascinating post from last year where I looked at redemptions which are excellent value for money because they fall into ‘sweet spots’ in the Avios pricing chart.  Malaysia Airlines has two such redemptions.

Let’s remind ourselves of the Avios pricing chart:

Avios bandings

Let’s put this into practice where Malaysia Airlines is concerned.

  • London to Kuala Lumpur is 6,593 miles.  A return flight in Business Class will cost you 140,000 Avios points plus £483 tax.

However, Malaysia also flies to Kuala Lumpur from Paris (with A380’s) and Amsterdam (with Boeing 777’s).

  • Paris to Kuala Lumpur is 6,492 miles.  That just pushes it into the cheaper pricing band.  A return in Business Class will cost you 120,000 Avios points – 20,000 per person fewer than ex-Heathrow – and the tax is just £322.
  • Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur is 6,363 miles.  This means that your Business Class seat will also be 120,000 Avios, and the tax is even cheaper at £270.

Starting and ending your trip in Amsterdam rather than London will save you 20,000 Avios and £213 of tax per person!  If you live outside London, flying to Amsterdam from, say, Manchester rather than to Heathrow will not even extend your travel time.

You will need to get to Amsterdam, of course, but that will only make a dint in the saving.  You would, of course, also need to build in a decent gap in Amsterdam in case your inbound flight was delayed.

Whilst you can’t use an Amex 2-4-1 voucher for a redemption on Malaysia, they add a lot of extra flexibility for trips eastwards from London.  And if you do head out to Kuala Lumpur, I can recommend the Four Seasons Langkawi if you’re looking for an excellent beach resort.  Some people, if staying for a week, mix in a few days at The Datai down the road.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (55)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • OttoMH says:

    There are some bargains around.. and with much better carriers that BA. I managed to bag a bargain £92 tax one-way J from AMS-HKG on CX. When I booked it was the old herringbone 340 layout but has been swapped for new business 777.

  • Edward says:

    To book with Air Asia or Malaysia Airlines with Avios how do you book it? Is it via the Avios website?
    And is there a calculator for knowing the amount needed?

    • Rob says:

      It is via the website, not Flights will show automatically if available.

      If you want to know pricing in advance, use the Great Circle Mapper website to work out the distance between two cities and then look up the mileage in the chart above.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.