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.
Here is the Malaysia Airlines reward chart. This 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.
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.)