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 points from credit cards? – January 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.