Friday, 2 November 2018

Is Air Asia's ASEAN PASS worth it's value?



Its almost a year and I'm finally posting this up OMG I'm so efficient. At the end of 2017, I made plans with my friends to travel to BOTH Bali and Singapore. That was the first time I have been to multiple destinations and 2 countries in a single vacation! So far, Air Asia has been my only choice of flying so obviously I opted for Air Asia for my trip.

The idea to visit all these places came from my discovery of Air Asia's ASEAN Pass, a unique flying pass which allows you to travel to multiple destinations in several countries for a much more affordable price, as Air Asia claims. With a quick search on Google, I found that this pass was launched way back in 2015! Therefore, I am dedicating this post to share with y'all on how you can use this to your advantage, whether this is something you should opt to get,  the pros and cons and so on. Just a disclaimer, this is NOT a sponsored post but simply a review to share with y'all my experience in using the ASEAN Pass.


How does the ASEAN Pass work?

You first have to decide whether to purchase either 10 or 20 credits ASEAN Pass. From here, you can start booking your flight ticket using these 'credits' instead of cash.



Here is a table illustrating the list of destinations you can head to FROM KUALA LUMPUR with 1 and 3 credits respectively.


Here are some of the suggested itineraries from Air Asia's website to illustrate how the pass works.




What you want to note is that the credits will differ depending on where you are departing from and where are you heading. 

Aside from that, while some destinations are available say if you fly from Kuala Lumpur, will not be available in another country. For example, you can fly to Bandung, Indonesia from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore BUT that is not possible from Bangkok, Thailand. Thorough planning is required if you want to fully optimize the credits!




Where did I travel?

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
 
Bali, Indonesia
 
Singapore

Kuala Lumpur


Initially, I was very ambitious and wanted to include several more destinations, simply to utilize the credits I have. In the end, I only decided on Bali and Singapore which was quite an experience nevertheless! 

With the pass, I also bought an additional flight ticket from Lombok back to Kuala Lumpur. This was my contingency plan in case Mount Agung erupts and I definitely don't want to be left stranded. Thankfully, I didn't have to go forward with this but prior to my flight, I was so concerned. A bit kiasi of melah but I'd rather be prepared. The volcano's activity reduced in October 2017, and even when it erupted a month later and again in January 2018, it did little damage to Bali's tourism and the major tourists' sites.


Just for comparison sake, I checked on Air Asia's normal flight routes for flights in November to December 2018 for the routes I took last year and my findings are as below:-

ROUTES
*Air Asia’s 
Flight Tickets
Air Asia’s 
ASEAN Pass
Kuala Lumpur à Bali
RM204.00
 3 Credits
Bali à Singapore
RM174.48
  3 Credits
Singapore à Kuala Lumpur
 RM256.33
   1 Credit
Lombok à Kuala Lumpur
RM205.92
3 Credits
TOTAL 
**RM840.73
**10 Credits

* This is the cheapest flight tickets on random dates between Nov-Dec'2018 as of 29th Oct'2018
**In-flight meals, luggage check in and other surcharges are NOT included in the amount mentioned above

At first glance, the prices gap in the table above seem rather huge, but is it really the case?


How much does AirAsia ASEAN Pass 
really cost


The pass that I chose the Rm499 for 10 Credits which I must use within 1-month period from my first flight bookings. I made a one-way journey from Kuala Lumpur to Bali for about 10 days before heading straight to Singapore for two days and back to Kuala Lumpur.

I looked back into all the receipts in my purchase history and summarize everything in the table below.

ROUTES
Air Asia's ASEAN Pass
Fare fees & taxes
Airport 15KG Baggage
Total Additional Fares 
TOTAL
FLIGHT FEES
Kuala Lumpur à Bali
RM149.70
RM40.10

RM115.00

RM155.10

RM304.80

Bali à Singapore
RM197.50
RM65.96
RM131.92
RM197.89
RM395.39
Singapore à Kuala Lumpur
RM68.37
RM112.24

RM193.04

RM305.28

RM373.65

Lombok à Kuala Lumpur
RM192.94
RM65.96

-

RM65.96

RM258.90

TOTAL
RM608.51
RM284.26
RM439.96
RM724.23
RM1,332.74

Conversion rate as of at Oct'2017: 1M Indonesia Rupiah = RM329.81 and 1SGD = RM3.2713


HOW TO READ THE TABLE ABOVE: "ASEAN Pass Ticket" is the price illustrated in the receipt, I DO NOT pay for this amount. For what purpose they are listed in the receipts, I have no idea. However, looking into it, it appears that the ASEAN Pass is more affordable at just a fixed price of RM499. What I paid for is the amount in "Total Additional Fares" = "Fare fees & taxes" + "Airport 15KG Baggage".  Adding these with my initial payment of RM499, I have spent a total of RM1,223.23 to two different countries (with return flight). Assuming I have paid for the normal fare prices of RM840.73 AND for the same additional fares of RM724.23, I would have paid RM1,564.96 instead.

Tip #1: If you are travelling more than 5 days, pre-book your Air Asia's additional 15kg baggage weight together with your flight. Best if you can share the luggage fee with your family or friends.

Tip #2: Remember to check out Air Asia's ASEAN Pass' Terms & Conditions prior to deciding on purchasing this pass.

~♡~

The Good


#1 This is an affordable option when you are travelling to more than one destinations. Like just YOLO, you know.

#2 This is a cheaper option especially if you're booking tickets last minute. I know because I compared the prices then.

#3 In addition to my observation in #2, I noticed there are extra seats seemingly allocated for ASEAN Pass when normal tickets run out (This is my assumption from observation, I'm not 100% sure). Though to be on the safer end, I would usually checked in my flights online as soon as I can. I have never experienced being told that I cannot get on any Air Asia's flights because the plane's fully booked but have read about such horror stories and am aware that some airlines over book themselves in case some of their passengers didn't turn up. But then, I have not flown very frequently.

#4 Pass is valid to use within 1-year period after purchase, so plenty of time to plan!

#5 Affordable if you do not add on the other services offered by Air Asia or you will be travelling light.

#6 When travelling to and from neighboring countries over a short period and flight costs more than purchasing your tickets separately, this is an option to consider


~♡~

The Bad

#1 I needed luggage space but did not pre-booked them, so I ended up paying about the same to the usual flight fares as the regular flight fares.

#2 Limited destinations. Why no Japan?!

#3 You cannot use the pass for the same routes twice so proper planning is a must! For example, flying from KL to Singapore twice is not possible.

#4 For reason in #3 and because the credits require to travel to the same destination vary depending on your where you choose to depart from, planning can be a headache!

#5 Validity one or two months which means unless you have a lot of leaves to clear or longer holidays, this is not the best choice especially when if your company doesn't allow month-long leaves typically in Asian company culture.

#6 Travelling a lot can get tiring and boring so this travel style is not for everyone! From my recent experience, I realize I do get bored and tired when going on long vacay. Or if my holidays involved spending a lot of time heading to multiple destinations or countries. Perhaps it would have been different if I am travelling around Japan hahaha.

 #7 If I remembered correctly, there was no option for seats booking, as in you can't decide on aisle or window seat. While I was flying towards Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, I ended up with the aisle seat and that was no fun!


~♡~


To conclude everything, was the ASEAN Pass really worth it? With proper itinerary plannings and pre-booking luggage, this pass may be worth it for travelers seeking an adventure. Myself, I wouldn't opt for Air Asia's ASEAN Pass in the nearest future mainly for the reason I discovered I prefer to travel at a pace I'm comfortable at and I am the kind of traveler who is contented with spending time at a place/state/country to soak in the local cultures and lifestyles. Perhaps I may have a change of heart if I'm feeling adventurous! As of now, I am not too keen on airport-hopping. If you cannot or have not decide what type of traveler you are, might as well give this Air Asia's ASEAN Pass a try for the experience!

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