$480+ Roundtrips to Southeast Asia from Many US Cities

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I tweeted this deal first from @MileValueAlerts. Follow @MileValueAlerts on Twitter and follow these directions to get a text message every time I tweet from that account. I tweet from @MileValueAlerts only a few times a month because it is designed to be used only for the best and most limited-time deals–like mistake fares–so that you aren’t bombarded by text messages.

A variety of airlines like ANA, Air China, China Eastern, United, and Asiana are offering roundtrip economy flights starting at $480 from various cities across the United States to Southeast Asia. Available travel dates span mostly from this month through November and January through April of 2018.

Contents

  1. What city pairs are available?
  2. When are the cheap fares?
  3. Mileage Earning
  4. Baggage Allowance
  5. Best Credit Card to Buy the Ticket

Available City Pairs

You’ll find the the cheap fares to between…

  • New York
  • Newark
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago

and

  • Manila
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Bangkok
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Singapore

There could be other city pairs available so if you’re interested in flying elsewhere in Southeast Asia or live elsewhere in the United States, try your own origin and destinations.

When are the cheap fares?

The easiest way to see the cheap fares is on Google Flights. Travel dates range from this month through November, taper off during the holidays, and then become available again January through April. Prices are the cheapest between Los Angeles and Kuala Lumpur ($486ish). The top of the price range is Chicago to Ho Chi Minh City at $549 roundtrip. I’m also seeing China Eastern prices popping up for all of the city pairs above for around $480 roundtrip.

I brought up this calendar of roundtrip prices between Los Angeles and Kuala Lumpur on Google Flights.

You can’t purchase tickets directly on Google Flights, but after choosing an outbound and return flight you will be given links to follow to buy on the airline’s website or an OTA like Expedia, Orbitz, etc. If the price difference isn’t drastic (which it isn’t for the flights I checked), I recommend booking directly through the airline. You’ll likely experience better customer service in the event that you need to change or cancel anything.

Rock climbing with friends on Tonsai Beach, Thailand (closest airport is Krabi) Photo credit: Sarah Page Maxwell
Rock climbing with friends on Tonsai Beach, Thailand (closest big airport is Krabi)

Mileage Earning

You need to know the fare class when looking up how many redeemable miles cash flights earn, which you can find using ITA Matrix. There are lots of different carriers offering low fares. Let’s take a look at what you’d earn flying ANA from Los Angeles to Kuala Lumpur with a connection in Tokyo (fare class K).

Crediting your butt-in-seat miles to ANA, you’d earn 30% of the distance flown…

…which is 5,285 redeemable ANA miles.

Or you could credit to United instead and earn 25% of the miles flown…

…which would be 4,404 redeemable United miles.

Wheretocredit.com is also a valuable tool to bookmark for help figuring out where to credit your redeemable miles earned for a cash ticket.

Baggage Allowance

Flying an of these airlines with the cheap fares–ANA, Air China, United, Asiana, or China Eastern–you’ll get a free personal item, a free carry on, and two free checked bags up to 50 lbs each.

Got Singapore miles (or any type of transferrable point?)

Singapore and Silkair awards flying select routes next month are on sale for 30% off. You must book by August 31, 2017 and you must book online to qualify for the discount. Only Business and economy class are on sale, no First or Suites Class.

Singapore awards, especially at these discounted prices, could be useful for internal flights while you’re in Southeast Asia. And remember that Singapore Krisflyer is a 1:1 transfer partner of all the major point currencies (Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, SPG Starpoints, and ThankYou Points)

Best Way to Buy the Ticket

Buy this ticket with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. The card comes with 50,000 Arrival miles after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months. Arrival miles can be redeemed for 1 cent each toward any travel expense, so the bonus alone will more than cover this roundtrip to Belize. Learn How to Redeem Arrival Miles.

With the Arrival Plus, you don’t even have to wait to meet the minimum spending requirement before you spend the miles. Open an Arrival Plus, put whatever cash tickets on the card you want now to help you meet the minimum spending requirement, and then redeem Arrival miles within 120 days to offset the charges. Buy your ticket to Southeast Asia on the Arrival Plus to help meet your minimum spending requirement and you’ll still get all (or most, depending on which flight you choose) of your money back for it if you redeem your Arrival miles on the charges later.

Don’t have the Arrival Plus card? Put it on whatever card you have travel statement credits for, like the Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige. Don’t have any travel statements credits to earn? Check out the Best Credit Card to Buy Airfare if you’re concerned with earning more rewards. Check out our series on the travel protection benefits of popular rewards cards if you’re more concerned with travel insurance.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards

Hat Tip to The Points Guy


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