OneWorld Welcome: Introduction

Back on February 1, 2013, Malaysia Airlines joined the OneWorld alliance, a move I was quite excited about. Malaysia Airlines opens up several new routes and destinations that aren’t currently served by OneWorld, and most exciting for me was that they operate Airbus A380s, as I am hoping to try at least one A380 from every airline that operates them this year.

While they now also fly A380s to Paris, at the time they only flew them twice daily between Kuala Lumpur and London. Their A380 first class product looked quite nice with only eight seats, so I decided to plan a weekend trip around it, and managed to drag a friend along with me.

Being based in the US, London to Kuala Lumpur isn’t an especially practical routes on which to fly Malaysia Airlines, given that American doesn’t let you route from the US to Asia via Europe on a single partner award. So instead we booked separate positioning flights from the US to London on American, which cost about $900 all-in roundtrip. A generous reader gifted us their expiring systemwide upgrades, and while they were waitlisted initially, both directions cleared within a few days of departure.

Then we used British Airways Avios for travel between London and Kuala Lumpur. British Airways charges 105,000 Avios one-way for first class, while American charges 70,000 AAdvantage miles one-way for first class. There are also fuel surcharges when booking through British Airways, though they were quite mild compared to what they charge for their own flights.

Award availability on Malaysia in first class is generally excellent, as they typically release 2-4 first class seats per flight.

In the end our itinerary looked as follows:

02/14 AA268 Seattle to New York departing 7:10AM arriving 3:29PM
02/14 AA100 New York to London departing 6:15PM arriving 6:20AM (+1 day)
02/15 MH3 London to Kuala Lumpur departing 10:50AM arriving 7:10AM (+1 day)
02/18 MH4 Kuala Lumpur to London departing 10:45AM arriving 4:15PM
02/19 AA139 London to New York departing 12:35PM arriving 3:40PM
02/19 AA269 New York to Seattle departing 6:30PM arriving 10:05PM

In Kuala Lumpur we decided to book the brand new Grand Hyatt, which was about $200USD per night. I was able to apply an expiring Diamond confirmed suite upgrade to the reservation, confirming us into one of their Grand Suites.

In London on the way back we stayed at the Hilton Heathrow Terminal 4. Our flight from Kuala Lumpur was arriving at Terminal 4 while our flight the following morning was leaving from Terminal 3, so this was by far the most convenient option. I booked this using a Hilton cash & points award, which cost 25,000 HHonors points plus Ā£53 for the night.

It was a fun but whirlwind trip, so stay tuned!

Filed Under: American, Awards
  1. @lucky
    if you don’t mind, how much did you exactly pay (Avios+$) for LHR-KUL-LHR RT?

  2. Can’t wait for the MH portion.

    Do you have any other MH F or J reports other than the one coming up?

  3. Even if I’m Avios rich, I don’t know I will use 210K points to fly between LHR-KUL… But look forward for this trip report.

  4. @ Justin — In this case it was pretty easy. LHR-KUL was leaving at ~11AM, and that’s 2AM Pacific Time, around when I usually go to bed. So I stayed up on JFK-LHR, had lunch on LHR-KUL, and then slept for eight hours, waking up for breakfast before landing in KUL.

  5. can’t wait to read about the A380 first class on that route, hoping to try it next year.

    isn’t that crazy that AA charges 70k miles from EU to Malaysia but only 62.5k miles from the US to Malaysia? i guess just one of many anomalies on the award charts…

  6. Ben- You wrote,”Being based in the US, London to Kuala Lumpur isnā€™t an especially practical routes on which to fly Malaysia Airlines, given that American doesnā€™t let you route from the US to Asia via Europe on a single partner award.” I thought that’s how AA awards on BA are routed to asia.

  7. @ John — You can’t use American miles for travel on BA to Asia via Europe unless you want to book it as two awards or as a distance based award.

  8. If any friend offered me this trip I wouldn’t have to be dragged along. šŸ˜‰ Looking forward to reading!

  9. @Gene, think 1/3 off of 105K, now another deal in the dust bin of history (which was still available yesterday). Sadly, I did not jump on this because of so much travel already booked. A bummer–MH F on the A380 for 30K from CDG-KUL would have been awesome.

    Now we’ll have to see if BA tries to “correct” the erroneous pricing that they let fester for several weeks. I doubt it, though it presents an interesting concern for those already booked (since “economy”, not “first” showed up when you searched for first, even though the reservation booked into first).

    I only share about this since the “trick” is now dead.

  10. Hey Ben, looks like another great report coming up…any suggestions for what to see/do in KL? I’ll be there this weekend! Thanks!

  11. Taxes and fees are about $740 for LHR-KUL roundtrip. A bit pricey per person, but not too horrible. You can try flying out of CDG instead of LHR for lower fees.

  12. @Matthew, so the trick only worked on the CDG-KUL route, not LHR-KUL? I haven’t seen any errors when booking LHR-KUL when MH started to appear on BA’s award booking system.

  13. @AC: I recall seeing it for all MH routes in F including LHR-KUL, but the only route I was closely considering (as I said, up until yesterday and for the last several weeks) was the Paris route.

  14. @matthew – my ‘reduced rate’ award KUL – CDG was just updated on to show F (instead of Y with an F seat assignment.) I think we’re good.

  15. @lucky:
    Did you have to pay the British APD? Transfers are usually exempt (including stopovers of less than 24h), but I suspect the revenue and the Avios portion of the trip were on seperate tickets?

  16. I too am flying/trying out Malaysian’s A380 First Class product from LHR-KUL return. I used 140K Virgin Flying Club miles (thought I’d take advantage of the partnership which may change soon with MH joining One world).

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