Best Ways to Hack a Trip from Perth to Bangkok in Business Class
How to Hack a Business Class Trip from Perth to Bangkok using Points or Miles for less than the price of an Economy Fare
OK, the idea behind this post came from a question from one of our readers, Luis:
“How do you hack a trip from Perth to Bangkok ??”
The question could be interpreted in a few ways so we’ll take that as being what’s the best way to get from Perth to Bangkok (PER to BKK) in a premium cabin such as Business Class or First Class using miles.
If you’re not interested in this particular route, or not based in Perth, it’s still worth reading as it will still help you to understand the thought process we go through when working out how to hack fares and optimise redeeming our air miles and frequent flyer points.
And if you’re new to air miles and points, we’ll show a few options to get some miles to achieve this trip by buying miles or some current credit card signups to get points to redeem for an award.
We’ll look at both hacked fares that require no miles and give better value than a regular revenue fare purchased from a travel agent, and hacked fares that include miles or point redemptions.
East Coast Relevance of Perth Routes
For East coast based readers, leaving on a hacked fare via Perth or returning via Perth using miles can mean access to extra award availability in combination with a cheap East Coast – West Coast business class fare. Using the Etihad Miles Sweet Spot of Melbourne to Perth on Virgin Australia’s “The Business” costs only 21,800 points and minimal taxes and charges.
In some cases splitting an award via Perth can give you a similar charge in terms of points for example when using Qantas Frequent Flyer Points with the added benefit of a free or almost free stopover in Perth for those who like two trips for the price of one.
It allows access to the sweet spot redemptions using Singapore Airline’s Krisflyer Award Program which prices fares to/from Perth and Darwin more cheaply than awards from the rest of the country but often it’s just having extra redemption options available which is the big winner for travel hackers when seeking to use our points.
Relative Lack of First Class out of Perth
Interestingly for a city the size of Perth, there is a distinct lack of First Class Travel options. Whilst not an issue for many people still paying for their flights, for those with a lot of frequent flyer points or miles to burn, the relative lack of First Class options out of Perth is a downside. Once you start travel hacking in a big way, the move from Economy up through Premium Economy to Business and First Class happens quickly and you suddenly strive to fly the best products out there on the market, simply because you can!
So let’s skip to the detail…
How to Book Perth to Bangkok in Business Class Using Miles and Points
If we take a quick look at the airlines that fly the route directly we have a single option on Thai Airways. It will give us a nice benchmark for pricing of economy and business class fares.
Thai Airways flies Perth to Bangkok on the Boeing 787 plane with flat beds in their business class cabin. (Thai is part of the Star Alliance network). Economy was priced around mid $700’s and business class mid $2000’so on the random dates we checked.
Now how do we go about redeeming this trip….
Award Redemption Options flying Perth to Bangkok
What are all the indirect flight options of getting from Perth to Bangkok?
If we look at the main options, we have the following gateways that are convenient to provide one stop journeys to Bangkok: Jakarta (CGK), Singapore (SIN), Kuala Lumpur (KUL), and Hong Kong (HKG)
Indirect Flights (One-Stop) from Perth to Bangkok
Let’s look at routings by the three main alliances – OneWorld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam plus Qantas non OneWorld partners:
The indirect routings from Perth to Bangkok on Qantas and non-OneWorld Partners redeemable with Qantas Frequent Flyer Points are:
Perth to Singapore on Qantas or Jetstar
Singapore to Bangkok on Jetstar Asia
The indirect routings from Perth to Bangkok on OneWorld airlines (partners with Qantas) are:
Perth to Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok
Perth to Hong Kong to Bangkok
Cathay Pacific fly the Airbus Industrie A330-300 to from Perth to Hong Kong and from Hong Kong to Bangkok.
The indirect routings from Perth to Bangkok on Star Alliance airlines (partners with Singapore, Thai) are:
Perth to Singapore to Bangkok with Singapore Airlines on the A330-300 or Boeing 777-200
The indirect routing from Perth to Bangkok on SkyTeam airlines is:
Perth to Jakarta to Bangkok with Garuda Indonesia on the BOEING 737-800NG
Mixed and Non-Alliance Options
- Perth to Bangkok via KUL on Air Asia
- Perth to Singapore on Scoot, or Perth to Singapore on Qantas, then:
Singapore to Bangkok on Star Alliance (Thai or Singapore Airlines) or OneWorld (Cathay Pacific)
Pricing up the Award Options for Perth to Bangkok
Perth to Bangkok Award Options
|Award Program||Business Class Return (Points or Miles)||Taxes and Carrier Charges|
|Singapore Airlines Krisflyer||65,000||$142.99|
|JAL Mileage Bank||65,000||$277.19|
|ANA Mileage Club||72,000||$160.73|
|Thai Royal Orchid||75,000||$156.48|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||80,000||$273.09|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||80,000||$273.08|
|BA Avios on Malaysia||105,000||$604.71|
|Virgin Australia Velocity||146,000||$142.99|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||156,000||$273.08|
We can see from the above award table that the prices of Perth to Bangkok redemptions vary widely as do the taxes and carrier charges. This is why we advise to treat points as currencies and that a point in one program isn’t worth the same as a point in another. They all have their relative sweet spots.
The Winners – The Top Three Programs for Redemptions for Perth to Bangkok
All prices here are return fares based on two passengers travelling
- United Airlines – 120,000 plus $266.96
- Singapore Airlines Krisflyer – 130,000 miles plus $285.98
- JAL Mileage Bank – 130,000 miles plus $554.38
The Losers – The Worst Three Programs for Redemption for Perth to Bangkok
- Air New Zealand Airpoints – 608,000 Amex MR equivalent (*6080 AirPoints)
- Qantas Frequent Flyer – 312,000 plus $546.16
- Virgin Australia Velocity – 292,000 plus $285.98
*For AirPoints we’ve multiplied the figure by 100 as that’s the transfer ratio for sending points across from American Express Membership Rewards from an Australian Card. You would need 100 MR just to get one AirPoint.
An interesting takeaway is that the majority of people in Australia get very excited about Qantas Frequent Flyer points, yet this shows you definitely shouldn’t use them to book an award in this case if your points come from a flexible points program.
Based on two passengers travelling from Perth to Bangkok, you would end up paying 2.4 times more and twice as much in fees and charges as the second cheapest option on our list Singapore Airlines Krisflyer which also transfers across from Amex Membership Rewards at 1:1 for holders of the American Express Platinum Card.
I almost excluded the AirPoints calculation but put it in there just so my friend Darren who has just moved from Perth to New Zealand doesn’t cross to the dark side and start collecting AirPoints for this redemption (or any other I can think of) !
He would end up needing 4.67 times more using American Express Membership Reward points from an Australian card to get the AirPoints for the award versus the Krisflyer option on our list.
The only worse option than AirPoints was when we tried doing the maths on using Air France Flying Blue Miles for this award on Garuda which came out at 200,000 Miles which is the equivalent of 320,000 American Express Membership Rewards.
We also need to factor in the ease of earning or obtaining the above currencies.
The following schemes transfer across from American Express Membership Rewards either directly or via Amex to Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) then onto the Airline program:
|Business Class Miles or Points Required||Taxes and Carrier Charges||Amex Direct||Amex via SPG||Amex Points|
|ANA Mileage Club||72,000||$160.73||115,200||115,200|
|Virgin Australia Velocity||146,000||$142.99||146,000||146,000|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||156,000||$273.08||156,000||156,000|
|BA Avios on Malaysia||105,000||$604.71||168,000||168,000|
|Air New Zealand AirPoints||3,040||304,000||304,000|
Thus if sending points across from American Express our best option is now Krisflyer.
Garuda International is neither a partner of American Express nor of SPG so we lose this as an option. You can get Garuda Miles from the Citibank Prestige Credit Card Program, but at a rate of 3 Citi points to 1 Garuda Mile, meaning a huge 378,000 Citibank Points required to get the 126,000 Garuda Miles required for one award!
Here’s the Really Really Good Bit Where we Show you how to Hack this Perth to Bangkok fare
Getting Points for the Redemption
Don’t have any points, or don’t have enough points? What are the options to get hold of these points a different way?
The great news is that there are easy ways to get hold of these points.
Getting Krisflyer Points from Credit Card Signups
This provides the equivalent of 100,000 Krisflyer Points with the 100,000 signup bonus through this link. It has a hefty fee of $1200 per year but don’t let that put you off if you’re not used to paying annual fees. It’s how you fly in business class for less than economy. Plus you can decide to keep it or not at the end of the first year.
Think of this as buying 100,000 Krisflyer Points for $1200 at a cost of 1.2c per point, so this effectively gets you the business class return flight for $780 plus $142.99 in taxes.
Total of $922.99 versus our business class flight of $2,614. A saving of 65%Click Here to Read More or To Apply
Creditflyer may receive upto 30,000 Membership Rewards points for each person approved for a Card using this link. Support our site by using these links to help keep us flying!
My wife has the card purely on the basis of buying cheap frequent flyer points and it also carries a host of other benefits, such as 3 points per dollar spent on restaurants, free priority pass worldwide lounge membership for you plus a guest, Hilton Gold Status, SPG Gold Status (and therefore Marriott gold), very good travel insurance and car rental insurance, a travel credit of $300 per annum plus $400 per annum on the complimentary Reserve card that comes with it for no extra fee.
This total $700 travel credit can be spent on hotels and other travel related purchases that you’d probably incur anyway on a trip.
So if you’d be paying for accommodation anyway, think of this as then spending a net $500 for the 100,000 points and this brings down our fare now to $325 plus $142.99 taxes i.e. $467.99.
A saving of 82% off the retail business class fare and a saving of 39% against the retail economy class fare!
This is travel hacking at its best! 🙂
Business Class from Perth to Bangkok for less than the cost of the Economy Fare!
Need two seats? sign up yourself plus a family member for a card each. Just remember to re-evaluate towards the end of the twelve month period to see if it is worth keeping.
Once you have the card you can also purchase points from American Express for a redemption at 2.5c per point (minimum 1000) by calling your Platinum Concierge.
So if you’re looking for two tickets or more and only want to get one card you can buy the extra 30,000 required for $700 direct from American Express. Total outlay $1,900 for two business class tickets plus taxes of $285.98. Total per person $1,092.99!! Plus $700 travel credit to spend on accommodation, or look at it as $742.99 per person plus spending $700 on accommodation.
Click Here to Read More or To Apply
Creditflyer may receive upto 30,000 Membership Rewards points for each person approved for a Card using this link. Support our site by using these links to help keep us flying!
Buying Miles Directly from the Airlines
Unlike the Australian Frequent Flyer Programs, Avianca Lifemiles, United and American Airlines and British Airways allow you to buy their miles and often have sales on their miles and avios (BA’s name for their miles).
You aren’t flying American, United or Avianca, but utilising their partnerships in OneWorld and StarAlliance to redeem for flights on their respective networks. We’ve detailed this hack in our article on buying avios for cheap business class travel on Qantas.
This means with Avianca and United miles you can redeem for flights on the Thai Airways and the Singapore Airlines options we listed.
With American Airlines, and British Airways you can use these to redeem on Qantas and Cathay Pacific flights. BA’s avios utility is not for this redemption due to the high number of miles required, so we won’t cover this in detail here.
Buying American AAdvantage Miles
American currently have a deal to buy miles until 31st August 2017 but these come up regularly so don’t worry if you’re reading this article after this date.
The current sweet spot on their offer is Buy 150,000 miles and get 85,000 Bonus miles at an effective rate in AUD of 2.3276 cents per point.
This makes our return redemption price out at $1,862.06 plus taxes per person return. Still cheaper than the business class fare by approx 18% but in our mind not worth doing for this redemption.
Buying Avianca Lifemiles
Avianca sell Lifemiles at between 100% to 140% bonus. Full Details on past bonuses are here
You need to do this BEFORE their offers come out in order to be eligible, so now’s a good time to do this.
With their past 125% bonus on purchased miles, it worked out in AUD at 1.8608 cents per point.
This makes the cost of our business class return redemption from Perth to Bangkok $1,674.74 plus $196.53 in taxes and charges. A total of $1,871.27 for a saving of 28% off the Thai Return Business Class fare.
The lifemiles award chart was recently devalued and the redemption price changed from 40,000 miles from Australia to Bangkok to 50,000. But Bangkok to Australia is still charged at 40,000. So this is best booked as two one-way legs for 90,000 points versus the 100,000 return price if you just search for a return trip. We’ve altered our tax and charges calculations to factor in the additional $25USD booking fee for booking this way that saves you 10,000 points!
Buying United Miles
Important: This program has announced a change to pricing from 1st November. These prices are assuming you book before this time – can be for travel after that date- but you need to book before 1st November 2017.
That said, United offers terrific value for flights to Asia and their award booking engine is top notch allowing you to see at a glance two months of award dates. Others require you to cycle weekly or daily through awards. As such, it’s a good engine to search for awards, even if you end up booking them via Krisflyer for example.
Searching for Awards.
The dotted lines “…” show you the dates when there’s a premium award available
They then neatly show the miles required and any fees or taxes.
United Buying Miles Offer August 2017
United Buy Miles Offer August 2017
- Buy 5,000 – 19,000 miles | Get a 25% bonus
- Buy 20,000 – 49,000 miles | Get a 50% bonus
- Buy 50,000 – 75,000 miles | Get a 100% bonus
So to buy miles for two people travelling, the cost is USD $2,257.50 which works out at 2.3868 cents Australian per mile.
This means our redemption return fare from Perth to Bangkok on Thai or Singapore Airlines would work out at $1432.09 plus taxes of $133.48 for a total of $1565.57 and a saving of 40% versus the revenue fare. In this case it could even be flying on the same Thai Business Class flights.
Things to Consider
All the above redemptions are based on award availability. In most cases you can sign up with a program and search for flights even without having the miles, then either send them across from Amex or buy them from the airline.
You may need to plan in advance, or be last minute or be flexible with your schedule. On the random dates we looked there was a lot of availability on star alliance and on Garuda but not a huge amount on Qantas, although Cathay Pacific award availability was decent.
At peak holiday times like Easter, Christmas and Chinese New Year there may be less availability or you may need to book at the point award seats are released (that’s an science in and of itself as differs by carrier)
If you have Qantas or Virgin Points already from flying then your value consideration may be different and these awards may make sense for you, or you could save your points and keep them for a better redemption where Qantas or Virgin give the best value.
If there’s no award availability on your chosen carrier, then try the others. This is the beauty of having flexible point programs. Singapore Airlines has a more expensive award option called a Standard which is still good value compared to the other airlines. It means even if an award is sold out, they make seats available at a higher price.
So if I want a last minute flight I can do a search for tomorrow and see there’s a standard award for 65,000 (twice the regular price) available. This is still lower than using Qantas or Velocity Points and with lower taxes and carrier charges to boot:
If there’s no award availability across all these award options on the dates you searched, then in the next section we’ll take a revenue fare and deconstruct and hack it and also consider some low cost carrier business class options which don’t always come up when you search for flights.
Our Hacked and Cheap Fares Perth to Bangkok
1. Air Asia Flat Bed Business Class via Kuala Lumpur
Not really a hacked fare, but doesn’t show on all the flight search engines and the connection times are great and it’s a flat bed product in business class so we thought it worthy of note. Pricing out at $1549.20 return with flexibility on changes, the price seems pretty decent for a regular fare anybody can just go out and buy.
There’s a great article here on how to book economy class on Air Asia and upgrade to business class by paying a small uplift to bid for an upgrade to business class.
Or, you could just book the above fare with decent stopover times and availability and a good saving versus Thai, but not quite the same level of service and you don’t earn points on the fare.
2. Scoot Return Business Class via Singapore
On occasions there are good deals on return business class with the low cost carriers.
Scoot is a low cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines.
ScootBiz includes the following:
- Wide Premium leather seats with double legroom
- 30Kg check-in baggage
- 15kg cabin baggage
- Meals plus an alcoholic beverage
- Priority Check-in and oarding
- Streaming inflight entertainment
- In-seat power
Having flown Scoot, it’s a decent enough product if you need or like lots of legroom. The seats aren’t lie flat but the price is superb. It’s more like Premium Economy on other airlines but a nice introduction into premium class flying nonetheless.
We used Google Flights to check out some fares and the cheapest we found was $824 return with a stopover in Singapore.
When we went to book however the price came out at $1,084.83. Still a decent price albeit with a long stopover in Singapore.
3. Hacked Fare: Scoot Business Perth to Singapore then separate flight to Bangkok
Scoot is a low cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines. We’ll price up Scoot Business Class to get the first flight business class out of Perth with a change in Singapore then combine with a paid economy flight Singapore to Bangkok or an award business class flight on the same route:
Singapore to Bangkok (Economy)
We can also look at changing this second leg to use Avios we purchased cheaply in the instructions in the article on Buying Avios Cheaply. We can search for a flight award on BA.com using these avios. As we know, avios are a great short distance currency for uses such as these, so it’s always good to have some ‘up our sleeves’ just in case we need them.
(We’re also running the risk of an avios currency devaluation doing this however, so it’s not for the faint hearted).
There was plenty of direct Business Class award availability on this route using Cathay Pacific to fly in their Airbus A350-900. Australian Business Traveller reviewed the Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class product recently. It looks pretty top notch with a 1-2-1 seat layout.
Let’s look at the totals of these options:
|All Economy||Hybrid||All Business||AirAsia Business||Scoot Business|
|Perth to Bangkok Economy Class||$768|
|Perth to Singapore Scoot (Business Class)||$538||$538|
|Singapore to Bangkok Economy Class||$189|
|Singapore to Bangkok Business Class using avios||$547.53|
|Perth to Bangkok (Business Class)||$1,549.20||$1,084.83|
|Total Return Pricing||$768||$727||$1,085.53||$1,549.20||$1,084.83|
So we’ve managed to craft a hybrid fare that is slightly cheaper than an economy flight, plus we have the option of stopping over in Singapore if we want to.
For just over three hundred dollars more than the economy class flight we’ve hacked a full business class trip. The business class fare for the dates we looked at was almost three times higher at $2,614!
Note that the hacked fare will not earn points and miles (other than on the regular spend on the airfares) but we’re saving $3,056 versus the business class return based on two passengers travelling.
You may also have to collect any checked luggage in Singapore unless you book your connecting flights in a single booking itinerary. Scoot partner with Singapore airlines which means if all on the single ticket, you won’t need to pass through immigration or collect your checked baggage, so you may want your connecting flight to be on Singapore airways rather than Thai as Scoot only have an interline agreement with Singapore on this route. Details here.
There may be other avenues to explore such as one way with points and the return as a revenue fare as Scoot offer business class on certain dates in sales for $514 with a stopover in Singapore. Generally Bangkok to Perth fares are cheaper than the other way round.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article, and hopefully learnt some things, and if you have a question about points or miles, ask us below in the comments and we may use it as the basis of a future article.
Comments and Questions welcome below as always or shout out if we’ve missed anything or you’d like to add something.