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Old May 20, 12, 9:40 am   #1
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 127
Southeast Asia Trip

My wife and I have a trip around southeast Asia planned this summer. We have already booked our flights in and out of Bangkok, but have not yet booked our flights within Asia. Our itinerary is as follows:

8/10- Arrive in Bangkok
8/14- Fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap
8/16- Fly from Siem Reap to Koh Samui
8/21- Fly from Koh Samui to Bangkok
8/22- Depart Bangkok

I am trying to find the most efficient way to book the intra-Asia flights using points. I have about 125k sapphire points, 25k avios, 8k AA miles, and 20 SPG points.

From what I can see, the only airline that really works for this itinerary is Bangkok Airways which doesn't appear to partner with any airlines. I can use my sapphire points to get about $1500 worth of airfare for free, but I feel as if it would be a better use of those points to convert them to United Miles for a later trip.

Anyone have any tips on how I can save on $1700 this itinerary would cost?
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Old May 20, 12, 10:00 am   #2
 
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Are you're hotels booked Already?

Assuming if you booked with miles, I would have booked an open jaw itinerary with Koh Samui being my destination and flying to there first because thai airways has two flights daily from Bangkok and Koh Samui.

Then book two one way paid tickets on Bangkok Airways from Koh Samui to Siem Rep and to Bangkok.

You can still change you award itinerary as you're not flying until august.
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Old May 20, 12, 9:23 pm   #3
 
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Well star alliance is your only option really (as Cathay is routes most everything through HKG). So Thai Airways is what you want to fly, as they are based out of BKK. But ANA is *A and perhaps you can fly Thai Airways for cheap. IDK, never have done it but you can transfer from MR rewards to ANA but not sure about SPG.
Look into ANA... that's my $.02.
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Old May 20, 12, 9:54 pm   #4
 
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use sapphire points @1.25cpm and buy Y seats on AirAsia?
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Old May 20, 12, 10:10 pm   #5
 
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Intra-Thailand flights are normally very cheap, even full price. I suggest you might want to hold onto your points and use them on more expensive routes.

And since TG doesn't fly BKK-REP you can't even use them for that.

Either way it sounds like you'll have to use BKK as your base as there are no direct flights between Koh Samui and REP.
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Old May 20, 12, 10:41 pm   #6
 
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BKK-REP and REP-USM (stop in BKK) are expensive routes as they are monopolized by Bangkok Airways. You can save $ by doing overland from BKK to REP but it takes long hours. You don't seem to have many days in your holiday to spare for that. BTW, 2 days in REP is really not enough!! I'd say if you can only spend 2 days, don't even spend the $ to fly there, but that's just me!

REP-USM can be done REP-KUL-URT (Surat Thani) on AirAsia (very cheap) then you need to take a ferry to Samui island. More time consuming but you have 5 days planned for the Samui portion so it seems like you can afford the time.

If I were you, I'd skip REP and go to Chiang Mai instead... I just went to Angkor Wat in March--it was wonderful, but we spent 4 days and had some break from the temples. We're whirlwind type of travelers too, but only 2 days in the scorching sun touring the temples would have been very exhausting. Chiang Mai is beautiful and a must see in Thailand. I'd recommend you explore Thailand this time and access Angkor Wat from Vietnam next time. Domestic flights within Thailand are dirt cheap!
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Old May 20, 12, 10:57 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
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use air asia for flights within southeast asia. pay for the tix and save ur points/miles. i did that 2 years ago. i recommend that you fly bkk to kuala lumpur for one day and the following day fly to siem reap from KUL. there are many flights from bbk to KUL. Take the earliest one and spend one full day in KL. the following morning take a flight to siem reap. I Paid $40 to KUL and $70 to siem ream from KUL and got to see KL! great deals. If you can do that go for it. KL is an amazing city and u can see a lot in one day if efficient enough!
good luck.
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Old May 21, 12, 12:38 am   #8
 
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Taking the bus from Bangkok to Ankor Wat is an under seven hour trip which will give you an excellent view of Thai and Cambodian village life. We did it last year after looking into the rip-off air fare from BKK.

Cost was around $55 for two, one way including $40 cab ride from border to Reap.
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Old May 21, 12, 8:12 am   #9
 
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Discovery Airpass Bangkok Air

I'd look to the Bangkok Air Discovery Airpass. Was a great deal a few years ago and all one had to do was set the first flight and then the flights coupons could be used whenever there was room on a flight. And if already booked, you can change the flight at no cost [at least one could]

http://www.bangkokair.com/en/plan-yo...ry-airpass.php

I had to call the Bangkok Air offices (in NY I think?) to purchase and they were paper coupons.


Side note: if you are already in the neighborhood, don't miss Phnom Penh.

Cheers

Last edited by thegrailer; May 21, 12 at 8:17 am.
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Old May 21, 12, 8:22 am   #10
 
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If you are deadset on this itinerary and using Bangkok Airways, then you could consider transferring the SPG points (which I assume are 20K) to Air Berlin topbonus points. With the 5K bonus points from SPG, you'll have 25K Air Berlin topbonus points which you can use to redeem on Bangkok Airways flights. The 25K points would be enough for one round-trip flight at 20K or two OW flights at 10K each (in economy). This would save you a little money (~$500). But then you'd have an orphan 5000 topbonus points unless you have another use for them.

Last edited by PNH_Flyer; May 21, 12 at 9:04 am.
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Old May 21, 12, 8:25 am   #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNH_Flyer View Post
If you are deadset on this itinerary and using Bangkok Airways, then you could consider transferring the SPG points (which I assume are 20K) to Air Berlin topbonus points. With the 5K bonus points from SPG, you'll have 25K Air Berlin topbonus points which you can use to redeem on Bangkok Airways flights. The 25K points would be enough for one round-trip flight or two OW flights at 10K each (in economy). This would save you a little money.
Here's the airberlin partner redemption guide:
http://www.airberlin.com/site/affili...sen_AA_eng.gif

Note these are redemption levels for one way flights.
I have not used topbonus points for Bangkok Airways flights, but it appears as though you have to call Germany to speak to someone about redemption. But they might allow you to redeem the miles for the REP-BKK-USM OW flight. That would save you about $750 or more minus any taxes and fees including YQ which is sometimes high on these award redemptions.

Last edited by PNH_Flyer; May 21, 12 at 5:30 pm.
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Old May 21, 12, 9:25 am   #12
 
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One last suggestion . . .

If taking the bus from BKK-REP does not appeal to you, you could also consider the following - fly to PNH using Air Asia (~$100 OW) and then take a boat to REP. There are both high speed and slow boats up the Tonle Sap River to REP through the Cambodia countryside. It's a pleasant way to travel although it would add about 1 day to your travel itinerary.
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Old May 23, 12, 8:53 pm   #13
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Thanks for the advice everybody. I think we are just going to end up using the UR points to get the airfare for nearly free. Its a shame that I won't be getting the best use out of those points, but I'd rather not spend the money.

As for the amount of time we are spending in Siem Reap, is it really too little? We are landing at 9 AM on the 14th, plan on relaxing and seeing the city on the 14th, going to the temples in the later afternoon. Then getting up super early to see more temples on the 15th before it gets crazy hot outside. We then plan on leaving sometime in the early afternoon on the 16th.

Would it be better to go to Chiang Mai? I am probably not going to be in Asia anytime soon after this trip. My wife and I are planning on having children soon, so this is likely our big vacation for at least a couple of years.
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Old May 23, 12, 9:32 pm   #14
 
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2.5 days in Siem Reap are short but you will see most major temples. You can do Angkor Thom and sunset followed by dinner and/or show on day 1, sunrise, Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm, and maybe Bantey Srei on day 2. Make sure to get a good guide who can avoid the crowd. Chiang Mai is great but the Angkor complex is truly a place that must be seen in one's lifetime. Have a blast!
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Old May 24, 12, 11:59 am   #15
 
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With 2.5 days, hire a driver and go to Beng Melea. You will not be disappointed. You can have the driver stop at Ta Prohm and/or the other temples on the way back to your hotel

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcee View Post
2.5 days in Siem Reap are short but you will see most major temples. You can do Angkor Thom and sunset followed by dinner and/or show on day 1, sunrise, Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm, and maybe Bantey Srei on day 2. Make sure to get a good guide who can avoid the crowd. Chiang Mai is great but the Angkor complex is truly a place that must be seen in one's lifetime. Have a blast!
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