The Air Asia ASEAN Pass
Are you hoping that your travels in south-east Asia will be extensive; that you will be able to explore this stunning land without having to sacrifice one place for another because of costs? South-east Asia is a very cheap place to travel and flights are generally fairly cheap. But sometimes you will find you are caught in a position where you have to choose. AirAsia has a pass that can take away all the stress about affordability and also opens up new adventures and possibilities - provided you are flexible. I am going to give you all the information you need on AirAsia’s ASEAN pass.
 
WHAT IS THE ASEAN PASS AND WHAT DOES IT ALLOW ME TO DO
The ASEAN pass is a multi-destination travel pass that allows you to visit up to 20 different destinations, within 1-2 months, around south-east Asia with Air Asia. There are 140 different routes to choose from and each pass gives you a certain number of credits which can be exchanged for flights within these routes. Instead of paying individually for tickets, you pay one price for the multi-pass and then use the credits to pick which flights you want from one destination to another, regardless of the cost.
 
Some destinations require more than 1 credit, but most of the flights are 1 credit and cost no more than 3. But if you use the pass correctly you will never need to spend more than 1 credit per flight.
 
 HOW MUCH DOES THE AIRASIA ASEAN PASS COST?
 
For a 30 day 10 credit ASEAN pass, the cost is MYR 499 or USD 120.
 
For a 60 day 20 credit ASEAN pass, the cost is MYR 888 or USD 214.
 
Once you have purchased the pass you use these credits in exchange for flights, you pay for tax separately which starts realistically at around $8USD per flight or $80USD per 10 flights (potentially).
 
Please note, that the taxes on flights can far exceed this, if you’re not careful. The more expensive the flight the more you pay.
 
These expensive flights can be up to $50USD in taxes. The taxes on flights are the same taxes you would pay on a standard fare, so you should plan accordingly and check your route and taxes before you purchase.
 
We had 4 flights that cost $4USD in taxes each, 2 flights that cost $50USD and another 2 flights that cost $14USD. The key is to not select fares where the majority of the cost is tied up in tax. Purchase these separately and save your credits. The more credits you use the more savings you accumulate. The pass discounts the standard fares by about 20-30%.
 
*AirAsia will discount 10% off your international flight in to south-east Asia with the purchase of this pass.
 
HOW WILL I SAVE MONEY WITH THIS PASS?
Now, don’t get me wrong, you can find a ton of low fare flights in south-east Asia. Sometimes, you pay no more than $10USD per flight. But the average price for airfares within south-east Asia is around $30-$40USD per flight (excluding taxes). However, if you want to travel to some more costly destinations (like our flight in to Myanmar) which at the time was around $180USD each (expensive for a flight in south-east Asia), things start to add up. Rolling off my point at the top of this article, this might mean you have to start culling destinations to keep within your budget. But with the ASEAN pass you can keep your itinerary in order without any real adjustments.
 
Instead of paying for 1 flight at $180USD, you get 10 flights for $120USD. Not bad if you ask me.
 
Another way this pass can have cost saving benefits; is if your flights average at $30USD each-
which would mean for the same amount of money you would only get 4 flights instead of 10 with the pass.
 
The only way you would really be saving money by buying flights individually is if you find multiple flights for $10USD or less, and even then you would only be saving $20USD or so.
 
Take note that I am only covering the price for flights and that taking a bus or train, from one destination to another, in S.E.A, is ridiculously cheap. The only problem with this alternative is that it eats up a ton of your travel time.
WHAT COUNTRIES CAN YOU VISIT WITH THE PASS
Vietnam - Thailand - Myanmar - Indonesia - Malaysia - Cambodia - Brunei - Laos - The Philippines
These are the countries that are accessible with the pass and there are 140 routes which you can take between them. All of which include the most popular destinations and cities. Here is a list of destinations and credit costs:
WHO SHOULDN’T USE THE ASEAN PASS
  • If your itinerary consists mainly of destinations in Indonesia, you may as well stop reading. Flights to Indonesia excluding Sumatra cost 3 credits per flight and 3 credits to use the pass domestically within Indonesia as well.
  • If you have inflexible travel dates or you have already pre-arranged a lot of your journey.
  • Potentially if you are travelling during peak season. There are ways around some of the complications of traveling during this time using the pass, which I'll get into further on. So don’t get discouraged. 
  • If you depart in less than month.
  •  If you only want to visit a few destinations
  • If you have a ridiculously enormous, and totally unnecessary, amount of baggage that weighs more than an adolescent whale.
 
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE ASEAN PASS
  • Be flexible. Purchase or research the pass before you decide to hand in leave to your work and before you buy individual flights. If you absolutely have to be in a certain place at a certain time, things could get difficult. But not impossible.
  • Pack light. I would say this, even if you weren’t going to use the pass. Check-in baggage is stupidly expensive. Save yourself the money. 
  • Research how much certain flights cost within south-east Asia. Always compare.
  • The pass is for people who want to travel to multiple destinations within south-east Asia and can make KL, Manila or Bangkok a sort of hub. No, you don’t need to stay in one of these places for more than a night.
  • The pass is for people who want to cover a lot of south-east Asia.
  • Research the pass. I will explain the meaning of this one below.
 
HOW TO OVERCOME SOME OF PROBLEMS OF THE ASEAN PASS
Before my husband and I bought our pass, we did run into a few problems. Before I get into them, I will add that we were able to overcome all them.
 
  • There is not a whole lot of information about the ASEAN pass. Google search returns a lot of articles about the pass but not really a lot of valuable information. At first, it took us a while just to find where you could purchase the pass as it is not very well advertised on Air Asia’s home page. In order to buy it, you first off need to sign up with Air Asia as a big shot member. Here is the link to do that:  www.airasiabig.com  Next you need to find where you can purchase the ASEAN pass. To save you the trouble here is the link:  www.airasia.com -  Make sure you are logged into your big shot account, which you can do on the top right corner of the page from the link I gave you above.
  • There were quite a few negative reviews about the pass, and it mostly came down to some of the things I covered in- ‘who shouldn’t use the AirAsia ASEAN pass’. If none of those applied to you then you will be fine.
  • Now, another reason there were bad reviews is because it doesn’t let you know if certain flights are available for the dates you are travelling or if the countries you want to visit are available before you purchase.
 
Before you get discouraged the above was very easily rectified, thanks to our friend at tommyooi.com. He can tell you if your dates and flights are available and if there are

what he offers is listed below:

If you are worried whether there is availability, we are able to check flight availability before you buy. There will be a small charge of USD8 for searches using PayPal.

You can message him on Facebook and he will respond within an hour and once your payment has been verified he will let you know if your flights are available.
 
 
We used his service and we didn’t have a single flight not be available. *During low season.
 
  • Make sure you purchase your pass at least 3 months prior to travel. You may not need to, but if you are traveling during peak season I would grab one super, super early. You need to use the credits within 30 days of your first flight and a minimum of 14 days advanced notice prior to flight departure.
  • Try and get all your flights sorted and organized all at once, when you know they are available.
 
SOME OF THE BENEFITS WE GOT OUT OF THE PASS
  •  It was relatively cheap
  • All of our flights were available, and it was easy to see if they would be available before we purchased with www.tommyooi.com 
  • Taxes weren't as expensive as we thought they would be
  •  We got to visit some places we didn’t think we would be able to afford
  •  We got to visit some places we didn’t think to consider until we saw the list of possible destinations. Which meant we got to have some pretty amazing new experiences.
  •  We got more for our money.

HOW TO PURCHASE YOUR AND REDEEM YOUR ASEAN PASS
 
 
 
 
 
 
AN EXAMPLE ROUTE WITH THE ASEAN PASS
This is the route my husband and I took when we used the ASEAN pass.

HANOI – BANGKOK – MANDALAY – BANGKOK – CHIANG MAI – PENANG – MEDAN – KUALA LUMPUR – SINGAPORE

MORE INFORMATION
If you are looking for more information, that is very detailed, you should definitely check out this link:
http://www.tommyooi.com/1503-the-new-airasia-asean-pass-value-or-gimmick/
www.tommyooi.com helped us so much deciding whether we should buy the ASEAN pass.            
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