Last Updated: September 2, 2015
The AirAsia ASEAN pass has been launched for quite a while, yet not really popular with Singaporeans. Perhaps it is because of the heady lexicon and intensive jargon but when done right, the AirAsia ASEAN pass can be your gateway to a multitude of destinations at a fraction of a price.
Anybody that travels within the ASEAN countries a lot. People that go backpacking across Asia. Those who may want multiple destinations for holidays. People who travel between ASEAN countries a lot for work. Then the AirAsia ASEAN pass is for you, as long as you travel a lot between ASEAN countries in a short window span, this is for you.
You pay for your flights in terms of credits. These prices however do not include airport taxes. They come up to approximately $25 per trip, and prices start as little as $5 for trips from Bali – so it does not add that much of an additional cost. The credits are sold in bundles of either 10 or 20 under the AirAsia Asean Pass(Blue) or Air Asia Asean Pass + (Red)
There is a catch of course. When you begin to use credits from one bundle, all the other credits must be spent on other flights within a set time frame from the first flight (30 days for the regular pass, 90 days for the Asean Pass +) This is is the main difference between the 2 passes, that and the number of credits.
A trip from Singapore to BKK to KL to Bali and back to Singapore costs 3 + 3 + 1 + 3 = 10 Credits, perfect for the regular AirAsia ASEAN pass.
Now, If I were to take regular oneway flights between these countries (during July which is considered off-peak somemore), it will work out to…
It will cost me $433.19 SGD.
If i were to use the ASEAN AirAsia pass, which would cost me $206 (Regular pass price) + $97 (Airport Taxes) =$303.
This trips were mapped during an off peak season in July. Even then, I already save $130. What if i were to get these tickets in December? The savings would be even greater.
Across the year, Airticket prices skyrocket during the holidays – especially during the end year school holidays when families travel. With the AirAsia ASEAN pass, the price of credits are fixed, the price for this route will always be $303 (subject to changes in airport taxes). This, is one of the key benefits of the ASEAN pass. It protects you from the fluctuation of air ticket prices.
Now you know how it works, I’ll get into the fine details on how you can use the AirAsia ASEAN pass to its potential. The most intuitive calling is to use all credits within the bundle, but how do i ensure that with the 1/3 credit flight bidding system?
It is ideal to have at least 3 interconnecting destinations when you use the AirAsia ASEAN pass.
When planning these trips, I choose to focus on the 3 credit flights and decide on other destinations I can add infrom there. Say, I want to go Bangkok and KL ; both 3 credit routes from Singapore. I then go on to narrow in on the 1 credit routes I can slot in during this trip.
Of the ASEAN countries, these 2 countries are the most centrally located, with a lot more travel options to choose from. This makes mapping the routes a lot easier, although its still quite complicated to try to connect the dots without any program to assist.
Given AirAsia’s existing flying network, some flights lead to dead ends. Some countries you can only fly to from one location.
For example, Airasia only flies to Manila from KL, and if I were to make my way back with the ASEAN pass, I would be forced to fly back to KL and be denied a chance to explore a new country. You have to register the opportunity cost you incur when you choose to pursue a particular destination.
Nevertheless, With careful planning the AirAsia ASEAN pass is a gateway to a host of countries at a really really cheap price. Airport taxes range from $20 to $60 and average out to mostly $25 for each country; even after including these charges, flying with the AirAsia ASEAN pass is a steal.
AirAsia might be a budget airline but they still offer the opportunity for you to clock in credits whenever you fly. Accumulate Bigshot points and claim free flights or hotel stays on your next trip.
The AirAsia ASEAN pass can also be bought as a gift for your friend in need of a vacation. Without any flight redemption, it is valid for one whole year from date of purchase. There is more than enough time to ensure your loved one frees up time in their schedule to travel. One drawback though is that each ASEAN pass is designated to 1 person only, and to travel together with a friend you have to make separate bookings for the same flight.
As long as you follow the guidelines here, use all the credits, travel to at least 3 destinations. I guarantee that the AirAsia ASEAN pass will be able to save you money. Much less when it is during the peak season when prices will be inflated as compared to the ones i quoted here. The AirAsia ASEAN pass is your gateway to multiple destinations at a fraction of a price, just be sure that you use it right.