Remember my AirAsia X’s ticket to Paris?
Since it’s only an one-way ticket so I’ll need to find a return ticket back.
And since I’m going to retrace the route of Orient Express, the return ticket has to depart from Istanbul.
There were several options and the most interesting one was with Qatar Airways (QR).
Due to its additional frequency to Singapore, QR’s one way fare between IST and SIN via DOH was 330 euros (~600 SGD).
Not a bad deal considering I paid more than 1k SGD when I flew QR to IST two years ago.
In the end I procrastinated and the fare shot up to around 500 euros which is more than I’ll like to pay.
Luckily I am sitting on some miles (courtesy of my mom’s trip to US last year) in BMI’s Diamond Club.
DC is one of the most generous Frequent Flyer Programs (FFP) around and thanks to Flyertalk I get to learn about ways to maximize the value of my miles.
With devaluation looming with the impending merger with LH’s Miles & More, it’s a good time to redeem those miles.
A search on ANA’s Star Alliance redemption availability tool (thanks Flyertalk again) revealed that Turkish Airlines (TK) had availability in Business class (C/J) on the IST-SIN flight on my desired date.
A Cash+Miles (C+M) redemption for this route will cost me 30k miles + 202.50 GBP cash (since BMI is based in UK) + taxes since it’s between Zone 2 (IST) to Zone 7 (SIN).
However there is a loophole to be exploited. A C+M Zone 2 to Zone 8 (East Asia) redemption in Business class costs only 18,750 miles + 127.50 GBP cash + taxes and allows a free stopover outside Europe.
It means that I am able to construct this itinerary:
IST (Zone 2) – SIN (Zone 7; Stopover) – East Asia (Zone 8 )
So in order to save money, I need to add an additional business class flight out of SIN to somewhere in East Asia.
Not that I’m going to complain about it. 🙂
Where in East Asia should I go then?
I always want to visit Japan but the earthquakes and the subsequent issues with radiation deterred any immediate plan of visiting.
In the end I settle for Hong Kong which isn’t too cold in the winter and its airport charges the lowest taxes.
Calling the DC’s Indian Call Centre (ICC) required some patience as the accent could be a little difficult to comprehend. However my operator was efficient enough and with the help of ANA tool I was able to get her to ticket the flights that I want in less than 20 minutes.
The final itinerary looks like this:
Cost? 18,750 miles + 127.50 GBP cash + 120.60 GBP taxes + 4.50 GBP credit card fees.
Which converts to 530 SGD.
Definitely a fantastic of deal.