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The AirAsia ASEAN pass has been one of the more interesting pieces of news that has come out in the travel hacking community over the past few months.  Originally it was announced last November with a launch date of January 2015, but then was delayed by a few months, but it appears to now finally be live

(SEE ALSO: AirAsia offering an unlimited Southeast Asia travel pass)

(SEE ALSO: Update on the AirAsia ASEAN pass

AirAsia ASEAN pass details

The basic idea of the AirAsia ASEAN pass is that for a flat cost, you get .  The original press release made it out to seem like it was UNLIMITED travel over a 30 day period, but it looks like the way that it works is that you can buy 10 credits for $160 or 20 credits for $290.  The 10 credit AirAsia ASEAN pass is good for 30 days of travel starting with your first flight, and the $290 AirAsia ASEAN pass is good for 60 days of travel.  The AirAsia ASEAN pass is good for up to 1 year from the time of purchase, and either way, it is good for flights in the 10 ASEAN countries (Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and the Philippines)

airasia-asean-pass-countries

AirAsia ASEAN pass credits

So the flights within the AirAsia Southeast Asia destinations cost either 1 or 3 credits

airasia-asean-route-map

As an example, Singapore to Bangkok costs 3 credits, while Bangkok to Hanoi is only 1 credit.  I assume that it is distance based as to why some routes are 1 credit vs. 3 credits, and I’m not sure why there aren’t any that cost 2 credits :-).  The full list of routes and their cost in credits is here.

The hidden costs of the AirAsia ASEAN pass – airport taxes and fees

The fine print on the AirAsia ASEAN pass is

  • Credit can only be redeemed for your base fare.
  • Any airport tax and add-ons such as check-in baggage, inflight meals, seats and travel insurance are to be paid separately.
  • Each flight will need to be redeemed at least 14 days before departure.
  • Each route can only be redeemed once using an AirAsia Asean Pass.
  • Travelers must be 12 years old and above.
  • Flight redemption is limited and subject to seat’s availability, it may not be available on every flight or day, ie weekend, public holiday and school holiday.
  • All GST and taxes are payable only upon flight redemption and not charged on AirAsia Asean Pass

A few of the big gotchas in there that I see – you still have to pay all the taxes on the flights (which on low-cost carriers can be significant – on a sample flight I looked at from Bangkok to Singapore, the airport taxes were $23 of the $51 total fare).  Also you have to plan ahead, since you have to redeem your flight 14 days in advance.

Those airport taxes and fees – they always get you…

(SEE ALSO: Comprehensive guide to European airport taxes and fees)

(SEE ALSO: Comprehensive guide to Caribbean airport taxes and fees)

One other thing to mention is that you can not use the AirAsia ASEAN pass to repeat routes.  Specifically – “Each route can only be redeemed once using an AirAsia Asean Pass”.  I’m not clear if a route can be traveled more than once if the origin and destination are different – specifically is SIN-CGK (Jakarta) the same route as CGK-SIN?  It would seem that you’d be allowed to do both of those with the AirAsia ASEAN pass, but I’m note 100% sure.

Wrapping it up, I can see some value in the AirAsia ASEAN pass if you’re going to be traveling around Southeast Asia, it’s not a slam dunk.  With the AirAsia ASEAN pass, you’re basically pre-paying $16 or $48 flights.  I am definitely seeing plenty of routes where you can find flights with base fares cheaper than that, so if you’re a savvy booker, you may have better value in just paying out of pocket for each flight that you want to take.  The list of route costs and information about the AirAsia ASEAN pass is here, and you can purchase your pass here or redeem flights here.

What do you think?  Will you buy the AirAsia ASEAN pass?

 

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