AirAsia RM499 unlimited pass: 5 things you need to know

[ UPDATE 10/6/2020 11:00 ]: AirAsia has introduced its Unlimited Pass Cuti-Cuti Malaysia which offers unlimited domestic flights within Malaysia for RM399. More details here.

[ UPDATE 12/05/2020 10:20 ]: AirAsia has extended the travel period for the Unlimited Pass until 30 June 2021. More details here.

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In case you missed it, AirAsia is currently offering an unlimited pass for RM499. This allows you to enjoy “Free Seats” to AirAsia X destinations as many times you want for one year from the 2nd March 2020 to the 2nd March 2021 30 June 2021.

If you want to know what’s the catch and what’s possible with this unlimited pass, here are the top 5 things that you need to know.

1. How to buy the Unlimited pass?

The Unlimited Pass is offered only to AirAsia BIG members in Malaysia. It is available as a deal that you can purchase from this link. The pass is offered from 29th February until 7th March 2020. It isn’t clear if there’s a limit so there’s a chance that it can be sold out before the 7th of March. To purchase the pass, you’ll need to use your credit or debit card.

Each pass is valid for the registered user only and you can’t use it to book tickets for other passengers. It is also only applicable for BIG members aged 12 years old and above.

2. What does Unlimited Pass cover?

The Unlimited Pass only covers the base fare of the flight and it does not include taxes, airport charges, regulatory fees as well as add-ons such as seat reservation, meals and check-in luggage allowance.

In short, don’t expect to pay RM0 for a trip. The taxes and additional charges will cost over RM100 and it will vary depending on the country. The cheapest we’ve found is Kuala Lumpur to Delhi which costs RM108.30 all-in with only 7kg cabin luggage, and Kuala Lumpur to Osaka costs RM225 all-in with 7kg cabin luggage. Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne costs RM415 all-in for the same base fare with just 7kg cabin luggage.

UPDATE: Below is the list of taxes and fees for the available AirAsia X destinations.

If you need check-in luggage allowance and meals, you can add-on a value pack which will be charged separately. You can find out the rates for each add-on by destination here.

3. How to book?

After you’ve purchased the pass, you’ll need to generate the promo code from the Deals section. When you click “Apply Now” on the Unlimited Pass page, you will be directed to the AirAsia flight search page with the Promo code applied.

For a better chance of getting the “Free Seat”, you can search for travel dates with the lowest fares. Do remember that the flights must be booked at least 14-days before the departure date.

To get the “Free Seat”, just look for flights that are marked “100% off” as shown below. Your flight booking is confirmed after full payment for the flight is made. Below are some examples of “Free Seats” that we’ve found:

4. When and where you can fly?

Duration

[ UPDATE 12/05/2020 10:20 ]: AirAsia has extended the travel period for the Unlimited Pass until 30 June 2021. More details here.

The Unlimited pass covers a period between 2nd March 2020 until 2nd March 2021 subject to seat availability. As highlighted by its FAQ, there are embargo dates and you may not be able to enjoy the 100% discount on the base fare during public holidays, school breaks and weekends.

You can use it for return flights and for maximum savings, you can find a date that offers 100% base fare discount for both ways. If you can only find the 100% off for one way, you can still continue to book with the promo applied to just one way of the journey.

Covered Destinations

The Unlimited pass only covers AirAsia X destinations in Australia, Japan, Korea, China and India. This is only applicable for long-haul flights that are over 4 hours in duration and has the carrier code D7 (AirAsia X) and XJ (Thai AirAsia X). The pass excludes Singapore, Denpasar (Bali) and Jeddah.

Some examples of applicable destinations include Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur to Taipei, Kuala Lumpur to Perth, Kuala Lumpur to Haneda, Kuala Lumpur to New Delhi and Bangkok to Osaka.

UPDATE: AirAsia has provided the full list of eligible destinations. It also includes Osaka to Honolulu.

From Kuala Lumpur (return):
Melbourne, Gold Coast, Perth, Sydney, Changsha, Chongqing, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Xi’an, Amritsar, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Sapporo (Chin Chitose), Osaka, Fukuoka, Tokyo (Haneda), Tokyo (Narita), Jeju, Seoul, Busan, Taipei

From Bangkok (return):
Brisbane, Shanghai, Sapporo (Chin Chitose), Osaka, Tokyo (Narita), Nogoya, Fukuoka, Seoul

Others (return):
Taipei – Osaka, Taipei – Okinawa, Osaka – Honolulu

Not covered Destinations

Do note that domestic and short-haul flights using the carrier code AK are not included. In summary, you can’t use this pass for flights such as Kuala Lumpur to Penang, Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur to Manila and Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok.

AirAsia X only uses the wide-body Airbus A330 as shown above instead of the smaller A320 and A321 aircraft. If you’re not sure if your prefered destination is on an AK, D7 or XJ flight, you can search for the flight details on AirAsia’s website.

5. Refunds and No-Show

The AirAsia Unlimited Pass is non-fundable and non-transferable. Since the promo is for the cheapest fare option, no changes are allowed to your booking after full payment is made.

According to the T&C, if your flight is cancelled, terminated, diverted, postponed, rescheduled or delayed before you’ve reached your final destination, AirAsia at its own discretion will either carry you to the next available AirAsia flight at no charge or refund your check-in baggage, meals or seat selection purchased and airport charges or taxes paid.

If there’s no show, AirAsia will refund only the airport charges and taxes. Do note that you are only allowed a maximum of 3 no-shows and once you’ve exceeded the limit, AirAsia has the right to forfeit your unlimited pass.

Why is AirAsia offering this Unlimited Pass?

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has affected a lot of airlines in the region. Cathay Pacific has urged a significant number of its staff to take unpaid leave, Philippine Airlines has announced job cuts, while Hong Kong Airlines have also cut jobs while reducing its in-flight services.

By offering unlimited pass, this can be a short term solution for AirAsia to improve its cash flow especially when most of its flights are severely affected by the recent coronavirus outbreak. It was also reported that AirAsia X is trying to defer its delivery of 78 Airbus A330neo. According to Forbes, AirAsia X has an 81% load factor while Thai AirAsia X has a load factor of 83%, which leave ample of unsold seats that it can fill.

In a way, this is an alternative way of offering “Free Seats”. By offering a pass, consumers will get the flexibility to choose their preferred dates of travel within a period of one year. Hopefully, the COVID-19 situation is contained towards the end of the year.

If you’ve travelling, we would recommend getting travel insurance that provides protection for trip cancellations. In the event a flight gets cancelled, you can be reimbursed for expenses paid for travel and accommodation. If you’re going to make a lot of international trips, you can consider getting annual travel insurance for a full year of protection.

To learn more about the pass, you can refer to the FAQ and T&C.

Alexander Wong