You are currently viewing AirAsia sale: Free flights in Asia (just the taxes to pay, as low as $13 roundtrip)

AirAsia (or airasia), the largest ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) in Asia, currently has a great sale that is interesting for anyone planning to travel to Asia: free flights (just the taxes to pay). Formal sales advertised by airlines often suck compared to real deals, but ULCCs are one of the few exceptions.

Here are the details of the AirAsia sale.

 

Overview of the AirAsia sale

Here are the essential highlights of the AirAsia sale:

  • 10 million seats on sale (FREE SEATS and MEGA SALE promotions)
  • Many free short-distance flights ($0 in airfare)
  • Just the taxes to pay because governments always want your money
  • As low as $13 roundtrip (although most are a bit higher)
  • Several long-distance flights greatly reduced too
  • Includes domestic routes in 4 countries and international routes to 19 more
  • No promo code required (rare for a ULCC sale)
AirAsia sale (image credit: AirAsia)

 

Here are the validity dates of the AirAsia sale:

  • Reservations before March 19
  • Flights between September 4, 2023 and August 13, 2024

Here is why you should be interested in the AirAsia sale:

  • To get to your destination with the self-transfer tip
    • You often pay way too much if you buy your flights on 1 ticket
    • It’s often better to book the transpacific flights separately
    • You can combine them with cheap short-distance flights
    • You can save hundreds of dollars in total
    • You’ll be able to visit an extra city as a bonus too!
  • To fly within Asia during your trip 
    • Visiting several destinations is often more enjoyable
    • Flights are often cheaper than overland transportation

Here is how to search for flights during the AirAsia sale:

  • Flytrippers does not spot deals from Asian cities
  • AirAsia is not one of the airlines that make it easy to see the deals
    • No list of discounted routes or prices per route
    • No calendar view to find the lowest prices
  • All the details are below, but you’ll have to search manually
    • Either on Kiwi as usual
    • Or on the AirAsia website directly

Here is how to book flights during the AirAsia sale (or ANY flight):

  • ALWAYS compare all airlines on an aggregator (Skyscanner)
    • Just because they have a sale doesn’t mean they have the best price
    • Compare the price WITH your extras if you want extras
    • For anything in travel, you just need to take the time to compare
  • Compare EVEN after you have chosen your airline and flight
    • Look at the price on the AirAsia website directly
    • Compare the price of the same flight on Skyscanner (and/or Kiwi and FlightHub)
    • Always book with the airline if the difference is minimal
  • Pay with the right credit card with free insurance
    • The card that has the travel rewards if you want to use some on this flight 
    • Or ideally one on which you’re unlocking a welcome bonus
    • Or at least one that does not charge FX fees (if not in $C)
    • Or the one with the best multiplier rate to minimize your loss
    • As a last resort, an old card that at least has insurance
  • Pay with cash or use simple fixed-value travel rewards
    • Sales prices are often very low
    • So it’s not worth wasting the lucrative type of points

I’ll remind you of the basics of all AirAsia sales:

  • AirAsia is an ultra low-cost carrier
    • It has hubs in 4 countries in Southeast Asia
    • It serves a total of 165 destinations in 23 countries
  • It’s the largest ULCC in Asia with 255 modern aircraft
    • It carried 83 million passengers in 2019
    • I enjoyed all my flight experiences on AirAsia
  • The price of all ULCCs includes a small bag, and that’s it
    • ULCCs are almost always the cheapest if you don’t want extras
    • ULCCs are often the cheapest even if you want extras
  • Just because there’s a sale doesn’t mean it’s a good one
    • But with ULCCs, it’s one of the exceptions where sales are good
    • The best dates and destinations will fly away quickly of course

 

Details of the AirAsia sale

Here is more information about the AirAsia sale.

 

AirAsia sale offer for March 2023

AirAsia is promoting it as 2 separate sales:

  • FREE SEATS
  • MEGA SALE

 

AirAsia FREE SEATS sale

The FREE SEATS sale for short-distance flights is by far the most interesting, with $0 airfares. We’ve explained it to you many times: one thing that is always certain is that governments want your money. And of course, no airline is going to pay the taxes for you!

Airline sales never affect taxes (for example, a sale with flights at 50% off is always just 50% off the airfare, not 50% off the tax portion and therefore not really 50% off the total price).

In most Asian countries served by AirAsia (23 countries), taxes are much lower than in Canada at least (which is not difficult considering that, like on many other things, Canada has some of the highest taxes on airline tickets in the world).

We had just shared an example with you in our free newsletter, with flights from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Langkawi (LGK) at $12.99 roundtrip! That’s $0 in airfare and $12.99 in taxes!

AirAsia price at $12.99 roundtrip (image credit: Kiwi)

 

AirAsia MEGA SALE

The MEGA SALE is the version for long-distance flights, with discounts that are mostly worth it if you were already going somewhere (while the other cheap flights are more worth planning a trip around the deal; that is one of the best tricks to save on airfare as you know if you’ve read our free ebook with 100+ travel tips).

These discounted prices can also be worthwhile, depending on your specific trip.

 

Routes included in the AirAsia sale

It seems like the entire route network is included in the AirAsia sale, although as mentioned, they aren’t one of the airlines that makes the routes included in their deals very clear.

AirAsia offers domestic flights in 4 Southeast Asian countries:

  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines

They also have a ton of short-distance flights between these 4 countries and between these 4 countries and international destinations nearby. In total, they offer international flights between their 4 home countries and 18 Asian countries (and the USA is the 19th, thanks to a Hawaii route).

AirAsia doesn’t have transpacific flights (no ULCCs do, unfortunately). Still, they are increasingly offering fairly long flights, especially from their main hubs in Kuala Lumpur (a city I loved) and Bangkok (a city Flytrippers’ other cofounder has been to 10+ times and one he keeps telling me to go to).

Some interesting examples:

Unfortunately, I can’t show you a map of their entire route network because AirAsia is actually 6 separate airline entities, so there are 6 maps. You can check them out in our AirAsia airline preliminary guide.

 

Validity dates of the AirAsia sale

Like any sale in the travel world, there are always 2 validity periods to know:

  • The period to book the flight
  • The period to take the flight

 

Period to book the flight

For this AirAsia sale, you have until March 19th to book. There is no specific hour specified. Good sales like this rarely last more than a few days. And you should obviously book as fast as possible for more options.

 

Period to take the flight

The period to actually fly these flights is excessively long compared to usual, almost 1 full year (from September 4, 2023 to August 13, 2024). If you plan ahead, that means you can even save for flights into the summer of 2024.

 

Usefulness of the AirAsia sale for Canadians

The AirAsia sale is useful both if:

  • You want to fly within Asia
  • You want to go to Asia from Canada

 

Getting around in Asia

Yes, most people obviously leave from Canada… and most people sadly don’t realize that the AirAsia sale can still be extremely useful to save money!

If you already have flights booked between Canada and Asia, the AirAsia sale can be helpful to book the missing flights in your itinerary or even add destinations to your itinerary, since visiting more places is usually better!

Short-distance flights are really affordable, sometimes it’s much better than traveling overland. For example in Thailand, Bangkok-Phuket takes 16h each way by bus/train but costs just $23 roundtrip with the AirAsia sale (that saves you almost 30 hours for not much more than the cost of the bus/train).

AirAsia price at $23 roundtrip (image credit: Kiwi)

 

Obviously, if you are a digital nomad like Flytrippers’ other co-founder, you will often be in Asia (one of the most beautiful places in the world, of course). So you can take advantage of the AirAsia sale to fly around Asia like all the Canadians who take advantage of the deals from Canada (Kevin happens to be in Bali right now to take advantage of the beautiful free Marriott hotels; more content to come)!

 

Getting to Asia from Canada

The AirAsia sale is especially beneficial since the self-transfer tip is really one of the best ways to save on airfare.

Very often, you pay way too much if you buy flights to Asia on only 1 ticket!

To reuse the example of the Kuala Lumpur-Langkawi flights for $13 roundtrip from this AirAsia sale, for the same dates, a Montreal-Langkawi flight costs $2300 roundtrip.

But Montreal-Kuala Lumpur flights are 1700$ roundtrip. So you pay $600 for a flight that is literally worth $13… just to have everything on 1 ticket. And on top of that, booking everything on 1 ticket doesn’t allow you to visit Kuala Lumpur, an absolutely great city, as I said.

Since the definition of travel is visiting places, being able to visit one more place AND saving $500+ per person… that should be quite the no-brainer.

There are a few things to know about the self-transfer tip; our guide that will be more detailed than that preview is coming up.

 

Logistics to search for flights of the AirAsia sale

Flytrippers spots flight deals from many Canadian, American, and European cities… but not from Asia. So we don’t have the usual list of cheapest routes or the usual turnkey date combinations.

Since there are so many different AirAsia routes… we can only help you learn how to help yourself. Knowing how to find your own cheap flights is a very basic and useful skill for all travelers, one that will serve you for the rest of your life.

It’s not that complicated either, you just need to invest the time to learn how and do it. We’ll help with a lot more content about this; here’s a teaser in the meantime.

Usually, airlines (especially ULCCs) have super handy lists of routes on sale and sample prices when they have sales. Not AirAsia.

Usually, many airlines also have a super convenient calendar view to see the lowest prices in a month very easily. Not AirAsia.

So you have to search manually. In any case, you have 2 options:

I’ll be sharing a detailed guide on how to use Kiwi very soon, with videos.

But here is a preview of  how to go about it depending on what flights you need during the AirAsia sale:

  • If you are flexible on the destination
  • If you have a specific destination

 

If you are flexible on your destination

Being flexible on your destination is obviously the best way to save on flights.

I’ll start with the scenario where you already have Canada-Asia flights and you’re flexible on which extra destination to add in Asia.

You go to Kiwi, put the city you’re going to be in Asia as your departure and put “Anywhere” as your destination. You set the dates that work for you (use a range of dates of course to get the lowest prices, if you are flexible on the dates within your already booked trip).

You sort by lowest price (always!), which will show you the cheapest destinations and dates.

If you don’t have your Canada-Asia flights yet, it’s honestly probably not worth booking the short-distance flights first, because it will take away your flexibility for the more important flights (the Canada-Asia flights).

In other words, it’s not very savvy to pay $40 roundtrip for an airasia flight instead of $100 roundtrip (thus saving $60) if it makes you buy a Canada-Asia flight at $2000 instead of $1200…

You have to know how to count again (or rather take the time to do it because I’m sure that everyone knows how to count, but a lot of people don’t want to put in the time, and then sadly they wonder why it costs them so much to travel).

If you’re ready to book everything, including your Canada-Asia flight (that means you’ve already done your research and you know the prices; otherwise you’re not ready), I’ll scoop what’s coming in the detailed guide on the self-transfer tip.

You go to Kiwi, put your city as departure and put “Asia” as the destination. You put in the dates (a range ideally, again). It finds you the cheapest transpacific flights.

You create an Excel or Google Sheets document (in the upcoming guide, I will share with you a ready-made template), and you write the price of the 5 cheapest Asian cities in Montreal for your dates. 

You go to Kiwi and put each of these 5 cities as departure and put “Anywhere” as the destination and the dates that fit with your Canada-Asia flights. You compare your options by putting the prices in another column of your document. 

Take into account the cost of the stopover because if you spend a night in a hotel in Singapore (the only expensive city in a radius of hundreds of kilometers) instead of a night in a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, it affects the calculation. It’s the 3rd column in your document.

More subjectively, maybe for a few dollars more, there’s a city you’d prefer to visit over others during your transfer. Take that into account; every traveler is different and that’s why the best way to have a more enjoyable trip (and a more affordable one too obviously) is to always to everything on your own according to your own tastes.

Compare the total prices, and there you go.

That’s the short version; come back soon for all this step-by-step with screenshots and even more tips to help you (or sign up for our free newsletter to receive everything).

 

If you have a specific destination

I’ll again start with the scenario where you already have Canada-Asia flights, but let’s just say it’s not really rocket science.

You go to Kiwi, put the city you’re going to be in Asia as your departure and put the city you want to go to as your destination. You put in the dates that work for you (a wide range of dates ideally, again).

Not much else to do if you’re not flexible and have already purchased the transpacific flights, except be as flexible as you can on the dates of those other flights during your trip. Being flexible on everything is the key!

If you don’t have your Canada-Asia flights yet, it’s exactly the same as in the previous section except that for the 2nd ticket, instead of looking for all the destinations, you just look for the specific destination, so it’s even less complicated.

 

Logistics to book flights during the AirAsia sale

Many travelers have difficulty understanding that searching and booking are 2 completely separate steps when you need airline tickets.

So when you get to the booking, there are a few tips:

  • Compare all airlines
  • Compare all booking sites

 

Compare all airlines

As with any flight, another airline may be cheaper. Every flight is different!

Even with the AirAsia sale, other Asian ULCCs (or even non-ULCCs) can be cheaper on many dates. Especially if you’re adding extras to your flights; check out the section on ULCC basics below.

Always compare! The Skyscanner aggregator allows you to compare almost every airline in the world.

(Don’t miss our ultimate guide on how to save on flights, but you can get a good preview already in our free ebook with 100+ travel tips!)

 

Compare all booking sites

Then, even when you have chosen a specific flight, and you have confirmed that AirAsia is the cheapest, you should always compare independent booking sites because they can sometimes have the same flight for much cheaper than on the AirAsia site directly.

We always use Skyscanner to compare, since it’s an aggregator that searches 40+ different sites. Kiwi and FlightHub are 2 others that are not aggregators but are good and do not always appear on Skyscanner these days, for some strange reason.

However, for flights on ULCCs like AirAsia, it’s more rare that independent booking sites will have lower prices honestly. But it happens so always compare; it takes 1 minute! Everything related to airfare can always vary!

If the price is the same (or very similar), ALWAYS book on the airline’s website directly. We’ll have a detailed article on that too soon.

If the independent booking site has a lower price, it’s up to you and your risk tolerance. I will give you all the details to consider in that future article.

 

Best card to pay for flights with the AirAsia sale

To pay for all your airline tickets (not just on AirAsia), it’s very important to choose the right credit card.

It’s that in addition to all the free travel they give you easily, they have good insurance (cancellation, interruption, flight delay, delayed/lost baggage, etc.)!

But you have to pay with the card to be covered (EXCEPT for the medical insurance — the most important one — which usually covers you even without paying with your card, contrary to the common myth). Detailed post coming very soon.

Here are the 5 options in order of priority to pay for your flights:

  • Card that has the travel rewards you want to use on the flight AND has insurance
  • Card that has a welcome bonus you’re currently unlocking AND has insurance
  • Card that has no foreign currency transaction fees AND has insurance
  • Card that has a multiplier rate on travel AND has insurance
  • Card that at least has insurance

 

Card that has the travel rewards you want to use on the flight AND has insurance

If you want to use bank rewards for the flights, you have to pay with the card in question. See the next section about using travel rewards in conjunction with the AirAsia sale (or for any other flight, for that matter).

Make sure the card has insurance.

 

Card that has a welcome bonus that you’re currently unlocking AND has insurance

If you don’t want to use travel rewards, which makes sense in many scenarios, you should ideally pay with a credit card on which you are unlocking a huge welcome bonus.

Because welcome bonuses are key! Most give the equivalent of 10-15% back; a little better than the 1% or 2% that people usually earn huh!

Best credit card offers
(March 2023)
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Best
for
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card (excl. QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $7.5k in 12 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $845
Card fee: $0 $139
Valuable Aeroplan pts
and travel benefits
$5k spend option also available
ends May 28th
TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card (excl. QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $5k in 6 mos.
Rewards: $825
Card fee: $0 $139
Highest offer
for simple points
and 1st year free
ends May 28th
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $5k in 6 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $900
Card fee: $120
Versatile rewards
valuable or simple
great beginner's card
ends April 30th
Extended
National Bank World Elite Mastercard
Card:
Bonus: spend $5k in 3 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $750
Card fee: $0 $150
Great offer &
great insurance
& YUL lounge access
ends June 30th
American Express Cobalt Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $500/mo for 12 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $900
Card fee: $156
Best overall
card
in Canada
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1388
Card fee: $599
For Air Canada
lounge access
& other AC benefits
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card (excl. QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $12k in 12 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $1374
Card fee: $599
For Air Canada
lounge access and
6 passes (other lounges)
ends May 28th
American Express Aeroplan Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 6 mos.
Rewards: ≈ $795
Card fee: $120
Valuable Aeroplan pts
without min. income
and lower min. spend
New
HSBC World Elite Mastercard (non-QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos. (see QC offer)
Rewards: ≈ $688
Card fee: $0 $149
No FX fee
good earn rate
& flexible rewards
ends May 31st
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.
Best credit card offers
(March 2023)
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card (excl. QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $7.5k in 12 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends May 28th
Rewards: ≈ $845
Card fee: $0 $139
Best for: Valuable Aeroplan pts and travel benefits
$5k spend option also available
TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card (excl. QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $5k in 6 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends May 28th
Rewards: $825
Card fee: $0 $139
Best for: Highest offer for simple points
and 1st year free
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $5k in 6 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends April 30th
Rewards: ≈ $900
Card fee: $120
Best for: Versatile rewards valuable or simple
great beginner's card
Extended
National Bank® World Elite Mastercard®
National Bank World Elite Mastercard
Card:
Bonus: spend $5k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends June 30th
Rewards: ≈ $750
Card fee: $0 $150
Best for: Great offer & great insurance
& YUL lounge access
American Express Cobalt® Card American Express Cobalt Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $500/mo for 12 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $900
Card fee: $156
Best for: Best overall card
in Canada
American Express® Aeroplan®* Reserve Card American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $1388
Card fee: $599
Best for: For Air Canada lounge access
& other AC benefits
TD® Aeroplan® Visa* Infinite Privilege* Card TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card (excl. QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $12k in 12 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends May 28th
Rewards: ≈ $1374
Card fee: $599
Best for: For Air Canada lounge access and
6 passes (other lounges)
American Express® Aeroplan®* Card American Express Aeroplan Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 6 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
Rewards: ≈ $795
Card fee: $120
Best for: Valuable Aeroplan pts without min. income
and lower min. spend
New
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
HSBC World Elite Mastercard (non-QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos. (see QC offer)
WELCOME BONUS
ends May 31st
Rewards: ≈ $688
Card fee: $0 $149
Best for: No FX fee good earn rate
& flexible rewards
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.

 

Of course, if the card you’re currently unlocking the welcome bonus on doesn’t have good insurance, it should be avoided.

But it should also be avoided if the card has insurance but the flight you book is for after the end of your 1st year of the card (unless it’s one like the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card that gives you value every year instead of just the 1st year like most cards).

Because you obviously still have to hold the card during the flight if you want the insurance that is very useful during the flight. If you have to pay the 2nd year’s fee just to get the insurance for a flight you booked, it lowers the net value of the deal on that card.

 

Card that has no foreign transaction fees AND has insurance

You’ll pay a 2.5% foreign transaction fee (FX fee) for nothing with almost all Canadian cards (often people don’t even know they’re paying this unfortunately). It completely eliminates the rewards you earn… and with most cards, it even makes you use your card at a loss instead of making a profit like you should!

Since welcome bonuses give 10-15% back, it’s okay to pay 2.5% in the previous option. You have to know how to count as I said.

But if you’re not unlocking a welcome bonus (you really should, I repeat), take that into account.

Most independent booking sites allow you to pay in Canadian dollars. So if this is your case, foreign transaction fees are not a factor.

(Always compare to see if the price of the same flight in the local currency of the country of departure would not be cheaper; it happens! It’s one of the tricks in our free ebook with 100+ travel tips!)

But if you book on the website of an airline that does not serve Canada (which you should often do if you want to save), the option to pay in Canadian dollars is often not available. That’s the case with the AirAsia website.

Among the few credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, not all of them have insurance. Here are the ones that do (they all have a minimum income though).

Best credit cards with
no FX fees and insurance
WELCOME BONUS
( VALUATION)
Other
benefit
Best
HSBC World Elite Mastercard (non-QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos. (see QC offer)
Rewards: ≈ $688
Card fee: $0 $149
Welcome
bonus
is very good
ends May 31st
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 3 mos.
Rewards: $320
Card fee: $0 $150
Airport
lounge access
6 passes
ends April 30th
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 3 mos.
Rewards: $300
Card fee: $0 $120
Very good
travel insurance
and earn rate
ends April 30th
Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
Rewards: $560
Card fee: $399
Airport
lounge access
10 passes
ends April 30th
Brim World Elite Mastercard
Card:
Bonus: no welcome bonus
Rewards: $0
Card fee: $0 $199
No minimum
spend
add-on w/ other card
limited time
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.
Best credit cards with
no FX fees and insurance
Best
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
HSBC World Elite Mastercard (non-QC)
Card:
Bonus: spend $6k in 6 mos. (see QC offer)
WELCOME BONUS
ends May 31st
Rewards: ≈ $688
Card fee: $0 $149
Other benefit: Welcome bonus
is very good
Scotiabank Passport® Visa Infinite* Card Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends April 30th
Rewards: $320
Card fee: $0 $150
Other benefit: Airport lounge access
6 passes
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $1k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends April 30th
Rewards: $300
Card fee: $0 $120
Other benefit: Very good travel insurance
and earn rate
Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card
Card:
Bonus: spend $3k in 3 mos.
WELCOME BONUS
ends April 30th
Rewards: $560
Card fee: $399
Other benefit: Airport lounge access
10 passes
Brim World Elite Mastercard Brim World Elite Mastercard
Card:
Bonus: no welcome bonus
WELCOME BONUS
limited time
Rewards: $0
Card fee: $0 $199
Other benefit: No minimum spend
add-on w/ other card
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Financial institutions are not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "See More" to see most up-to-date information.

 

Card that has a multiplier rate on travel AND has insurance

For most people, it’s worth paying the 2.5% FX fee rather than not having free insurance.

If you do this, prioritize using a card that at least has a multiplier earn rate on the travel category to make a small profit despite the FX fee (or to minimize your losses with the ones that aren’t as good).

For example:

 

Card that at least has insurance 

At the very least, pay with an old card that has insurance; even if you’re paying a 2.5% FX fee and it will cause you to use the card at a loss.

 

Redeeming travel rewards for the AirAsia sale

The AirAsia sale offers really cheap flights, so it can be okay to just pay with cash and save your rewards for better uses. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get those flights completely free with travel rewards.

Travel rewards are the best way to travel for less. Our monthly travel rewards video was just this week and even if you watch the replay instead of being there live, you’ll be able to find out how to get started with the best credit cards of the month.

And we especially want to help you maximize the free travel you can get, because the redemption you choose makes a huge difference in the value!

There are 2 types of rewards redemptions:

  • Variable-value redemptions
  • Fixed-value redemptions

 

Variable-value redemptions

Variable-value redemptions are the most valuable because they are the least simple: everything is either more simple or more valuable in the travel world (or in everything, really).

But variable-value redemptions are the most for people who pay for flights that are expensive in cash, as so many people unfortunately do.

Here with the AirAsia sale, the flights are excessively affordable, so obviously, don’t waste super-valuable and lucrative points on them. Very easy decision.

The super-valuable and lucrative points that can give you unlimited value through variable-value redemptions are:

  • Aeroplan points
  • Avios points
  • American Express points
  • RBC Avion points
  • CIBC Aventura points
  • HSBC Rewards points

You can read this preview of how to use points while waiting for our guides and videos on each of the programs.

And the details of how to find the details of a rewards program.

 

Fixed-value redemptions

So for the AirAsia sale, it leaves fixed-value redemptions. These are less valuable, but more simple. It’s always worth the same (it’s a fixed value), so we don’t care about the cash price (unlike the variable-value redemptions, where the cash price determines the value!).

That means you could use them while taking advantage of the AirAsia sale.

There are 2 types of fixed-value redemptions:

  • Standard type
  • Eraser type

Standard-type fixed-value redemptions are when you have to go through the rewards program website to book if you want to maximize the value of the points.

To be very clear, you can often use these points for eraser-type fixed-value redemptions as well; it’s just that it often gives you less value if you do that (because it’s either more simple or more valuable, once again).

For example, to use the 165,000 TD Rewards points (which you can get for free with the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card — the highest offer ever in Canada for simple points) for $825 worth of travel (instead of $660), you have to go through the TD booking site. To use National Bank À la carte points (which you can get for free with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard — which also gives you access to 1 airport lounge at YUL), you have to go through the National Bank booking site to get $750 in value instead of $700.

AirAsia being an ultra low-cost carrier, sometimes it’s just not available on the rewards program booking sites, so you can’t apply those points. Check with the points you have.

If the flights from the AirAsia sale are available at the same price on the booking site of the rewards program you have right now, obviously always prioritize that redemption option to keep the points that allow for eraser-type uses. Especially since, for once, there is no promo code required for the AirAsia sale (which would force you to go through their site).

Eraser-type fixed-value redemptions are more flexible: you can book anywhere and erase the expense with your points. Obviously, this will usually save you less, since it’s the most simple of all the travel rewards redemption options.

But it’s always good to have a bit of these, especially if you also get plenty of the better more valuable types. And if you have simple points like that, you can use them to take advantage of the AirAsia sale completely free. 

Scene+ points (like those from the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card or the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card) and BMO Rewards points (from the BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card or the BMO Ascend World Elite MasterCard) can erase any expense AND can never be worth more, so these are the ones you can use in this situation. They’re among the hardest to earn in large quantities, though.

Also, CIBC Aventura points (like those from the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Card or CIBC Aventura Gold Visa Card), HSBC Rewards points (from the HSBC World Elite Mastercard), or National Bank À la carte points could be used.

Because there’s less of a difference between that fixed-value eraser-type redemption and the value you can get with the other redemptions. And because with CIBC Aventura, the other redemption to give better value is just for those who aren’t good at finding cheap flights (maybe you are), and with HSBC Rewards, the other redemption is really very inflexible, so those who don’t want to rack their brains won’t want to take advantage of that.

(Note that for CIBC Aventura, it’s a promo until July 2023 only if you want to use your points for any travel expense at a decent value!)

TD Rewards points can erase any travel expense too, it’s just that it’s worth 20% less than with their booking site, so we obviously can’t recommend that. American Express points also do this, but they are worth SO much more if you use them otherwise, so it’s even less of a good idea. 

Again, you can read this preview of how to use points and how to find the details of a rewards program while waiting for our guides and videos on each program.

 

My experiences on AirAsia

I want to share more of my own travel experiences; in the meantime I’ve posted some photos I took on my 4 AirAsia flights from Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.

 

Basics of the AirAsia airline and ULCCs

I want to remind you of 2 basic things if you don’t know them:

  • About AirAsia
  • About ULCCs

 

Basics of AirAsia

AirAsia is the largest ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) in Asia and has been operating since 1993. It’s been the highest-rated low-cost airline in the world for 10+ years running.

It always makes me laugh a little bit when people are scared just because they have never heard of an airline.

Of course, you’ve never heard of AirAsia if you’ve never been to Asia (or if you made the mistake of booking everything on 1 ticket when you went like almost everyone always does): they don’t fly to North America and they don’t partner with any North American airline, so how would you have heard of them?

If there is one thing that all travelers should have realized through their travels, it’s precisely that just because something is unfamiliar, new, or foreign… it certainly doesn’t mean it’s dangerous. Having an irrational fear of what’s unfamiliar, new, or foreign is even a bit incompatible with being a traveler!

To be very clear, it’s very normal (and good) to be careful and to investigate and to be skeptical AND TO SEAK INFORMATION. But it’s not normal to just be scared and not seak information. Or maybe normal, but it’s certainly not very good. Not a quality at all. Traveling is about becoming better humans too!

Here is some data on AirAsia to give some perspective:

  • Number of passengers in 2019
    • AirAsia: 83 million
    • Air Canada: 52 million
  • Number of aircraft
    • AirAsia: 255
    • Air Canada: 353 (many small ones, which AirAsia doesn’t have)
  • Average age of aircraft
    • AirAsia: About 9 years old
    • Air Canada: About 10 years old
  • Number of destinations
    • AirAsia: 165
    • Air Canada: 222

In short, it’s a big reliable airline, even if you happen not to know the name! You can check out our AirAsia airline preliminary guide.

 

Basics of ULCCs

Like any ultra low-cost carrier, the price on AirAsia includes just:

  • A seat on a plane that is as safe as any other carrier
  • A backpack that fits under the seat in front of you

That’s it. Literally everything else is an optional extra. You don’t want to pay more? Just don’t get any optional extras. Simple.

If you do get some, such as another piece of baggage, ULCCs are very often still the cheapest option (whereas they almost always are if you don’t get extras).

If you want extras, then obviously compare the price WITH extras to the prices of other airlines to compare apples to apples. It’s pretty much the most basic thing about planning your trips yourself: take the time to compare but also know how to count right!

Finally, in every country in the world, commercial aviation safety standards are the same for all airlines in the country, whether they are ULCCs or whether they charge 3 times more for their flights.

So if you are afraid to fly AirAsia, you should also be afraid to fly Garuda Indonesia for example, one of the most prestigious airlines in the world (1 of only 10 airlines with a 5-star rating in the world). Safety standards are the same!

(Not to mention that chances of dying in a plane crash are about 15 times lower than by car and nobody is scared of cars, but that’s a whole other topic… we’ve clearly seen during the pandemic how many people are terrible at contextualizing risks — and great at being scared!)

The only real flaw of ULCCs (one that is not unique to ULCCs but also true for small airlines and all airlines that are not the dominant legacy carriers) is that they have less frequent flights so it takes longer to get to the destination if a flight is completely canceled (still a very low probability overall obviously).

So if you’re traveling with AirAsia (or all the other ULCCs and small airlines), give yourself a buffer period, that’s all. And obviously pay with a credit card that has flight delay insurance to get hotels and meals completely free during the delay (detailed article to come on the best credit card benefit).

You can read all about ULCCs in part 1 of our ultimate guide to ultra low-cost carriers.

 

Basics of the flight deals

I want to remind you of 2 basic things about flight deals in general:

  • Not all sales are deals
  • You have to be ready to act quickly when there are deals

 

Not all sales are deals

We’ve explained this many times before: just because there’s a sale, it doesn’t mean it’s a good one. It’s especially true for airline sales, which are often terrible and a waste of time even.

The most common exception is with ultra low-cost airlines, such as AirAsia.

For some dates and routes, the AirAsia sale is going to be super good. For some dates and routes, the AirAsia sale is going to suck. There is no way around it: you have to do your own research.

Like everything else about airfare, it varies. Do some research and compare; it’s as simple as that.

 

You have to be ready to act quickly when there are deals

It’s very simple: be prepared and make a list of all the destinations that you could be interested in visiting if the plane ticket was cheap. Do it in advance!

It’s the best way to be able to take advantage of deals… and it will take you a tiny fraction of the number of hours the average Canadian spends watching TV in a week. If you want to travel for less, make it a priority to travel for less.

You absolutely must understand that for all deals, including the 50%-off deals that Flytrippers spots, the best dates and destinations obviously disappear excessively quickly!

Often in only a few hours, not even half-days!

These are deals; that’s how it is! It’s not a whole plane that will be $13 roundtrip; think about it for a second, that flight wouldn’t be very profitable, would it? So it’s always just a few seats per flight, obviously — and they will be taken very quickly.

Savvy travelers who act faster are going to have the most choices and the most options. How can they act faster? They are prepared! They took the time for some planning, to be ready!

So be ready by having already thought about your desired destinations (and even potential lists of dates) BEFOREHAND, as I explained for the Montreal to Newfoundland deal at $111 roundtrip in the middle of summer spotted last week. Planning and preparation is the key to traveling for less; it’s not that hard to think about destinations in advance.

When a deal comes out, it’s not the time to do this; it’s probably too late. It’s time to find the best dates and book, that’s it. You won’t have time to do much more than that, or the best dates will be gone.

So I’ll repeat it one last time because it’s so important so that you’re not like so many who pay way too much for their flights: prepare yourself in advance! That way, when a deal comes out, you’ll be able to be quick and have the most options in terms of dates!

Really not that complicated, at least when you know it. Now you know! 😊

 

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Summary

The AirAsia sale gives you discounts that can be very interesting on flights in Asia. Asia’s largest ultra low-cost carrier has plenty of flights that can be combined with your transpacific flights to save on airfare to your desired Asian destination!

What would you like to know about the AirAsia sale? Tell us in the comments below.

 

See the deals we spot: Cheap flights

Explore awesome destinations: Travel inspiration

Learn pro tricks: Travel tips

Discover free travel: Travel rewards

 

Featured image: Langkawi, Malaysia (photo credit: Redowana Rashid Hridy)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 64/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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