We recently discovered a way to save on the cash portion of Korean Air award tickets booked with Korean Air miles!
It turns out that Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Hong Kong do not have fuel charges added to the fares. This is great because that means they are not collected on award tickets either!
The savings is at least $140 USD per ticket! It is even more of a savings for some other nearby cities like Singapore!
Korean Air awards are a good deal when flying Korean Air operated flights. They allow access to their First Class cabins and expanded availability in Business Class when using miles. They also are a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate rewards which post instantly. You can book one way trips on Korean Air flights and add a stopover in Seoul if you want as well on a one-way award ticket.
Since you save $140 or more by going out of Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong you will have more than enough money to cover a regional cash flight to one of those cities. You can stop in those cities along the way as well if you want or just connect and checkin again. Saving money and seeing more places at the same time is a great double-dip travel hack!
Below is an example of the taxes charged for Singapore (expensive), Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong. The mileage shown is for First Class but the taxes and fees are the same for all cabins.
As you can see above the savings in taxes would more than cover a one way flight to either city when using a low cost airline such as Air Asia, Tiger Air, Jet, and many others available. Going out of Hong Kong has the added bonus of costing fewer miles due to it being in the Northeast Asia region.
Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong are both great cities to stop in for a few days. They both have a lot to offer in activities, food, culture, nightlife, and history. Kuala Lumpur is a hub for low cost airline Air Asia with flights all over the region for very cheap. Hong Kong is the hub for Cathay Pacific. You can use British Airways Avios points to redeem for their regional flights for 7,500-15,000 one-way without fuel charges.
If you are planning a visit to the southeast Asia region be sure to consider these options when looking at available flights to return home. Korean Air has great availability on their own flights. Be sure to check their award charts to avoid the peak times when their mileage prices are much higher.
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