Malaysia Airlines has taken a leaf out of the AirAsia playbook and by launching MHflypass, a flight pass that offers three return trips (or six one-way trips) in Economy Class for a fixed price.
Passes can be purchased by any member of the free-to-join Enrich programme, and each pass is valid for one year. Passholders enjoy priority check-in and boarding, as well as standard seat selection.
What I can tell you is that it’s probably not worth considering for someone based in Singapore.
What is MHflypass?
The MHflypass ASEAN pass comes with six flight coupons that can be redeemed for either one-way or round-trip Economy Class travel to ASEAN destinations. The price depends on which zone you select:
- Zone 1: MYR 1,499 (S$466)
- Zone 2: MYR 2,099 (S$653)
- Zone 3: MYR 2,699 (S$840)
If you’re living outside of Malaysia, Zone 3 is your only option. This covers the following destinations (options from Singapore in green).
|✈️ MHflypass ASEAN Zone 3|
Flight to/from Kuala Lumpur – Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya, Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh, Yangon, Manila, Hanoi and Bali.
Flight to/from Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya, Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Yangon – Alor Setar, Langkawi, Penang, Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Bahru, Johor Bahru.
Flight to/from Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya, Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Yangon – Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Labuan, Sandakan, Kuching, Sibu, Miri, Bintulu.
Flight to/from Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya – Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Yangon.
Flight to/from Singapore – Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya, Bangkok, Phuket, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Yangon.
Flight to/from Bangkok, Phuket – Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya, Singapore, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Yangon.
Flight to/from Manila – Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya, Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Yangon.
Flight to/from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi – Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya, Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Manila, Phnom Penh, Yangon.
Flight to/from Phnom Penh – Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya, Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Yangon.
Flight to/from Yangon – Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya, Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Phnom Penh.
Each one-way flight consumes one coupon, and each round-trip flight consumes two coupons. If you’re flying on an itinerary that involves an immediate connection (i.e. no stopover), it counts as one coupon. For example, a one-way SIN-KUL-BKK trip will use one coupon, notwithstanding the fact there are two legs.
Tickets booked via the MHflypass ASEAN come with the following benefits:
- Priority check-in, boarding and bag drop
- Standard seat selection
- No blackout dates (subject to seat availability)
- Unlimited ‘Go Show’ (board an earlier flight on the same day, subject to seat availability)
- Unlimited free date change (subject to seat availability)
- 35kg check-in and 7kg cabin allowance
- Complimentary snacks/meals and beverages
While the MHflypass has no blackout dates, that doesn’t mean you can use it on any date where Economy Class seats are available for sale. MHflypass redemptions require the ‘V’ fare class to be available at the time of booking.
Also, while the MHflypass comes with unlimited date changes, you cannot change the routing. For example, if I redeem one of my flight coupons for a one-way Singapore to Bangkok flight, I cannot subsequently change Bangkok to a different destination.
Here’s the other key points to note about the MHflypass ASEAN:
- Valid for travel on Malaysia Airlines operated flights only*
- Valid for 365 days from the date of purchase
- Airport taxes and surcharges are not included and must be paid separately
- MHflypass is non-refundable
- MHflypass can only be used by the person who bought it, i.e. non-transferrable
- Enrich points will be awarded for purchase at a rate of MYR1= 1 Enrich Point
- Tickets cannot be upgraded with Enrich points or cash
*this is a bit confusing, because the landing page mentions MASwings and Firefly as well, but the T&Cs state Malaysia Airlines only.
Why MHflypass doesn’t make sense for Singaporeans
The way I see it, there’s two major drawbacks about the MHflypass.
The first is transit. Malaysia Airlines only serves Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kuching directly from Singapore; all other destinations will require a transit in Kuala Lumpur.
This means budgeting additional travel time for the flight to Kuala Lumpur and layover, not counting the extra flight time if you fly in the “wrong” direction, as you would for SIN-KUL-DPS (i.e. you’re flying in the opposite direction of DPS initially).
Furthermore, connections may not line up nicely. Take Bali, for instance. The shortest connection to Bali involves an eight hour layover at Kuala Lumpur, which pretty much rules it out as a feasible destination for a Singapore-based MHflypass holder.
It’s not much better for other popular destinations. Ho Chi Minh involves a total travel time (including layovers) of 5h 10m, Bangkok 5h 45m, Phuket 11h 40m, and Hanoi 13h 5m!
The reason is simple: the banking of flights at KUL is meant to connect short-haul passengers to long-haul flights. It’s assumed that very few people would fly SIN-KUL-HKT (when they could just as well fly SIN-HKT), and therefore the arrival of the first flight from SIN comes too late to connect to other flights within the region.
Second, the MHflypass covers airfare only, not airport taxes and surcharges. This means you’ll need to pay further cash out of pocket. For example, a round-trip SIN-KUL-BKK itinerary has S$105 of taxes and surcharges, as shown in the red box below.
Since the airport taxes for flights out of Singapore cost S$52.30, you can essentially add S$157 to the S$840 cost of your MHflypass (assuming three round-trips starting in Singapore), and that’s before taking into account MH’s fuel surcharges (~S$22 per round-trip) and overseas airport taxes.
To illustrate, an MHflypass holder who uses his pass for a round-trip to Bangkok, Bali and Hanoi would need to pay S$328 in airport taxes and surcharges, making the total cost of his pass S$1,167.
Is that really a saving over buying separate tickets? Hardly. A quick back of the envelope calculation shows that the same flights could be purchased a la carte on Malaysia Airlines for about S$1,175. And direct flights on other airlines can be purchased for S$952!
To recap: not only do Singapore-based MHflypass holders face prolonged travel times, they need to shell out additional money for taxes and surcharges.
It’s very hard to see how you’d come out on top here, and I’d wager you’d be better off buying cheap direct flights on budget carriers (and adding a bag if need be) than waiting hours in transit and topping up extra cash for taxes and surcharges.
Give this deal a miss.
Is there some use case for the MHflypass for a Singapore-based traveller that I’m missing?