HUGE Devaluation Coming To Malaysia Airlines Enrich (Including Revenue Based Redemptions)

Ouch! This change is rough both in terms of the actual changes published so far, and also in terms of the implications of a loyalty program becoming revenue based on the redemption side.

You’d think Malaysia Airlines would still be earning back the trust of their frequent flyers given the events of the past few years and struggles they’ve had, but that’s not stopping them from seriously devaluing their Enrich frequent flyer program. In February 2015 Malaysia Airlines Enrich had a pretty significant devaluation for travel on their own flights, though ironically not for travel on partner airlines.

Well, now Malaysia Airlines is back with a massive devaluation, which impacts both travel on Malaysia Airlines and their oneworld partner airlines.

The changes to the Malaysia Airlines Enrich program are kicking in for bookings as of June 10, 2017, the same date that Malaysia Airlines is switching to a new reservations system (which presumably makes this “enhancement” possible). You can find the full press release about these changes here.

You have a couple of weeks left to make reservations under the current program. Oddly it looks like tickets booked before June 10 won’t be cancelable after that date. Per the FAQs:

If I have redeemed an Award Travel before 10 June 2017, can I cancel and refund my ticket?

You will not be entitled to a refund but you are entitled to make changes to your travel dates within ticket validity. The award redemption terms and conditions will apply.


Malaysia Airlines 737

Change to award redemptions on Malaysia Airlines

We actually don’t yet know exactly how redemptions rates on Malaysia Airlines will change. As far as outright award tickets go, we know that redemptions will be revenue based rather than fixed cost. Per the FAQs:

With the change to the new Reservations System, will my redemption on Malaysia Airlines be affected?

Yes. Flight redemption on Malaysia Airlines operated flights will no longer be based on fixed Award Miles. You will now enjoy the flexibility of selecting your Award Ticket, as the miles required for redemption will be tied to fares and vary according to seat availability, passenger demand and seasonality.

It’s a shame that they’re not sharing upfront how the program works, or giving any examples of new redemption rates. I imagine that this devaluation will be terrible for premium cabin redemptions.

Furthermore, carrier imposed surcharges will be included in the number of miles required for a ticket, so presumably tickets will require even more mileage than you’d otherwise expect, since those can’t be paid in cash (and I suspect the value per mile won’t be great).


Malaysia Airlines A380 first class

Change to upgrades on Malaysia Airlines

Here’s the new Malaysia Airlines upgrade chart:

Meanwhile here’s the old Malaysia Airlines upgrade chart:

Not only will “S” and “N” (deeply discounted economy tickets) no longer be upgradable, but the number of miles needed to upgrade is going up significantly for non-full fare tickets. For example, an economy to business class upgrade from Kuala Lumpur to London previously cost 50,000 miles, while now it costs 50,000-70,000 miles, plus there are excluded fare classes.

Change to awards on oneworld carriers

And this is the worst of all (well, at least based on what has been published so far). Oddly during Malaysia Airlines’ last devaluation, they didn’t adjust oneworld redemption rates. This time around they’re devaluing these awards horribly.

Here’s their new oneworld redemption chart:

Here’s their old oneworld redemption chart:

As you can see, they’re changing up the zones here significantly, which makes it a bit tough to directly compare the price changes in some areas. However, the changes are pretty horrible across the board. To give a few examples:

  • A roundtrip Cathay Pacific first class ticket from New York to Hong Kong is increasing in cost from 204,000 miles to 338,000 miles
  • A roundtrip British Airways business class ticket from Los Angeles to London is increasing in cost from 132,000 miles to 202,000 miles
  • A roundtrip Japan Airlines premium economy class ticket from London to Tokyo is increasing in cost from 94,000 miles to 129,000 miles

Those are just a few examples, but almost across the board these changes are brutal.


Cathay Pacific 777 first class

Bottom line

Malaysia Airlines is making radical changes to their Enrich program, which impact upgrades, award tickets on Malaysia Airlines, and even award tickets on partner airlines. These changes are terrible, and that’s without even taking into account the award cost changes that are being made to Malaysia Airlines flights, since the exact details of these haven’t been published.

These changes are quite puzzling to me. Given the events of the past few years, and also given that Malaysia Airlines is trying to establish themselves as a good carrier to connect you between various points in Australia and Asia (and sometimes even Europe), you’d think they’d want a compelling program as a competitive advantage.

Instead they’ve gutted their program to the point that they have one of the worst partner award charts I’ve ever seen. And we don’t even know the full details of their new redemption rates on their own flights…

(Tip of the hat to @IadisGr8)

Comments

  1. So… they’re screwing their customers over badly, and without any visible logical reason. Have you tried reaching out to them?

  2. Wow! I’m quite surprised as well. I’ll admit I have only flown MH once since its 2 tragedies but I redeemed AAdvantage miles to fly it.
    I recall Enrich having some 50% off redemption sales so even with dynamic pricing, they may still have some promos.

  3. In the past two years a lot of Malaysian credit cards that used to only offer enrich miles have branched out to offer miles from other airlines (Cathay and Singapore airlines). I’m guessing this will accelerate this change and Enrich Miles will lose the revenue from credit cards in Malaysia.

    If so, then it’s quite short-sighted because while they’ll be able to write off a lot of miles with this, long term they will lose a non-negligible revenue stream.

  4. Will this pact the miles one is able to earn while flying Malaysia but crediting to AA?

    Thanks!

  5. I am an Enrich Platinum member and extremely devastated with these new changes especially with the massive devaluation on Oneworld awards. Perhaps time to switch to other Oneworld loyalty program…..

  6. Final nail in the coffin for myself.

    While I am happy they will roll out a new reservation system hopefully with a strong back office structure ( I recently turned up 2 hours late for a business class Aus-Asia flight due to their app not updating new flight times) , Enrich will be just another revenue based program.

    I will continue to accrue MH flights to Japan Airlines. A far superior program for Asia-Pacific based flyers IMO.

  7. Hi lucky, Just wondering, with all the posts about miles devaluations by various airlines, has it come to a point where airlines no longer care about those passengers loyal to them?

  8. Qantas has been trying to thwart Malaysia for many years now, eg KL to Sydney or Melbourne in business earns trifling status credit in the QF program. Even so , many still choose Malaysia on cost alone…from most cities in SEA, they are far cheaper than competitors, often by 30-40%. Why management would take this path now is mystifying: they appear to have stemmed the losses and have been gradually rebuilding trust and loyalty, only to throw it away via this short-sighted decision.

  9. When compared to Krisflyer or Qantas redemptions, the changes are not all that unreasonable in premium cabins on their own metal. And like Krisflyer, the redemptions now include YQ so one needs to factor this into the calculations.

    Also, if I recall last year MH *increased* miles earned on MH flights by up to 50%. You don’t see that very often from any airline…

    Program changes are inevitable, and given the flurry of changes to Enrich over the past 12 months it’s probably safe to bet that any changes moving forward would be positive.

  10. We know a bit more now – economy classes Q, O and G are excluded from redemption totally, and what is worst business class Z is excluded as well. Now, this is where it gets funny – nearly all (say 90%) business class tickets available for sale are Z class tickets (regardless whether they are called “saver” or “flex” they might be “Z” either way. This basically means that you will NO LONGER BE ABLE to redeem business class ticket on MH flights for miles in about 90% of cases, making the program fully useless. Any non-Z class tickets (e.g. D) might appear from time to time when the plane is almost full but I cannot even think how many more miles is going to be needed for redemption in comparison to what it was until now. Well done, I am switching to KrisFlyer now, even adding 2-3 hours to my travel time from Malaysia.

  11. and quick update from my previous post – class D business one way redemption KUL – LHR will now set you back 152,600 miles (or even as much as 176,000 miles since this is revenue based program now). Ticket price is approx. MYR 11,000 (MYR 13,500 in a more expensive version). To show the magnitude of greed of MH one way ticket KUL – LHR was fixed at 75,000 miles before this unbelievable devaluation of Enrich program (and at about 55,000 miles before first devaluation of the program in 2015). Therefore expect to spend double miles if you like to fly during the day or more than double for night flights. Say bye bye to award tickets and bye bye to Enrich – it is a complete waste of time and money now.

  12. I just did a comparison using the new mileage rates on a Bangkok – Australia – Bangkok itinerary in business class.

    Before the last devaluation (removal of the discount for online redemption), this would have cost me 93,500 points return, plus taxes & surcharges. With the end of the online redemption discount, this became 110,000 points + taxes & surcharges.

    Under their new system, I now require a MASSIVE 163,400 points for the same itinerary (checked dates from July through to Oct with identical results!

    The devaluation is nothing short of disgraceful & clearly MH does not value the custom & support of Enrich members.

    Time to switch to another airline I think!

  13. I used to be a loyal customer with Malaysian Airlines but not anymore. The value of their FF program has declined significantly even before this. I travel quite a bit around the world from Australia and have now switched to Qantas FF (same Oneworld member) and have achieved gold status in less than a year. With MH, it was very hard to claim retroactive miles on partner airlines. I burned a full business class segment from London to Sydney with MH as they took forever to process the claim. Poor FF service.

  14. Just wondering if anyone has experienced problems redeeming flights on Enrich online? This is my first time trying to redeem a flight using my Enrich points. But this is the error message I get:

    We are sorry for the inconvenience, we encountered an error processing your request.

    Sorry, but you can only make 50 online reservations per day. Please contact us for further information. (6100)

    I’ve never even made one online reservations through Enrich in my life. How is it possible that I get this error? No one is picking up at the call-centre, so I’m just scouting for advice here to see if anyone has encountered this before.

  15. @Susan and others… yeah I got the same message..

    Sorry, but you can only make 50 online reservations per day. Please contact us for further information. (6100)

    What the hell is going on???

  16. We are sorry for the inconvenience, we encountered an error processing your request.

    Sorry, but you can only make 50 online reservations per day. Please contact us for further information. (6100)

    I got the same message as well and that was my first time trying to redeem miles.

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