AirAsia BIG rewards program review – is it worth signing up?

UPDATED 2018: AirAsia is the world’s favorite low-cost carrier and has its own rewards program called Air Asia BIG. From it’s humble beginnings as a way to earn points on flights,  AirAsia BIG has expanded to add benefits for frequent travelers, and more options to earn and redeem AirAsia rewards for flights and with partners! So, how good is the Air Asia rewards program? Is it worth signing up for it and even worth your loyalty to move your spend to AirAsia to earn rewards? Read my AirAsia BIG review to find out!

Reach – how far will it take me? AirAsia is serving 138 destinations in more than 20 countries and growing quickly. They have subsidiaries and hubs in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Japan. Different from other discount airlines, they also have long-haul flights and even a Business Class offering! That means AirAsia can take you further than most low-cost carriers and even many full-service airlines!. They don’t have any airline partners or alliances, so you won’t be able to earn or use points on other airlines. If you want to know more about AirAsia, Safety and Ratings, check out all the AirAsia Facts & figures!

Earning – what do I have to do to earn points? One of the biggest changes is how you earn Air Asia Big points: You no longer earn any BIG reward points on promotional fares – eliminating the most interesting fares! On regular “low fares” you can earn up to 1.5 points per 1 MYR – a significant increase from the previous 0.5pt/MYR (6.3pt/USD). The earn rate increases for more frequent fliers, based on their level in the program:

AirAsia Big points earned by level

You can now earn up to 10pt/MYR (42pt/USD) on low fares and up to 12pt/MYR (50.4pt/USD) on flexible or Premium Flatbed fares! One of my biggest complaints in the past was the slow earn rate, making it near impossible to earn a free flight. The new earning model takes away point earning for deal hunters, but increases the earning for regular travelers on Air Asia. At least now AirAsia will show you on the fare overview, how many points you should earn on your flight, if any!
You can also earn points with a growing number of partners, from mobile phones and banks to car rentals and hotels. The earn rate varies greatly, for example a hotel booking via booking.com will earn 10pt/USD (or approx. 2.5pt/MYR)! You can find the long list of partners, varying by country here!
Getting credit for your flights continues to be a significant issue with AirAsia’s BIG program. Even when booking the flights through their website with your ID, you frequently don’t get credit for your flights or the points don’t match the rules laid out. In fact, not a single one of 11 flights I booked with the ASEAN Pass credited! Of my last two flights, one was credited with too few points, one not at all! If you do want to make sure you get your points, you’ll have to check on every flight and ask for credit after 5 days and within 30 days, a rather onerous condition!
AirAsia also made it more difficult to keep track of your points by removing the points calculator from the website – another customer-unfriendly move!

Redeeming – how much are AirAsia BIG points worth? AirAsia is making it easy to redeem points for flights on their web site, providing a similar booking screen as you find for cash bookings:
You see the dates and lowest available price per day across the top and when selecting a specific day, you see the different fares for each flight, including promo fares, fixed point redemptions and premium fares!
The redemption is a mix of revenue based redemption (calculating the points needed basically on the cash-price of the fare) and some available fixed point redemptions (based on zones or distance of flights). Both options are displayed on the same screen, so you can see whether fixed fee or revenue based is the better deal for you. Promo, Fixed and Regular fares all offer the same benefits (none), so you should just pick the cheapest one! Premium fares include luggage, seat selection, a meal and priority boarding. You always have to pay taxes and fees separately in cash, so only the base fare and add-ons can be paid with points!
But what is the AirAsia BIG points value? I analyzed a number of flights from three of their hubs over a three month period, including domestic and international flights as well as short- and long-haul flights by comparing cash prices for available tickets and points rates needed for the exact same flight!
The average AirAsia BIG point value is 0.29 US cents – that’s very, very little and unchanged from my previous review! The values I found ranged from 0.18 ct/pt to 0.47 ct/pt. You’ll find the best value during an AirAsia Big sale
Based on the new earnings structure and the unchanged redemption value of points, AirAsia BIG members traveling mostly on promotional fares will no longer receive any rewards. Regular “Red” members flying on standard fares will earn a reward rate of 1.8% and top “Black” members traveling mostly on Premium fares will receive a reward rate of 14.6%.
For the average leisure traveler, the AirAsia BIG program has become a lot less rewarding – the reward rate (or discount) has dropped from 5.7% in my last review to roughly 1/3 at 1.8%, making other low-cost carriers like Cebu Pacific and their GetGo Rewards program more attractive!
But, similar to the big US airlines, frequent business travelers on premium fares see their reward rate almost triple. This makes Air Asia BIG rewards an alternative to local full-service carriers like Malaysia Airlines!

Status – what elite membership benefits will I get? AirAsia introduced membership levels from Red to Gold (14 flights), Platinum (24) and Black (50) and even promotional fares do earn segment/flight credits to earn higher tier status.
Currently, these levels only determine how many points you earn, but there are no other perks, like priority check-in or boarding associated with these levels. Even as a “Black” level elite you will have to pay extra for those simple benefits!
Probably one of the best “perks” of membership at all levels is early access to the AirAsia sales, giving you a head start on snatching those low cash or point fares. Recently, AirAsia has limited the BIG sales to the mobile app for access, so it pays to download the app for redemptions!
Let’s hope that eventually AirAsia will offer some of these perks to elite members – if indeed they want to compete with legacy carriers for business travelers, they will have to!

What else is there? Not much – you can no longer redeem points at Tune hotels, but can get vouchers for hotel bookings through Kaligo or for activites via Klook. AirAsia’s BIG program doesn’t have any innovative features, like GetGo’s sharing points.
AirAsia also offer BIG sales, which is the best opportunity to redeem points for flights!

Bottomline: Who should join the AirAsia BIG Loyalty Program?  Given the lack of any point earning on promotional fares and the low reward rate for regular travelers, you won’t earn many points by flying. If you live in a hub of AirAsia, like Kuala Lumpur, you can earn additional points through merchants and credit cards, making it a good alternative to other local airline programs.
If you don’t live in a hub or only fly with AirAsia once-in-a-while, I’d still recommend an AirAsia Big Signup to get access to fare sales – and not worry too much about the points. If you get credit and can use them – great! If you don’t, the minuscule value of points is simply not worth worrying about! And, to answer my question from the introduction, it’s not worth shifting your spend from other airlines just for the rewards program.
If you live in one of the AirAsia hubs, like Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, and fly them regularly, you should sign up and collect points. You should look out for partner promotions to add to your balance – I collected more points from promotions than from flights! You can find all the details, the Air Asia BIG Sign up as well as links to the AirAsia BIG app here!

AirAsia offers consistent service at very low prices, earning them the SkyTrax award year after year for their Economy Class and Premium Flatbed, but it still has some ways to go to make their AirAsia Big program more competitive for frequent travelers!


Comments

AirAsia BIG rewards program review – is it worth signing up? — 117 Comments

    • If you are a member, you will earn points. If points for a flight are not credited, you can claim your points by filling out a form on their website, go here!

    • You have to do a lot of purchase through online shopping websites, like Lazada, Qoo10, and Sephora. You have to try it. I have tried it, and it works!

    • Yes, effective January 1, 2017, you can! You have to nominate your spouse as an “Eligible Family Member” on your profile. I have not done this myself and it is new, so you might need to ask customer service for help!

  1. AirAsia Big Points is not worth it and its a scam.

    You redeem the points and you pay via credit / debit card the fee is so high like 60 SGD, its like you paid full fare. Total I paid is 103 SGD for 1 way.

    • You are correct, AirAsia charges a fee for paying by credit/debit card it applies to both points and cash tickets! Based on my booking experience, it is roughly 1% – close to the merchant fee charged for using a card! There are other fees and taxes due with a ticket, but not related to paying by credit card!
      While AirAsia has revenue-based redemptions – they do offer better value during their promotions. I recently booked a flight with only 500 points that would have cost $35 (without fees) – that’s 7cents per point, 27x the value I’d assign to BIG points and great value for any rewards program!
      I recommend to save your points for those promotions to get the best value!

      • This is kind of true, you have to be smart in choosing the best promotions to receive best value according to your points.

  2. AirAsia BIG LOYALTY program is a BIG SCAM.. Beware of the terms n conditions they put to u later to redeem it.. it is always safe making ur bookings in other portals.. They have a very poor customer support as well..

    • Sorry you had a bad experience with AirAsia. I agree that customer service is very limited, similar to other low-cost carriers in the region.
      While BIG is not a very generous program and it takes a long time to earn enough points for a free flight, I wouldn’t call it a “scam”. When redeeming points, you have have to go through the AirAsiaBig web site and will see the amount of points for a flight needed before you book. Taxes and fees are extra, so you know what you are getting.
      I do recommend booking through AirAsia’s web site for cash bookings, as it is the easiest and most reliable way to do it. Be aware that during sales the web site sometimes can’t handle the traffic and might crash…

    • I completely understand that some of us might have encountered bad experience with them. However, we have to understand that the customer support system is fully controlled by humans. I believe, it is not their intention to neglect any customers’ necessities or demands.

      • Good point. We are all human and have bad days.
        Also keep in mind that during big sales, a lot of customers are calling, so it’s more stressful.
        Lastly, I’ve observed that often the call center staff is not empowered to make customer friendly decisions – try asking for a supervisor who might have more authority!

  3. well, this is not a scam, but as a rich expat, i travel a lot, about 8-10 flights per year, (i m teacher…lot of hollydays…) and in 3 years, i have been able to collect 3000 big points …

    thats 30 rm … wow ! thank you BIG !!!

    what a joke !!!

    i guess if you fly 10 times to sydney or tokyo, you ll be able to get a kul phuket flight for 100rm ( remember, u always have to pay for the taxes…)

    so… not a scam … but really worthless, not speaking about the mising points u have to claim after 29 day but before 30 … :)))

    • I share your experience – it does take a very long time to earn points and I’d not recommend to redeem for regular award tickets. I found the best value during BIG sales, when you can get a ticket for 0 points or small amounts, only paying taxes. That’s similar to their other sales that offer the best deals.
      Keep in mind that you also now can earn more points as a frequent traveler, but still not rates you’ll find with full-service airlines.

    • sorry, it didn’t work for you.
      Sign-up requires a user id, password and some personal information, similar to other loyalty programs.
      Maybe an internet or browser issue – try signing up in “private/incognito” mode on your browser, sometimes that helps!

      • Your account number is assigned when you register for the program. It’s shown in your online profile!
        Log into the Big website and look for Big Member Details in the top right hand corner or click here!

    • I agree to some of the replies here. I think that happened because of internet connection. I have tried to sign up for a member, and it works perfectly.

    • not sure what you are referring to – “fees and charges” during point redemptions? You have to pay airport taxes and government fees on award tickets in cash…

    • Pretty sure that applies to point redemption. Point redemption does not mean 100% free, there are still few charges upon customers which I bet most of us have been well-informed.

      • Correct, the points are redeemed for the base fare of the tickets and you still have to pay taxes, airport fees, etc.

    • You have to file for a “missing credit” on the AirAsia website within 30 days of your flight. If you don’t claim them in time, you will not be able to get credit.

  4. Have been a memeber of Big for 2.5years, and fly 3-4 times per month with Air Asia.
    All major international flights are booked with other carriers for some time, as the Air Asia member booking is rubbish.
    Points accumulation is pitiful when compared with Virgin, Qantas, Singapore Airlines etc, which i am also a member.

    There really is very little benefit to the membership.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with AirAsia Big. With 3-4 flights per month you should qualify as a Platinum or even Black member under the new program terms with significantly increased earning rate. With up to 42 points/USD, even at a low point value of 0.3 USCents, your reward rate as a Black member would be 12.6% – that’s better than many legacy, full-service carriers!
      Granted, with AirAsia ticket prices so low, it’ll take a long time to accumulate enough points for a free flight, but a frequent flyer like you might want to take another look at AirAsia Big. Under the new program, earning is much more meaningful for you!

  5. AirAsia Big rewards is the most useless program. I have platinum status and cannot even travel return to Penang with my miles.

    • If you fly a lot on low promotional fares, you don’t earn any points anymore under the new rules as described. As a Platinum, you earn up to 5.5pt/MYR – that’s a reward rate of 6.2%, comparable to other programs.
      The best redemptions of AirAsia Big points is during their promotional sales – I was able to get reward tickets for only 50 point between Manila and Kota Kinabalu, great value. If you are flexible when to redeem points and when to pay in cash, you can get the best value out of your points!

    • Their Big Sale is coming up and i saw their redeemable flight tickets are quite interesting. I mean 500 pts to go to Singapore, I don’t think any other LCCT are offering the same deal. Useless? i don’t think so, the deal keeps getting better and better

  6. I have signed up for AirAsia Big but not my spouse and cbildren. When i purchase tickets for the whole family, will I get points as a whole family or for myself only. They are registered as family members in my profile.

    TQ

    • You only earn miles for your own tickets, even if you book for your family. You can sign them up for their own accounts though and they’ll earn points, too!

      • BIG Points is AirAsia’s Loyalty Program. To earn BIG Points, you need to sign up an account first and you can easily do it online. After tat, u can start to spend and accumulate BIG Points to fly for free to any AirAsia destination.

    • AirAsia uses the email address as ID, so you’ll need a different one for each person.
      With most free email accounts, like Gmail, you can forward the email, so your children’s email get forwarded to your main account.

  7. Have you guys heard about that new Redeemable Flight Tickets using Big Points? Seems very interesting to me but I’m not a BIG customer. Yet.

      • Several hotel booking sites, for example agoda.com, allow you to earn points in airline programs, like AirAsia Big. On Agoda it’s called PointMax. You need to enter your AirAsia Big number in your profile and select it as your choice for points.
        Keep in mind that you’ll earn fewer AirAsia Big rewards than Agoda giftcards…

      • The number of points depends on the hotel and price – you’ll have to go to the booking site and it’ll display the number of points you’ll earn.

      • of course not! If u are a Big member, u will have a priority access to redeem tickets on 10nov midnight/11nov morning,then after this period only non-memebr’s turns.

      • besides that,free flights will be awarded in the form of 1,000 BIG Points which you can use to redeem flights or get discounts on tickets via on Airasia.com
        1000 points is very easy to collect, you can collect through spending with certain brands eg Agoda,Hermo or Zalora

      • I don’t think Malindo Miles and MAS Enrich have better deal than Big Point since I’ve do some research on booking tickets

      • yaya,i agree,malindo mile only cooperate with few partners only,BIG points can be earn in many shops or e-store…this is why i choose air asia
        i didn’t said other airlines are not good but the benefits of air asia is the most attractive…

      • Mas & Malindo might have the same type of rewards but AirAsia’s is a lot better in term of collecting the points. They tied up with most of the hottest brand in order for their regular customer to accumulate their points.

      • but malindo or mas point no as good as airasia because they have more merchant participate the point, which mean your spending all can convert to point…

      • The recent rewards is more attracting. Even eating and buying makeup can earn points for free.

    • of course not! if u are Big member,you can get the priority access to redeem flight on 10 Nov midnight/11 Nov morning! Only Big members have this benefits which non-member doesn’t have

      • You can book a flight with points through the web site, any destination of AirAsia is possible, as long as you have the points and seats are available…

  8. of course not! If u are a Big member, u will have a priority access to redeem tickets on 10nov midnight/11nov morning,then after this period only non-memebr’s turns.

  9. If you got more reward point then you will know how usefull it is, normally i use credit card point convert to point and buy flight more cheaper…

    • big point just to reduce airfare, but enough for those want to save money for other part. so i support their big point very much

    • Yes, AirAsia Big points expire after 36 months without activity. Any type of earned or redeemed points will count as activity, so even a purchase from an AirAsia Big partner or redeeming a smaller number of points for goods will extent the validity of your points.
      That’s one reason why having so many partners is helpful!

    • spend at airasia participate merchants like petron or lazada can get convert the point so you can reduce air fare for your next trip

    • You’d have to save receipts or screenshots of any transaction. I only do it for expensive flights or purchases. For the rest, I trust that the system will work. You’ll have to decide how much effort you want to take to track it…

      • The AirAsia credit card issues by Hong Leong Bank in Malaysia earns Big Points directly.
        I don’t have a list (yet) of credit cards that allow a transfer to Big Points, sorry. Stay tuned for more posts on that topic soon!

  10. I’m maybank card user, is that maybank include in the bank partner list??And how they calculate the point conversion?

  11. yes, there’re many banks are in the their partner,like ambank,cimb,maybank,rhb and more
    if i’m not mistaken,7000 Treats Points (Maybank)can be convert to 1,000 BIG Points…

  12. okay……I think I have enough points to convert. I wish that I can successfully redeem ticket to Hanoi for next year vacation!

      • I heard online shopping and pump petrol can convert to big point too… any one tried before

      • The number of points depends on the flights and fares. There are fixed point fares, flexible and promotion fares, so check out the AirAsia Big site to see how many points you’ll need to Hanoi on your dates.

      • not entire redeem free ticker, just recude air fare still need pay tax and so on… but still consider save money, because your spending can convert to big point easily

      • The website usually works pretty well, but I’ve noticed problems and delays during the Big Sales – so many people access the website that it’s overloading…

  13. I tried to redeem by using the big point by still need to pay a little bit of money, so great if big point can fully redeem no need pay and can get free ticket…

  14. Japa good job shared a great link! booking hotel also can collect point, i think i need reconsider to use airasia to fly since got point

  15. Depending the promo, sometime lesser point can get the trip you wanted, better since have so many merchant participate collect point first

  16. Hi, I’m already a member, and lately I book a flight from Phil – HK with return ticket. I have also downloaded the app. How do I get the Big card.

    • If you open the app and sign into your account, click on the head-icon (bottom, middle) and it will show your profile information, including your Big Member Card information and a code to scan it.
      Make sure you are logged into your account on the app or browser when you book to ensure you receive points for your flights. You can show the app on your phone to get credit at stores.
      You do not need a physical card!

  17. I’d been a member since 2016 and I had made bookings/flights but no points had been posted in my account, what should I do?

    • There is not much you can do – miles can only be claimed for recent flights. Going forward, make sure to be logged into your profile when booking online or use the AirAsia app. If points don’t post after 5 days, file the claim immediately!

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