AirAsia ASEAN Pass: Top 10 Tips to make the most out of it!

The AirAsia ASEAN Pass made my ASEAN Explorer Trip possible – I only paid $360 for 11 flights of 6,541 miles around South East Asia! In more than 20 years of traveling and 4 Million miles of flying, these were the cheapest flights I’ve done! But there are some pitfalls with the ASEAN pass, like availability, fees and conditions. So, Check my Air Asia Asean Pass Review to make the most out of it! 

The AirAsia ASEAN Pass 2017 is available with 10 credits for $120 (30 days) and 20 credits for $215 (60 days), making it even cheaper than before. And with new availability checks, it’s less risky than before, making it a better deal than when it was launched. Read my Top 10 Tips below to make the most of it:

1. Be spontaneous, have an open mind!

You will have the most fun with the ASEAN pass if you are open to exploring for 30/60 days what South East Asia has to offer and are flexible with your travel dates. It’s ideal for somebody living in SE Asia or planning to travel around for a few months. It will be much tougher, if you have specific destinations and dates in mind, as seat availability might hamper your plans! 

2. Check availability!
Certain routes have great availability, others not so much. If you are coming from outside the region, your best bet is to start/end in Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok, where there are lots of flights with good availability. You have lots of options to put together a great trip across the region from these cities!
Before you purchase the ASEAN pass Air Asia, you can now see availability – you can enter all the segments you have in mind, with routes and dates. The system will show you how many credits each flight requires. There is NO NEED to pay somebody to search for availability anymore!
Once you have completed your plan, you can search for availability and the system will show available flights, allowing you to adjust your schedule for any routes not available on your dates:
This functionality makes it much easier to plan your trip and decide, whether the AirAsia pass will work for you! Thumbs up to AirAsia for listening to complaints and making this big improvement!
Also, here are some route specific tips, based on my experience from searching countless routes and dates over the next few months:

– Weekends, holidays: Availability around weekends and local holidays is very limited. While I have a few weekend flights, on many routes there are no or very few seats from Friday to Sunday and during holiday periods.
– Philippines – Malaysia: On all routes between Kuala Lumpur/Kota Kinabalu and Manila, Clark, Cebu, Kalibo there were only a few seats over a period of 60 days available. I ended up building the whole trip around the availability of these seats, ending up flying through Kota Kinabalu twice. You have a slightly better chance from/to Clark.
– Bali – anywhere: Bali is a very popular and relatively expensive destination (for flights). This shows in very limited pass availability. Your best bet is actually from Kuala Lumpur – many flights to/from other Indonesian airports are tough!
Phuket: Similar to Bali, Phuket is a popular and expensive beach destination with limited availability during the high-season!
– Routes with single daily (or less frequent) flights
I noticed that several routes that have only a single flight per day have no availability over several weeks. Many routes with multiple daily flights out of the main AirAsia hubs, like Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok, seem to have better than average pass availability!

3. Small or big pass? Select the small pass!
There are two passes with 10 credits for 30 days or 20 credits for 60 days. I bought the ASEAN+ pass with 20 credits for the maximum saving per flight. While I was able to use the pass (with one credit left), this will be hard to replicate for anybody with less flexibility on dates and destinations. I’d recommend to buy the smaller pass with 10 credits instead, so you don’t get stuck with unused credits. If you need more flights, you can just buy a second pass and keep flying!

4. Pay in Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
The price in MYR is much better than in USD or other currencies – the Air Asia ASEAN Pass 2017 is $120/$215 in MYR vs $160/$290 in USD. Select MYR and use a credit card without foreign exchange fee to pay for it. Just google the exchange rate to make sure you are getting a better deal!

5. Wait to activate the pass!
Once you have purchased the pass, you can assign it to somebody. I’d wait with that until you are ready to book your flights. If something comes up and you can’t go, you can assign the pass to somebody else!

6. Mix & match ASEAN pass tickets and cash tickets!
I was determined to make this pass work for me and use it exclusively for this tour – which gave me quite a headache. You can make your life a lot easier by using the pass where seats are readily available and purchase regular seats where they are not! Even if they are not available, the seats are usually very cheap with AirAsia, so you still get a pretty good deal!

7. Minimize international border crossings!
With the actual base fare only $12 per credit, the various terminal fees, departure fees and Visa fees can increase the cost of your trip significantly. Of the ASEAN countries, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines are visa free for many countries. Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar have fees for non-ASEAN visitors. In many places, the international departure fees are much higher than domestic ones (ie Thailand, Philippines). Try to avoid going in and out of countries to minimize your cost!
You can see what fees & taxes I paid on my routes in the post ASEAN Explorer by the Numbers! If you want to get an idea of the total hotel cost, check out my post on ASEAN Explorer – Hotel Cost!

8. Travel light!
AirAsia makes a lot of their money from add-ons – checked baggage, meals, insurance and seat selection. With checked luggage fees from $15 (20kg) to $52 (40kg), you might pay more for your luggage than yourself! AirAsia allows one carry-on and a personal item (purse, laptop), together weighing no more than 7kg. I traveled with hand-carry only and didn’t have any issues. I check in online and my back pack has never been weighed! But don’t try to sneak on a wheeled carry-on – chances are it will be weighed and you end up paying even higher fees!
Read my 10 Tips to Pack Light to save on luggage fees!

9. Plan your full trip before booking the first segment!
Because of the availability issues, I’d recommend to try all segments of your planned trip first, before booking the first flight! Otherwise, you might end up in one location that you can’t get a pass flight or reasonably priced cash flight out of!

10. Prepare your credit card and be patient!
I ended up booking 11 AirAsia online purchases in two days. I used my Citibank Prestige card, which has never made any issues when using it abroad, one of the reasons I love that credit card! I had many transactions blocked, including booking AirAsia (cough… Chase Sapphire Preferred…cough), so you might want to give your credit card company a heads-up before starting on your purchasing spree. Also expect to have card verification kick-in and be patient – the AirAsia site occasionally has payment processing issues, with transactions failing for no apparent reason. Just start over and it will probably work out.

South East Asia is a wonderful part of the world with many beautiful destinations and I hope these tips help you to see much of it at a small price! Good luck, make the most out of your ASEAN pass and travel safely!


AirAsia ASEAN Pass: Top 10 Tips to make the most out of it! — 59 Comments

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  3. Great post! I’m having lots of trouble with the Asean pass because I bought it without knowing the extremely limited routes to and from the Philippines. When I first looked, there were NO FLIGHTS from KL to Manila for the months of April, May and June (2015). I sent @AskAirAsia a tweet about the lack of flights and the next day there were flights from KL to MNL listed. Not sure if it was my tweet that did it. I ended up writing a whole post on my blog about the problems I’ve had with the Asean pass at It could be useful for some of your readers who are having problems with the pass. Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • Hi Joseph..
      How are you?
      Would you help me to solve my problem?
      I have the problem to redeem my aseanpass.From i bought this aseanpass until now i cant redeem my asean pass, I have pcik for the route and submitted payment, but the end of processing always appear that unsuccesful payment. Why? Do you get successful payment? Pls kindly advice to me!

      Thank you so much

      • Hi Yudhi, check with your bank that the card is not blocked or try a different credit card. Also, make sure the BigShot ID in your ASEAN pass matches the one in the account and the ID is only used in one ASEAN pass. I had a payment problem once and just tried a few times until it worked. If none of that helps, contact AirAsia to resolve it. Hope you get the flights you wanted and have a safe trip! Rupert

  4. Thanks for another wonderful article. Where else could anybody get that kind of information in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information.

  5. If I buy the pass now can I activate it at a later date or does the 30 day clock start as soon as I make the purchase?

    • The 30day clock starts from the day of your first departure, so you can purchase it now and start booking your flights. Also, keep in mind that it is not “locked” to you, until you activate it. I’d recommend to activate it when you are ready to book your flights!

  6. Looks like i’m having a problem purchasing (Chase Sapphire). Did you say it wouldn’t work at all? Or to give my bank a call to have them unblock something?

    Also, I plan to travel Dec 18th from Bangkok to Krabi, Dec 23rd from Krabi to ChaingMai, Dec 27 from ChaingMai to Krabi, then Jan 3rd from Krabi to Bangkok. Without booking I cant find a way to determine how many credits each trip will cost, also, this is during the Holiday/Weekend travel (with few flights (2) into and out of ChaingMai. Do you recommend not purchasing this pass?

    • Hi! I’d recommend to call Chase and let them know that you want to purchase something from AirAsia in Thailand (or Malaysia, Indonesia). They’ll put a note into your account, so the transaction isn’t blocked.
      Looks like AirAsia has removed the table of credits needed. The general rule is that flights under 2h are 1 credit, over 2h are 3 credit. Flights in Indonesia are more expensive. For your trip you’d only need 4 credits.
      Your trip plans are very specific – looks like you need to fly on these exact days during the peak season. I’d not recommend purchasing the pass: You only need four credits for the trip above and there is a good chance that one or more of the flights you want are not available with the pass.
      I’d recommend to purchase regular tickets for your trip, so you are sure to get the flights you want.

  7. Hi, I’m plan on traveling from Jakarta arriving midnight of the 5th which is the weekend (higher priced and busiest), to Bali. Then return way from Bali to Jakarta the following week. Is this pass worth it?

    Thank you for your time

    • Hi – if you need to travel on these specific days on a weekend, I’d recommend to buy regular tickets. You might not find seats with the ASEAN pass!

  8. Hi, I will not be traveling until June 2016 but would like to buy the AirASEAN pass now for 4 people. Do you think it is a good idea to go ahead and purchase the pass in hopes that i will be able to get seat availablity? I am traveling from Korea and would like to visit Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Bangkok, Chang Mai.

    Is it true that you must be at least 12 years old to fly on a pass?

    • Hi, you are correct, you have to be at least 12 years old to use the pass. If you are traveling with four people, you need to buy four passes, one for each person. Given that you have till June 2016, you should have a good chance to find seats, especially from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Bali might be a challenge, because it is so popular and it’s high season there.
      Because there are a limited number of seats on each flight, it might be tough to find 4 seats with the ASEAN pass on the same flight. I’d suggest to buy 1-2 passes and buy regular tickets for the remainder of your group – you have a better shot at finding available seats. Safe travels, Rupert

  9. Very insightful article here. I am considering buying the pass to use in August 2016. I’m not from ASEAN country but I’m planning to start trip from KL. I only have ten day vacation and wondering if its worth getting this pass. Would like to go to Myamar, Bali and Chiang Mai. Given that I will not be able to make reservations two or one month in advance due to summer work schedule do you think its worth getting this pass. Thanks in advance.

    • If you have fixed dates, limited time, can’t make reservations early and are planning to go to very popular destinations like Bali, it will be very difficult to find availability with the ASEAN pass. There is a big risk that you can’t use some of your credits. I’d recommend to buy regular fares. Sign up for the AirAsia promotional emails and buy during one of their frequent sales. I just bought a ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Bali for $34, a great deal!

  10. hi! may I ask how can i transfer my pass to another person’s name? i have 3 credits left unused and i would like to give to a friend.. is that possible? how can i do this?

    • Your flights don’t have to be linked. You can travel by land or sea and continue from a different airport. You can also purchase a flight on AirAsia or on another airline, if one route is not available on the ASEAN pass, making it easier to get good use out of the pass.

  11. Hi, your article is very useful. May I ask, I have a plan to use AirAsia ASEAN Pass for February 2017. I’m from Bali and I have a plan to go to Bangkok-Chiang Mai-Surat Thani. Is it difficult to get the availability ? I need your suggestion. Thank You 🙂

    • The flight to Bangkok might be difficult, Chiang Mai and Surat Thani should be easier. To get an idea, check for availability of promo fares – if cheap promo fares are available, the chances of getting a seat with ASEAN pass are better!

  12. Bought the 10 credit pass for USD160 for 2 people. Used it for our planned trip on Feb/Mar 2018. Spent pretty much half day booking for 2 people. I got the flights I wanted on the days I planned. Also reserved seats and bought meals. The key is you have to have a solid itinerary before redeeming your credits. I successfully booked:

    Manila/kl 3
    Kl/sing 1
    Sing/bkk. 3
    Bkk/siem rep 1
    Siem rep/Phuket 1
    Phuket/kl. 1
    Total 10 credits
    Paid xtra $310 for taxes, fees, meals n seats
    Total usd $470
    Bought separate kl/Manila ticket. Usd $70

    Total for 7 flights, per person, 4 countries, 19 days=
    $540 (this will only allow me to buy a round trip ticket from vancouver, BC Canada to New York)

    All my flights are confirmed, with seats and meal. Im a happy camper and ready to explore Asia.

    Advise, Just be patient when booking and call your credit card company in advance. That is one of my biggest challenges, they kept on blocking my card thinking that it’s a scam. That was the annoying part really.

    Hope this helps.

    • Thanks for sharing your success story and tips on booking the AirAsia ASEAN pass flights – that sounds like a great trip. Have fun exploring South East Asia. Let me know, if you need any tips for the places you are visiting! Safe travels!

  13. Hello, I have a question about booking this pass (10 credits), when I entred the website and followed the instructions (choosing the dates and cities) they gave me to choose from some available flights and that’s BEFORE purchasing the pass. So clearly we can see if there are available seats before paying the pass,no? Thank you for answering

    • Thanks for pointing it out. After many complaints, AirAsia has made a preview available, allowing you to see availability with the ASEAN Pass before you purchase. This reduces the risk and makes the pass much more useable.
      I’m updating my post accordingly!

      • Thank you so much for replying and for this blog (helped me a lot). Actually I am thinking to use the AirAsia Asean Pass + Special Deal (since I am going to do a trip within 1 month and a half in Asia starting in October, between these contries: south korea _japon_malaysia_thailand_indo_singapore_3 domestic flights in malaysia) so would be a great deal choosing this pass, like 2 months before?

      • I’d recommend to book the long flights sooner than later – AirAsia has frequent sales to fill the planes and popular routes (For example to Bali) will fill up early.
        Domestic flights in Malaysia, and between KL, Bangkok, Singapore are usually easier to book later. The domestic ones you could even book last minute – for example flights KL to Borneo are often still cheap days before departure (unless holiday, etc). Even if you can’t use the pass, you can still find cheap fares.
        With that approach, you can lock down the big blocks of time, but leave you some flexibility on the local level. Hope that helps! Feel free to ask other questions for your trip, happy to help. Travel safely

  14. Hi, a very insightful article, thank you for that.
    I am planning a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam with a few stops in Bangkok as is easier to find flights, I think the ASEAN pass might be a good solution but I’m worried a bit about airport taxes, can you give me an idea of how big where they during your trip?

    With regular tickets my trip would cost around 350$, so the pass would get me to half of that price…I wonder if after the taxes and fees would it still be a cheaper option or not.

    • In my case, the taxes and fees were about 1/3 of the total cost. They are the same amount though whether you book the pass or direct. If you cross a lot of borders, I’d estimate that they are probably more than $100 of the $350 total…
      Also consider the luggage fees – if you need to check a bag, the cost also adds on top. I was traveling with carry on only, saving a lot!

      • Thank you Rupert.
        I have decided to buy 2 Asean passes, one for me and one for my lady. Just finished booking all flights (individually for each of us) and after summing up all taxes and fares we made an economy of 3.29 RM (less then 1 USD) per person.
        All flights are with carry only luggage, and the only extras are the prefer seats for each flight – so yes in the end there is no difference compared to booking each of the flight ahead of time – only a bit more work on the website as each flight needed to be booked and payed separately for each of us (will need to do the check-in separately as well). IN the end I was glad I could use all 10 credits for the 8 flights we have for each of us, and managed to get the flights we had with seats next to each other.

      • Thanks for sharing your experience, glad you were able to book and use all credits. That’s not a whole lot of savings in your case, but at least it worked out.

    • The taxes depend on the departure country and airport as well as the route: Each country in SE Asia has their own taxes and airport fees, usually higher for international routes than domestic. I have listed the fees for my trip all around Asia in this Post: ASEAN Explorer by the numbers – you can see some examples!
      You can find out the exact fees for your desired route by making a “trial booking” of a regular ticket – the taxes and fees are the same.

  15. Hey guys

    i have some problems with my air asean pass. I tried to book the first flight but after i pushed the redeem button it says RETRY. I tried it a few times and with different names ( because we are four people using the pass ) . So why can´t i book any flight? They are all still avalible and enough free seats. Please help me so that i can book my flight because i already paied the passes.

    • Each ASEAN pass needs to be assigned to one person and you can only book tickets for the person the pass is assigned to. You can’t use one pass for four people…

  16. hi. im planning to purchase asean pass.. ist it a must to pay for seat assign? and the meal I ussually dont purchase a meal in the plane..and the travel insurance I dont usualy get a travel insurance in airline when I book online.. what if I dont purchase any of those.. is that possible? thanku in advance.. godbless

    • You don’t have to pay for seat assignment, meals, travel insurance or luggage – it’s all optional, just like with regular tickets.
      Tip: Do your online check-in as early as possible to get a better seat!

  17. Hello and thank you for all your informations!
    We would like to purchase the 20 days pass (we are traveling for 2 months-5 five country) and we don’t understand how to purchase ! (There’s no customer service number in France….)
    Before the purchase, they tell us to choose our flights routes
    But we can only select 5 flights (not using all the 20 credits of course)
    And then buy the pass …
    Why can’t we chose all of our flights at once ?
    Can we buy them later ? Is it normal ?
    Thank you so much

    • Yes this is normal, and you can choose all the flights you want, once you have bought the pass. You have to purchase the pass online.
      You don’t have to choose your flights before purchasing the ASEAN pass, but I would recommend to check availability before buying, so you don’t end up not being able to use the AirAsia ASEAN pass for the flights you want.
      You can check the first 5 flights for availability, then delete these and check the next five, and again until you have checked availability for all the flights you want.
      Then, purchase the pass, activate it and buy the flights you’d like. If you don’t want to book all now, you can keep it open, but risk that seats are not available later and you’ll have to pay cash.
      Hope that helps!

  18. Hi there, so this asean pass is more designed for single travellers rather than couples? Planning on travelling next year to SE asia and am looking at it now but I am going with my partner so being able to be on the same flights with seats together etc is essential – he has terrible fear of flying.

    • It’s easier if you are solo, but works for couples, too. Just to be clear – you need a pass for EACH person, you can’t share the same pass. And, if you can’t find two seats with pass, just book one and use cash the other… you’ll still save…

  19. Hi there,I’m having trouble in my bookings because I purchased Asean pass,and my name was put in wrong arrangement than it was in my passport,also the gender, is it ok to travel with that details,or do I need to change it, please help me with this,it was a connecting flights accross the country.
    Thank you so much in advance.

    • You should call AirAsia to change or you might have problems at the airport.
      If it is just a spelling error (1-2 letters wrong, first and last name switched, etc), it should be ok.
      The ASEAN pass doesn’t allow a name change, so if it is a completely different name, this might not be allowed.

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  21. It was an absolute gimmick for me.
    First, its website for whole booking system is so unstable and not reliable.
    After you make changes on your booking, you have to make sure they are really updated.
    I had 20 kg luggage to check in so I always do pre-flight check in and pay $23.

    Here is the dirty secret of AirAsia. Usually the preflight luggage fee is taken out of my credit account when i actually check-in at the airport but, my luggage payment record in the pre-flight check-in is sometimes disappeared and luggage dropin counter ask me to pay hefty hefty late luggage fee which is usually much higher than flight ticket price itself. So if you have any check-in luggage, get away from AirAsia.

    It is a total gimmick

    • Sorry you had trouble with your pre-paid luggage check-in. I never check-in luggage with AirAsia, so I have not had this problem.
      Your (updated) itinerary should show the pre-paid luggage, so it’s a good idea to bring it as proof!

  22. Hello,

    sorry this may sound dumb, but i have been wondering how do these credit points translate to the flight price? is it one credit per destination or how does the conversion of the points to the destination flight price work?
    Thank you

    • Good question – each route AirAsia flies requires a set number of credits, for example a short, domestic flight is one credit and a long, international flight is 3 credits. You can see some sample itineraries here!
      Before you purchase your ASEAN pass, you can check availability by flight and it will tell you exactly how many credits you’ll need for the flights you want.

  23. If I buy Asian Pass of 20 credots and book flight segments as desired dates…Q#1.. on my confirmed flight will I get a seat if I don’t pay for seat…Q#2 when is the time I have to pay all these extras such as tax etc.etc. Thanks if some one could reply both questions. Regards Jashim

    • The ASEAN Pass credits cover the base fare of the flight, you still have to pay for the seat assignment, luggage, food, etc. You can select and pay for it by credit/debit card at the time of booking or you can add it to your booking later.

      • I have no choice for seat to choose and confirm….any random one is good to fly..even the worst one…do I still have to pay for not choosing a seat ? That was my question……Tax & fee .OK…… lugguage nothing to carry and pay….seat not to choose …why to pay ?

      • You don’t have to pay for an assigned seat if you don’t want it. If AirAsia pre-selects a seat for you (or luggage, food, insurance), you have to de-select it. Just un-click it and it will be taken out.

    • Sorry, your post did not disappear. Because I received thousands of spam-comments, I have to approve each comment manually. I was traveling and just got back to it now, sorry for the delay!

  24. Hi I would like to know if tickets booked using the ASEAN pass can be postponed? And of yes, can the date of such postponed journey be beyond the 30 day period [for the 10 credit pass]

    • Yes, you can change flights you have booked with the ASEAN pass until 48h prior to departure, but you have to pay the change fee and fare difference. Check your ticket or call AirAsia reservations to find out how much those fees are.
      In my experience, the change fee and fare difference are often more than buying a new ticket. So, check the price of a new ticket first, before paying the change fee!

  25. Thank you for posting this awesome article.
    I’m a long time reader but I’ve never been compelled to leave a comment.
    I subscribed to your blog and shared this on my Facebook.
    Thanks again for a great post!

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