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Traveling to Myanmar Using Miles and Points
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Traveling to Myanmar Using Miles and Points

by jeffreyDecember 31, 2014
This entry is part 1 of 25 in the series Myanmar

McCown and I are working on researching a trip to Myanmar for sometime in 2015 and have been scouring the internet trying to learn all that we can about how to get there, what to see, where to stay, etc… We’ll have a few points related to our Myanmar trip planning over the next few weeks, but, first of all: What’s the best way to get to Myanmar using miles or points from North America? 

Myanmar Map

Map of Myanmar/Burma. Yangon = home of the main international airport for the country. Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake are popular tourist destinations within the country.


There are essentially 3 major international entry points for Myanmar: Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw.

Destinations served from Yangon-RGN:

rgn destinations

This represents all non-stop flights to/from Yangon-RGN

rgn destinations mins fra doh

This is a zoomed in view on the region

AirlineAllianceAirports to/from Yangon-RGNCodeDist miRoute
Air BaganNoneChiang MaiCNX226RGN-CNX,
Air ChinaStar AllianceBeijing-CapitalPEK2013RGN-PEK,
Air ChinaStar AllianceChengduCTU1062RGN-CTU,
Air ChinaStar AllianceKunmingKMG714RGN-KMG,
Air IndiaStar AllianceGayaGAY901RGN-GAY,
Air IndiaStar AllianceKolkataCCU638RGN-CCU,
Air KBZNoneChiang MaiCNX226RGN-CNX,
AirAsiaNoneBangkok-Don MueangDMK362RGN-DMK,
AirAsiaNoneKuala LumpurKUL1045RGN-KUL,
All Nippon AirwaysStar AllianceTokyo-NaritaNRT3004RGN-NRT,
Asiana AirlinesStar AllianceSeoul-IncheonICN2325RGN-ICN,
Bangkok AirwaysNoneBangkok-SuvarnabhumiBKK379RGN-BKK,
Bangkok AirwaysNoneChiang MaiCNX226RGN-CNX,
Biman Bangladesh AirlinesNoneDhakaDAC605RGN-DAC,
Business AirNoneBangkok-SuvarnabhumiBKK379RGN-BKK,
Business AirNonePhuketHKT622RGN-HKT,
China AirlinesSkyTeamTaipei-TaoyuanTPE1713RGN-TPE,
China Eastern AirlinesSkyTeamKunmingKMG714RGN-KMG,
China Eastern AirlinesSkyTeamNanningNNG876RGN-NNG,
China Southern AirlinesSkyTeamGuangzhouCAN1200RGN-CAN,
Condor FlugdienstMiles & More?Frankfurt (Seasonal)FRA5230RGN-FRA,
DragonairOneworldHong KongHKG1216RGN-HKG,
Golden Myanmar AirlinesNoneBangkok-SuvarnabhumiBKK379RGN-BKK,
Golden Myanmar AirlinesNoneChiang MaiCNX226RGN-CNX,
Golden Myanmar AirlinesNoneSingaporeSIN1195RGN-SIN,
Jetstar Asia AirwaysQantas?SingaporeSIN1195RGN-SIN,
Korean AirSkyTeamSeoul-IncheonICN2325RGN-ICN,
Malaysia AirlinesOneworldKuala LumpurKUL1045RGN-KUL,
Myanmar Airways InternationalNoneBangkok-SuvarnabhumiBKK379RGN-BKK,
Myanmar Airways InternationalNoneGuangzhouCAN1200RGN-CAN,
Myanmar Airways InternationalNoneJakarta-Soekarno HattaCGK1739RGN-CGK,
Myanmar Airways InternationalNoneKuala LumpurKUL1045RGN-KUL,
Myanmar Airways InternationalNoneOsaka-KansaKIX2699RGN-KIX,
Myanmar Airways InternationalNonePhnom PenhPNH690RGN-PNH,
Myanmar Airways InternationalNoneSeoul-IncheonICN2325RGN-ICN,
Myanmar Airways InternationalNoneSiem ReapREP566RGN-REP,
Myanmar Airways InternationalNoneSingaporeSIN1195RGN-SIN,
Nok AirNoneBangkok-Don MueangDMK362RGN-DMK,
Nok AirNoneMae SotMAQ160RGN-MAQ,
Qatar AirwaysOneworldDohaDOH2918RGN-DOH,
SilkAirSingapore AirlinesSingaporeSIN1195RGN-SIN,
Singapore AirlinesStar AllianceSingaporeSIN1195RGN-SIN,
Thai AirwaysStar AllianceBangkok-SuvarnabhumiBKK379RGN-BKK,
TigerairNoneSingaporeSIN1195RGN-SIN,
Vietnam AirlinesSkyTeamHanoiHAN699RGN-HAN,
Vietnam AirlinesSkyTeamHo Chi Minh CitySGN821RGN-SGN,

Destinations served from Mandalay-MDL:

international destinations from mandalay mdl

All non-stop flights served from Mandalay-MDL

AirlineAllianceAirports to/from Mandalay-MDLCodeDist miRoute
Asian Wings AirwaysNoneChiang MaiCNX280MDL-CNX,
Bangkok AirwaysNoneBangkok-SuvarnabhumiBKK635MDL-BKK,
Bangkok AirwaysNoneChiang MaiCNX280MDL-CNX,
China Eastern AirlinesSkyTeamKunmingKMG500MDL-KMG,
Golden Myanmar AirlinesNoneImphalIMF249MDL-IMF,
Golden Myanmar AirlinesNoneSingaporeSIN1499MDL-SIN,
Myanmar Airways InternationalNoneGayaGAY732MDL-GAY,
Myanmar Airways InternationalNoneSeoul-IncheonICN2117MDL-ICN,
SilkAirSingapore?SingaporeSIN1499MDL-SIN,
Thai AirAsiaNoneBangkok-Don MueangDMK616MDL-DMK,
Thai Airways InternationalStar AllianceBangkok-SuvarnabhumiBKK635MDL-BKK,

Destinations served from Naypyidaw-NYT:

nyt origin flights myanmar

Non-stop routes flown to/fom Naypyidaw-MDL

Most travelers will find it most economical and logical to make Yangon-RGN their Myanmar entry and departure points. From Yangon, you’ll need to plan the rest of your destinations.


Of all of the above flights, those wishing to travel with miles or points will be most interested in the routes operated by companies who participate in one of the 3 major alliances.

AirlineAllianceToFromDist mi
Air ChinaStar AllianceYangon-RGNBeijing-Capital-PEK2013
Air ChinaStar AllianceYangon-RGNChengdu-CTU1062
Air ChinaStar AllianceYangon-RGNKunming-KMG714
Air IndiaStar AllianceYangon-RGNGaya-GAY901
Air IndiaStar AllianceYangon-RGNKolkata-CCU638
All Nippon AirwaysStar AllianceYangon-RGNTokyo-Narita-NRT3004
Asiana AirlinesStar AllianceYangon-RGNSeoul-Incheon-ICN2325
China AirlinesSkyTeamYangon-RGNTaipei-Taoyuan-TPE1713
China Eastern AirlinesSkyTeamYangon-RGNKunming-KMG714
China Eastern AirlinesSkyTeamYangon-RGNNanning-NNG876
China Eastern AirlinesSkyTeamMandalay-MDLKunming-KMG500
China Eastern AirlinesSkyTeamNaypyidaw-NYTKunming-KMG572
China Southern AirlinesSkyTeamYangon-RGNGuangzhou-CAN1200
Condor FlugdienstMiles and MoreYangon-RGNFrankfurt-FRA5230
DragonairOneworldYangon-RGNHong Kong-HKG1216
Jetstar Asia AirwaysQantas?Yangon-RGNSingapore-SIN1195
Korean AirSkyTeamYangon-RGNSeoul-Incheon-ICN2325
Malaysia AirlinesOneworldYangon-RGNKuala Lumpur-KUL1045
Qatar AirwaysOneworldYangon-RGNDoha-DOH2918
SilkAirSingapore?Mandalay-MDLSingapore-SIN1499
Singapore AirlinesStar AllianceYangon-RGNSingapore-SIN1195
Thai AirwaysStar AllianceYangon-RGNBangkok-BKK379
Thai AirwaysStar AllianceMandalay-MDLBangkok-BKK635
Vietnam AirlinesSkyTeamYangon-RGNHanoi-HAN699
Vietnam AirlinesSkyTeamYangon-RGNHo Chi Minh City-SGN821

British_Airways_logo

British Airways Avios

Transfer Partners: 1:1 Chase Ultimate Rewards & 1:1 AMEX
Alliance: Oneworld Alliance

A pretty good option for many might be to include a combination of a paid booking and an award booking with British Airways Avios.

The Avios award chart is distance-based and based upon segments, meaning, if you add in a few connections, you can quickly wind up with a rather unreasonable price tag in miles. A great option, however, could be to book a paid flight to/from one of the following gateways and then book an award to carry you to the final destination of Myanmar.

2014-11-25_22-31-58

Referencing the Avios award chart:

Avios-award-Chart

You’ll find that the 3 Oneworld routes into Myanmar will cost:

Airline Route Distance Round-trip Avios (Economy) Round-trip Avios (Business)
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur-KUL to/from Yangon-RGN 1,045 mi (1,682 km) 15,000 30,000
Dragonair Hong Kong-HKG to/from Yangon-RGN 1,216 mi (1,957 km) 20,000 40,000
Qatar Airways Doha-DOH to/from Yangon-RGN 2,918 mi (4,696 km) 25,000 50,000

The even better news is that British Airways won’t hit you up for outrageous fuel surcharges that might make this method a deal breaker. Here’s a few sample bookings:

dragonair hkg-rgn hong kong to yangon

malaysia airlines kul-rgn kuala lumpur to yangon

Kuala Lumpur-KUL to Yangon-RGN will only cost you 15k Avios + $35 roundtrip in economy


aa-logo

American Airlines

Transfer Partners: Not partners with Chase or AMEX
Alliance: Oneworld Alliance

American Airlines no longer allows stopovers on its awards, but an open-jaw shouldn’t be a problem since it permits one-way award bookings. If you’re traveling from North American to Myanmar (or any other country in “Asia 2” as designated by American Airlines:Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Saipan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam):

OAAwardChart0909

North American to Myanmar on American Airlines requires 70k American Airlines miles roundtrip in economy

We’ll go more into depth on the best routings using American Airlines miles to Yangon-RGN but, in the meantime, here are the intermediate airlines that you can choose from to bring you the last stretch to Myanmar:

2014-11-25_22-31-58


Delta-SkyMiles-Logo

Delta SkyMiles

Transfer Partners: 1:1 AMEX
Alliance: SkyTeam

The Delta SkyMiles program is making big changes starting Jan 1, 2015, but, so far, the award prices to Southeast Asia (including Myanmar) will remain the same. Here’s the award chart for Delta award flights booked after Jan 1, 2015:

2014-11-25_22-12-14

Delta Skymiles 2015 Program = 80k SkyMiles in Economy to Myanmar

2014-11-25_22-13-42

Delta Skymiles 2015 Program = 140k SkyMiles roundtrip in BusinessElite to Myanmar

The one big change that will affect an award booking is that (until Dec 31, 2014) you can include a stopover and open-jaw in your award booking. This will likely end on Jan 1, 2015 when the new program takes hold. The good news? You will be able to book one-way SkyMile awards, which means you could spend 40k SkyMiles getting to Myanmar and then return on a different airline’s rewards or purchase a paid ticket home.

SkyTeam actually has a pretty solid presence when it comes to routes to/from Myanmar; here are your choices for the last leg:

2014-12-04_21-36-04


United MileagePlus miles

Transfer Partners: 1:1 Chase Ultimate Rewards
Alliance: Star Alliance

Given all of your options, the United MileagePlus program may very well be the most versatile program to use for award travel from the U.S. to Myanmar and other countries in South Asia. Although it’s not the cheapest U.S. based carrier (United costs 10k more miles RT than American), United still allows awards to be booked with 1 free stopover and 1 free open-jaw:

United-Award-Chart-02-01-14 copy

A United MileagePlus award ticket to Myanmar will cost you 80k miles roundtrip in economy

Economy: 80k miles
Business: 140k miles
First: 160k miles

This means you can easily visit 3+ cities on one award ticket.

Pros: United doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges from their partner airlines. Thai Airways is a Star Alliance member and is very well suited to get you around Southeast Asia.
Cons: If you book Business or First class with partner airlines the award prices increase dramatically.


usairways-logo

US Airways

Transfer Partners: Not partners with Chase or AMEX
Alliance: Oneworld Alliance

Economy: 80k miles
Business: 120k miles
First: 160k miles

Pros: Allows one stopover or one open jaw, No fuel surcharges except on British Airways and Iberia
Cons: Fuel surcharges on British Airways and Iberia


Aero-Mexico-Club-Premier

AeroMexico

Transfer Partners: 1:1 AMEX
Alliance: SkyTeam Allaiance

Economy: ~112k KMP miles
Business: ~152k KMP miles


aeroplan-logo2

Air Canada Aeroplan

Transfer Partners: 1:1 AMEX
Alliance: Star Alliance

Economy: 90k miles
Business: 155k miles
First: 215k miles

Pros: Allows stopovers and open-jaws
Cons: Warning! Many carriers might charge a fuel surcharge from around ~$300 for economy to ~$900 for business


flying blue940X360px

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Transfer Partners: 1:1 AMEX
Alliance: SkyTeam Alliance

Number of Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles required for a roundtrip award:

Economy: 80k miles
Premium Economy: 160k miles
Business: 200k miles

Cons: Warning! You’ll get hit with fuel surcharges!


2014-12-30_22-14-46

Alitalia MilleMiglia Club

Transfer Partners: 1:1 AMEX
Alliance: SkyTeam Alliance

It’s not entirely clear if Myanmar falls into Indian Sub-Continent or Southeast Asia on Alitalia’s award chart as they don’t specifically list it, but this will give you a ball park idea:

2014-12-22_22-34-04

Economy: 70k – 80k miles
Business: 95k – 100k miles


ANA Mileage Club

Transfer Partners: 1:1 AMEX
Alliance: Star Alliance

2014-12-22_22-42-25

Economy: 75k – 100k miles
Business: 115k – 145k miles
First: 180k – 220k miles


2014-12-30_22-12-31

Asia Miles

Transfer Partners: 1:1 AMEX
Alliance: Oneworld Alliance

Asia Miles has a distance-based award chart that goes up in price depending upon how many partners you choose to book with. For example, here’s the chart for booking 2+ Oneworld Alliance members:

2014-12-22_22-15-00

You’ll be hard pressed to use any less miles than the Award Zone 10 or 11 so count on the following amounts:

Economy: 95k – 110k miles
Business: 140k – 160k miles
First: 205k – 235k miles

Pros: “You can make a maximum of five stopovers, two transfers and two open-jaws at either origin, en-route or turnaround point, subject to airline partners’ terms and conditions.”
Cons: Fuel surcharges!


Iberia Plus

Transfer Partners: 1:1 AMEX
Alliance: Oneworld Alliance

While Iberia also uses Avios, the same currency as British Airways, its award chart is priced a bit higher:

2014-12-22_23-00-54

Economy: 82.5k – 112.5k miles
Business: 165k – 225k miles
First: 249k – 337.5k miles


Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 

Transfer Partners: 1:1 Chase Ultimate Rewards & 1:1 AMEX
Alliance: Star Alliance

SQMI_OneWayAwardCharts copy

Economy: 70k – 75k miles
Business: 160k – 170k miles
First: 215k – 220k miles


2014-12-30_22-08-44

Virgin America Elevate

Transfer Partners: 100 Elevate points = 200 Membership Rewards® Points AMEX
Alliance: None

While Virgin America doesn’t publish a full award chart, they do give you a few estimates on select routes. Below is the range for flights from San Francisco-SFO to Hong Kong-HKG and Dubai-DXB so it should give a decent estimate of what to except if requesting a full booking to Myanmar.

Economy: 40k – 50k Elevate points, adjusted to typical rates = 80k – 100k AMEX points
Business: 95k – 115k Elevate points = 190k – 230k AMEX points
First: 130k Elevate points = 260k AMEX points


BOTTOM LINE: You’ll want to use the miles/airlines that make the most sense for you. I’ve been hoarding Chase Ultimate Rewards points so any of the airlines that partner with Chase will be a good choice for me. For 80k miles roundtrip that includes a stopover and an open-jaw, United will likely be our best bet.

Featured image: https://flic.kr/p/8ZQFgr

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jeffrey
jeffrey

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  • ZM

    Awesome post, thank you! I love visiting Myanmar but the flight is always so expensive, except when my grandma went this Feb. She found a flash deal for $700 but she has a lot more flexibility so she was able to jump on the deal!

    • ZM

      Could you guys post about which points you decided to use and your route? I want to get an idea of what options are good for a frugal traveler 🙂 I have Chase UR, avios, AA/ US Air miles so I’m curious about how you utilized your points to maximize value since I’m new to actually using my points for travel 🙂 Thanks!

      • mccown

        Hi there! Thanks so much for reading about our trip to Myanmar! It was our first time in the country and we fell in love with it – and most especially its people.

        We actually ended up booking our flights to Myanmar through a flash sale, as well. However, we also have been stock-piling Chase UR points and were about to pull the trigger on a United award flight, but then ended up booking a similar flight with the flash sale.

        At 80K miles round-trip, United ends up being one of the better values out there. With the strength of Thai Airways/Singapore Airlines in the region (both Star Alliance partners), a United award really opens up your options for stop-overs and open jaws.

        We ended up booking:

        Leg 1:
        – Chicago-ORD to Tokyo-NRT on ANA
        – Tokyo-NRT to Yangon-RGN on ANA
        Leg 2:
        – Hanoi-HAN to Tokyo-HND on ANA
        Leg 3:
        – Tokyo-NRT Chicago-ORD on ANA

        We then supplemented the United ticket by booking the following paid tickets separately:
        – Bagan, Myanmar to Inle Lake, Myanmar
        – Inle Lake, Myanmar to Mandalay-MDL
        – Mandalay-MDL to Bangkok-BKK on Bangkok Airways
        – Bangkok-BKK to Saigon-SGN on Vietnam Airlines

        We’ve already spent time in Bangkok, Singapore and Bali but those stopovers would have been high on the list had we not.

        Let us know if you have more specific questions– we’re glad to help!

      • Hi there! Thanks so much for reading about our trip to Myanmar! It was our first time in the country and we fell in love with it – and most especially its people.

        We actually ended up booking our flights to Myanmar through a flash sale, as well. However, we also have been stock-piling Chase UR points and were about to pull the trigger on a United award flight, but then ended up booking a similar flight with the flash sale.

        At 80K miles round-trip, United ends up being one of the better values out there. With the strength of Thai Airways/Singapore Airlines in the region (both Star Alliance partners), a United award really opens up your options for stop-overs and open jaws.

        We ended up booking:

        Leg 1:
        – Chicago-ORD to Tokyo-NRT on ANA
        – Tokyo-NRT to Yangon-RGN on ANA
        Leg 2:
        – Hanoi-HAN to Tokyo-HND on ANA
        Leg 3:
        – Tokyo-NRT Chicago-ORD on ANA

        We then supplemented the United ticket by booking the following paid tickets separately:
        – Bagan, Myanmar to Inle Lake, Myanmar
        – Inle Lake, Myanmar to Mandalay-MDL
        – Mandalay-MDL to Bangkok-BKK on Bangkok Airways
        – Bangkok-BKK to Saigon-SGN on Vietnam Airlines

        We’ve already spent time in Bangkok, Singapore and Bali but those stopovers would have been high on the list had we not.

        Let us know if you have more specific questions– we’re glad to help!

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