Malaysia Airlines has an incredible First Class product on its A380, on par with the best in the world. I flew Malaysia First Class from Paris to Kuala Lumpur in 2013 and loved the service, luxury touches, and satay cart.

You can fly the same product between London and Kuala Lumpur for 70,000 American Airlines miles with great award availability.  For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers 75,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months. That means you’ll have 82,500 American Airlines miles after meeting the spending requirement. That’s enough miles for one way to between Southeast Asia and Europe in Malaysia First Class.

Unfortunately Malaysia Airlines is in terrible financial shape after losing two planes last year, so it is completely revamping its company and dumping some A380s. It has cut the A380 from its Paris <-> Kuala Lumpur route, but the plane remains on twice daily services between London and Kuala Lumpur.

Product

I love Malaysia Airlines First Class. It is reminiscent of Cathay Pacific First Class to me. A super wide throne that makes for a very comfortable bed.

The only quibble I ever have with flat beds on airplanes is when they aren’t very wide, making me feel a little claustrophobic. There are no such issues in Malaysia First Class. The 26.1″ wide, 7’3″ long bed was plenty big.

The Malaysia A380 has eight First Class seats arranged 1-2-1.

Dom Perignon and caviar are served onboard.

The service on my flight blew me away, especially all the small touches like multiple flight attendants introducing themselves and thanking me for flying Malaysia Airlines to the flight attendants kneeling down to seat level when interacting.

Award Price and Where You Can Fly

The only route with Malaysia Airlines First Class on the A380 is London <-> Kuala Lumpur. You can connect anywhere in Europe and anywhere in Asia 2 (Southeast Asia plus China) for the same 70,000 American Airlines miles one way.

There are no fuel surcharges on the flight; you just pay government taxes. Departing London, those taxes are about $300 one way, so if you want to start in Europe, you’ll save a lot of money by starting NOT in London and just connecting there on a British Airways or other oneworld flight.

I’d recommend starting in Kuala Lumpur to save hundreds of dollars on taxes and get an extra hour (13.5 hours) in flight.

Award Space

Award space is excellent in First Class for one passenger and in Business Class for one passenger per flight. I searched this week and the first weeks of November, January, March, May, and July for First Class award space to see how it varies by season and time.

On every Malaysia Airlines flight, I found either zero or one First Class award seat, never a second. If you have a companion, either book two Business Class seats, one First and one Business, or one First and hope for a second to open up later.

London to Kuala Lumpur
  • This week: 2/7 days have First Class space
  • November: 6/7 days  (one day had one First Class seat on each flight)
  • January: 3/7 days
  • March: 7/7 days
  • May: 0/7 days (but all 14 flights had 1 Business Class award seat)
  • July: 7/7 days (all 14 flights had 1 First Class award seat)
Kuala Lumpur to London
  • This week: 0/7 days
  • November 5/7 days
  • January: 3/7 days
  • March 7/7 days
  • May: 0/7 days (but all 14 flights had 1 Business Class award seat)
  • July: 0/7 days (but all 14 flights had 1 Business Class award seat)

The main patterns I discern are that:

  • First Class award space is generally excellent for one passenger but more so within 2-7 months of departure as both directions had zero First Class award space in the first week of May.
  • During periods of zero First Class award space, there were plenty of flights with Business Class award space
  • Award space is a bit better from London to Kuala Lumpur in First Class than vice versa.

Searching and Booking

Search on ba.com. Here’s how. Note the date, flight number, and cabin of the award space you find. You can double check the A380 operates the route by clicking the flight number.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 5.01.48 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 5.05.57 AM

I prefer the redeye MH1 timing going east. Heading west, I’d probably take the MH4 flight times.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 5.01.48 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 5.10.21 AM

You can book any Malaysia Airlines award space you find on ba.com with American Airlines miles. To book, call American Airlines at 800-882-8880. Give the agent the date, flight number, and cabin of the award space you found. Confirm that the agent is NOT charging you a $40 phone fee, since the award cannot be booked online with American Airlines miles.

Getting the Miles

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers 75,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 2.52.22 PM

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® also offers Admirals Club lounge membership, meaning you can access over 90 American Airlines Clubs in airports around the world whenever you’re flying–even if you’re not flying on American. Plus you can bring in any two guests for free OR your spouse and all children under 18 for free on each visit. This is why the card has a $450 annual fee; new membership in the Admirals Club usually costs $500.

Bottom Line

Flying Malaysia Airlines First Class was one of the best flights of my life. You can fly it for only 70,000 American Airlines miles one way, and award space is excellent in both directions.

Search on ba.com, and book by calling American Airlines.

Use the flight as part of a round-the-world trip. Nowadays, RTW awards are poor values, so you need to construct them out of a series of cheap, one way awards like this one.

 

Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 spend in 3 months

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months and 2x points earned on dining and travel spend, this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!

Learn More

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.