In our series Award Success I want to highlight a redemption I recently completed with the Flying Blue program: An Economy Class one way flight from Seoul-Gimpo Airport to Taipei-Songshan.
The flight on this route is operated by China Airlines and due to both airports being very close to the city center rather than far outside the city, I always prefer this city pair if I have the choice (similar when flying from Tokyo-Haneda to either Gimpo or Songshan).
The frequency between these small airport is very low and it’s often very difficult to find a flight on these routes, yet even if you do the price is usually prohibitively high to book it with cash.
As such, mileage awards are always excellent use for these flights and it so happens that the route between Seoul-Gimpo and Taipei-Songshan is currently operated by China Airlines exclusively.
In the past, there was also Korea Air on this route but this isn’t available at the moment and even if there was a Korean Air flight it’s very likely they wouldn’t have awards available, even in Economy Class.
This is a relatively short flights of 2:20h real flying time and it’s usually uneventful no matter which airline you fly. I have nothing against China Airlines and had only good experiences with them so far.
After checking the prices again and discovering that a one way would cost $445, I asked a friend if he had any spare Flying Blue miles since I didn’t have any left. He still had a small amount and allowed me to use them.
When I searched I found the China Airlines connection (which only operates a few days per week):
The total for an Economy Class ticket on GMP-TSA is 13,500 Miles and 44,64 Euro in taxes. That’s very reasonable and in contrast, Business Class would have been 50,000 Miles which is ridiculous. I would never spend roughly 4x the miles for a short flight like this just to fly in Business Class, especially on a Boeing 737-800 with regional-style seating.
This redemption is a good example how there is value for Economy Class redemptions, especially on routes where revenue fares are extremely high. In this case both the amount of miles required and the taxes were rather low.
Another program that is quite good for such short-haul flights is British Airways Executive Club, here an example for Taipei to Hong Kong:
It’s still good value, but if I remember correctly, in the past this route was available for as little as 4,500 miles (now: 7,500). In any case it’s definitely a good fallback option especially with oneWorld tier status, although the CX Lounge in Taipei would have been closed this time.
I was surprised though how expensive Flying Blue got for the Business Class, and even the Economy Class flights. In the past this was 25,000 miles intra-asia and now it’s double that amount. I guess the sweet spot for that program are either the Promo Awards on AF/KL metal or such short-haul economy awards.
This Award Success was a redemption of 13,500 Flying Blue miles to book a rather expensive city pair in Economy Class. Even though it’s just a 2:20h flights, Seoul-Taipei would have cost $445 and that was simply not worth it.
Thankfully my friend was able to help me out with a few Flying Blue miles. I think in the worst case I’d have just skipped Taipei this time and went there during another month instead. This way, I was able to get everything done within a day and flew back to Thailand the following afternoon.