There’s good news and bad news coming from Thai Airways. First the good news: beginning Oct. 1, 2007, members of Thai Royal Orchid Plus will have the option of redeeming miles for one-way awards with Thai Airways. The flexibility will be appreciated by those who want to travel one way on Thai and return by car, train or boat. For example, coach flights within Thailand up to 1,000 miles can be claimed for 9,000 miles; the rate for a roundtrip flight is 15,000 miles. One-way flights between Thailand and the U.S. will be 63,000 miles; the rate for a roundtrip flight is 90,000 miles.
And now, the bad news: beginning Oct. 1, 2007, mileage requirements will increase on almost all routes and there will be a new award zone for travel between Bangkok and Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Moscow with higher redemption levels than was previously required for these destinations. For example, coach flights between Bangkok and Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Moscow currently require 45,000 points. With the new award zone, these same flights will cost 55,000 points. Award flights within Thailand and most of Asia will stay at the current levels with the exception of some Royal Silk class and Premium Economy class flights, but flights to all other destinations will see a rise from 5,000 to 20,000 points with the biggest jumps for first class flights. For full information on the changes, visit www.insideflyer.com/link/?416.
Mileage redemptions for Star Alliance first class awards will also increase come Oct. 1. Flights between the Asia 1 Zone and the Asia 2 Zone will increase across the board except for flights between the Asia 2 Zone and Middle East, which will remain the same. For example, first class flights between the Asia 1 or 2 Zone and North America will increase to 200,000 points from 190,000 points. Other classes of service will remain the same.
All award flights redeemed before Oct. 1, 2007 will be available at the current levels. Thai Airways cites the reason for the increases reflects “the enhanced comfort and service provided by new and upgraded aircraft.” To give Thai Airways credit, they are giving members plenty of time to redeem their points before the increases take effect.