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Hot on the heels of Jason Steele’s recent post about air travel passes, SkyTeam has launched its new Go Round Asia and South West Pacific Pass. The latest in SkyTeam’s series of regional travel passes, the Go Round Asia and South West Pacific Pass provides what appears to be a modest cost savings on multi-stop flight itineraries aboard SkyTeam member airlines serving 26 participating countries in Asia and the Pacific Rim.
The Airlines and Destinations
This pass applies only to travel in Economy or Business Class on the SkyTeam member airlines that fly to Asia and the Pacific Rim: Aeroflot, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Air.
If you’re a member of a frequent flyer program with any SkyTeam member airline, you earn miles on qualifying flights to the countries included in the Go Round Asia and Southwest Pacific pass: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, the Russian Federation East of the Urals, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, as well as Australia, Micronesia, and New Zealand.
Requirements and Rules
The following are the key requirements of the Go Round Asia and South West Pacific Pass:
- Your trans-Pacific round-trip from/to North America must be purchased separately, as it isn’t included in the pass. Note that you can purchase passes in conjunction with an award ticket as well, not just a paid fare.
- Regional Asian/Pacific Rim travel must begin and end in the same country, but different cities within that country are allowed.
- Choose from a minimum of two to a maximum of 10 stops.
- At least one of your stops has to be in Australia, New Zealand or Micronesia.
- One flight/connection must be on China Airlines, China Eastern or China Southern.
There are no blackout dates or day/time restrictions, but individual flights are subject to availability and will vary by carrier. A Go Round Asia and South West Pacific Pass can be bought three days or more in advance of your desired travel dates, but you can only put a 24-hour hold on your itinerary. Your overseas itinerary can last up to 12 months from the date of your originating international ticket, and there is no minimum stay requirement.
Fares in Three Mileage Bands
Go Round Asia and South West Pacific Pass fares are calculated within three mileage bands – up to 13,000, 17,000 or 21,000 miles. Open-jaw itineraries are allowed, but ground transfers between cities and airports count towards your total mileage. After your itinerary is booked, you can add destinations and/or stops without incurring any fees or additional costs as long as you don’t exceed the mileage band of your original booking or the maximum of 10 stops.
All itineraries (with the exception of one that includes an originating stop in Tokyo) incur an additional $260 fuel surcharge. According to the rep I spoke with at SkyTeam, approximate fares in these mileage bands (including the fuel surcharge but prior to any applicable arrival/departure taxes) are:
- 13,000 – Economy: $2,200 / Business: $4,680
- 17,000 – Economy: $2,590 / Business: $5,400
- 21,000 – Economy: $3,120 / Business: $6,770
Passes for children ages 2-11 are discounted 25%. Infants who are one year old or less and don’t require a a seat get a 10% price break on the pass in Economy, and fly free in Business class.
I priced out a couple of multi-stop itineraries that would be eligible for the Go Round Asia and South West Pacific Pass from November through February, as these months tend to offer lower temperatures, humidity and rainfall throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim. Costs listed include the fuel surcharge where applicable, but don’t include arrival/departure taxes for each destination.
My two sample itineraries are:
November 10-December 10
Booked without the pass: $2,807 Economy / $4,224 Business
Booked with the pass: $2,534 Economy / $4,684 Business (13,000-mile band)
Booking this itinerary with the pass provides a savings of roughly $300 in Economy, but actually costs $400 more in Business. Note that during this particular time frame, flights to these major hubs presently have plenty of availability and each separate leg can be booked as a direct flight.
December 18-January 18
Booked without the pass: $3,838 Economy / $6,343 Business
Booked with the pass: $3,020 Economy / $5,745 Business (17,000-mile band)
With an $800 price difference in Economy and about $600 in Business, savings with this itinerary are significant, helped by the fact that an originating stop in Tokyo means eliminating the $260 fuel surcharge. The major drawback? During this holiday season, seat availability on flights between these destinations is limited, and several could require a connection and/or plane change (indicated above in parentheses). However, this would be the case with or without the pass. Availability opens up in late January and continues through early-mid February.
Is The Go Round Asia and South West Pacific Pass Worth It?
If you’ve always wanted to take a couple of weeks (or even much longer) to explore Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, and don’t have a huge stash of alliance miles at your disposal, I’d recommend this pass for its flexibility and potential for savings. Depending on your particular itinerary, you may find a better or worse deal, but it’s at least worth looking into.
With its stopover/carrier requirements, this complex travel pass is certainly in line with SkyTeam’s propensity for frustrating policies (e.g., numerous members blocking awards on other partners and Korean Air’s rolling blackout dates). However, it’s redeemed by the lack of blackout dates, large number of stops allowed, open-jaw policy, and freedom to fly into and out of different cities within a country.
These passes are for-purchase only and can’t be booked with miles, but you will earn SkyTeam qualifying miles on each leg of your itinerary. (For instance, segments booked on Delta in particular are issued on 006 ticket stock and therefore earn MQDs). If booking a Go Round Asia and South West Pacific Pass on your own seems daunting, know that your entire itinerary – no matter how intricate – can be priced out and booked within one call to SkyTeam customer service at (800) 830-7460.
To gain inspiration for a trip using the Go Round Asia and South West Pacific Pass, be sure to check out previous posts on Auckland, Cambodia’s Siem Reap, Delhi, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Thailand’s Phuket, Tokyo and Vietnam’s Hanoi. If you do take advantage of this pass and book a trip to Asia or the Southwest Pacific, please let us know about your booking and/or travel experience by leaving a comment below!