Arguably the most difficult program in the world for US members to redeem miles with has been SkyTeam member Garuda Indonesia. They’re certainly the most difficult program to redeem miles with that partners with a transferable points currency. You can move Citi ThankYou points to GarudaMiles.
However up until now if you wanted to redeem GarudaMiles for travel on their own flights you had to endure “award redemption in six easy steps.”
Roughly speaking Garuda Indonesia’s frequent flyer program thought it was Korean. North Korean:
- Call Garuda Indonesia or go in person to a ticket office to set up your reservation.
- Complete an award ticket application form
- Submit this form, a valid ID, and your original GarudaMiles membership card (note: you therefore cannot simply sign up for the program and redeem – wait for that card!) to the staff at the Garuda Indonesia Sales Office.
- Then claim the award ticket in person at the sales office. You can send someone to have the award ticket issued in person for you, but if you do you must provide them “with a legally valid letter of authority”
It’s precisely because of this process that I was never willing to mess with a GarudaMiles redemption. These are the only ticket offices in the U.S.:
However Garuda Indonesia has said they want to fly from Jakarta to Los Angeles via Tokyo in 2017. And first class onboard their Boeing 777-300ER looks fantastic.
What’s more there’s virtually no competition for redeeming first class awards on SkyTeam member Garuda Indonesia. Delta miles, of course, cannot be used for international first class.
Their award chart isn’t great although shorter flights especially in economy and business are reasonable.
Garuda route is priced separately, and roughly based on distance. Economy awards start at 4000 miles each way and business starts at 7000 miles each way.
The shortest first class redemptions are 45,000 miles one-way, and upgrades from business to first are roughly half the cost of an award. Longer flights do get pricey in first class.
- Jakarta – Syndey is 90,000 miles one-way in first class
- Jakarta – Abu Dhabi is 105,000 miles one-way in first class
- Jakarta – London is 190,00 miles one-eway in first class
The big news though is that you can now redeem GarudaMiles for Garuda Indonesia flights online or by phone.
Visit www.Garuda-Indonesia.com or contact Garuda Indonesia Contact Center at +62 21 2351 9999 or 0804 1807 807 (from Indonesia) to book your flight and redeeming your miles. Award Ticket can only be processed 4 (four) hours prior to departure at the latest.
For all intents and purposes this makes Garuda Indonesia an actual partner of Citi ThankYou Rewards, not merely a theoretical one.
(HT: Lynn S.)