The national carrier of Malaysia has stepped up its game in recent years. It has refurbished its Business Class cabin on the Airbus A330s that fly to and from Australia and upgraded its lounge network.
Malaysia Airlines routes, aircraft & cabins
Malaysia Airlines currently operates a 2x daily service from Sydney and Melbourne, 1-2x daily service from Perth and 4x weekly service from Brisbane and Adelaide.
Most routes are operated by two-cabin (Business and Economy Class) Airbus A330s. That’s except for one of the Perth flights, which has recliner seats on Boeing 737s.
Malaysia Airlines A330 cabin & seats
All of the A330s have lie-flat Business Class seats.
On the A330, the configuration alternates between one row of 1-2-1 and the next of 1-2-2.
As usual, try to avoid the first and last rows if you want to be away from noise from lavatories and the galley.
Most routes operated with A330s, such as Kuala Lumpur – Hong Kong, have the refurbished cabin. However, note that the A330 on the Perth route has older-style seats, still lie-flat but it’s not the latest product.
Malaysia Airlines 737 Business Class cabin & seats
On the 737s, there are 16 recliner seats in Business Class, with a simple 2-2 configuration over four rows. This aircraft operates one of the daily Perth services.
Malaysia Airlines A350 Business Suites cabin & seats
During peak travel periods, Sydney and Tokyo sometimes get an Airbus A350 or A380. London flights operate with A350s year-round.
As of December 2018, First Class on Malaysia Airlines has been rebranded as ‘Business Suites’—it is just a name change.
You can find the older Business Suites seat on the A380 and the newer version on the A350.
Malaysia Airlines A380 Business Class cabin & seats
You can find this product flying to Tokyo as well as occasionally to Sydney. It’s a different Business Class product altogether, with a 2-2-2 configuration on the upper deck.
How to book Malaysia Airlines flights using points
American Airlines AAdvantage offers the cheapest redemption rates. Asia Miles is next, whilst Qantas Frequent Flyer is significantly more expensive. Malaysia Airlines’ own Enrich program turned revenue-based as of June 2017, wiping out its good value.
Prices are one-way in Business Class to Kuala Lumpur:
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||Asia Miles||AAdvantage|
I haven’t included Business Suites pricing as it is not usually available on Australian flights.
From Kuala Lumpur, you could then redeem more points for travel on British Airways to London. Alternatively, you could fly Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong for travel further afield, or take the short hop to Singapore to increase your redemptions out of Singapore.
How to search for Malaysia Airlines award availability
Award availability on Malaysia Airlines flights to/from Australia is usually pretty good for two or more passengers in Business Class. They are a useful option to have in oneworld and as a Qantas Frequent Flyer redemption partner.
You should be able to book Malaysia Airlines redemption seats up to 353 days before departure. Read more on when programs release award seats.
Malaysia Airlines lounge access
Malaysia Airlines operates lounges in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and London Heathrow.
There are four lounges at Kuala Lumpur, for:
- domestic flights
- regional flights
- long-haul flights in Business Class (including to Australia)
- long-haul flights in Business Studios
Business and Business Suites passengers also have access to oneworld partner lounges, such as the Qantas lounge network. If you are departing from Heathrow Terminal 4, the Malaysia Airlines lounge is great but the Qatar Airways one is also worth a visit.
Malaysia Airlines has generally had an inferior hard and soft product to Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. However, with flat-bed Business seats on most flights to/from Australia, the attractiveness of travelling with them increases.
Redeeming for flights on Malaysia Airlines makes sense especially when flying point-to-point from Australia to Malaysia. Other airlines are perhaps a better option for destinations further afield, however, they do remain a useful redemption option to use points to get to Asia or beyond.
Supplementary photos courtesy Malaysia Airlines.