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$160 for a Month of Flights in Paradise

SmarterTravel

Got $200? Then you could be flying around Southeast Asia for a month.

AirAsia, the low-cost Malaysian carrier, announced yesterday that it would begin offering a monthly pass that offers near-unlimited travel in Southeast Asia. The ASEAN Pass (named for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is available for purchase now.

Here’s how it works: An upfront membership fee of $160 (for 10 credits) or $290 (for 20 credits) buys the passholder into the program. With those credits, users can book flights to 10 countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Burma, Laos and Brunei. The number of credits that each leg costs is based on the price of a standard ticket, the flight duration, and the frequency of the route. AirAsia offers an informative FAQ, but here’s an example of how the ASEAN Pass credits work:

Airport taxes, checked baggage, in-flight meals, and seat selection cost extra, and naturally all routes are subject to availability.

It’s vaguely reminiscent of JetBlue’s GoPack, the airline’s recurring offer of 6 or 10 flights for a flat fee (usually beginning at the $700 mark). But those deals, when you can catch them, tend to be loved by business travelers who frequent the same route over and over. The ASEAN Pass is likely to be a hit with backpackers who don’t mind seriously open-ended itineraries. Imagine: snorkeling in Thailand then hopping a flight to Bali, then exploring temples in Cambodia. Not a bad trip.

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