16 Best Ways to Redeem Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Miles for Maximum Value

Thai Airways Plane

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Thai Airways is the flag carrier of Thailand and was founded in 1960. A Star Alliance partner, this airline is one of the most highly regarded airlines in the industry, primarily through its sublime first class product. It has also landed a spot on our best international first class airlines.

Thai Airways has been struggling as financial losses mount, so the unfortunate reality is that it has begun to cut back on its offerings. This includes relentless and severe devaluations of its frequent flyer program.

Even after all the years of taking a beating, there are still some areas where you can extract great value from your Thai Airways miles. In this in-depth guide, we’ll be taking a look at the top ways to redeem these miles, uncovering how they can provide outsized value, especially for niche travelers.

Table of contents

Table of Contents

The Pros and Cons of Thai Airways Miles

Thai Airways’ frequent flyer program is called Royal Orchid Plus (often abbreviated as ROP). When you take a holistic look at the program, you’ll notice some odd quirks. Additionally, much of the information that other resources published on Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus is hopelessly outdated.

That being said, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus has these pros going for them:

  • Access to the Star Alliance network for flight options
  • 1 stopover allowed, subject to fees, even on one-way tickets (except for travel solely within Thailand)
  • 1 open-jaw is also permitted, either at the point of turnaround or origin
  • Attractive intra-region award pricing
  • Ability to earn miles through Citi ThankYou Points and many hotel points
  • Round the World Award trips are allowed, albeit at an absurd price
  • Attractive round-trip ultra-long-haul awards on Thai Airways

Here are the drawbacks you’ll notice when using Thai Airways miles:

  • Ridiculously high long-haul award prices
  • Fuel surcharges are passed on
  • Round-trip tickets are cheaper than 2 one-way tickets
  • Can’t search for award space online without miles
  • Maximum of 4 sectors per award ticket (RTW trips excluded)
  • The website provides confusing information
  • Most ticket changes required award cancellation and another ticket request
  • Once travel has commenced, there are no routing changes or mileage re-credits allowed

To summarize, most of the Thai Airways award chart has been obliterated over time. Furthermore, fuel surcharges are now passed on.

The other side of the equation is that Thai Airways has a user-unfriendly website, whereby searching for award space requires miles in your account. Lastly, you’re restricted by the ticketing process, which means that you ought to be certain of your travel plans staying the same before you book an award ticket.

However, there are a few things Thai Airways has going for it. Thai Airways is a Star Alliance member, and mixing carriers for award flights is easy, resulting in the convenience of global connectivity. You can also leverage some generous routing rules via the stopover and open-jaw allowance.

Using Your Thai Airways Miles

Thai Airways Award Charts

Thai Airways has 2 separate award charts — 1 for nonstop trips and 1 for connecting trips through Bangkok. The first award chart is for direct, point-to-point travel with Thai Airways and Thai Smile (Thai Airways’ regional low-cost subsidiary).

Here’s what the first award chart looks like (all prices are one-way):

ZoneOne-Way Travel Between Bangkok and Listed DestinationsEconomy ClassPremium Economy ClassRoyal Silk ClassRoyal First Class
Destination in Thailand:

Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Had Yai, Krabi, Khon Kaen, Narathiwat, Phuket, Surat Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani

7,5008,75010,00015,000
1Cambodia: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap

Laos: Luang Prabang, Vientiane

Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Penang

Myanmar: Mandalay, Yangon

Singapore: Singapore

Vietnam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City

12,50015,00020,00035,000
2China: Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Xiamen

Taiwan-China: Kaohsiung, Taipei

17,50022,50030,00042,500
China: Kunming12,50015,00020,00035,000
3Indonesia: Denpasar, Jakarta

Philippines: Manila

17,50022,50027,50035,000
4India: Bengaluru, Chennai, Gaya, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi, Varanasi

Nepal: Kathmandu

Sri Lanka: Colombo

17,50022,50027,50037,500
Bangladesh: Dhaka12,50015,00020,00035,000
5China: Beijing, Zhengzhou

Japan: Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo (Haneda/Narita)

Korea: Busan, Seoul

22,50030,00042,500 60,000
6Oman: Muscat

Pakistan: Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore

U.A.E.: Dubai

22,50030,00042,50060,000
7Australia: Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney27,50035,00065,00090,000
Australia: Perth22,50030,00047,50067,500
 8New Zealand: Auckland 42,50062,500 85,000 115,000 
 9Austria: Vienna

Belgium: Brussels

Denmark: Copenhagen

France: Paris

Germany: Frankfurt, Munich

Italy: Milan, Rome

Norway: Oslo

Sweden: Stockholm

Switzerland: Zurich

U.K.: London

 42,50062,500 90,000 125,0000 
Russia: Moscow 27,50035,000 65,000 90,000 

Thai Airways operates several nonstop flights that don’t touch Bangkok and prices them as follows:

From/To PhuketEconomy ClassPremium Economy ClassRoyal Silk ClassRoyal First Class
Chiang Mai12,50015,00020,000N/A
Hong Kong17,50022,50030,00042,500
Beijing22,50030,00047,50067,500
Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Stockholm42,50062,50090,000125,000

 

From/To SeoulEconomy ClassPremium Economy ClassRoyal Silk ClassRoyal First Class
Taipei12,50015,00020,000N/A
Hong Kong17,50020,00030,000N/A

 

From/To KarachiEconomy ClassPremium Economy ClassRoyal Silk ClassRoyal First Class
Muscat22,50030,00042,500N/A

Thai Airways also has separate award charts that include connections in Bangkok. For example, this may include originating in Phuket, taking a short-haul flight to Bangkok, and then a long-haul flight to London.

On the flip side, it may include originating in a city like Frankfurt, taking a long-haul flight to Bangkok, and then a short-haul flight to Chiang Mai.

In both cases, there’s a connection within Bangkok. Usually, the incremental surcharge is an additional 4,000 miles in economy class, 4,500 miles in premium economy class, 5,000 miles in business class, or 7,500 miles in first class.

Here’s the full connecting award chart for one-way flights on Thai Airways:

ZoneOne-Way Travel Between Bangkok and Listed DestinationsEconomy ClassPremium Economy ClassRoyal Silk ClassRoyal First Class
1Cambodia: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap

Laos: Luang Prabang, Vientiane

Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Penang

Myanmar: Mandalay, Yangon

Singapore: Singapore

Vietnam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City

16,25019,50025,00042,500
2China: Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Xiamen

Taiwan-China: Kaohsiung, Taipei

21,25027,00035,00050,000
China: Kunming16,25019,50025,00042,500
3Indonesia: Denpasar, Jakarta

Philippines: Manila

21,25027,00032,50042,500
4India: Bengaluru, Chennai, Gaya, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi, Varanasi

Nepal: Kathmandu

Sri Lanka: Colombo

21,25027,000032,50045,000
Bangladesh: Dhaka16,25019,50025,00042,500
5China: Beijing, Zhengzhou

Japan: Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo (Haneda/Narita)

Korea: Busan, Seoul

26,25034,50052,50075,000
6Oman: Muscat

Pakistan: Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore

U.A.E.: Dubai

26,25034,50047,50067,500
7Australia: Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney31,25039,50070,00097,500
Australia: Perth26,25034,50052,50075,000
 8New Zealand: Auckland46,25067,00090,000122,500
 9Austria: Vienna

Belgium: Brussels

Denmark: Copenhagen

France: Paris

Germany: Frankfurt, Munich

Italy: Milan, Rome

Norway: Oslo

Sweden: Stockholm

Switzerland: Zurich

U.K.: London

46,25067,00095,000132,500
Russia: Moscow31,25039,50070,00097,500

Note: the award chart for travel with connections in Bangkok does not allow for stopovers.

Star Alliance Airline Partners

Thai Airways has a separate, zone-based award chart for flights that involve Star Alliance airlines. You can freely mix Thai Airways and other Star Alliance airline flights, but the price you’ll pay is dictated by the Star Alliance award chart, shown below.

Thai Airways Star Alliance award chart
Thai Airways Star Alliance award chart. Image Credit: Thai Airways

Thai Airways also has a special award price for connecting Thai Airways flights (no stopover) between Europe and Australia/New Zealand as follows:

Thai Airways Miles Cost for One-Way Thai Airways Flights Between Europe and Australia/New Zealand
Zone 9 (Europe)Cabin ClassMiles Cost
Economy54,500
Premium Economy74,250
Business117,500
First155,250

Here are the countries and territories in each zone:

Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Zone Definitions
Zone 1 (Asia 1)Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
Zone 2 (Asia 2)Brunei, China (south of and including Shanghai), Indonesia, Taiwan-China, Philippines
Zone 3 (Asia 3)Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka
Zone 4 (Asia 4)China (north of Shanghai,), Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Russia Far East
Zone 5 (Central Asia/Middle East)Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan,
Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, U.A.E., Uzbekistan, Yemen
Zone 6 (Australia)Australia, Palau, Papua New Guinea
Zone 7 (New Zealand, Oceania)Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Vanuatu
Zone 8 (Hawaii)Hawaii, Guam, Saipan
Zone 9 (Europe/North Africa)Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia,
Liechtenstein, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Morocco, Poland, Portugal, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, U.K.
Zone 10 (South/Central Africa)Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Zone 11 (North America/The Caribbean)USA (excluding Hawaii), Canada, Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Virgin Islands (U.S. and U.K.)
Zone 12 (Central and South America)Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guinea, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela

Awards Bookable Online vs. Phone

In theory, it’s possible to book both Thai Airways and Star Alliance award flights online, though the clunky online system usually makes calling them a better idea.

Furthermore, you can only search for awards online if you have miles in your account. Therefore, it is recommended to book via a phone call to 800-426-5204.

Award Redemption Rules

Thai Airways indicates that the following rules are applicable for award routing and ticketing for flights on Thai Airways, Star Alliance flights, and Star Alliance Round the World.

For flights on Thai Airways, the following award routing and ticketing rules apply:

  • All award travel must be completed within 1 year of the ticket issue date.
  • If an award is booked with a Thai Airways office and it is not issued within the ticketing time limit, the booking is canceled automatically. Miles will be re-credited to the relevant amount, minus any expiring miles.
  • Before the ticket is issued, you can change the flight dates, routing (same zone), ticket holder name, member, or travel nominee.
  • All other changes required re-crediting your mileage (which may take up to 3 business days) and requesting a new award.
  • After your ticket is issued, you can change travel dates or flight numbers with a fee, but no other changes are allowed. You must cancel your ticket and request a new award ticket.
  • When award tickets are canceled and miles re-credited, any expired miles will not be re-credited.
  • Once travel begins on the award ticket, you can’t make any routing changes or cancellations.
  • 1 open-jaw at origin is permitted within the same country and zone or 1 open-jaw at point of turnaround is permitted as long as it’s within the same zone and direction.
  • Backtracking is permitted on international award travel. Stopovers when backtracking are allowed only on intercontinental travel. 1 stopover is allowed in each direction, subject to a fee.
  • A stopover is considered any onward connecting flight more than 24 hours from the previous flight.

For Star Alliance flights, the following routing and ticketing rules apply:

  • Thai and Star Alliance awards are applicable for award travel on Thai Airways, Thai Smile, and Star Alliance airlines.
  • Award travel must be on the most direct route possible with a maximum of 4 sectors per itinerary.
  • 1 stopover in each direction is permitted. 1 open-jaw at the point of turnaround or origin is also permitted.
  • No stopover is permitted in the country of origin or on pure domestic travel.
  • Backtracking is only permitted as required by the Star Alliance network and stopovers are not allowed when backtracking.
  • Mixed cabin awards are allowed, but the mileage for the highest class will be applied.
  • Changing carriers is not allowed after the ticket is issued.
  • Reservation changes are subject to service fees.
  • For departures 96 hours or more after a booking is confirmed, the ticket must be issued within 72 hours after booking confirmation. For departures less than 96 hours after a booking is confirmed, ticketing is immediate.

Additionally, the following Star Alliance Round the World rules are available:

  • Round the World award travel is valid on all Star Alliance flights.
  • Award travel must be in a continuous westbound or eastbound direction and return to the country where travel originated.
  • Award travel is valid for a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 1 year from the date travel begins.
  • You’re allowed a maximum of 10 stopovers and a minimum of 3 stopovers per journey.
  • 1 open-jaw is permitted in addition to stopovers.
  • 1 stopover only is allowed in any 1 city.
  • 2 stopovers only are allowed in any 1 country.
  • No stopovers are allowed in the country of origin.
  • Backtracking is only allowed as required by the Star Alliance network.
  • Side trips require an additional award or separate paid ticket.
  • Connections must be on the first available flight within 24 hours when required by routing and are not considered stopovers.
  • No mileage re-credited in part or whole will be allowed after the commencement of travel.

How to Boost Your Thai Airways Miles

Thai Airways’ major transfer partner is Citi ThankYou Rewards. Citi ThankYou Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio and complete in approximately 3-6 business days. The minimum transfer amount is 1,000 Citi ThankYou Points.

Hot Tip: If you’re thinking about racking up Citi ThankYou Points, be sure to check out our detailed guide on earning lots of Citi ThankYou Points.

Recommended Citi Cards (Personal)

Best Citi Credit Card for TravelBenefitsDrawbacks
Citi Premier℠ Card3 ThankYou Points/dollar spent on travel/gas stations, 2 points/dollar on dining/entertainment, 1 point/dollar all other purchases$95 annual fee
Citi Prestige® Card5 ThankYou® Points/dollar spent on airlines and dining, 3 points/dollars on hotel and cruise lines, 1 point/dollar on all other purchases, transfer points to airline partners, 4th hotel night free (limited to 2 uses per calendar year), $250 airline credit, Priority Pass Lounge access + 2 guests, and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit$495 Annual Fee, must be a frequent traveler to maximize the benefits of the card.

Additionally, Marriott Bonvoy is a transfer partner at a 3:1 ratio. You’ll get a bonus of 5,000 Thai Airways miles for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. This will bring your normal transferred total up from 20,000 miles to 25,000 miles per every 60,000 Marriott points.

Recommended Marriott Cards (Personal)

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card - Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 3X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. A solid card for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee card offering Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 6x per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels plus 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Annual fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.

Lastly, you can transfer these hotel points according to this chart:

Hotel Points Transfer Partners to Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Hotel ChainTransfer Ratio
IHG Rewards Club10,000:2,000 (5:1)
Hilton Honors10,000:1,000 (10:1)
World of Hyatt2.5:1

Even though there are limited transfer partners, you can still earn lots of Thai Airways miles.

The 16 Best Ways to Use Your Thai Airways Miles

Thai Airways has, unfortunately, devalued its mileage programs many times over the past years. Furthermore, each of these devaluations has been severe.

As a result, there’s an unlimited number of terrible redemptions for wasting Thai Airways miles.These redemptions are extremely expensive, and there are very few that provide solid value.

However, we’ve done some extensive research and here’s a comprehensive guide on how to redeem Thai Airways miles for maximum value.

1. Upgrade Thai Airways Economy Tickets to Business Class Between Bangkok and the Middle East (From 34,000 Miles)

Thai Airways A350 Interior
Upgrade your cheap economy ticket to a lie-flat bed for cheap! Image Credit: Thai Airways

One of the best ways to redeem Thai Airways miles is on upgrades. The great news is that with many Thai Airways tickets, you can upgrade from economy to business.

The mileage charge you’ll pay will vary depending on your original ticket’s booking class:

 

By Zone

1 Sector Upgrade Between Bangkok and Listed Destinations

Economy (Y, B, M, H, Q) to Premium EconomyPremium Economy (U) to Royal SilkEconomy (Y, B, M) to Royal SilkEconomy (H, Q) to Royal SilkRoyal Silk (C, D, J) to Royal First
1Cambodia: Phnom Penh
Laos: VientianeMalaysia: Kuala LumpurMyanmar: YangonSingapore: SingaporeVietnam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City
12,00015,00016,00018,00031,500
2China: Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Xiamen,

Taiwan-China: Taipei

18,00022,50024,00027,00038,500
China: Kunming12,00015,00016,00018,00031,500
3Indonesia: Denpasar, Jakarta

Philippines: Manila

18,00021,00022,00025,00031,500
4India: Bengaluru, Chennai, Gaya, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi, Varanasi

Nepal: Kathmandu

Sri Lanka: Colombo

18,00021,00022,00025,00034,000
Bangladesh: Dhaka12,00015,00016,00018,00031,500
5China: Beijing, Zhengzhou

Japan: Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo (Haneda/Narita)

Korea: Busan, Seoul

24,00036,00038,00043,00061,000
6Oman: Muscat

Pakistan: Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore

U.A.E.: Dubai

24,00032,00034,00038,50054,000
7Australia: Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney28,00049,00052,00058,50081,000
Australia: Perth24,00036,00038,00043,00061,000
8New Zealand: Auckland50,00064,00068,00076,500103,500
9Austria: Vienna

Belgium: Brussels

Denmark: Copenhagen

France: Paris

Germany: Frankfurt, Munich

Italy: Milan, Rome

Norway: Oslo

Sweden: Stockholm

Switzerland: Zurich

U.K.: London

50,00067,50072,00081,000112,500
Russia: Moscow28,00049,00052,00058,50081,000

Flights between the Middle East and Bangkok are priced competitively. If you book a Q class ticket from Bangkok to Dubai, it’ll cost around $569 one-way or $974 round-trip. You can then turn around and upgrade each segment to end up with a 6-hour flight each way in business class.

You’ll pay either 34,000 or 38,500 miles for a one-way upgrade, depending on the fare class. However, it’s generally a better idea to get a cheaper economy ticket and pony up a few more miles.

Here’s the exact route redemption:

  • Upgrade a one-way $569 Q class Thai Airways ticket from Bangkok (BKK) – Dubai (DXB) for 38,500 miles for 6 hours in lie-flat business class
  • Upgrade a round-trip $974 round-trip Q class Thai Airways ticket from Bangkok (BKK) – Dubai (DXB) for 77,000 miles for 12 hours in lie-flat business class

2. Upgrade Thai Airways Economy Tickets to Business Class Between Bangkok and Moscow (From 52,000 Miles)

Saint Basil's Cathedral
Head to Moscow from Bangkok using your upgraded Thai Airways tickets. Image Credit: Free Images

Another upgrade sweet spot is to use Thai Airways miles for flight upgrades from discount economy class to Moscow.

Although there are no flights on Thai Airways to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO), there is a long-haul flight to Domodedovo Airport (DME) from Bangkok (BKK).

Again, the absolute minimum miles required for a one-way upgrade is 52,000, but the eligible economy tickets are significantly more expensive, so it’s almost always better to pay additional miles to upgrade a cheaper economy ticket.

Here are some example upgrades you can make:

  • Upgrade a one-way $694 Q class Thai Airways ticket from Bangkok (BKK) – Moscow (DME) for 58,500 miles for 10 hours in lie-flat business class
  • Upgrade a round-trip $1,168 round-trip Q class Thai Airways ticket from Bangkok (BKK) – Moscow (DME) for 117,000 miles for 19 hours in lie-flat business class

3. Fly Thai Airways First Class One-Way Between Bangkok and Europe (125,000 Miles)

Thai Airways Boeing 747 - First Class
Thai Airways offers first class on select aircraft, including the 747 and A380. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

Thai Airways’ first class, offered on several different aircraft, is one of the most elusive awards you can book. They are notorious for last-minute aircraft swaps.

Currently, here are some of the routes that have regularly scheduled services:

  • Frankfurt (FRA)
  • London-Heathrow (LHR)
  • Osaka (KIX)
  • Sydney (SYD)
  • Tokyo-Haneda (HND)
  • Tokyo-Narita (NRT)

Nonetheless, they usually make a maximum of 1 first class seat available in-advance if you’re flexible.

Hot Tip: If you’re flexible, be sure to fly from Bangkok (BKK) to London-Heathrow (LHR) and not the other away around to avoid the $225 U.K. Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax.

Here’s a great example route you can take:

  • Bangkok (BKK) – Frankfurt (FRA) one-way in Thai Airways first class for 125,000 miles + ~$246 in taxes and fees
  • Bangkok (BKK) – London-Heathrow (LHR) one-way in Thai Airways first class for 125,000 miles + ~$224 in taxes and fees

4. Fly Thai Airways First Class One-Way Between Bangkok and Japan (67,500 Miles)

Thai Airways Royal First Class
Thai Airways’ Royal First Class is truly something to look forward to. Image Credit: Thai Airways

If you’d like to fly an intra-Asia flight, what better way than to fly from Bangkok to Japan? You’ll be offered a rare opportunity to savor Thai Airways first class on a shorter flight than to Europe.

The points cost will be significantly cheaper. Besides, who doesn’t want to go to Thailand and Japan? Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Bangkok (BKK) – Tokyo-Haneda (HND) one-way in Thai Airways first class for 67,500 miles + ~$100 in taxes and fees
  • Tokyo-Haneda (HND) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in Thai Airways first class for 67,500 miles + ~$114 in taxes and fees
  • Bangkok (BKK) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT) one-way in Thai Airways first class for 67,500 miles + ~$100 in taxes and fees
  • Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in Thai Airways first class for 67,500 miles + ~$114 in taxes and fees
  • Bangkok (BKK) – Osaka (KIX) one-way in Thai Airways first class for 67,500 miles + ~$100 in taxes and fees
  • Osaka (KIX) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in Thai Airways first class for 67,500 miles + ~$114 in taxes and fees

5. Fly Thai Airways Business Class One-Way Between Bangkok and Dubai (42,500 Miles)

Thai Airways 787-8 Silk Class
Thai Airways’ 787-8 business class features seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. Image Credit: Thai Airways

Remember how we talked about using miles to upgrade flights between Dubai and Bangkok above? Well, you can redeem miles at an attractive price for an outright business class flight.

Here’s the exact redemption you can make:

  • Bangkok (BKK) – Dubai (DXB) one-way in Thai Airways business class for 42,500 miles + ~$76 in taxes and fees
  • Dubai (DXB) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in Thai Airways business class for 42,500 miles + ~$85 in taxes and fees

6. Fly Thai Airways Business Class Between Bangkok and Moscow (65,000 Miles)

Thai Airways 777 Business Class
Thai Airways 777 Business Class. Image Credit: Brostock via Shutterstock

Similar to the upgrade redemption between Bangkok and Moscow, you can redeem miles at a reasonable rate on Thai Airways flights in business class as follows:

  • Bangkok (BKK) – Moscow (DME) one-way in Thai Airways business class for 65,000 miles + $136 in taxes and fees
  • Moscow (DME) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in Thai Airways business class for 65,000 miles + ~$120 in taxes and fees

7. Fly Thai Airways Business Class One-Way From Bangkok to Australia or New Zealand (From 47,500 Miles)

Thai Airways separates award prices by destination when flying on Thai Airways. You can fly business class from Bangkok for as little as 47,500 miles. Check out these example redemptions:

  • Bangkok (BKK) – Auckland (AKL) one-way in business class for 85,000 miles + ~$157 in taxes and fees
  • Auckland (AKL) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in business class for 85,000 miles + ~$25 in taxes and fees
  • Bangkok (BKK) – Brisbane (BNE) one-way in business class for 65,000 miles + ~$$134 in taxes and fees
  • Brisbane (BNE) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in business class for 65,000 miles + ~$67 in taxes and fees
  • Bangkok (BKK) – Melbourne (MEL) one-way in business class for 65,000 miles + ~$125 in taxes and fees
  • Melbourne (MEL) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in business class for 65,000 miles + ~$61 in taxes and fees
  • Bangkok (BKK) – Perth (PER) one-way in business class for 47,500 miles + ~$105 in taxes and fees
  • Perth (PER) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in business class for 47,500 miles + ~$62 in taxes and fees
  • Bangkok (BKK) – Sydney (SYD) one-way in business class for 65,000 miles + ~$157 in taxes and fees
  • Sydney (SYD) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in business class for 65,000 miles + ~$65 in taxes and fees

8. Fly Thai Airways First Class One-Way From Bangkok to Sydney (90,000 Miles)

Thai Airways A380 First Class
Thai Airways A380 First Class. Image Credit: Thai Airways

Thai Airways operates first class flights, which are redeemable for 90,000 miles one-way as follows:

  • Bangkok (BKK) – Sydney (SYD) one-way in Thai Airways first class for 90,000 miles + ~$157 in taxes and fees
  • Sydney (SYD) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in Thai Airways first class for 90,000 miles + ~$65 in taxes and fees

Each of these flights is around 9-9.5 hours long, so you’ll experience Thai Airways first class on a true long-haul flight.

8. Fly From the U.S. to Europe or North Africa in Lufthansa First Class (100,000 Miles)

Lufthansa B747-8 First Class Cabin - Cherag Dubash
Lufthansa’s first class is an immaculate experience you can book using Thai Airways miles. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

When you collect Thai Airways miles, you’re able to redeem them on Star Alliance partners as well. While booking flights from the U.S. to Europe is generally a terrible definition, you can leverage the lumping of Europe and North Africa together to book additional flights for free.

The only real point redemption you can make in first class is Lufthansa first class. Even so, you can only book a maximum of 2 weeks in advance, though it’ll probably be closer to 2-3 days in advance. Also, Lufthansa doesn’t offer first class to North Africa, so the best you’ll get is business class on your connecting flight from Germany.

Here are some great example redemptions you can make:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Munich (MUC) – Marrakesh (RAK) one-way in Lufthansa first class and business class for 100,000 miles + ~$880 in taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Cairo (CAI) one-way in Lufthansa first class and business class for 100,000 miles + ~$881 in taxes and fees

9. Fly From the U.S. to Central or South America in United Polaris Class (65,000 Miles)

United Polaris Middle Seats
United Polaris Class is bookable to/from South America using Thai Airways miles. Image Credit: United

Another great way to redeem Thai Airways miles is to fly from the U.S. to Central or South America. The best way to fly will probably be United’s Polaris class.

Here are some great example redemptions you can make:

  • Houston (IAH) – Buenos Aires (EZE) one-way in United’s 2-4-2 Polaris class for 65,000 miles + ~$29 in taxes and fees
  • Houston (IAH) – Rio de Janeiro (GIG) one-way in United’s old Polaris business class for 65,000 miles + ~$29 in taxes and fees
  • Houston (IAH) – Santiago (SCL) one-way in United’s old Polaris class for 65,000 miles + ~$29 in taxes and fees
  • Newark (EWR) – São Paulo (GRU) one-way in United’s real Polaris class for 65,000 miles + ~$29 in taxes and fees
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – São Paulo (GRU) one-way in United’s old Polaris business class for 65,000 miles + ~$29 in taxes and fees

10. Leverage the Generous Definition of North America and the Caribbean for Intra-Region Flights in Air Canada Business Class (27,500 Miles)

Air Canada 767-300 Business Class
Air Canada 767-300 Business Class. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As we mentioned above, the region of North America and the Caribbean is extremely generous. It includes regions like Aruba, Canada, Cuba, Curaçao, Jamaica, and more.

Believe it or not, Air Canada has some astonishing connectivity to the Caribbean, primarily from Toronto (YYZ). When you couple these 2 facts together, you can book some great seats in lie-flat business class that would otherwise be extremely cash-intensive.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Montreal (YUL) – Curaçao (CUR) one-way in Air Canada business class for 27,500 miles + ~$122 in taxes and fees
  • Toronto (YYZ) – Bridgetown (BGI) one-way in Air Canada business class for 27,500 miles + ~$117 in taxes and fees
  • Toronto (YYZ) – Port of Spain (POS) one-way in Air Canada business class for 27,500 miles + ~$106 in taxes and fees

11. Fly From Northern South America to Southern South America in Avianca Business Class (27,500 Miles)

Avianca Vuela 787 Business Class
Flying on Avianca Vuela’s 787 Business Class is a great way to use Thai Airways miles! Image Credit: Avianca Vuela

Yet another generous zone definition is “Central and South America.” Oddly enough, Thai Airways considers Mexico as part of this region, which means we can build some valuable itineraries.

Check out these example redemptions:

  • Cancun (CUN) – Lima (LIM) – Asunción (ASU) one-way in Avianca Vuela business class for 27,500 miles + ~$122 in taxes and fees with a stopover in Lima (LIM)
  • Mexico City (MEX) – Bogota (BOG) – Montevideo (MVD) one-way in Avianca Vuela business class for 27,500 miles + ~$189 in taxes and fees with a stopover in Bogota (BOG)

12. Fly Within Oceania and New Zealand in Air New Zealand Business Class (27,500 Miles)

Air New Zealand 787 Business Class
If you have a chance, you can also try the Air New Zealand 787 Dreamliner Business Class product! Regardless of what plane you fly, Air New Zealand business class is a great product. Image Credit: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand is a full-fledged Star Alliance partner, which means you can redeem Thai Airways miles for flights on Air New Zealand.

The best value is to leverage intra-region flights for Oceania and New Zealand. Here are some great example routes you can take for fully lie-flat business class seats:

  • Auckland (AKL) – Apia (APW) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 27,500 miles + ~$25 in taxes and fees
  • Auckland (AKL) – Nadi (NAN) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 27,500 miles + ~$25 in taxes and fees
  • Auckland (AKL) – Rarotonga, Cook Islands (RAR) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 27,500 miles + ~$25 in taxes and fees
  • Auckland (AKL) – Tahiti (PPT) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 27,500 miles + ~$25 in taxes and fees

13. Fly 6 Hours Non-Stop in Business Class Within Central and South Africa (27,500 Miles)

South African Airways A330-300 business class
South African Airways A330-300 business class. Image Credit: South African Airways

Just like all the other generously defined regions in Thai Airways’ Star Alliance award chart, you can get some value in Africa, too! Specifically, within the large “Central and South Africa” area.

You can get up to 6 hours in lie-flat business class on some of these great example redemptions:

  • Cape Town (CPT) – Addis Ababa (ADD) one-way in Ethiopian Airlines business class for 27,500 miles + ~$75 in taxes and fees
  • Johannesburg (JNB) – Accra (ACC) one-way in South African Airways business class for 27,500 miles + ~$172 in taxes and fees
  • Johannesburg (JNB) – Lagos (LOS) one-way in South African Airways business class for 27,500 miles + ~$162 in taxes and fees

14. Fly Between Hawaii and Guam in United Business Class (27,500 Miles)

United 2-4-2 Business Class
Flying between Hawaii and Guam means United’s 2-4-2 business class. Not ideal, but a lie-flat seat, at least! Image Credit: MileValue

United Airlines offers business class seats on its 7-hour nonstop flight between Hawaii and Guam. Cash tickets are expensive and the business class is the dorm-style business class seats in a 2-4-2 configuration.

However, it’s still a lie-flat seat, which can make a big difference on such a long flight.

Here’s the redemption you’d be making:

  • Guam (GUM) – Honolulu (HNL) one-way in United’s 2-4-2 Polaris business class for 27,500 miles + $177 in taxes and fees
  • Honolulu (HNL) – Guam (GUM) one-way in United’s 2-4-2 Polaris business class for 27,500 miles + ~$37 in taxes and fees

15. Try a Domestic Lie-Flat First Class Flight on Air China (35,000 Miles)

Air China Forbidden First Class
Believe it or not, you can use as little as 35,000 Thai Airways miles for domestic first class flights on Air China. Image Credit: Air China

Air China offers first class flights, even on domestic China routes. Its first class product aboard the 777-300ER is a stylish and luxurious way to make short Star Alliance trips in North Asia.

If you book using Thai Airways miles, you’ll redeem as little as 35,000 miles for Air China first class. The only challenge is finding routes that offer first class within this zone definition.

Here is a great example redemption you can make:

  • Beijing (PEK) – Urumqi (URC) one-way in Air China first class for 35,000 miles + ~$7 in taxes and fees

16. Book Economy Tickets Wholly Within North America and the Caribbean on United (17,500 Miles)

United Airlines Economy
United Airlines Economy. Image Credit: United

United Airlines offers exceptional connectivity within North America and the Caribbean, which means that you can book some expensive economy tickets for as little as 17,500 miles solely within the region.

The reason this is great news is that United’s flights are often cash-intensive, especially if you’re traveling to a little-known island in the Caribbean.

Here are some great example nonstop routes you can take:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Aruba (AUA) one-way in United economy for 17,500 miles + ~$39 in taxes and fees
  • Chicago (ORD) – St. Lucia (UVF) one-way in United economy for 17,500 miles + ~$34 in taxes and fees
  • Houston (IAH) – Grand Cayman (GCM) one-way in United economy for 17,500 miles + ~$29 in taxes and fees
  • Houston (IAH) – Turks & Caicos (PLS) one-way in United economy for 17,500 miles + ~$29 in taxes and fees
  • Newark (EWR) – Antigua (ANU) one-way in United economy for 17,500 miles + ~$65 in taxes and fees
  • Newark (EWR) – St. Kitts (SKB) one-way in United economy for 17,500 miles + ~$39 in taxes and fees
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Punta Cana (PUJ) one-way in United economy for 17,500 miles + ~$70 in taxes and fees
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – St. Thomas (STT) one-way in United economy for 17,500 miles + ~$29 in taxes and fees

Final Thoughts

Yes, it’s absolutely true that Thai Airways miles have been devalued many times of the years. Yes, using Thai Airways miles is actually quite difficult in practice.

However, if you find yourself accruing a bunch of Thai Airways miles, it’s totally feasible to get great value from your miles.

The absolute worst redemption value and craziest redemption prices belong to long-haul routes. However, if you’re open to medium- or short-haul flights, you can actually get some excellent value for your Thai Airways miles.

Of course, you’re essentially limited to Thai Airway’s Star Alliance partners, but you should be able to find an itinerary that works for you.

Now, you have an idea of some of the best ways to redeem Thai Airways miles for maximum value!


Frequently asked questions

How can I earn miles on Thai Airways?

The best way to earn Thai Airways miles is to spend on a Citi ThankYou-branded credit card, such as the Citi Prestige card or the Citi Premier card. You can then transfer the points earned from Citi to Thai Airways.

You can do the same with Marriott credit cards, though the transfer ratio isn’t as favorable.

Is it possible to earn Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus miles by using credit cards?

Yes! You can put spending on the Citi Premier card or Citi Prestige card to earn miles quickly. You can earn up to 5 points per $1 spent on dining with the Citi Prestige card, along with other benefits.

Alternatively, you can put your spending on Marriott co-branded credit cards from Chase or American Express.

As a last resort, you can transfer points from other hotel chains like Hilton, Hyatt, or IHG.

What are Thai Airways miles worth?

Generally, Thai Airways miles are going to be worth around 1 cent per point. It’s possible to get value of 3-4 cents per point on premium cabin redemptions, but that’s generally the limit.

Are Thai Airways miles refundable?

Not always. If travel has commenced on an award ticket, you can’t cancel or modify your ticket and get the miles back.

Refer to the guidelines in the guide above to learn more about the rules and restrictions.

When do Thai Airways miles expire?

Thai Airways expire after 3 years at the end of the quarter 3 years after the miles were accrued.

Is Thai Airways part of United Airlines?

Thai Airways is not a part of United Airlines. United Airlines is a Chicago-based carrier, while Thai Airways is the state-owned flag carrier of Thailand. They are both in Star Alliance, but they aren’t the same entity.

How much does it cost to buy Thai Airways miles?

You can purchase up to 30,000 Thai Airways miles in 1,000-mile increments only if you’re short of an award redemption.

The price is $40 per 1,000 miles — an astonishing 4 cents per mile cost.

How do I join Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus?

You can visit this link to enroll in Royal Orchid Plus.

Do I need to be a Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus member to search for awards?

Yes. Furthermore, you need at least 1 mile in your account to search for awards.

How many Thai Airways miles do I have?

You can check by logging into your account at the top right corner of this page. Click Log in, enter your frequent flyer information, and click on your profile to view your mileage balance.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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