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Why I Will Never Fly MAS Again [Opinion]

Why I Will Never Fly MAS Again [Opinion]

I was told that as I had used credit card points for the purchase I would not be entitled to any refund.

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Despite their higher-than-average airfare, I have always flown and opted to fly with Malaysian Airlines, in the spirit of ‘Support Lokal’.

Consciously, despite them being funded by Khazanah, I felt that they were worthy of support because they did what was necessary to build routes that weren’t necessarily profitable but that connect smaller towns and cities throughout Malaysia.

This didn’t only give them the leverage in terms of marketing, but this also helped the folks of these smaller towns and their small businesses be shown to the world, all in the spirit of ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’.

From the campaign of Cuti-Cuti Malaysia and other activations, these folks in MAS gave Malaysians – regardless of their location – access to airfreight (more products, better prices), transport, and development (jobs, trade, infrastructure).

Malaysian Airlines also represented Malaysians, regardless of their background and ethnicity.

It was the face of Malaysia to the world. Our food, our hospitality, our kindness, our endearing ability to solve problems and take on the challenges of the world.

I for one at least believed in the statements above but my recent experience with Malaysian Airlines has changed my views on them.

Here is a quick chronology of events:

I booked return flights to Bali utilizing credit card points and topping up RM300 for taxes.

2nd April 2022 – booked return flights for 29th April – 4th May 2022
15th April 2022 – was informed via email that flights were moved from 29th April to 2nd May 2022
15th April 2022 – called their customer service hotline and was told that I can accept or change my return flights. The next return flight was a week later.

Despite telling them that I had made bookings for hotels and applied for leave I was told that there is nothing they can do. I was then coerced into accepting the flight change as the customer service said that this is the only way I will be able to get a refund.

17th April 2022 – after more calls to customer service I was told that I could apply for a refund only online. After the site failed multiple times with error codes I was finally able to apply for a refund for which I received an email that they have received my refund request and that they will be in contact.
21st April 2022 – called them about the refund as I had not received any updates. I was assured that my refund would be issued and they would contact me soon.
27th April 2022 – tried calling but the holding times were an hour so I contacted them via Facebook.

I was told that as I had used credit card points for the purchase I would not be entitled to any refund.

At present, I am unable to change my flight dates as I am met with an error code that says my booking is blocked. I am also unable to get a refund of points, vouchers, or even cash.

Multiple reviews on the SkyTrax website show passengers claiming MAS rescheduled or cancelled flights.

Under the terms and conditions of Malaysian Airlines, it says that refunds will not be granted when you utilize points.

Whilst I understand that the terms and conditions are the terms and conditions, this is unethical.

It is unethical to move flights last minute with no options.

It is unethical to charge Malaysian banks money for their credit card points whilst short-changing customers who redeem those points. (this is not the practice when flying with Qatar and many other international airlines – points are refunded).

I know many of you will argue that it’s the times of Covid and airlines are struggling and we need to be more understanding but the reality is Malaysian Airlines have been recording an amazing and profitable turnaround.

They have achieved a positive EBITDA of RM433 million compared to -RM1,761 mil a year ago. That sounds great for them but it’s not great for consumers because there have been many complaints on social media of people not getting their refunds.

Why should this matter to you?

  1. Portions of their profitability are built on moving flights and not refunding people both locally and internationally
  2. Malaysian banks are paying them in credit card points for services that in many cases they are not rendering
  3. There is a monetary incentive for them to move flights of those utilizing credit card points as they know that they will not be refunded.
  4. This represents Malaysia as a whole, Malaysian Airlines is the face of Malaysia.
  5. I am not the first person to experience this and I am probably not the last.

Winston Robertson is the CEO of 3rd Wave Media which operates portals The Rakyat Post, Buzzkini, and TechTRP.

All opinions here are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the stand of TRP.

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