In what has to be the deal of the year, Garuda Indonesia is offering 90% off all awards for bookings ticketed before 31 Dec 2016 for travel from 01 Feb to 31 May 2017.
I certainly thought this really meant 10% off, but after just hanging up with the Garuda call center, I am happy to report that tickets will indeed be 90% off. Talk about a fire sale.
How to Book a Garuda Indonesia Award
1. Set up an account at garudamiles.com
Note that the website is very finicky and would not accept my U.S. address. I added an Indonesian address then changed it to a USA address in my profile.
2. Check award space online
You can search for award space in the same place you search for a revenue ticket. Simply click on “redeem miles”, which appears just above the red revenue search button.
3. Once you have found space, call Garuda to reserve it — this special deal is not available online.
The telephone number is +62 21 2351 9999. I called three times. The first time, the call automatically hung up after two minutes on hold. Same thing the second time. But the third time an agent answered after only a few moments on hold.
He could not find the London space (maybe it was just a bad agent, maybe because the London flight stops in Singapore) but he found Amsterdam space. After verifying passenger details, he placed it on hold and e-mailed me the reservation.
You do not need any miles in your account to hold the ticket.
The hold is valid for one week and must be ticketed at a local Garuda office.
I’ll address that below.
4. Buy or Transfer Garuda Miles
Some of you, like me, don’t have any CITI Thank You points. Garuda does offer the ability to buy miles at 3 cents each (in increments of 1,000) up to 50,000/year.
For this promotion, that is more than enough. What that means is Jakarta to London or Amsterdam is 19,000/miles each way or $570 for the ticket. Amazing.
Archaically, miles are not purchased directly online. Instead, you fill out a .pdf form here. Problem? Garuda does not give you any instructions on what to do with the form.
No fax number, no e-mail, no mailing address.
Thankfully, the Garuda website has a detailed “contact us” page and I found the following info–
Garuda Indonesia Call Center
PO BOX 777
Email : CS@garudamiles.com
Fax : (+62 21) 625 8119
I am going to e-mail first, then fax if necessary.
Garuda seems very responsive on Twitter, so if I run into any delay you can bet I will be checking in with Harry!
5. Visit Garuda Ticketing Center
Here’s the tricky part. Garuda requires that you visit a physical ticketing office in order to issue the award ticket. For those of you in the USA or Canada, offices are present in the following locations:
Note that all telephone numbers are the same.
Point Me to the Plane reports that the following is needed to ticket:
The person whose miles are being used must physically visit one of the worldwide offices to ticket the itinerary
You will need to bring the original membership card with you
You will need to bring the original passports of all travelers on the itinerary (they don’t have to go to the office with you)
DO IT BEFORE December 31, 2016 to take advantage of the promotion
The original membership card is the biggest issue for me. Having just signed up today, I have a virtual card. The good news is I was told that since the ticket is in my name using miles from my account, I can bring in a copy of my card.
Question: Can I buy miles in ticketing offices? No, only through the central office.
What a deal! For airline geeks this is a Christmas gift like no other and a dream come true. I am going to buy the miles now and let’s see how long they take to post. I remain worried that this deal is too good to be true, but I’ll keep you updated.
Hat tip to Lucky — I saw the deal first on his blog