A quick guide to Cathay Pacific Asia miles
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The best-kept miles and points secrets sometimes come from obscure loyalty programs – airlines that appear to be of little use to U.S. travelers, but come with delicious little sweet spots that you and I tend to overlook.
Cathay Pacific doesn’t have too many gawker award prices, but they do make it easy to book one of the best premium cabins on earth. Very few airlines know how to make a globetrotter feel special as Cathay Pacific does.
I’ll give you a quick look at Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, tell you how to earn them with the best travel credit cards, and a few fun ideas on how to redeem them.
Overview of the Asia Miles program
Asia Miles is the loyalty program of Cathay Pacific, the national carrier of Hong Kong. The airline is far and away one of the most lap-of-luxury carriers in existence. In fact, its premium cabins are a bucket-list achievement for many miles and points enthusiasts!
Cathay Pacific is a member of oneworld, the airline alliance that contains useful carriers like American Airlines, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Iberia, and many more. So collecting Asia Miles is good for flying on these airlines too – not just Cathay Pacific.
Asia Miles value
We estimate Cathay Pacific miles are worth 1.25 cents each. They can easily be worth more than this, but the program is on the niche side, as their best uses aren’t for a wide range of travelers.
See, the best value you’ll squeeze from Cathay Pacific Asia Miles are for quite inconvenient routes. For example, you may find it worthwhile to fly from New York to London in Cathay Pacific’s stunning first class. It’s a luxurious bucket-list seat, and it costs 125,000 miles each way. However, you’ll have to route through Hong Kong.
First class junkies, as well as aviation geeks, will be loving this route! It means 29 hours in one of the best first class seats in the world!! But it’s far from the most practical route between New York and London.
There exist some more useful routes, but I find the program to be a bit inconvenient for most travelers. We’ll touch on a couple fun uses in just a bit.
How to earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Earning Cathay Pacific miles isn’t difficult, thanks to its key partnerships with four flexible points programs:
There are literally dozens of cards that earn these rewards. You can earn hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Asia Miles simply by earning the welcome bonuses with these cards and transferring those rewards to Cathay Pacific. For example:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 on purchases with your new card in the first six months of account opening (Amex points transfer to Cathay Pacific at a 1:1 ratio)
- Citi Premier® Card: 60,000 bonus Citi ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening (Citi ThankYou points transfer to Cathay Pacific at a 1:1 ratio)
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening (Capital One miles transfer to Cathay Pacific at a 4:3 ratio)
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card: 75,000 bonus Marriott points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening (Marriott points transfer to Cathay Pacific at a 3:1 ratio)
Pro tip: When you transfer Marriott points to Cathay Pacific in increments of 60,000, you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 Asia Miles. So whereas you’d normally get 20,000 Asia Miles for 60,000 Marriott points, you’ll actually get 25,000 miles! That improves your transfer rate to 3:1.25.
Cathay Pacific also offers its own credit card, the Cathay Pacific Visa Signature® Card. It comes with 40,000 Asia Miles after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. Its benefits are largely inferior to the above-mentioned cards – though it could certainly be worth opening to earn the bonus, and try out the card for 11 months or so.
The information for the Cathay Pacific Visa Signature has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
How to redeem Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles award chart
The Cathay Pacific award chart is easy enough to follow. You don’t have to calculate your miles according to the award zone or award region. Below is what you’ll pay in Asia Miles when flying on Cathay Pacific.
You can use Great Circle Mapper to pretty well estimate what you’ll pay for your desired flight.
For example, a flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong is 7,260 miles in distance. Per the above chart, you’ll pay 30,000 miles in coach, or 110,000 miles in first class. However, a flight from New York to Hong Kong is 8,072 miles in distance. You’ll pay 42,000 miles in coach, and 125,000 miles in first class.
The sweet spot here is that anything more than 7,500 miles away costs the same amount of Asia Miles – the farther you can go, the more bang you’re getting for your buck!
As stated above, Cathay Pacific is part of the oneworld alliance. If you’re flying any of the airlines within this alliance with Asia Miles, the price you pay will be slightly different than flying strictly on Cathay Pacific.
The below award chart applies in one of two scenarios:
- Your itinerary contains two oneworld airlines – neither of which are Cathay Pacific
- Your itinerary contains three oneworld airlines, and Cathay Pacific is one of them
Cathay Pacific also has a handful of non-oneworld partner airlines. You can check them out on this page.
There are lots of fun things you can do with Cathay Pacific miles. For example, you can fly on Qatar Airways’ famous QSuites (perhaps the fanciest business class on the planet) for as little as 75,000 Asia Miles. East Coast cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago cost 75,000 miles, while cities farther west, such as Dallas and Los Angeles will cost 90,000 miles.
You can also fly American Airlines to Europe in business class for just 50,000 Asia Miles each way from East Coast cities like New York and Chicago. That’s 7,500 miles cheaper than American Airlines sells the exact same seat. It’ll save you 15,000 miles for a round-trip business class experience!
Flying from the West Coast is a bad deal – you’re better off using American Airlines miles to Europe if you’re originating there.
Note: Fill out a flight request form if you’re interested in this route.
Transfer Amex points to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Amex is perhaps the most useful of the Asia Miles transfer partners. Amex points are the easiest to earn of all Cathay Pacific’s flexible points partners, thanks to the gigantic welcome bonuses that come with the best Amex credit cards.
If you intend to transfer Amex points to Cathay Pacific, we recommend waiting on inevitable transfer bonuses that pop up throughout the year. If you’ve got the luxury of waiting to transfer your points, you may be rewarded with up to a 30% bonus! In other words, transferring 10,000 Amex points will net you 13,000 Asia Miles.
Transferring points is easy. Just head to the Amex airline partner page, and select Cathay Pacific. Then click the big “Transfer Points” button on the left side of the page.
You’ll then enter the number of Amex points you’d like to transfer, and the website will show you how many Asia Miles you’re getting for your Amex points. If there is a transfer bonus, it will reflect on this page after you enter a number of miles.
You’ll have to log into your account to complete the transaction.
Cathay Pacific Asia miles are easy to earn, though moderately difficult to redeem. They operate on a distance-based award chart, similar to British Airways.
If you don’t mind routing through Hong Kong for the best deals, you’ll be loving this program. Otherwise, you can find award flights on partner carriers like American Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Iberia, and many more that are on par with or below market price.
Let us know your favorite use of Cathay Pacific Asia Miles!
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