Oneworld Earning with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

In covering the various airline alliances, we’ve pointed out Star Alliance as the largest carrier network. Among frequent fliers, however, oneworld is another major carrier network. This is thanks to the ties Cathay Pacific has and the value its Asia Miles program offers.

Why is Asia Miles so popular, and how is it a useful loyalty program? First we discuss a distinction in Cathay Pacific loyalty membership.

Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club and Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs, you ask? Well you see, Cathay Pacific has two related programs.

The Marco Polo Club is the loyalty program that tracks member elite status. Status is based on qualifying miles flown on flights of Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or other partners like oneworld airlines. This is a paid membership program (with a US$100 enrolment fee).

Asia Miles, on the other hand, is the free rewards program for earning and redeeming airline miles. This is where you accrue those precious miles for travel. The Marco Polo Club members are automatically enrolled to this program to track their rewards miles. Keep in mind that Asia Miles members, however, do NOT automatically become Club members.

Note that only members of The Marco Polo Club, being the status program, enjoy oneworld status matching benefits. This means that to enjoy reciprocal oneworld elite benefits you have to enrol and earn status in the Club.

With these important issues out of the way, let’s check the various benefits of Club status.

Elite Status and Perks

The Marco Polo Club membership period lasts for 12 months. When you get promoted to the next level, this 12-month qualifying period is reset to start from that month of promotion.

Unlike many other programs, however, moving up the Club tiers means that your qualifying points reset to 0. Additionally, the number of points awarded depend on the class, distance and airline marketing your flight; the charts vary for Cathay Pacific as for, say, oneworld partner Japan Airlines. Keep these in mind when calculating the status points you need.

Marco Polo Club Points Chart for Cathay Pacific Flights

Green

Upon paying the enrolment fee, members start at this bottom-most status tier. All Club members must earn at least 20 Club points to maintain their account. Otherwise, a US$100 fee would be imposed.

Under the Green tier, members get priority boarding. At 200 points, Green members get one business class lounge access for themselves or their companion.

Using Asia Miles, members can also redeem extra legroom, baggage or business class access.

Silver

Members move up to Silver after crediting 300 Club points. You get promoted immediately upon reaching the requirement, Club points reset to 0, and membership year is reset to expire after 12 months.

Under Club Silver, members gain at no extra cost:

  • seats with extra legroom
  • advanced seat selection
  • priority waitlist
  • extra 10kg checked baggage allowance on many flights, or up to 2 pieces on flights to the Americas
  • access to Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon business class lounges when departing on their flights
  • oneworld Ruby Status and its benefits

These are on top of the applicable Green tier benefits.

It is also possible to redeem Asia Miles for seats with extra legroom for flight companions, as well as access to partner business lounges.

Upon achieving 450 Club points, the member is given two business class lounge one-time passes.

Gold

You get to this next tier once you credit another 600 Club points. Promotion is immediateClub points are reset to 0, and membership year is again reset to expire after 12 months.

On top of the Silver benefits, Marco Polo Gold members are rewarded with:

  • business-class check-in service
  • guaranteed economy-class seat on paid tickets
  • a total extra 15kg checked baggage and an extra piece on many flights, or up to 3 pieces on flights to the Americas
  • access to Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon business class lounges for the member and a guest when departing on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or oneworld partner flights
  • right to put membership (and all associated benefits) on hold for a full year, for up to three times in a lifetime
  • oneworld Sapphire Status and its benefits

By earning 800 Club points, the member is given another two business class lounge one-time passes. At 1000 Club points, the member is allowed to book four cabin class seat upgrades on Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon flights of up to medium-distance.

Diamond

Passengers who credit another 1200 Club points earn this status. They are immediately promoted, and membership year similarly reset to expire after 12 months.

By moving to this tier, Club Diamond members get these on top of the benefits from Gold:

  • first-class check-in service
  • guaranteed premium economy- or business-class seat on paid tickets
  • a total extra 20kg checked baggage and an extra piece on many flights, or up to 3 pieces on flights to the Americas
  • access to Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon first class lounges for the member and two guests when departing on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or oneworld partner flights
  • right to put membership (and all associated benefits) on hold for a full year, for up to three times in a lifetime
  • oneworld Emerald Status and its benefits

At 800 Club points, the member also gets two business or first class lounge one-time passes. At 1600 Club points, the member is allowed to book another four cabin class seat upgrades on Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon flights of up to medium-distance. Finally at 1800 Club points, the member gets to gift Gold membership to any family member or friend.

Seating in Cathay Pacific First Class. credit Cathay Pacific

 

Asia Miles Earning Opportunities

As a well-known rewards program, Asia Miles offers a great variety of opportunities to earn miles.

Flying

The most obvious option is to fly on Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, oneworld or other partner airlines. Amazingly, Asia Miles can also be earned on a number of rival Star Alliance airlines such as Air China, Air New Zealand, Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines. Non-alliance carrier Alaska Airlines is also a notable partner.

When booking flights, check the earning rules for each airline as there may be distinct rules or select eligible routes. Include your Asia Miles membership number during booking. Use Asia Miles’ route mileage calculator and crediting tables from the planning tools to find out how much you can earn with every flight.

Staying

Various online travel agency point programs allow you to earn more Asia Miles. OTA programs such as Agoda PointsMAX, Rocketmiles and Kaligo give you additional miles with each booking.

When you book with hotels directly, you can earn miles too by staying with chains like Hilton, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Marriott, Sheraton and many more.

Buying Points

You can “purchase” Asia Miles by converting Starwood Preferred Guest points or using World of Hyatt rewards points (formerly Hyatt Gold Passport).

Registered members can also buy these points. Pay $35 for 1,000 SPG points or $24 for 1,000 World of Hyatt points. In a year, one can buy up to 30,000 SPG points and 55,000 World of Hyatt. Furthermore, by transferring a set number of miles you get bonus miles per transaction. Just remember that conversion may take a few days or weeks.

Both programs offer discount or bonus promotions each year, too. Given that there is an annual miles purchase limit, these could be helpful in boosting your stock of miles.

Spending

Being one of the well-established programs in Asia, it has numerous credit card rewards partnerships. In spending money through particular bank cards, you are able to earn rewards points convertible into Asia Miles.

You can get Asia Miles through Asian or major bank rewards points such as:

  • Citi ThankYou
  • AMEX Membership Rewards
  • Diners Club Rewards
  • HSBC Rewards
  • Standard Chartered Points/Dollars
  • DBS Points
  • UOB UNI$
  • EastWest Visa Infinite/Platinum Rewards
  • Maybank TREATS
  • AmBank or AmIslamic AmBonus
  • Danamon Rewards
  • MUFG Global Points

The earning rates, transfer fees and conditions vary per program, largely by country. Some countries have more loose credit rules, and subsequently their banks could be more generous than others. It is advisable to compare cards in your country of residence and of origin, and then decide which credit program works best for you.

Cathay Pacific First Class Cabin. credit Design Q

Asian Miler says…

Why is the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles rewards program a worthy component of anyone’s travel strategy?

Great Partnerships

There are simply many ways to earn and convert Asia Miles from. You can transfer from various credit card programs, convert from a number of hotel or leisure rewards, and of course fly with oneworld and many other airline partners. And that includes the much-unappreciated Alaska Airlines.

Admittedly Asian countries in general have stricter credit banking rules than in the West, but that doesn’t mean the Asia Miles program isn’t well connected. As many banks in the continent have tie-ups to convert points into Asia Miles, this makes the program that much more accessible.

Value

Cathay Pacific and Asia Miles is quite popular among frequent travelers, and with good reason. Not only is their service generally better or comparable to the competitors, but the premium experience is more accessible… especially when you use your miles the right way.

And this is why we highlight the good value of Asia Miles as an airline currency. The Cathay Pacific First Class experience goes for thousands of dollars in paid tickets. So the best redemption you can do with your Asia Miles is in an exclusive cabin in the sky.

Points to Note

One important you should note about the program is that Asia Miles earned in a month expire three years from the date of transaction. This means miles earned in March 2018 are lost come April 2021, and those made in April 2018 are gone by May 2021. And, the account is automatically closed without notice if there had been no activity for 36 months. You can, of course, renew your miles, but for a price.

And for the uninitiated, the cost of redeeming Asia Miles for flights depends on the distance total between the city pairs in every segment in your itinerary. So if you travel with a stopover in Hong Kong, for example, you pay with Asia Miles for the distance of segments before and beyond Hong Kong and not the direct shortest distance between your departure and arrival cities.

Finally, there are a few other redemption rules, such as if you’re redeeming on two or more oneworld airlines not on Cathay Pacific. You should check the details on their page for more explanation on the rules.

Cathay Pacific plane. credit Lasse Fuss

Final Word

The Asia Miles program offers a good alternative to the Star Alliance rival carriers in Asia. As part of oneworld, the program offers a comfortable – or maybe luxurious, even – experience in the skies with Cathay Pacific.

Being at the heart of East Asia, Hong Kong provides a strategic stopover for many leisure travelers on Cathay Pacific. And the city itself is a business destination in its own right. This underlines one of the strengths of the airline and of Asia Miles as a reward program for travelers.

How do you find Asia Miles, and its sister program The Marco Polo Club? Do you think one is more essential than the other? If we missed anything vital, let us know in the section below.