Take a deep-dive into the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles frequent flyer program, including a program overview, how to earn and redeem miles, and how to achieve elite status.
10xTravel is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
For most travel enthusiasts, Cathay Pacific is primarily known for its outstanding first-class product, which includes features such as extra-wide lie-flat beds, gourmet in-flight meals, 18.5-inch high-definition entertainment screens and complimentary skin care products. And Asia Miles, the frequent flyer program of Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific, is one of the best programs to book their own Cathay Pacific First Class award flights.
However, there are plenty of other attractive aspects of Cathay Pacific Asia Miles that make it a program worth paying attention to no matter where in the world you live. For one, Cathay Pacific is a member of Oneworld Alliance, meaning that you can both earn and redeem Asia Miles with any other member of Oneworld. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is also a transfer partner of most major transferable credit card points programs, including American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards. This means that accruing Asia Miles is fairly easy to do.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is also one of the best programs out there for booking round-the-world tickets, particularly if you want to take that round-the-world trip in first class. That’s because Oneworld Alliance has the most airlines that offer a true first-class product of any airline alliance, such as American Airlines, British Airway, Japan Airlines and more.
If taking a round-the-world trip sounds a bit too ambitious for you, there are plenty of other valuable redemptions you can make with Asia Miles. In particular, Cathay Pacific doesn’t levy surcharges on their own award flights, and they charge lower surcharges on British Airways awards than British Airways Executive Club.
So, in this article, we’ll detail everything you need to know about the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program, including earning elite status, the best ways to earn miles, the best ways to redeem miles and the coveted round-the-world award.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Program Overview
Cathay Pacific is the flagship carrier of Hong Kong and its main hub is located at Hong Kong International Airport. The airline was founded in 1946 (strangely, by an American man and an Australian man) and was named after the ancient name given to China and the ocean that they hoped to one day fly over. Today, Cathay Pacific operates routes to over 200 destinations across every inhabited continent.
Cathay Pacific also fully owns Hong Kong-based low-cost carrier HK Express, which serves destinations in Cambodia, China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and other countries. Unfortunately, you currently can’t earn Asia Miles for flights with HK Express.
However, Cathay Pacific is a member of Oneworld Alliance, meaning that you can earn Asia Miles with any of the following Oneworld member airlines:
|Alaska Airlines||Malaysian Airlines|
|British Airways||Qatar Airways|
|Finnair||Royal Air Maroc|
|Japan Airlines||SriLankan Airlines|
In addition to the previously listed Oneworld Alliance partners, Cathay Pacific also has partnerships with several other non-Oneworld airlines, including the following:
|Air New Zealand||S7 Airlines|
You can both earn and redeem Asia Miles with any of Cathay Pacific’s partner airlines, making it very easy to rack up miles while flying. Plus, since Cathay Pacific is a member of Oneworld Alliance, earning elite status with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles will also give you reciprocal elite status with Oneworld.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Elite Status
Like most frequent flyer programs, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles has its own elite status program. All Asia Miles members start out at Green status and can graduate to Silver, Gold and Diamond status by accumulating a certain number of Status Points.
As previously mentioned, earning Asia Miles elite status will also give you elite status with Oneworld Alliance. Silver elite status includes Oneworld Ruby status, Gold elite status includes Oneworld Sapphire status and Diamond elite status includes Oneworld Emerald status.
You can earn Status Points in three ways: taking flights with Cathay Pacific, taking flights with airline partners and spending on Cathay Pacific co-branded credit cards (which are only available in Hong Kong).
To find out how many status points you’ll earn on a specific flight (whether with Cathay Pacific or a partner airline), you can use the Status Points and Asia Miles calculator tool on the Cathay Pacific website.
To achieve an elite status tier, you need to accrue the minimum amount of status points within a membership year. Then, your status will last for one membership year from the date that you enrolled, renewed, upgraded or downgraded into your current membership status.
For instance, if you enroll in Cathay Pacific Asia Miles on January 3, 2024, then you will have until January 5, 2025 to accumulate enough Status Points to achieve Silver status. However, if you achieve Silver status on August 3, 2024, then your new membership year will begin on that day. That means you’ll have until August 3, 2025, to accumulate enough points to retain your Silver status or upgrade to a higher status.
The following table includes how many Status Points you’ll need to achieve each status tier as well as the benefits included at each status tier:
|Status tier||Status Points required||Benefits|
|Green||0||• Priority online check-in (up to 48 hours in advance)|
• Extra baggage redemption
• Extra baggage redemption
• 24-hour free cancellation on flight ticket
|Silver||300||• All benefits included with Green status|
• Reciprocal Oneworld Ruby status
• Lounge access redemption and purchase
• Business class lounge access
• Advance seat reservation
• Business class counter check-in and boarding
• Priority baggage handling
• Special rates on miles for shopping and dining
|Gold||600||• All benefits included with Silver status|
• Reciprocal Oneworld Sapphire status
• Additional checked baggage allowance
• Priority redemption on lifestyle events, experiences and travel packages
|Diamond||1,200||• All benefits included with Gold status|
• Reciprocal Oneworld Emerald status
• First class lounge access
• Special rates on miles on flight redemption when using Miles Plus Cash
As you can see, your benefits significantly improve when you move from Green to Silver status. By comparison, the improvement in benefits when reaching Gold and Diamond status is fairly unimpressive. However, as you move up in Oneworld status, you’ll receive benefits like lounge access, priority lanes at airports worldwide and priority waitlist and standby.
In addition to the benefits you receive at each status tier, Cathay Pacific also offers mid-status benefits that you’ll receive when you earn a certain number of Status Points within a status tier. The following table includes all available mid-status benefits and the milestones at which you’ll receive them:
|Status Points required||Mid-status benefit|
|200||One business class lounge pass for yourself or a travel companion|
|450||Two business class lounge passes for a travel companion|
|800||Two business class lounge passes for a travel companion or a Redemption Group member|
|1,000||Four single-sector bookable upgrades for ultra-short (1-750 miles), short (751-2,750 miles) or medium-haul (2,751-3,700 miles) flights marketed and operated by Cathay Pacific for yourself or a travel companion|
|1,400||Two first- or business-class lounge passes for a travel companion or a Redemption Group member|
|1,600||Four single-sector bookable upgrades for flights of any distance for yourself, a travel companion or a Redemption Group member (may also be given to a Redemption Group member traveling on their own)|
|1,800||Ability to gift complimentary Gold elite status to a family member or friend (for a membership period of 12 months)|
As previously mentioned, the benefits that you earn for achieving Gold and Diamond status in the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program are fairly unimpressive, but these mid-status benefits definitely add a lot of value to the Cathay Pacific elite status program.
How to Earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
There are many ways to earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, the most obvious being to take flights with Cathay Pacific. However, you can also accumulate Asia Miles by taking flights with airline partners, making bookings with hotel partners, making purchases with retail partners and more.
In the following sections, we’ll go through all of the different ways to rack up Asia Miles to help you reach a reward as quickly as possible.
Flying with Cathay Pacific
Of course, the most straightforward way to earn Asia Miles is to take flights on Cathay Pacific. In order to claim your miles, you’ll need to provide your Asia Miles account number when making your reservation. Then, you’ll need to provide your membership card at check-in.
The number of miles you’ll earn for your flight is based on a combination of cabin, fare type and distance traveled. If you purchase a flight while logged into your Asia Miles account, the number of miles you’ll earn for that flight will be presented at checkout. However, if you want to check how many miles you can earn on any flight, you can use the Status Points and Asia Miles calculator tool.
You can simply enter your origin, destination and cabin class and this tool will tell you how many Status Points and Asia Miles you’ll earn for each fare type.
It’s not entirely clear how Cathay Pacific determines how many miles you’ll earn. But, with this tool, you can easily find your potential miles earnings on any Cathay Pacific flight.
Flying with Airline Partners
You can also accrue Asia Miles by flying with any one of Cathay Pacific’s airline partners. The amount of Asia Miles you’ll earn on partner flights depends on the specific partner, cabin, fare type and distance flown. Each partner has its own earnings rates for each fare class. So, the best way to find out how many miles you’ll earn on partner-operated flights is to use the Status Points and Asia Miles calculator tool on Cathay Pacific’s website.
You simply need to toggle the search box to “Other airlines” and then enter the airline, origin, destination and cabin class.
Then, you’ll be able to see the number of Status Points and Asia Miles you’d earn for each fare type.
Regardless of your fare type, you can always earn Asia Miles on partner flights by electing Cathay Pacific Asia Miles as your rewards program of choice when making your booking. However, before you do so, you should consider whether you could earn more points for the same flight with another program.
Cathay Pacific Visa® Card
If you want to earn Asia Miles for making everyday purchases, the best way to do so is to sign up for the Cathay Pacific Visa® Card. This card has a $95 annual fee. Currently, this card offers a welcome bonus for new card members who spend a certain amount of money in a certain period of time after account opening.
On top of that, you’ll earn Asia Miles whenever you use your card on any purchase anywhere in the world. Here are the spending bonuses offered by the Cathay Pacific Card:
- 2X miles on eligible Cathay Pacific purchases
- 1.5X miles on dining in the U.S. and abroad
- 1.5X miles on purchases outside of the U.S.
- 1X mile on purchases in the U.S.
On top of that, this card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and it comes with the following additional benefits:
- Priority check-in at Cathay Pacific Premium Economy counters for yourself and any travel companions
- Priority boarding in the Premium Economy boarding line on any flight operated by Cathay Pacific
- Ability to redeem Asia Miles for access to Cathay Pacific Business Class lounges
- 10% redemption discount on hotel, car rental and experience awards with Asia Miles
- 10% savings on Asia Miles Gift Miles, Mileage Renewals and Mileage Transfer Fee transactions
The Cathay Pacific Card may be a good addition to your credit card strategy if you often fly with Cathay Pacific and you want to take advantage of this card’s benefits. However, if you’re not a frequent customer of Cathay Pacific, then you’re probably better off going with a different card, such as one that earns points that can transfer to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
For instance, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card also charges an annual fee of $95 and offers far superior spending bonuses to the Cathay Pacific Card, including the following:
- 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through the Capital One Travel portal
- 2X miles on every other purchase
Then, you’ll have the option to convert those Capital One Miles to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles at a 1:1 ratio if you want to make a redemption through Cathay Pacific. Alternatively, you can redeem those miles through the Capital One Travel portal or with one of Capital One’s many other transfer partners.
As previously mentioned, there are several rewards programs that allow you to convert to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. First off, Cathay Pacific is partnered with most of the major transferable credit card points programs, including American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards, all of which transfer at a 1:1 ratio. Notable exceptions include Brex and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Cathay Pacific also has several partnerships with hotel chains that allow you to transfer their rewards currencies to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. These hotel rewards programs include:
- Accor Live Limitless (ALL)—2:1 transfer ratio
- Best Western Rewards—5:1 transfer ratio
- Hilton Honors—10:1 transfer ratio
- IHG One Rewards—5:1
- Marriott Bonvoy—3:1 transfer ratio (plus a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred)
- Regal Rewards—15:1 transfer ratio
- Shangri-La Circle—1:1 transfer ratio
- World of Hyatt—2.5:1 transfer ratio
As you can see, while you technically have the option to convert any of the aforementioned hotel points to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, none of these programs offer very attractive transfer ratios. And, while Shangri-La Circle points transfer to Cathay Pacific at a 1:1 ratio, Shangri-La Circle points are typically considered far more valuable than Asia Miles, so this is also a bad deal.
You can also convert Esso Smiles points and Shell Bonus Points to Asia Miles in certain countries. So, this may be worth looking into if you have some unused gas station rewards points.
In addition to transferring hotel points to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Cathay Pacific also has several hotel partners that allow you to earn Asia Miles for completing stays. Here are a few of the hotel chains that allow you to earn Asia Miles as well as how many miles you could earn per stay:
- Hyatt Hotels & Resorts: 500 miles per stay
- InterContinental Hotels Group: 500 miles per stay
- Marriott Hotels & Resorts: 2X miles per $1 spent on stays
- Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts: 500 miles per stay
You’re going to want to compare these earnings rates to the rewards points offered by the hotel chain itself. By electing to earn Asia Miles on your stay, you’ll be forfeiting your ability to earn hotel points in most cases. And, in many instances, you may be better off earning hotel points instead of Asia Miles.
Third-Party Travel Booking Companies
Cathay Pacific is partnered with several major third-party travel booking companies that allow you to earn Asia Miles for making bookings through their platforms. The following chart includes these third-party travel booking partners and their respective Asia Miles earnings rates:
|Third-party travel booking partner||Asia Miles earnings|
|Agoda||• 2X miles per 10 Hong Kong Dollars (or foreign currency equivalent) spent|
|Expedia||• 2X miles per 10 Hong Kong Dollars for bookings made through the dedicated Hong Kong website|
• 1X mile per 30 New Taiwan dollars for bookings made through the dedicated Taiwan website
• 1X mile per $1 USD made through the dedicated websites for Singapore, The Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia
|Kaligo||• Between 4X and 12X miles per 10 Hong Kong Dollars (or foreign currency equivalent) spent|
|Rocketmiles||• Earn at least 500 miles per room night for booking through the dedicated website|
|Trip.com||• 2X miles per 10 Hong Kong Dollars (or foreign currency equivalent) spent|
Cathay Pacific is also partnered with several car rental companies that allow you to earn Asia Miles for booking car rentals. The following table includes Cathay Pacific’s car rental partners and how many miles you could earn per rental with each partner:
|Car rental partner||Asia Miles earnings|
|Avis||• 500 miles per qualifying non-contract rate rental |
• 250 miles per qualifying contract rate rental
• Additional 100 miles per qualifying car rental made on www.avisworld.com/asiamiles
|Budget||• 500 miles per qualifying non-contract rate rental worldwide|
|Europcar||• 500 miles per qualifying rental worldwide (except the U.S., Canada and Japan)|
|Hertz||• 500 miles per qualifying rental on leisure rates outside Asia|
• 250 miles per qualifying rental on leisure rates within Asia
• 250 miles per qualifying commercial/government contract rates worldwide
|Sixt||• 500 miles per qualifying rental|
It’s worth noting that you can also receive special discounts or even complimentary elite status with certain car rental companies for being a member of Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. For instance, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles members receive special discounts from Hertz and complimentary Hertz Gold Plus Rewards memberships (sign-up required).
However, most of these rental car companies are partnered with many different frequent flyer programs. So, before you elect to earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for your rental, you may want to consider whether you’d rather earn a different airline rewards currency instead.
You can also earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles when you purchase merchandise through several retailers. The following chart includes some of Cathay Pacific’s retail partners and the amount of miles you could earn by shopping with them:
|Retail partner||Asia Miles earnings|
|The Bicester Collection||• 1.25X miles per euro spent at any of the Villages in Europe|
• 1.25X miles per British pound spent at any of the Villages in the United Kingdom
• 1.25X points per 10 Chinese Yuan spent at any of the Villages in China
|Heathrow Rewards||• Convert Heathrow Rewards Points to Asia Miles at a 1:1 ratio (minimum transfer of 250 points)|
|Lotte Duty Free Ginza||• 1X mile per 100 Japanese Yen spent at Lotte Duty Free Ginza in Japan|
|Pinkoi.com||• Convert P Coins to Asia Miles at a 13:1 ratio (minimum transfer of 130 coins)|
|SoveNear||• 4X miles per 10 Chinese Yuan spent through SoveNear|
|KaChick||• 1X mile per 6 Hong Kong Dollars spent through KaChick|
|AC Orange||• 2X miles per 10 Chinese Yuan spent through AC Orange|
As you can see, many of the aforementioned retail partners are Chinese companies (which makes sense considering Cathay Pacific operates out of Hong Kong). However, if you already make purchases with any of these companies, you may as well earn some Asia Miles while doing so.
The above table does not include all of Cathay Pacific’s retail partners. To see the full list of retail partners, you can visit Cathay Pacific’s website.
Cathay Pacific also has its own online shopping portal that allows you to earn Asia Miles for shopping with certain retailers, including popular merchants such as Apple, Rakuten, Nike, Nespresso, Speedo and more. Each retailer has its own earnings rate (and earnings rates vary widely from retailer to retailer), so you’ll need to visit the shopping portal to see how many Asia Miles you could earn for a certain purchase.
If you find yourself in Hong Kong, you can earn a lot of Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for dining with one of Cathay Pacific’s many restaurant partners. To do so, you’ll need to locate a restaurant partner, which you can do on the Cathay Pacific website. When it’s time to pay the bill, you’ll need to scan a QR code through the Cathay mobile app (or the OpenRice mobile app). Then, your points should be added to your Asia Miles balance within a few days.
Buying Asia Miles
You also have the option to purchase Cathay Pacific Asia Miles with cash. However, doing so is almost never a good idea. You can purchase Asia Miles in blocks of 2,000, and the cost is $60 per 2,000 miles. So, you’d be paying 3 cents apiece for these miles. Considering it’s rare to find a redemption in which Asia Miles are worth more than 3 cents apiece, this is a very bad deal.
Unlike most other frequent flyer programs, though, you can only purchase Asia Miles at the time of making an award request. You can’t purchase Asia Miles and just keep them in your account.
The only time when you may want to purchase Asia Miles is if you’re only 2,000 or so miles away from being able to afford a specific redemption. But, even in this case, you’re probably better off paying with cash and then saving your miles for future redemption.
How to Redeem Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
There are many ways to redeem Cathay Pacific Asia Miles but, in general, you should stick to redeeming them for award flights. All other redemption options tend to provide far less value per point compared to purchasing award flights.
Still, if you don’t plan on flying in the future, other redemption options may be worth considering. For this reason, we’ll cover all of the different ways to redeem Asia Miles in the following sections as well as which of them offer the most value.
Flying With Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific currently still uses a zone-based award chart to price its own award flights. This means that you can still find sweet spots in this program, particularly on short-haul flights with high cash prices. Here is the award chart for Cathay Pacific-operated award flights:
|Distance zone||Economy||Premium Economy||Business||First|
|Ultra-short (1-750 miles)||7,500||11,000||16,000||N/A|
|Short - Type 1 (751-2,750 miles)||10,000||20,000||28,000||43,000|
|Short - Type 2 (751-2,750 miles)||12,500||23,000||32,000||50,000|
|Medium (2,751-5,000 miles)||20,000||38,000||58,000||90,000|
|Long (5,000-7,500 miles)||27,000||50,000||84,000||125,000|
|Ultra-long (7,501+ miles)||38,000||75,000||110,000||160,000|
*This award chart is active starting October 1, 2023.
The previous award prices are for one-way flights marketed and operated by Cathay Pacific. If you want to know the round-trip price, you can simply double the one-way price.
When it comes to booking Cathay Pacific’s coveted first class product, one of the best ways to do so is through the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program. And redeeming for Cathay Pacific First Class award flights is a great way to get a ton of value per mile because cash prices for these flights can be outrageously high.
For instance, according to the above award chart, a first class award flight from Seattle to Hong Kong should cost 125,000 miles considering that the flight distance between these two cities is 6,500 miles (according to Great Circle Mapper).
We found a first class flight itinerary between Seattle and Hong Kong for over $22,000.
If you were able to book this flight with Asia Miles instead of cash, you’d be getting a value of over 20 cents per mile, which is extremely high.
Of course, you probably wouldn’t be able to book this specific flight with miles as finding Cathay Pacific First Class award availability is notoriously difficult. Still, it may be worth the effort to search for a Cathay Pacific First Class award considering it’s one of the best products in the entire airline industry and it’s also one of the best ways to maximize the value of your Asia Miles.
You can also get solid value for redeeming Asia Miles for Cathay Pacific-operated flights in other cabin classes as well. In particular, the ability to book flights in the “Short – Type 1” zone between 750 miles and 2,751 miles in Economy class for just 10,000 miles one-way is an excellent deal. Cathay Pacific operates many routes around Asia that fall into this zone.
You can also use your Asia Miles to book upgrades on Cathay Pacific-operated flights. Here is the award chart for upgrades on Cathay Pacific flights:
|Distance zone||Economy to Premium Econ.||Premium Econ. to Biz||Economy to Biz*||Biz to First|
|Ultra-short (1-750 miles)||6,000||8,000||11,000||15,000|
|Short - Type 1 (751-2,750 miles)||11,000||14,000||19,500||26,000|
|Short - Type 2 (751-2,750 miles)||12,500||16,000||22,500||30,000|
|Medium (2,751-5,000 miles)||21,000||29,000||40,500||54,000|
|Long (5,000-7,500 miles)||27,500||42,000||59,000||75,000|
|Ultra-long (7,501+ miles)||41,500||55,000||77,000||96,000|
*An upgrade from Economy to Business is only applicable for flights without Premium Economy class.
**This award chart is active starting October 1, 2023.
Flying with Partner Airlines
Using your Asia Miles to purchase partner award flights can also be a great way to maximize the value of your miles. Cathay Pacific allows you to purchase mixed-carrier award itineraries (Cathay Pacific plus one airline partner). For instance, you could book an award itinerary that consists of one segment operated by Cathay Pacific and another segment operated by Japan Airlines.
Cathay Pacific does not publish partner award charts. So, in most cases, to find out how much a specific partner award will cost, you’ll need to search for that flight on the “Redeem flight award” page on the Cathay Pacific website. And, oddly, if you want to book an award flight with any of the following airline partners, you’ll need to fill out a “Flight award request form”:
- Air Canada
- Air New Zealand
- American Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- Bangkok Airways
- Gulf Air
- Shenzhen Airlines
- SWISS International Air Lines
These are the partner airlines with which you can’t book an award flight online. However, you can fill out the “Flight award request form” online and, once Cathay Pacific receives your details (travel dates, origin, destination, desired airline, flight time and passenger information), they will contact you and let you know if your request can be completed.
For all other airline partners, to find award availability, you can simply go to the Cathay Pacific website, navigate to the “Book a trip” section and toggle to the “Redeem flights” option.
Then, once you enter in your origin, destination, trip type, cabin class, number of passengers and travel dates, you can click the “Redeem flights” button to search. The results will then show you all award availabilities that match your search query from Cathay Pacific as well as all partner airlines (excluding the partner airlines that can only be booked via the “Flight award request form”).
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Sweet Spots
Ultra-Long Flights on Cathay Pacific
If you need to cover some serious distance, then booking an Ultra-long award flight through Cathay Pacific Asia Miles might be a good way to do so affordably. Under the new award chart, which is effective from October 1, 2023, one-way Ultra-long flights cost 38,000 miles in Economy class, 110,000 miles in Business class and 160,000 miles in first class.
However, these award prices also apply to multi-city flights. And, since the “Ultra-long” zone applies to any flight itinerary over 7,501 miles, you could cover some serious distance for the same price.
For instance, we searched for a multi-city flight itinerary from New York City (JFK) to Hong Kong and then from Hong Kong to Johannesburg, all in Business class. Since this itinerary has a total flight distance of 14,703 (according to Great Circle Mapper), it would be considered an “Ultra-long flight” according to Cathay Pacific’s award chart.
So, under the new award chart, you could fly this route one-way in Cathay Pacific Business class for 110,000 Asia Miles, which is a pretty great price considering the massive distance you’re covering.
*The image above quotes the price of this route in Business class as 85,000 miles because this snapshot was taken prior to October 1, 2023. Once the new award chart takes effect on October 1, 2023, the price of this route in Business class will be 110,000 miles.
Now, if you wanted to book this flight with cash, you’d need to book two one-way flights: one flight from New York City to Hong Kong and another flight from Hong Kong to Johannesburg.
On the same dates as we searched for award flights, we found a one-way Business class flight from New York City (JFK) to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific for a minimum price of $8,443.
On the same dates as we searched for award flights, we found a one-way Business class flight from Hong Kong to Johannesburg on Cathay Pacific for 35,484 Hong Kong dollars (which is equal to $4,521 at the current conversion rate).
So, in total, if you were to book this same itinerary with cash instead of miles, you’d be paying a total of about $12,964. So, by booking this itinerary with Asia Miles, you’d be getting a value of about 11 cents per mile.
Now, this is an extreme example because of how long these flights are. But, it serves to demonstrate how you can get a ton of value by utilizing the “multi-city” booking option for Cathay Pacific award flights and by booking super-long-haul award flights.
Fly from the U.S. West Coast to Asia on Japan Airlines
Some of the best sweet spots in the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program are on Japan Airlines partner awards. You can often find solid deals on flights between the West Coast of the U.S. and Asia. However, if you’re flying Japan Airlines between the United States and Asia, no matter what your final destination in Asia, you’ll have to route through Tokyo first.
However, flights from the U.S. West Coast to Tokyo are pretty affordable. And you can get a lot of value per mile when you book award flights in Business class or first class.
For instance, you can book one-way Business class award flights from Seattle to Tokyo on Japan Airlines for as little as 61,000 miles.
If you were to book the exact same flight with cash through the Japan Airlines website, it would cost you $4,948.
That means that, if you redeem your Asia Miles this way, you’d be getting a redemption value of about 8 cents per point, which is fantastic.
You can also find good value on routes between the U.S. West Coast and other destinations in Asia. However, all of those routes will require you to transfer in Tokyo.
Oneworld Multi-Carrier Awards
Cathay Pacific does publish an award chart for Oneworld multi-carrier awards (which is similar to a round-the-world award), which includes round-trip award tickets with an itinerary that covers either:
- Two Oneworld Alliance airlines, which Cathay Pacific is not one of your selected carriers; or
- Three or more Oneworld Alliance airlines, which Cathay Pacific is one of your selected carriers.
If your desired award flight itinerary matches one of the conditions above, then you qualify for a Oneworld multi-carrier award. To be clear, you can choose from all Oneworld Alliance airlines in your journey, with a maximum distance of 50,000 miles. Here is the award chart for Oneworld multi-carrier awards booked with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles:
|Award zone||Distance in actual miles||Economy||Business||First|
If you have some flexibility with your time and your travel itinerary, then booking a Oneworld multi-carrier award can help you get a ton of value out of your Asia Miles and book a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
The main limitations to the Cathay Pacific Oneworld multi-carrier awards are that you can’t book in Premium Economy, your itinerary can’t be longer than 50,000 miles and at least one of your flights must be with Cathay Pacific if you’re going to fly with three or more Oneworld carriers. You’re also allowed a maximum of five stopovers, two transfers and two open-jaws.
Apart from those rules, though, the Cathay Pacific Oneworld multi-carrier award affords a high degree of flexibility. You could potentially book an itinerary that includes up to nine segments (with the two transfers and two open-jaws) and spans all six inhabited continents.
However, if you’re planning on transferring credit card points to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles in order to purchase a Oneworld multi-carrier award, you may want to look into some of the other programs that offer Oneworld multi-carrier awards. In particular, American Airlines AAdvantage, British Airways Avios and Japan Airlines are good programs for booking Oneworld multi-carrier awards that offer their own unique advantages.
Hotels, Car Rentals and Experiences
Like many other frequent flyer programs, Cathay Pacific has its own holiday booking portal that allows you to redeem your Asia Miles for hotel stays, car rentals and unique travel experiences. To do so, you can go to the “Redeem Travel Rewards” page on the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles website. Then, you can toggle your search between Hotels, Cars and Experiences. Finally, you need to enter your desired location, dates and number of guests.
Once you hit the “Search” button, you’ll be presented with a list of options that fit your search query and the number of miles required for each redemption. Unfortunately, redeeming this way is typically not the best way to maximize the value of your miles.
For instance, we found a room at The Westin New York at Times Square for the night of September 20, 2023, for the redemption rate of 136,280 Asia Miles.
If you were to book the same room at The Westin New York at Times Square through Marriott’s website (the parent company of The Westin brand), it would cost you $823 in cash.
Thus, this redemption would yield a value of about 0.6 cent per mile, which is very poor (especially considering the kind of value you can get from your Asia Miles by redeeming for award flights).
Unfortunately, this is the case with most of the redemptions available through this travel booking portal. If you’re looking to get the most value out of your miles, you’re much better off redeeming for award flights.
Cathay Pacific has its own shopping portal that allows you to redeem your Asia Miles for merchandise. However, doing so generally provides very little value per mile.
For instance, you could purchase a Sony Compact Vlog Camera ZV-1F for either 4,290 Hong Kong Dollars (which is about $547 at the current conversion rate) or 91,900 Asia Miles.
Thus, this redemption will yield a value of about 0.6 cent per mile, which is poor. This is just about the same value you’ll get out of any redemption through this shopping portal, so it’s best to save your miles for other redemptions rather than purchasing merchandise.
Convert to Marriott Bonvoy Points
Cathay Pacific has a partnership with the Marriott Bonvoy program that allows you to convert Asia Miles to Marriott Bonvoy points at a transfer ratio of 2:1. For instance, if you were to transfer 2,000 Asia Miles, you’d receive 1,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
Obviously, redeeming your miles this way greatly reduces their value, especially considering that Asia Miles are typically considered more valuable than Marriott Bonvoy points to begin with. It’s better to keep your miles in Cathay Pacific’s rewards program.
Donate Your Miles
If you want to use your Asia Miles to benefit those less fortunate, you can choose to donate your miles to one of Cathay Pacific’s partner charities. Currently, Cathay Pacific is partnered with UNICEF Hong Kong and KELY Support Group.
Here are the redemption options for donations to UNICEF Hong Kong:
- Humanitarian Action for Children—1,960 miles
- A Children Learning Set To Disadvantaged Children—1,000 miles
- 10 Sachets Of Therapeutic Milk To Malnourished Children—1,000 miles
Here are the redemption options for donations to KELY Support Group:
- Mental Health Workshop—1,960 miles
- Drug and Alcohol Prevention Education Regular Workshops—1,960 miles
- Open Door Work Placement Program—9,810 miles
As you can see, you can make a difference with as little as 1,000 miles. The exact dollar value of this redemption is unknown, but it’s definitely a good way to use your points for a good cause. So, if you wish to donate your Asia Miles to one of these two charities, you can do so on the Cathay Pacific website.
The Bottom Line
All in all, the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program is worth paying attention to for U.S.-based travelers because, for one, Cathay Pacific offers one of the best first class products in the airline industry and one of the best ways to book Cathay Pacific First Class is with Asia Miles.
Cathay Pacific is also a member of Oneworld Alliance, which means you can earn and redeem Asia Miles with any other member of Oneworld Alliance (including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and British Airways). Asia Miles is also one of the best currencies with which to book a Oneworld multi-carrier award, which is very similar to a round-the-world award. And, if you want to take a round-the-world trip in first class, a Oneworld multi-carrier award is the best way to do so considering that Oneworld has more airlines with true first-class products than any other airline alliance.
Asia Miles are also a fairly easy currency to earn. You can earn Asia Miles by flying with any Oneworld Alliance airline and you can transfer points from most major transferable credit card points programs to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, including American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards. And, while the Cathay Pacific Visa Card is available to U.S. consumers, we’d recommend getting a card from one of these aforementioned issuers and transferring points into the Asia Miles program instead.
New to the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best card to start with.
With a bonus of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. , 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!
Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.