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Cathay Pacific is the latest carrier to implement some potentially unwelcome changes to its award redemptions. The Hong Kong-based carrier announced that as of October 12, it will offer an additional two tiers of award options for first and business class on Cathay and Dragonair flights — what it’s calling “Priority Awards.”

Cathay’s Priority Award chart.

For the time being, there are still saver awards, however, with these new tiers, it’s possible that these saver awards could eventually start to disappear or become more difficult to find availability for. Here’s what a one-way business class and first class redemption would cost you with Asia Miles through the new Priority Award tiers between most US cities and Hong Kong:

Business Class

  • Saver: 85,000 miles
  • Tier 1: 128,000 miles
  • Tier 2: 170,000 miles

First Class

  • Saver: 130,000 miles
  • Tier 1: 195,000 miles
  • Tier 2: 260,000 miles

What does this mean for the average flyer? Because Cathay is a member of Oneworld and therefore a partner of American Airlines, AA passengers looking to book premium cabin award tickets on Cathay could not find many options in the future — especially given the good availability they’re used to seeing. As of now, however, there are no noticeable changes in the standard availability for those who are looking to book through partners.

Cathay’s business-class product could soon become more difficult to book.

These new priority awards could potentially have some impact in the future, but as of now, it could still be a good time to book Cathay premium awards, especially if you’re looking to book through partners like American and Alaska. These changes shouldn’t be a huge surprise, however, as Cathay introduced tiered awards in economy and premium economy in 2014.

Keep in mind that you can also transfer your Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou points to Cathay Pacific to redeem for these premium-class awards. The new-and-improved Platinum Card from American Express now earns you 5x points on airfare booked directly with the airline, which could put you well on your way to saving up for a premium-class redemption. The card currently comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.

H/T: One Mile at a Time

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