From round-the-world bookings to lower surcharges: The complete guide to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Asia Miles is the loyalty program of Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific and HK Express. These airlines connect Hong Kong with the world, with Cathay Pacific’s route network covering many major cities in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.
The airline is also a Oneworld member, so you can earn and redeem miles with other major carriers like American Airlines, British Airways and Qantas. You can use its Oneworld award chart to book round-the-world trips on partner airlines or get a solid deal on Cathay Pacific flights. Furthermore, you can earn Asia Miles with hotels, car rental companies, retail partners and the program’s cobranded credit card. Asia Miles is also a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One and Citi ThankYou Rewards, so the miles are easy to earn.
There are many ways to redeem your miles, but we recommend concentrating on flight rewards. These will give you the best value per mile, especially when you book tickets in premium cabins.
Here is everything you need to know about Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program.
Asia Miles partners
Cathay Pacific is a Oneworld member. That means you can earn and redeem Asia Miles with the following Oneworld airlines:
- Alaska Airlines.
- American Airlines.
- British Airways.
- Cathay Pacific.
- Fiji Airways (Oneworld Connect member).
- Japan Airlines.
- Malaysia Airlines.
- Qatar Airways.
- Royal Air Maroc.
- Royal Jordanian Airlines.
- SriLankan Airlines.
In addition, Asia Miles partners with several airlines outside of the Oneworld alliance. Be sure to read the specifics of each partnership, as some may have restrictions on reciprocal mileage earning and redeeming.
Here’s the full list:
- Air Canada (Star Alliance).
- Air China (Star Alliance).
- Air New Zealand (Star Alliance).
- Austrian Airlines (Star Alliance).
- Bangkok Airways.
- Gulf Air.
- Hong Kong Express.
- Lufthansa (Star Alliance).
- S7 Airlines.
- Shenzhen Airlines (Star Alliance).
- Swiss (Star Alliance).
Cathay Pacific elite status
Cathay Pacific has an elite status program that awards frequent flyers benefits like lounge access, upgrades and more. These benefits can make the travel experience smoother and more luxurious when flying on any Oneworld carrier. The program used to be separate from Asia Miles (as Marco Polo Club), but now has been integrated under the simple moniker of "Cathay."
You can qualify for one of Cathay's status tiers by meeting the Status points requirements. You’ll earn Status points when you fly on paid flights operated by Cathay Pacific or any of its partners. The number of earned Status points depends on the airline you’re flying with, the route you’re flying and the class of service you’re traveling in.
You can use this calculator on Cathay Pacific’s website to calculate how many Status points you’ll earn.
Here’s a look at the four Cathay elite status tiers and their qualification requirements:
- Green: 0 Club points.
- Silver: 300 Club points.
- Gold: 600 Club points.
- Diamond: 1,200 Club points.
Note that you also must fly at least one eligible segment with Cathay Pacific in order to qualify for Silver, Gold or Diamond status.
Members with Silver status receive lounge access when flying Cathay Pacific, while members with Gold status receive lounge access when flying any Oneworld airline. You’ll get more-valuable benefits at the higher elite status tiers. For example, Diamond members are entitled to first-class lounge access and extra-legroom seating in economy, among other benefits.
Check out the Cathay website for more information on elite status tiers and their respective benefits.
How to earn Asia Miles
You can earn Asia Miles both on and off the plane — here’s a look at all the best ways you can stock up on Asia Miles.
Earn Asia Miles by flying
When you fly with Cathay Pacific, you’ll earn Asia Miles based on the fare class you’re booked in and the zone you’re flying to — not on how much you spend. This means that longer flights in premium cabins will earn more miles.
You can view all earning rates on the Asia Miles website and use the program’s earning calculator to price out specific flights. For example, I priced out a ticket from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) in W-fare premium economy, which typically starts around $3,000 round-trip. This ticket earns 7,500 Asia Miles one-way.
Other airline partners earn miles based on distance flown and fare class. You can view the earning rates for each airline on the Asia Miles website — just find your airline on the list, click on it and select your cabin class at the center of the screen.
Earn Asia Miles when you stay at hotels
You can earn Asia Miles instead of hotel points at thousands of hotels worldwide, including Hyatt, Marriott, InterContinental and Shangri-La properties. Look closely at these earning rates before you opt to earn Asia Miles instead of hotel points. Sometimes, you may find that you’re better off earning hotel points if you can redeem them for high-end hotel stays.
Related: How to keep your points and miles from expiring
Converting hotel points to Asia Miles
If you already have a stash of hotel points you want to unload, you can transfer them to Asia Miles. Again, ensure the transfer ratio makes sense for your specific redemption.
|Hotel group||Transfer ratio|
|Accor Live Limitless||2:1.|
|Best Western Rewards||5:1.|
|IHG One Rewards||5:1.|
|Marriott Bonvoy||3:1, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred.|
|World of Hyatt||2.5:1.|
Earn Asia Miles with your favorite rental car company
Asia Miles partners with a number of rental car companies, including big names like Alamo, Hertz and National. With each partner, you will generally earn 500 miles per rental. Just note that you likely won’t earn rental car points if you opt to earn Asia Miles on your car rental. Make sure to assess which points you value more before you book your car.
Related: Easiest ways to save on rental cars
The Asia Miles credit card
Cathay Pacific offers a cobranded credit card in the U.S. in partnership with Synchrony Bank. The Cathay Pacific Visa® Card earns 2 miles per dollar spent on Cathay Pacific purchases, 1.5 miles on dining and purchases charged in a foreign currency, and 1 mile per dollar on everything else.
Additionally, the card offers a modest bonus of 35,000 bonus miles as a welcome bonus after spending $3,000 with your card in the first 90 days of account opening. You’ll also receive a number of perks when flying Cathay Pacific, including priority check in and boarding.
The information for the Cathay Pacific Visa Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related: When does it make sense to spend on a cobranded credit card?
Transfer miles from credit card programs
Alternatively, you can transfer rewards from four programs with transferable currencies directly to Asia Miles:
- American Express Membership Rewards.
- Bilt Rewards.
- Capital One.
- Citi ThankYou Rewards.
Each of them has a transfer ratio of 1:1, so 10,000 points or miles equals 10,000 Asia Miles.
If you're interested in earning Asia Miles on your everyday spending, you’ll often find that it’s more rewarding to put purchases on one of these cards instead of the Cathay Pacific Visa Signature Card. For example, the American Express® Gold Card earns 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar) and on U.S. takeout and at restaurants worldwide — more than double what you'd earn on these purchases with the Cathay Pacific Visa card.
Other popular cards in these programs include the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, the Bilt Mastercard® (see rates and fees) and the Citi Premier® Card (see rates and fees).
Related: Savvy rewards travelers focus on transferable points for the most flexibility
Redeeming Asia Miles
Important things to know about redeeming Asia Miles
Unlike many U.S. carriers, Cathay Pacific has opted to continue pricing award tickets based on a standard award chart. This means that you’re not subject to dynamic pricing, and awards on both Cathay Pacific and its partners can be redeemed at a predictable rate, so long as there’s open award space.
That said, redeeming your miles can be a bit confusing. The loyalty program has three different award charts that cover different types of redemptions — here’s a quick overview:
- Asia Miles award chart: Prices award tickets on Cathay Pacific-operated flights around the world.
- Airline partners award chart: Prices award tickets on Oneworld and non-alliance partner carriers.
- Oneworld multicarrier award chart: Prices multistop award tickets operated by two or more Oneworld partners. You can use this to build round-the-world award tickets.
Further, Asia Miles passes on fuel surcharges for most Oneworld carriers. Thankfully, however, Cathay Pacific stopped charging them on its own tickets. In addition, the airline actually has lower surcharges on British Airways flights than British Airways Executive Club.
Related: How to avoid fuel surcharges on award travel
Booking Cathay Pacific flights with Asia Miles
This award chart is pretty reasonable, especially for long-haul flights in premium cabins. Under this award chart, you’d be able to book a one-way ticket from New York to Hong Kong for 85,000 miles in business class. On the other hand, flights departing from Los Angeles to Hong Kong would cost 70,000 miles.
There are better options for redeeming these awards. For example, American charges 70,000 AAdvantage miles to fly from anywhere in the U.S. to anywhere in Asia on Cathay Pacific. Likewise, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan charges just 50,000 miles.
Booking partner flights with Asia Miles
Unfortunately, Asia Miles doesn’t officially publish an airline partner award chart, with all partner awards having a mileage surcharge on top of Cathay Pacific awards of the same length.
To identify the partner award pricing, you'll need to search on Cathay Pacific's website. Just enter your origin, destination and airline. You’ll then be shown the pricing for all available cabins — though note that select partners are not eligible for online bookings.
Booking award tickets online
Booking award tickets operated wholly by Cathay Pacific can be done online. Just head to the award redemption page and sign in. Enter your search criteria at the center of the screen and click the yellow "Search flights" button to initiate your search.
Related: The ultimate guide to Cathay Pacific first class
However, the process for actually booking award tickets is a bit complicated. You can only book tickets for a handful of partners online. The following airlines show award space and should be bookable on the Asia Miles website:
- Alaska Airlines.
- British Airways.
- Cathay Pacific.
- Japan Airlines.
- LATAM (non-alliance).
- Malaysia Airlines.
- Qatar Airways.
- Royal Jordanian.
- S7 Airlines.
- SriLankan Airlines.
If you’re hoping to book one of these airlines, follow the directions above for booking a Cathay Pacific award ticket. If not, follow our guide to searching for Oneworld award space to find the award ticket you’d like to book. Then, call Asia Miles when you’re ready to book the ticket.
Book a round-the-world ticket with the Oneworld multicarrier award chart
You can book a round-the-world ticket for relatively few points using this chart. These awards are priced based on distance flown and your cabin of travel. You can book these awards in any class you’d like, including first class. Here’s a look at pricing:
The routing rules are pretty straightforward:
- You’re allowed a maximum of five stopovers, plus two transfers and two open jaws.
- You can fly up to 50,000 miles.
- You must return to the original point of departure.
- You must fly at least two Oneworld partners, not including Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
- You can book mixed-cabin flights but will be charged at the rate of the highest cabin booked.
- You can’t add non-alliance partners to a multi-carrier award.
To book one of these tickets, find award space and ensure your ticket meets all the restrictions. Then, call Asia Miles to book.
Related: How I booked a round-the-world ticket in business class for 170,000 miles
Upgrade and companion awards
You can also use your miles to upgrade paid Cathay Pacific flights and take a companion with you on your journey. The upgrade award chart is also divided by distance and priced based on a one-way upgrade.
Redeeming Asia Miles for merchandise and other travel
You can also use your Asia Miles for merchandise, hotel stays and other non-air travel redemptions. That said, this is rarely a good idea. You almost always get a lower cent-per-point value when compared to booking premium airfare — in some cases, you get less than half of TPG’s valuation of 1.3 cents per Asia Mile.
My advice is to skip these redemptions if you can. They provide a poor value, especially if you travel often and can use your Asia Miles for flights later.
Asia Miles sweet spots
Cathay Pacific first- and business-class flights
Unsurprisingly, using Asia Miles for Cathay Pacific tickets is a good deal. As mentioned, the program doesn’t have the world’s best pricing on Cathay Pacific awards, but you can still score a solid deal on premium-cabin tickets — especially if you’re departing from the West Coast. Here’s a look at Asia Miles’ round-trip award pricing from all U.S. destinations to its hub at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG):
|Route||Economy award price||Premium economy price||Business-class award price||First-class award price|
|Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to HKG||84,000 miles.||120,000 miles.||170,000 miles.||250,000 miles.|
|Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to HKG||84,000 miles.||120,000 miles.||170,000 miles.||250,000 miles.|
|Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to HKG||60,000 miles.||90,000 miles.||140,000 miles.||220,000 miles.|
|New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to HKG||84,000 miles.||120,000 miles.||170,000 miles.||250,000 miles.|
|San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to HKG||60,000 miles.||90,000 miles.||140,000 miles.||220,000 miles.|
Round-trip fees, taxes and surcharges are just under $200 for each class of service, making this a great way to use points and miles compared to the four-figure amounts charged by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
Round-the-world tickets with the Oneworld multicarrier award chart
The Oneworld multicarrier award chart can be extremely valuable for booking round-the-world tickets on Oneworld carriers. You can use these awards to book a ticket with up to five stopovers. These tickets can span multiple regions if your ticket is 50,000 miles or fewer. Be sure to refer to the redemption section for more information
British Airways award tickets
Asia Miles charges lower fuel surcharges than other Oneworld partners on British Airways award tickets — even in premium cabins. You may pay slightly more miles than when booking with other carriers, but the cash savings may be enough to warrant the higher points cost. For example, you can fly round-trip from New York's JFK to London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) in British Airways business class for 122,000 Asia Miles and $829 with no peak/off-peak pricing.
On the other hand, booking through American Airlines would set you back 115,000 miles plus nearly $1,800 in taxes and fees. British Airways would impose similar surcharges, though you may be able to lower those costs by redeeming additional Avios.
If you're transferring points to book a British Airways ticket, be sure to compare the award pricing through British Airways and Cathay Pacific, as the latter may offer both lower award prices and fewer taxes and fees.
Related: A review of Cathay Pacific’s first class on the 777-300ER from Hong Kong to London
Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program may not be on your radar as the best program for earning (and redeeming) rewards in the Oneworld alliance. However, while it isn't perfect, there are some excellent deals to be had. You’ll get the best deals when redeeming for Cathay Pacific flights and multicarrier round-the-world tickets, especially if you book in premium cabins.
Additional reporting by Ben Smithson.
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