Asia Miles eliminates two award types, introduces Miles Plus Cash bookings

Mar 16, 2021

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As reported by Traveling for Miles, Cathay Pacific just announced big changes to its Asia Miles loyalty program.

For years, Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles loyalty program has offered three tiers of award tickets: Standard, Choice and Tailored. Standard is largely the equivalent of saver award space, while Choice and Tailored offer more award space at higher prices. Choice and Tailored awards can only be booked with Asia Miles and are not open to partners like AAdvantage.

Today, Asia Miles emailed members notice that Choice and Tailored awards will be discontinued on Mar. 30, 2021. Those with waitlisted Choice and Tailored awards will have their bookings canceled on this date if the booking isn’t confirmed by the time these award types are discontinued. Standard awards will continue to be available.

Those with confirmed Choice and Tailored bookings will be able to make changes to their itineraries after the award types are removed.

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Asia miles introduces Miles Plus Cash awards

Miles Plus Cash Announcement
(Image courtesy of Asia Miles)

In addition, Cathay Pacific announced it would introduce Miles Plus Cash awards on Mar. 30. These awards will allow Asia Miles members to book any available seat using a mixture of Asia Miles and cash, effectively bringing dynamically priced awards to the loyalty program. Members will be able to use miles at a set cash value toward these award tickets, starting at 5,000 miles.

When booking one of these tickets, you’ll be able to choose exactly how many miles you’d like to use toward your ticket. Asia Miles has yet to announce how much miles will be worth with Miles Plus Cash awards, so we’ll report back once the awards are bookable at the end of the month. The airline stated that the “conversion rate may vary by origin, destination, fare, cabin, date or any combination of these factors.”

It’s also worth noting that Miles Plus Cash awards will be available on Cathay Pacific flights and partner awards. According to the announcement, members will still earn Asia Miles and Marco Polo Club points on their Miles Plus Cash tickets, leading us to believe they book as standard revenue tickets.

Miles Plus Cash awards will be bookable on the Cathay Pacific website — not through Asia Miles. The airline will also bring Miles Plus Cash bookings to HK Express bookings and the Lifestyle Awards shop.

Related: Ultimate guide to searching award availability for the major airlines

Does this signal a move toward dynamic award pricing?

Cathay Pacific A350
(Photo by JIMMOYHT/Shutterstock)

While the removal of Choice and Tailored awards and introduction of Miles Plus Cash bookings may not seem like a huge deal on paper, it could signal a gradual move toward dynamic award pricing.

Choice and Tailored awards were always more expensive than standard bookings. That said, they were still priced based on a standard award chart with predictable pricing. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more dynamic pricing elements come to Asia Miles over the coming years.

American Airlines did the same with Web Special awards. Standard MileSAAver awards still exist, but we see dynamically priced Web Special awards appear at price points both above and below this level.

On the other hand, it’s great to see Cathay Pacific continue to offer Standard awards. These have always been the cheapest and most valuable awards that Cathay Pacific offers. We’re hopeful that Standard awards will be offered for years to come, giving members a choice to redeem points dynamically or following an award chart.

Related: The ultimate guide to Cathay Pacific first class

Bottom line

To recap, Cathay Pacific announced its discontinuing Choice and Tailored awards at the end of this month. These award types will be replaced by Miles Plus Cash awards that let Asia Miles members redeem their miles to discount paid tickets. Stay tuned to TPG for more information — we’ll follow up with a post on how much Miles Plus Cash redemptions are worth once these awards roll out.

Feature photo by May James/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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