Cathay Pacific improves its Asia Miles expiration policy

Dec 10, 2019

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Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles loyalty program has traditionally had a somewhat customer unfriendly expiration policy, in which miles accrued in the program automatically expired three years after being earned, regardless of any further activity in a customer’s account. However, on Tuesday, the airline announced a major improvement that will allow Asia Miles to remain active indefinitely so long as a customer has regular account activity.

Under the new policy, any Asia Miles accumulated after Jan. 1, 2020, won’t expire as long as there’s activity in a customer’s account at least once every 18 months. An important caveat to note is that miles credited on or before Dec. 31, 2019, will continue to follow the existing three-year expiration policy until they’re either redeemed or expire. However, the carrier will allow customers to convert old miles to the new activity-based system for a $40 online service fee.

Traditionally, “account activity” usually includes any time miles are earned, redeemed or transferred into an account. So if you don’t find yourself constantly flying the Hong Kong based airline, fret not — there’s plenty of other ways to keep your account active. One of the easiest ways to build your balance is by applying for the Cathay Pacific Visa Signature Card issued by Synchrony Bank, which routinely offers up to a 60,000-mile bonus. It’s currently offering 40,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening. The card offers 2x miles on Cathay Pacific purchases, 1.5x miles on dining and spend outside the US and 1x on all other spending.

Related: How to use 60,000 Asia Miles

In addition to miles earned directly via its credit card, the airline is a transfer partner with four of the major flexible point systems: American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One MIles and the Marriott Bonvoy program. Amex and Citi transfer to Asia Miles at a 1-to-1 ratio, while Capital One transfers at a 2-to-1.5 ratio and Marriott exchanges at a 3-to-1 ratio. Transfers of even just 1,000 points or miles from any of these programs should be considered account activity and allow you to extend the expiration date on all your Asia Miles.

Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy
First class on Cathay Pacific’s 777-300ER. (Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)

Finally, Asia Miles also has dozens of other partners that allow you to earn miles. For U.S. residents, the easiest ways to earn Asia Miles besides credit cards are crediting partner flights to Asia Miles (depending on the earning rate of your fare class), utilizing the Asia Miles iShop portal or booking hotels through Rocketmiles or Pointshound.

Wondering about the best ways to use Asia Miles? If a Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon flight isn’t what you’re after, don’t worry. The airline is a member of the Oneworld alliance, which opens up your redemption options tremendously. Asia Miles often also charges as much as 50% less in carrier surcharges for British Airways flights versus using Avios. Just make sure you read up on everything you need to know about the program.

Featured photo by Patrick T. Fallon/The Points Guy.

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