Economy Pax Can Pay to Access Select Cathay Pacific Lounges — Yoga Studio Included

Mar 2, 2019

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Cathay Pacific is well known for having some of the nicest airport lounges of any airline. And starting Monday, the airline is opening some of these lounges to qualifying economy passengers for a fee.

As reported by the Australian Business Traveler, Cathay Pacific is starting a paid-entry trial at seven airport lounges from March 4 to June 30. Marco Polo Club (the airline’s pay-to-join loyalty program) members who don’t otherwise have access to the lounge will be able to pay HK$600 (US$76) or 9,000 Asia Miles per person to enter. At current TPG valuations, those miles are worth $117, so you’re going to want to choose the cash option.

Unfortunately, there’s going to be an additional cost to most US-based travelers. Unlike almost every other airline loyalty program, the Marco Polo Club charges a US$100 membership fee to join.

The trial will start at the following airport lounges:

  • The Pier Business Class, Hong Kong
  • Vancouver Cathay Pacific Lounge
  • Paris Cathay Pacific First and Business Class Lounges
  • Melbourne Cathay Pacific Lounge
  • Manila Cathay Pacific Lounge
  • Penang Cathay Pacific Lounge
  • Kaohsiung Cathay Pacific Lounge

For most of these lounges, you’ll be able to pay at the entrance. However, to access The Pier Business Class Lounge in Hong Kong, you’ll need to pay the entrance fee at the check-in counter or at the transfer desks in areas E2 or W1.

The Pier Business Class Lounge made the news recently when it opened a brand new yoga and meditation studio. I had the chance to check out this space just days after it opened. While there were some kinks to work out, it’s an excellent space to stretch, practice yoga or relax during a layover:

While the yoga studio is a nice draw, it’s likely not worth paying the entrance fee if you have a premium credit card. There’s an excellent and centrally-located Centurion Lounge open to The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express card members nearby. Just as in the US, I’ve found that this Centurion Lounge faces crowding issues, but it has some great food and drink options.

Image by Peter Madden for TPG.
Image by Peter Madden for TPG.

Priority Pass members also have the choice of two different Plaza Premium lounges in Hong Kong’s Terminal 1 and one landside lounge between Terminal 1 and 2. You can score an unlimited Priority Pass membership through a credit card, such as Chase Sapphire ReserveHilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express or Citi Prestige Card. You can also get 10 annual Priority Pass lounge visits through the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.

Featured image courtesy of Cathay Pacific.

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