Cathay Pacific offers two different programs to their customers. Their loyalty program is called the Marco Polo Club, and their miles program is called Asia Miles. You can earn miles in various ways, like you know, including via credit cards, hotel stays and other stuff.
Today, the airline has unveiled changes to the Asia Miles program, which will affect many across the globe, including here in India, since Cathay Pacific has a large member base in India as well. Let’s walk through these changes.
The changes are going to be effective from June 22, 2018, onwards, and will be wide-ranging, including how you earn and redeem miles on Cathay Pacific.
Asia Miles Mileage Accrual changed for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights
The Asia Miles you earn will no longer be based on the actual distance you fly. Miles will be calculated based on a combination of cabin class, fare class, and distance zone. Now, while we’ve all seen the zone concept adopted to issue reward tickets, we haven’t seen this at all for earning miles.
So, for instance, if you are flying in Economy on heavily discounted fares, you wouldn’t get too many miles for that flight, but if you are flying the same ticket on a flex-fare, you will get double the miles.
Asia Miles has divided up the world into 6 zones as per flying distance:
- Ultra-Short: 1-750 miles
- Short: 751-2,750 miles
- Medium:2,751-3,700 miles
- Medium-Long:3,701-5,000 miles
- Long: 5,001-7,500 miles
- Ultra-Long: 7,501+ miles
The ultra-short category includes Taipei and Manila from Hong Kong. Short routes include Mumbai, Singapore, Shanghai, Bangkok and Tokyo from Hong Kong. Hong Kong – Dubai is in the Medium zone, while North America is going into the Ultra-Long range. Most of Europe will be in the Long range.
Cathay Pacific claims that the passengers will earn more miles on 80% of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon tickets. Moreover, you don’t get any bonuses for being an elite member of the airline. This has been a long-standing stance of Cathay Pacific which has not changed in this round of changes.
If you have a ticket booked before June 22, 2018, you will get higher of the two miles calculation when you are crediting your flights to Marco Polo Club in the coming days.
Earning miles on partner airlines is not changing. You will still earn miles as a percentage of distance flown.
Asia Miles Redemption changes
It is not just earning that changed, but also burning rates. Everything moves around distance zones, so does the flight redemption rates. Earlier, Asia Miles used to have 7 zones for redemptions, which have now been readjusted into the 6 zones presented above.
While Economy flights on the carrier and its associate will continue to be at the current rate or come for fewer points. For instance, Hong Kong-Singapore will see redemptions go down by 33% from 30,000 to 20,000 Asia Miles on a round-trip basis in Economy. Business Class flights on this sector will require 25,000 Asia Miles one way as opposed to 30,000 Asia Miles at this moment. Hong Kong to Manila used to cost 15,000 miles one-way and now will cost 7,500 miles, which is a 50% decrease.
However, as expected, the award chart turns for premium cabin flights. Many a premium economy, business, and first class redemptions, especially over longer routes, will go up in pricing. To add insult to the injury, Asia Miles have eliminated the discount on return flights, where you could price a roundtrip for a lesser number of miles than a one-way trip. Now, RTs cost double of one-way flights. Simple.
For example, a business class return trip between Hong Kong and New York moves up from 145,000 Asia Miles to 170,000 Asia Miles. A first-class return trip to London runs from 180,000 Asia Miles to 200,000 Asia Miles.
More Redemption Seats, but at a higher cost
Playing to the gallery, Asia Miles is introducing a sort of anytime award which allows for every seat on every flight to be accessible for redemption. There are the Standard Awards, which will get 20% more seats set aside for them.
The Priority Awards category will be been replaced by newer award categories, which allow for more award seats.
First, there is the Choice Award, which will give you redemptions at a higher redemption rate. For instance, the Choice Award from Hong Kong to Japan will be bookable at 30K Asia Miles, as compared to 20K which would be the cost of standard seats. So, that sets the baseline of 50% more price in terms of miles for Choice Awards.
There is another Award category opening up called Tailored Award, which is akin to buying a toaster on your points. The number of miles required will be in line with fares, so will dynamically change as per the current existing fare on that seat.
Choice Awards and Tailored Awards will be opened up 360 days before the date of travel, while Standard Awards will open up 353 days before the date of travel.
Partner Redemption changes too
The new redemption chart for Asia Miles partner airlines has not been revealed yet but will be revealed on June 22, 2018. However, here are some examples of the changes to the program coming up. Additionally, as of June 22, Asia Miles will no longer be used for getting an upgrade. You will only be able to book seats outright.
Asia Miles oneworld multi-carrier award chart will change too. This chart is entirely distance oriented and allows you to fly up to two oneworld partners on top of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon.
Prices will mostly increase on the longer itineraries, in the premium cabins. For instance, a 25K RTW award would go up from 160K Asia Miles to 185K Asia miles.
Most of the redemption changes are relatively modest, but earning will be the part that gets challenged the most. How will Saver seat inventory change, we won’t know till the new plan goes into action?
The full roundup of changes is here, and you have less than a month to book anything you’d like with the old award chart still in existence.
What do you think about the upcoming changes to Asia Miles? Were you planning a trip that would get affected by the changes?
asia miles 改制