Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
You can use Cathay Pacific Asia miles to travel on Cathay Pacific, oneworld members, like American Airlines or Japan Airlines, and Cathay Pacific non-alliance partner airlines, for example, Aer Lingus, Air China, or Air New Zealand. There are only six airlines you can book travel online: Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, British Airways, Qantas Airways, Qatar Airways, and Finnair. Booking on all other partner airlines must be done by phone.
Below is a list of airlines you can book with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and where you can check for award space. Those that aren’t available on one of the websites below can be booked by calling Cathay Pacific: 866 892 2598, although there are some reports recommending calling Hong Kong directly: +852 2747 3838.
|Region||Airline||Where to check award space|
|Asia||Air China||United and Aeroplan sites|
|Asia (and around the world)||American Airlines||AA.com, British Airways or Qantas site|
|Asia||Bangkok Airways||Call Cathay Pacific|
|Asia||Cathay Pacific||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Asia||China Eastern Airlines||Delta.com|
|Asia||Dragon Air||British Airways website|
|Asia||Japan Airlines||British Airways website|
|Asia||Jet Airways||JetAirways.com (registration required) or call Cathay Pacific|
|Asia||Malaysia Airlines||British Airways website|
|Asia||Royal Brunei Airlines||Call Cathay Pacific|
|Asia||Sri Lankan Airlines||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Europe||Aer Lingus||United.com, Qantas site, or call Cathay Pacific/British Airways|
|Europe||Air Berlin||AA.com, British Airways or Qantas site|
|Europe||Finnair||AA.com, British Airways or Qantas site|
|Europe||Iberia||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Europe||S7 Airlines||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Latin America||LAN Airlines||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Latin America||TAM Airlines||British Airways or Qantas site|
|Middle East||Gulf Air||Call Cathay Pacific|
|Middle East||Qatar Airways||British Airways website|
|Middle East||Royal Jordanian||AA.com|
|North America||Alaska Airlines||AA.com, AlaskaAir.com|
|Pacific||Air New Zealand||United.com|
Cathay Pacific uses a standard chart and a priority chart. One way travel is allowed, but costs on average about 60-65% of the round trip rate. The Asia Miles priority chart only encompasses economy and premium economy and has two tiers with the rates that can be as high as 2-3X of the Saver rates.
|Distance in actual miles||0 - 600||601 - 1,200||1,201 - 2,500||2,501 - 5,000||5001 - 7,500||7,501 - 10,000||10,001 or above|
|One-way Economy Class||10,000||15,000||20,000||25,000||40,000||55,000||70,000|
|One-way Premium Economy Class||12,000||18,000||24,000||30,000||48,000||66,000||84,000|
|Premium Economy Class||18,000||24,000||36,000||54,000||72,000||108,000||132,000|
|One-way Business Class||20,000||25,000||30,000||45,000||70,000||85,000||110,000|
|One-way First Class||25,000||30,000||40,000||70,000||105,000||130,000||160,000|
This chart applies when you fly 2 or more OneWorld partner airlines in a single trip.
|Award Zone||Distance in actual miles||Asia Miles required to claim award/ award type|
|Economy Class||Business Class||First Class|
|1||0 - 1,000||30,000||55,000||70,000|
|2||1,001 - 1,500||30,000||60,000||80,000|
|3||1,501 - 2,000||35,000||65,000||90,000|
|4||2,001 - 4,000||35,000||70,000||95,000|
|5||4,001 - 7,500||60,000||80,000||105,000|
|6||7,501 - 9,000||60,000||85,000||115,000|
|7||9,001 - 10,000||65,000||95,000||130,000|
|8||10,001 - 14,000||85,000||115,000||155,000|
|9||14,001 - 18,000||90,000||135,000||190,000|
|10||18,001 - 20,000||95,000||140,000||205,000|
|11||20,001 - 25,000||110,000||160,000||235,000|
|12||25,001 - 35,000||130,000||190,000||275,000|
|13||35,001 - 50,000||150,000||220,000||335,000|
Cathay Pacific scrapped fuel surcharges on its own flights February 1, but it still adds them to awards on most other carriers. If you want to avoid or minimize fuel surcharges, the rule of thumb is to use the airlines with small fuel surcharges, or those that don’t impose them on their own flights. However, keep in mind that sometimes airlines impose (or don’t impose) surcharges on partners against what seems to be the obvious logic.
Cathay Pacific allows awards to be booked from 360 days to 3 hours before departure (on Cathay Pacific and Dragonair only).
A waitlist for awards and upgrades is available, and it can be requested even if you have insufficient amount of miles in your account. Once you clear, you can transfer the needed miles to your account. Clearance, however, can be hit and miss, according to many reports, since the waitlist sweep generally happens only once per day. You can waitlist up to 4 days prior to departure, but some waitlists expire before then. If it does, just call Cathay again to request a new waitlist.
If you are hoping for an upgrade, you can also check for an ‘instant upgrade’ at check-in with your Asia Miles.
Two stopovers are allowed on standard round trip tickets.
When you redeem using the OneWorld chart (for flights that involve 2 or more OneWorld airlines that aren’t Cathay Pacific) you can make up to five stopovers.
Asia Miles can hold Cathay Pacific awards while you complete a transfer from Amex or Citi.
The Asia Miles charts have some great sweet spots.
Los Angeles to Hong Kong is under 8,000 miles and your round trip award ticket would cost 72,000 miles in premium economy and 120,000 miles in business. That’s better than what you would get from any U.S. carrier’s program and fuel surcharges are generally under $200 roundtrip. If you want to maximize the award, add a trip to Hanoi and Halong Bay to your travel plans. Since the distance between LAX and HKG is 7260 miles, and HKG and Hanoi 526 miles, you will still be under 8,000 miles. For the Cathay Pacific chart you are allowed “two stopovers, two transfers or one open-jaw at either the origin, en route or turnaround point on all airline partners except for Air China and Iberia”
Play with stopovers in Europe. Obviously, the very best, although not the easiest, way to maximize your values is to take full advantage of stopover rules combined with no or low fuel surcharges, such as visiting several cities in Europe using Aer Lingus, Iberia and Air Berlin. You could begin your journey in Boston and end it in New York, if you wish. You could go like this: BOS-DUB (stopover) , DUB-TXL (destination), TXL-MAD (2nd stopover), MAD-JFK (open jaw). The whole trip is under 8,500 miles, so it should be 60,000 in economy and 85,000 in business, which is a terrific value for so many flights.
Unfortunately, the Asia Miles agents are not accustomed to dealing with complex itineraries like this, so you have to do all the work – find availability, calculate the distance (remember to calculate segment by segment), give them the flight numbers, tell them that you want to use the oneworld multi-carrier award chart, read them their own routing rules when they tell you it can’t be done, and be ready to HUCA perhaps more than once or call for a supervisor and ask them to escalate.
Yes, on Cathay Pacific/Dragonair and a limited number of partners.
Upgrades on Cathay flights can be waitlisted, with priority by status and value of your fare. If the waitlist doesn’t clear by the day of departure you can request an ‘instant upgrade’ with your miles while checking in, at the airport, and even in the airline lounge.
You can use the Flight Award Finder to find the cost of upgrade. For example, for a JFK-HKG flight, the cost of a one-way upgrade is:
Round-trip upgrades are priced a touch cheaper than the price of two one-way upgrades.
You can use American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and other Cathay Pacific partners to book Cathay Pacific flight. Alaska has an especially lucrative chart for travel on Cathay Pacific, and it allows a one-way booking. You will pay 30,000 miles for Coach, 35,000 for Premium Economy, 50,000 for business, and 70,000 for first. Keep in mind, however, that Cathay Pacific limits availability to partners, especially premium classes.
Starwood Preferred Guest permits point transfers to Asia Miles at a ratio of 1:1. There is a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer.
Other partners include:
Asia miles are worth 2 cents each or more in our view. There are no fuel surcharges on Cathay Pacific flights as of February 1, 2016 and you can get a $3,000+ business class ticket from California to Hong Kong for 120,000 miles roundtrip. If you’re booking Economy Class flights, expect less value – closer to 1.5 cents or less – especially since Economy Class fares to Asia are often available for $1,000 or less roundtrip, but the ability to add free stopovers adds value.
There is no US-based Cathay Pacific credit card, but there is no shortage of earning opportunities either, since Cathay Pacific is a transfer partner of three U.S. based credit card rewards program. You can transfer points from Citi ThankYou, American Express Membership Rewards or/and American Express SPG programs. Transfers from Citi ThankYou and Amex Membership Rewards post to your Asia Miles account in less than 24 hours.
Yes, but you must create your own “Redemption Group.” You can add up to 5 “nominees” free of charge, after that it’s $90 for every change.
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