10 Ways To Redeem Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for Max Value [2017]

best ways to use asia miles

Though Cathay Pacific and its Asia Miles program aren’t one of the best known frequent flyer programs out there, they have many ways to earn miles and some solid redemptions options. You’d be doing yourself a disservice by not learning a little bit more about the program!

Using Asia Miles With Airline Partners

Earn Asia Miles by signing up for various credit cards (including Cathay Pacific’s own co-branded credit card), or by transferring points from American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest Points, and Citi ThankYou Rewards.

Even though you may not have any Asia Miles earned through flying, the miles are very easily accessible through transfer partners.

Cathay Pacific is part of the Oneworld alliance, and they also partner with a few other airlines who are unaffiliated with an alliance. This means there are many options to redeem Asia Miles for award tickets with a variety of carriers on flights all around the world.

Cathay Pacific Credit Card

The following card was recently made available and will allow you to earn Asia Miles with no transferring required.

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card Review
Cathay Pacific Asia MilesCathay Pacific Airways Visa® from Synchrony Bank

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

If you like earning American Express Membership Rewards, these can be transferred to Asia Miles at a 1:1 ratio. These cards also usually include a great sign-up bonus.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Platinum Card® from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> 57 Best Ways You Can Use Amex Points
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Full Review
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 points.
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Full Review
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Full Review

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

Need Inspiration?
> 57 Best Ways You Can Use Amex Points
  • Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Full Review
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Full Review
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Full Review

Citi ThankYou Rewards Credit Cards

Citi ThankYou reward points also transfer to Asia Miles at a 1:1 ratio. These cards sometimes include great sign-up bonuses as well; you may want to wait for if one is not currently available.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Citi Prestige® Card
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
  • 2 ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Detailed Review
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
  • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Travel, including Gas
  • Annual Fee: $95 (Fee waived for the first 12 months)
  • Detailed Review

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards

SPG Starpoints transfer to Asia Miles at a 1:1 ratio too. When you transfer 20,000 SPG points, you will receive a bonus of 5,000 miles, effectively making the transfer ratio 1:1.25.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> Here's 45 Ways To Use SPG Points
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Full Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 35,000 bonus Starpoints®. Offer ends 11/1/17.
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Full Review

The 10 Best Ways To Use Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

The following redemptions are currently some of the best ways to use Cathay Pacific miles. Where are you going to go first?

Note: Many of these redemptions reference the award charts, which are found in the “Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Award Chart” section and further explained in the “Award Redemption Rules” below the redemption options.

1. Eastern U.S. to Europe Hopper in Business on Air Berlin for 80,000 Asia Miles

air berlin business class
Try Air Berlin’s business class product for a great deal to Berlin. Image courtesy of airberlin.com.

To get this rate as stated in the first chart award zone C, you must use 1 airline, and the sum of the longest distance for either the incoming or outgoing segments must be less than 5,000 flown miles.

Using the rules above, a sample itinerary could be: [JFK – TXL (transfer) – VIE (stopover) – DUS (stopover) – MIA (open jaw)] all on Airberlin.

If you fly this itinerary or a similar one in business class, it will cost 80,000 Asia Miles. The same itinerary in economy class would cost only 45,000 Asia Miles. You must call Cathay Pacific to book this itinerary.

To use 2 airlines instead of 1, you would need to use the second chart. Since the round-trip mileage is less than 10,000 total flown miles, this itinerary would cost you 65,000 Asia Miles in economy or 95,000 Asia Miles in business class.

2. California to Hawaii in Economy for 30,000 Asia Miles Round-trip on American or Alaska Airlines

Flights between select cities in California and select cities in Hawaii are less than 2,500 physical miles in each direction. According to the first chart, you would use award zone B. You can fly either American Airlines or Alaska Airlines for only 30,000 Asia Miles for a round-trip flight.

American and Alaska will charge 35,000 of their miles or more for the same flight!

Flights on Alaska can be booked online, but American flights must be booked via phone. Use the Great Circle Mapper to determine the approximate distance between city pairs to ensure it is below 2,500 flown miles one-way.

A few that are below 2,500 miles include [SJC – HNL], [LAX – OGG], [SJC – KOA], [OAK – LIH].

3. Southern U.S. to Latin America Hopper With 5 Stops in Business for 95,000 Asia Miles

LATAM's B787 Business class
LATAM’s B787 Business class has a fresh new look, and you can use your American Airlines miles to fly it! Image courtesy of luxurytraveldiary.com.

For this rate, reference the second chart. You must use 2 airlines, and your total flight distance must be less than 10,000 miles. The great part is that you can have up to 5 stopovers!

Using the rules above, a sample itinerary could be [MIA – GRU (stopover) – EZE (stopover) – SCL (stopover) – MIA] on TAM and LAN Airlines. You could also fly American Airlines for part of this itinerary.

This itinerary, or a similar one, would cost 95,000 Asia Miles in business class or 65,000 Asia Miles in economy class.

You must call Cathay Pacific to book this itinerary.

4. Western North America to East Asia in Business Class for 120,000 Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific is known to have a very good business class product. Since Cathay Pacific and one other airline are used in this example, the first chart would apply.

A sample itinerary would be [LAX – HKG (stopover) – NRT (stopover) – LAX] on Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. Since the sum of either the inbound or outbound segments is less than 7,500 miles one-way, award zone D would apply.

As Japan Airlines can’t be booked online, you must speak to an agent on the phone. If you wanted to fly just [LAX – HKG – LAX] or [YVR – HKG – YVR] on Cathay Pacific in business, it would cost the same amount of Asia miles and can be booked online.

Checking the availability of other partners would give you more flexibility, and Japan Airlines is easily on the same level as Cathay Pacific in terms of quality.

Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Cathay Pacific business class.

5. Canadian Hopper for 30,000 Asia Miles in Economy

Cathay Pacific’s newest partner is Air Canada and codeshare travel began 1/19/17. You can easily search award availability for Air Canada flights on United.com but will have to call to book any itinerary involving Air Canada flights.

For this redemption using the first chart, only 1 airline can be used. A sample itinerary is [YVR – YUL (stopover) – YYZ (stopover) – YVR] on Air Canada.

The sum of either the inbound or outbound segments is less than 2,500 miles, thus award zone B will apply. This Canada hopper itinerary can be booked for 30,000 Asia Miles in economy class.

6. Caribbean Hopper for 20,000 Asia Miles in Economy

Similar to the Canada hopper above, you can do a little Caribbean hopper for even fewer miles! If you flew [MIA – PUJ (stopover) – KIN (stopover) – MIA] on American Airlines, the first chart would apply.

Since either the inbound or outbound segments are under 1,200 miles flown, award zone A will apply. Remember, American Airlines flights aren’t bookable online, so you must call to book this itinerary.

7. West Coast to Australia in Business Class for 120,000 Asia Miles

Qantas business class
Check out Qantas Business Class on their A330 with Asia Miles! Image courtesy of qantas.com.

Qantas also has a great business class product, and you can fly [LAX – BNE – LAX] or [LAX – SYD – LAX] for only 120,000 Asia Miles in business class. Both of these routes are less than 7,500 flown miles one-way.

Since only 1 airline is flown in this example, the first chart award zone D would apply.

Want to try first class? See our step by step guide for booking Qantas first class.

8. East Coast to the Middle East in Business for 120,000 Asia Miles

Qatar Airways business class
Qatar Airways has super comfy and spacious business class seats. Image courtesy of traveler.com.au.

Qatar Airways has been reviewed as having a great business class product, and we completely agree! Several eastern North American airports fly direct to Doha on Qatar including JFK, BOS, PHL, IAD, YUL, and ORD.

Using the first chart flying only on Qatar Airways, an example itinerary is [IAD – DOH (transfer) – AUH (stopover) -DOH (stopover) – IAD].

Since the sum of the one-way segments is less than 7,500 flown miles, award zone D applies and the round-trip will cost 120,000 Asia Miles in business class.

If you would rather fly economy class, the trip will only cost 60,000 Asia Miles. Fortunately, Qatar can be booked online with Asia miles, but for complicated itineraries, you will probably need to call to book the flights.

9. Short Domestic Hops in Economy for 15,000 Asia Miles Round-trip

A few example flights that would cost only 15,000 miles round-trip from ORD.

If you are taking a short round-trip domestic flight that is less than 600 flown miles on 1 airline, you will only have to pay 15,000 Asia Miles. This goes for any city pairs, not just those in the U.S.!

Above is a map of a few flights you can take from ORD on American Airlines that fall into this price range. Since you can’t book AA flights online, you will have to call Cathay to book these flights.

Hot Tip: Use The Platinum Card® from American Express for lounge access and other frequent flyer perks during your travels.

10. Plan a Round the World Trip!

There are so many scenarios for an around the world trip booked with Asia Miles. Here are just a couple of examples:

10a. Using only 2 carriers including Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon

An around the world trip option bookable with Asia Miles.

In this scenario, the first award chart zone F will apply, since the sum of one-way is greater than 10,000 flown miles. This will mean the award will cost 110,000 Asia Miles in economy, 132,000 Asia Miles in premium economy, or 175,000 Asia Miles in business.

Per the rules, only 2 stopovers, 2 transfers, and 1 open jaw is allowed. The example illustrated above is [DFW – FCO (stopover) – HKG (stopover) – LAX (transfer) – DFW] flying American and Cathay Pacific.

10b. Using 2 Oneworld carriers, not including Cathay Pacific/Dragon, or 3+ carriers including Cathay Pacific/Dragon

Another around the world trip bookable with Asia Miles.

With this example, the second chart will apply; this means you can have 5 stopovers, 2 transfers, and 2 open jaws. This is a pretty generous routing, and you can be extremely creative with it! The amount of Asia Miles needed depends on the total distance you are traveling.

An example is [ORD – HEL (transfer) – MUC (stopover) – DOH (transfer) – HKG (stopover) – SYD (stopover) – LAX (open jaw)] with Finnair, Qatar, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas Airways.

The total flown miles is under 25,000 miles, so this trip will only cost 110,000 Asia Miles in economy or 160,000 Aisa Miles in business class – an absolute steal!

Booking Award Flights on Cathay Pacific

If you’re confused as to how to actually book these redemptions, you’ll find information either in the redemption itself (as we make it available) and in the booking guides for Cathay Pacific:

Using Your Asia Miles

Asia Miles is Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon’s frequent flyer program and is part of Oneworld alliance. They also have partnerships with other airlines that are not included in the alliance.

List of Oneworld Alliance Cathay Pacific Airline Partners

Cathay Pacific’s airline partners include the Oneworld alliance:

Oneworld Airline Partners 
Air BerlinMalaysia Airlines
British AirwaysQantas Airlines
Cathay PacificQatar Airways
FinnairRoyal Jordanian Airlines
IberiaS7 Airlines
Japan AirlinesSriLankan Airlines
LATAM Airlines

List of Non-Alliance Airline Partners

Non-alliance airline partners of Cathay Pacific include the following:

Non-Alliance Airline Partners
Air CanadaAer Lingus
Air ChinaAir New Zealand
Alaska AirlinesBangkok Airways
Gulf AirJet Airways
Royal Brunei Airlines

Unlike most airlines, Asia Miles redemptions are distanced-based and have different award charts depending on the number and type of carriers you are flying on a single ticket.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Award Chart

The below standard chart applies when flying a single airline or 2 airlines (must include either Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon).

To determine your award, use the actual distance flown one-way between the origin and destination. If there are multiple segments involved, sum the distance of the inbound segments and outbound segments separately and use the longest one-way distance.

The award zone will determine the miles you will pay for a one-way ticket award; round-trip awards are just below that. Interestingly, round-trip awards will cost you less than double the miles of a one-way award.

cathay pacific asia miles award chart
Chart 1:  The Cathay Pacific award chart is separated by award zone. Asia Miles round-trip flights are cheaper than booking 2 one-way flights in many cases.

Below is the chart for round-trip awards for either: 2 Oneworld partners (not including Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon), or 3+ Oneworld partners (including Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon).

The distance in actual miles below is for round-trip, so the miles required is for a round-trip award.

cathay pacific asia miles award chart distances
Chart 2:  This Cathay Pacific and Oneworld award chart is for round-trip flights and multiple partner awards.

The Great Circle Mapper is a helpful tool in calculating the approximate mileage between airport codes.

Awards Bookable Online vs. Phone

Only flights with 8 of Cathay Pacific’s partners can be booked online: Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia Airlines, Qantas Airways, and Qatar Airways.

Booking flights that include other partner airlines or multi-city/complex itineraries can be done by calling the U.S. office at 1-866-892-2598 or by calling the Hong Kong office at 011-852-2747-3838 on a landline.

When you call, it is easier if you give the agent the flight segments you want, so be prepared. Not all agents will be familiar with their own routing rules, so make sure you have the rules handy.

Since other partner airlines aren’t available to be booked online, it makes it difficult to search for award availability. There are other websites that can be used to find award space for partner airlines not bookable online (listed below):

Airline Flights on:Where To Search for Award Space:
Aer LingusUnited, or call Cathay Pacific
Air CanadaUnited, Aeroplan, ANA
Air ChinaUnited, Aeroplan, ANA
Air BerlinAmerican Airlines Saver Awards, British Airways, Qantas
Air New ZealandUnited, Aeroplan, ANA
American AirlinesAmerican Airlines Saver Awards, British Airways, Qantas
Bangkok AirwaysMust call Cathay Pacific
FinnairAmerican Airlines Saver Awards, British Airways, Qantas
Gulf AirMust call Cathay Pacific
Japan AirlinesBritish Airways
Jet AirwaysMust call Cathay Pacific
LAN AirlinesBritish Airways, Qantas
Malaysia AirlinesBritish Airways
Royal Brunei AirlinesMust call Cathay Pacific
Royal JordanianAmerican Airlines Saver Awards, British Airways
S7 AirlinesBritish Airways, Qantas
SriLankan AirlinesBritish Airways, Qantas
TAM AirlinesBritish Airways, Qantas

Award Redemption Rules

Cathay Pacific has different award redemption rules depending on which award chart you are using for your redemption.

For the first chart above:

  • 2 stopovers (more than 24 hrs stop) are allowed on a round-trip flight, and 1 on a one-way flight
  • 2 transfers (connections less than 24 hrs) are allowed on a round-trip flight
  • 1 open jaw is allowed at the origin, en route, or at the turnaround point (open jaw is when your arrival city is different than your departure city)
  • Air China and Iberia do not allow stopovers or open jaws
  • Must return to the country of origin

For the second chart above:

  • Must be a round-trip itinerary with 2 Oneworld partners (not including Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon), or 3+ Oneworld partners (must include either Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon)
  • 5 stopovers (more than 24 hrs stop) are allowed
  • 2 transfers (connections less than 24 hrs) are allowed
  • 2 open jaws are allowed at the origin, en route, or at the turnaround point (open jaw is when your arrival city is different than your departure city)
  • Air China and Iberia do not allow stopovers or open jaws
  • Must return to the country of origin
  • Maximum travel distance is 50,000 miles

Conclusion

Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program is more complicated than a lot of other programs, but there is incredible value to be had if you spend a little time learning about the program and redemptions.

Remember that Asia Miles are pretty easy to get your hands on, considering they are transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Citi ThankYou Rewards!

Photo Credits: Featured Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

FAQ

How can I earn miles on Cathay Pacific?
Start by signing up for the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles loyalty program.

You can earn miles for flights on Cathay Pacific and its partner airlines by booking with its hotel and car rental partners, online shopping, spending on Cathay’s co-branded credit card, or using other credit cards that transfer to Asia Miles.

Is it possible to earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles by using credit cards?
Asia Miles allows you to transfer rewards points from various credit cards and loyalty programs.

You can earn SPG Starpoints with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, American Express Membership Rewards with The Platinum Card® from American Express, and Chase Ultimate Rewards with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

All of them will transfer to Asia Miles.

What are Asia Miles worth?
The value of Asia Miles depends on what kind of ticket you are redeeming with your points. You should be able to pretty easily get at least 2 cents per mile in value, even for an economy class redemption.

However, we can usually find redemption values upward of 5.5 cents per mile.

Are Asia Miles refundable?
Your Asia Miles ticket can be canceled as long as you have not begun your journey. The cancellation fee is $120 or 12,000 Asia Miles, but you must use the ticket within 1 year of the date of issue.

When do Asia Miles expire?
Asia Miles have a lifespan of 3 years, which can be extended by a further 3 years.

Is Cathay Pacific part of American Airlines?
Cathay Pacific is not part of American Airlines, but both airlines are part of Oneworld alliance.

This means that you can redeem your Cathay Pacific Asia miles for flights on American Airlines and your American Airlines miles for flights on Cathay Pacific. Unfortunately, it is not possible to combine miles between the 2 programs.

How much does it cost to buy Asia Miles?
It is possible to purchase additional Asia Miles starting at $32.50 for 1,000 miles. Additional miles can be purchased at a rate of $16.25 for 500 miles. You can purchase up to 15,000 miles in a calendar year.

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