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Rundown of Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific) for Canadians (updated January 10, 2017)

With the new Bill 47 Protecting Rewards Points Act, which amendments the consumer protection laws of the province of Ontario, it seems that Asia Miles will probably be affected by this change. As a result, I think that this post is due for an update.

Cathay Pacific has two loyalty programs: The Marco Polo Club (The Club), the loyalty program, and Asia Miles, the travel reward program. This post is focused on the Asia Miles program.

Expiry Policy

This is probably my biggest pet peeve with Asia Miles. You need to use your points within 36 of when they were deposited to avoid losing them. The current way to renew those miles is to pay $40 USD (online) or $100 USD (other channels) for every 2,000 miles that you want to renew.

I am curious to see how this rule will fall under the new law. Overall, I am not in favour of the new law, because I rather the government not get involved in the loyalty rewards industry. But since they insist, then this is actually one case where I hope the law does force Asia Miles to change it’s policy. I would prefer them to switch to one activity every 24 months to keep the account active.

Earning Miles from Flying

Asia Miles has a fair number of airline partners that you can earn miles with. I put an * for all the Oneworld alliance members below:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Berlin*
  • Air China
  • Air New Zealand
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines*
  • Bangkok Airways
  • British Airways *
  • Cathay Dragon
  • Cathay Pacific Airways*
  • Finnair*
  • Gulf Air
  • Iberia *
  • Japan Airlines*
  • Jet Airways
  • LAN*
  • Malaysia Airlines*
  • Qantas Airways*
  • Qatar Airways *
  • Royal Brunei Airlines
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines*
  • S7 Airlines*
  • SriLankan Airlines*
  • TAM*

You may have noticed lots of non-Oneworld partners.

Earning Miles without Flying

There are also many different ways to earn Asia Miles without flying. I would say the two easiest ways to earn as a Canadian is through the hotel and car rental partners.

There is a host of hotel partners, which is actually too long to list. Basically, you can bank the rewards that you earn from your hotel stay directly to Asia Miles instead of earning hotel points.

Asia Miles also has one of the longest list of car rental partners to earn miles with. Same idea as hotel partners, you can bank your car rental rewards directly to Asia Miles.

RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum

The RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum is the co-branded credit card, which consists of the following:

  • $120 annual fee
  • $50 annual fee for a supplementary cardholder
  • Earn 15,000 sign up bonus miles
  • Earn 2 miles for every $1 CAD spent on Cathay Pacific purchases online
  • Earn 1.25 mile for every $1 CAD spent on all foreign currency purchases
  • Earn 1 mile for every $1 CAD spent on all other purchases
  • Receive complimentary Green Tier membership in the Marco Polo Club

The annual fees used to be $150 for the primary and $75 for the supplementary cardholder. Rarely do we see annual fees drop, but do see it in this case! The 15,000 sign up bonus definitely covers the $120 annual fee, because I value 1 Asia Mile at 1.2 cent a piece, which is worth $180. Once a year, you usually see a 30,000 sign up bonus, which I would look out for instead, if you are not in a rush. Though it may come with a $7,500 spending requirement.

Let’s say you decide to keep the credit card beyond the first year. The main benefit that you receive is to renew your Green Tier membership with the Marco Polo Club.

Marco Polo Club, Green Tier

To qualify for the club, you need to pay a $100 USD annual fee. Afterwards, you can avoid the fee by earning 100 club points during the year instead. So you are getting $100 in value of the enrolment fee. 

Either way, below are the benefits of Green Tier membership:

  • Access to redeem for extra-legroom seats
  • Access to designated Marco Polo Club counters for member and travel companion
  • Ability to access lounges (for 200 points per visit for you and your companion, must be claimed online)
  • Priority boarding
  • Receive 2 free checked bags when travelling in Economy, Premium Economy, or Business Class (on Cathay Pacific and/or Cathay Dragon flights)
  • Receive 2 pieces free checked bags in all cabin classes to the Americas
  • Receive 3 free checked bags when travelling in First Class (on Cathay Pacific and/or Cathay Dragon flights, but excludes flight to the Americas and direct flights to Auckland)

Most of the value comes from the free checked bags and lounge access.

Redeeming Asia Miles

Asia Miles is a Oneworld partner, so it makes their miles very valuable. For the time being, I have been focusing on American Airlines (AAdvantage) and British Airways (Executive Club) as my primary Oneworld accounts. Asia Miles could make the list, but the expiry policy has been my deal breaker.

Conversion Partners

Unfortunately, Asia Miles and Petro-Points discontinued its partnership. This was actually a great way of accumulating your miles faster. Especially because of the expiry policy, you may often need to top up your account in a hurry for a specific reward redemption. For now, there are still 3 valuable conversion partners for Canadians:

In terms of RBC Rewards, you will want to watch for 20% transfer bonus offers, though it hasn’t happened in a while. There is also a 2-step process to convert your Esso Extra points into Asia Miles.

List of Direct Destinations

Cathay Pacific only operates out of two airports in Canada:

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

  • Cathay Pacific: Hong Kong

Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

  • Cathay Pacific: Hong Kong, New York-JFK

Even though there are only a handful of direct Cathay Pacific direct flights to Canada, they have a nice amount of airline partners as mentioned above.

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