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Cathay Pacific ‘Revalues’ Asia Miles from June: The Good and Bad

All the details of Cathay Pacific's upcoming changes to Asia Miles

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We mentioned in our recent article just a couple of weeks ago regarding UOB’s 20% bonus transfer to Asia Miles to tread carefully as we’d heard rumours of an upcoming devaluation of the scheme. Today, Asia Miles – Cathay Pacific’s awards program, announced a major shake-up in the way miles are earned and used, with the most significant changes coming for those booking their award redemption tickets on or after 22nd June 2018.

Sadly it’s not uncommon in recent times to see major frequent flyer schemes making significant changes to either devalue your miles or make it more difficult to achieve those aspirational first and business class bookings on premium routes. In fact, Singapore Airlines devalued their KrisFlyer scheme back in March 2017 – the effects of which were steep increases on certain high-value routes like Singapore to Europe and the USA.

Here’s the low down on the changes and how we expect them to affect you if you’re a big user of Asia Miles.

Major Changes

  • Redemption changes to take effect from 22nd June 2018.
  • Earning rates no longer based on just mileage and will now include cabin, fare class and distance zones, effective immediately on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights.
  • Economy award seats will be generally be cheaper to redeem.
  • Business and First Class award seats will generally be more expensive to redeem.
  • Upgrade Awards are hardest hit with steep increases in many cases.
  • Pay a lot more miles to ‘force’ award availability in all classes on all flights with a new ‘Tailored Award’ category.

Earning Rates

Earning rates were previously based on mileage flown with percentage increments based on the class of cabin travel. Now a third element will be included: ‘Fare Class’, previously only assessed for earning purposes for Economy Class tickets but now also a factor for the other travel classes.

Fare class (sometimes referred to as ‘fare codes’) are usually a single letter assigned to your ticket that indicates, amongst other things, how much money was paid and what flexibility they carry.

Earning Table
The new Asia Miles earning chart by ‘Distance Zone’ (examples based on flights to/from Hong Kong)

On the earning side Asia Miles have stated that you’ll “earn more miles on 80% of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon tickets”. A nice positive headline so let’s take a look at some examples to see if the numbers match the rhetoric.

Take the example of a Singapore to Hong Kong ticket in Business Class. Prior to the change the earned miles for this 1,587-mile trip would have been 1,990 miles. Now you’ll earn 2,500 miles or 2,700 miles depending on the fare class booked (a 26% increase or 36% increase respectively).

For the same trip in Economy the earn rates changes are:

Fare Class Miles Earned Change
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