Earlier this month Cathay Pacific’s frequent flyer programme Asia Miles gave us some advance notice of its regular annual bonus when you transfer credit card points across, alerting members that they would get 10% or 15% additional miles for each transfer made, with no upper cap.
The heads-up was no doubt related to a similar (and rare) promotion launched by Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, with this new Asia Miles offer set to kick off the minute that one ended.
Perhaps in part because of the Asia Miles announcement, the KrisFlyer offer was then also extended!
The Asia Miles deal is now live
The transfer bonus offer is now live and running between 28th December 2020 and 31st January 2021.
This is the third consecutive year Asia Miles has run a bonus miles promotion from credit card points, with similar offers in January 2019 (15% bonus) and January 2020 (10% bonus).
This time everyone is eligible for the 10% bonus, with selected members targeted for a 15% bonus.
Unlike the ongoing Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles credit card transfer offer, you will have to successfully register for this Asia Miles offer during the promotion period, using the following link.Fixed: The registration link was previously only working for those who had been targeted by email for this promotion, but it has now been fixed and works for all members.
You can register ay any time during the promotion period, but to keep it ‘tidy’ we’d recommend doing so before transferring your credit card points into the scheme.
Registering your account for the bonus will generate an email confirmation from Asia Miles confirming that you have enrolled successfully, so it’s good to show you did this from the outset in case of any issues later on.
After 31st January 2021 it will be too late to register, even if you made one or more transfers during the promotion period.
Registration after the Promotion Period will not be applicable to the Extra Miles. The date of registration captured in the Asia Miles system is considered final.Asia Miles
There is no limit to the number of miles conversions you can complete and no limit on the amount of points converted during this promotion.
Eligible transfer partners
Converting points from all international banks offering transfer of credit card points into Asia Miles will be eligible for the 10% or 15% bonus under this promotion, with the exception of Cathay Pacific and Asia Miles co-brand credit cards and China Merchants Bank credit cards.
In Singapore that means points held with the following banks are eligible:
|Citi ThankYou Points / Citi Miles|
|HSBC Reward Points|
|Maybank TREATS Points|
For many of our overseas readers, here are some example eligible banks in other countries.
Here are the new ‘effective’ transfer ratios from seven eligible Singapore banks into Asia Miles during this promotion, depending on whether you have been targeted for the 10% or 15% bonus level.
The minimum transfer quantity is shown for each finance partner / credit card.
Note that OCBC and Standard Chartered are the only two banks in Singapore that do not support Asia Miles conversion.
|10% Bonus||15% Bonus|
|MR Points||450* Points||
|ThankYou Points||25,000 Points||
|10% Bonus||15% Bonus|
|MR Points||450* Points
|ThankYou Points||25,000 Points
* Amex Platinum Charge and Centurion members require only 400 Points per transfer block
The bonus won’t credit immediately
Unlike the current KrisFlyer promo, bonus miles in this case will be credited to your Asia Miles account within 8 to 10 weeks after the end of the promotion, which means you’ll get the standard transfer rate applicable for your bank / card product initially, topped up with the relevant bonus level as a separate credit by 11th April 2021 at the latest.
During the last Asia Miles bonus promotion for credit card points transferred in January 2020 (a year ago), the miles were actually credited by mid-March 2020, 6 weeks after the promotion ended, despite the same 8-10 week timeframe being quoted.
Similarly in the January 2019 promotion, miles were credited around 20th March 2019, so while there are no guarantees it does look as though you should see the bonus before the end of March 2021 this time round too.
What if the bonus doesn’t credit?
You’ll have until 31st May 2021 to notify Asia Miles if you do not receive the expected bonus miles. That’s a reasonable window since the bonus should have come through at least seven weeks before that.
From 1st June 2021 onwards it’s unfortunately too late to claim any missing bonus, so be sure to check and plan a chase-up with Asia Miles if required.
Aside from registering your Asia Miles account for the 10% or 15% promotional transfer bonus, it’s important to consider the lead time for your bank to miles transfer.
The processing time of the requested Eligible Miles Conversion varies among Finance Partners. Please check with the respective Finance Partners for details. Asia Miles Limited is not responsible for any delay in the crediting of miles and accepts no liability.Asia Miles
Many banks will quote 5-10 working days (i.e. up to two weeks) to complete this process, but in reality most are much quicker. While we have more experience with KrisFlyer transfers, we have the following data points for Asia Miles transfers we have made, or our readers have shared:
- BOC SG: 6 weeks (why bother?)
- Citi SG: 3 working days
- Citi USA: Instant
- DBS SG: 4 working days
- UOB SG: 3 working days
Our recommendation is to initiate any transfers by Friday 22nd January 2021 to allow five clear working days before the end of the promotion.
If you prefer to err on the safe side (and sleep better at night!), do it by Friday 15th January 2021 to allow an additional week.
Asia Miles ‘sweet spots’
Asia Miles is probably our favourite FFP for long-haul oneworld redemptions. It’s also a great ‘backup balance’ alternative to KrisFlyer, primarily when:
- we can’t secure a Singapore Airlines redemption using KrisFlyer miles;
- we don’t mind a connection on the way to Europe, to save miles; or
- we are flying to a European or US destination SIA doesn’t serve non-stop anyway (e.g. Dublin or Chicago).
In these cases it makes good sense to stop in Hong Kong en-route and enjoy Cathay’s excellent lounges in the process.Note: Long – Type 1 relates to itineraries which do not include any cities in the Americas (e.g. Singapore to Frankfurt), whereas Long – Type 2 includes those cities (e.g. Vancouver, San Francisco).
Singapore – Europe from 65,000 miles in Business Class
There are great options to fly in Business Class from Singapore or Bangkok to Europe for just 65,000 Asia Miles with Cathay, while paying minimal taxes and fees since the airline abolished its fuel surcharges.
The key is to keep your trip within 7,500 miles total distance to take advantage of the competitive Long – Type 1 award rate.
Start in Bangkok to open up even more options
Many additional options in Europe open up from Bangkok if you are willing to start your journey there, since it’s around 500 miles closer to Hong Kong, giving you a wider range to play with for a 7,500-mile trip.
In addition, Bangkok – Hong Kong – Vancouver comes in just inside the 7,500-mile limit, making it a great value redemption at 70,000 Asia Miles in Business Class (Long – Type 2 in this case).
Fly First Class for less
This is a nice benefit of how Asia Miles deals with mixed class bookings. With many airlines if a cabin type is not offered for part of your route – that’s just tough. You’ll pay the highest cabin class award price for the whole journey regardless.
For example, Perth to London via Singapore on Singapore Airlines in First Class on a saver award will cost you 142,500 KrisFlyer miles (the Zone 8 to Zone 12 rate), even though you’ll be in Business Class for the Perth – Singapore sector.
With Asia Miles it doesn’t work that way. If a First Class cabin is not available for part of your journey, the required mileage reduces by the proportional distance you spend in the lower cabin class.
Since Singapore to Frankfurt via Hong Kong (7,285 miles) is the same award rate as a Hong Kong to Frankfurt flight (5,697 miles) in the award chart, it actually results in fewer miles to redeem SIN-HKG (Business) plus HKG-FRA (First) than a simple HKG-FRA (First) award.
That’s right, Asia Miles is giving you miles back to take a Business Class flight from Singapore to Hong Kong before your First Class flight!
Good deals here flying Business Class on the first sector to Hong Kong then First Class on the second sector include:
- Singapore – Frankfurt: 92,300 miles
- Bangkok – London: 94,700 miles
- Sydney – London: 107,600 miles
This principle applies to all mixed class award bookings using the programme.
oneworld and partner awards
Asia Miles can also be useful for securing award seats on oneworld and partner airlines, like Finnair, Qatar Airways, Qantas and British Airways, with the following award chart applicable in this case. These are slightly more expensive than booking with Cathay Pacific for most (but not all) routings.
This opens up Singapore – Europe options for 70,000 Asia Miles one-way (KrisFlyer charges 92,000 miles), including in the Qsuite with Qatar Airways, though do note you’ll be hit with some fairly hefty fuel surcharges too.
One benefit here is that routings like Singapore – Doha – London with Qatar Airways and Singapore – Helsinki – London with Finnair come in below 7,500 miles, while routing via Hong Kong to London in all cases will exceed that distance, so these awards come in 15,000 miles cheaper than using Cathay Pacific.
Keeping your Asia Miles balance from expiring is easy
Since 1st January 2020, any Asia Miles credited to your account will no longer expire provided you earn or redeem at least one mile every 18 months.
Transferring miles during this promotion, for example, will recharge your entire balance (assuming it was all deposited after 1 Jan 2020) for 18 months.
Even if you are not a regular user of the programme and end up approaching the expiry point, it’s relatively easy to refresh your balance for an additional 18 months, with methods including:
- Book a flight redemption
- Credit a paid Cathay Pacific, oneworld or partner flight to Asia Miles
- Top up your balance by transferring credit card points into Asia Miles
- Earn through a hotel booking portal like Kaligo or Rocketmiles
- Transfer NTUC LinkPoints (from grocery shopping in FairPrice) into Asia Miles
- Make a purchase via the Asia Miles iShop (Singapore merchants include Zalora, Decathlon and Far East Flora)*
* Be careful: Miles from iShop purchases take up to 5 months to credit to your Asia Miles account.
NTUC LinkPoints probably represent the easiest option for our Singapore readers who don’t otherwise interact with Asia Miles regularly.
Provided you spend at least S$20 in-store at FairPrice, you’ll earn 2 LinkPoints per S$1 spent, so a cumulative spend of S$220 (440 Points) is enough for a small Asia Miles top-up.
You are sacrificing about S$3 of in-store rebate by using your LinkPoints this way, so it’s not a great deal, but S$3 is a small price to pay to keep your entire Asia Miles balance ‘alive’ for another 18 months if it becomes necessary.
Even if you don’t shop at FairPrice, you can top up 500 LinkPoints using 2,900 GrabRewards points, then transfer 440 of those into 110 Asia Miles. This slightly convoluted method is an even worse deal, however, since you could convert the same number of GrabRewards points to nearly 300 KrisFlyer miles instead, or get at least S$5 in vouchers!
Given the much better activity-based expiry policy, a transfer to Asia Miles may therefore be a slightly safer option than a KrisFlyer one, especially if you’re targeted at the 15% bonus level, since you won’t run the risk of your miles expiring in three years (like they do in KrisFlyer) provided you interact with the programme once in a while.
Asia Miles: Other things to know
Here are some other basics of the Asia Miles programme it’s worth knowing before you commit to a significant points transfer.
- You can waitlist an Asia Miles Cathay Pacific award in a similar way to the KrisFlyer programme.
- You can change the date of your Asia Miles award booking for US$25 per person per sector (online) or US$40 per person per sector (over the phone).
- You can change the destination of your Asia Miles award booking for US$100 per person per ticket.
- You can cancel your Asia Miles award booking and have your miles redeposited and taxes / fees refunded for US$120 per person per ticket.
- Apart from ‘Standard’ awards, you can redeem Asia Miles on Cathay Pacific with better availability at ‘Choice’ or ‘Tailored’ award rates (similar to an ‘Advantage’ award with KrisFlyer), but the rates are not usually attractive.
You may lose flexibility
Transfers from bank points to miles are strictly one-way, so by taking advantage of this bonus you will be restricting yourself to the Asia Miles programme for future redemptions using the miles transferred under this offer.
If you’re a Citi customer for example, with a large volume of Citi Miles or ThankYou Points, you can transfer those into 11 different frequent flyer programmes, with options across all three major alliances plus Etihad Guest, which has a good ‘mini-alliance’ of its own.
By transferring a large volume of your points into Asia Miles, you may also be exposing yourself to any potential future devaluations in the programme before you get chance to use them.
Keeping your miles at the bank side, especially with Citi, protects you against this since you can then opt to transfer into a range of other programmes instead if you wish (on the basis they won’t all devalue at the same time!).
Terms and conditions
No need to dive in with this offer immediately, since it’s good for transfers made by the end of January 2021, but do remember to register (whether you’ll take advantage or not, there’s no harm in doing so).
Also be sure to factor in the variable transfer times from credit card providers to make sure you don’t miss out.
We recommend initiating any transfer no later than Friday 22nd January 2021, to allow five clear working days for the miles to credit into your account before the deadline.
The important difference between this offer and the ongoing KrisFlyer transfer bonus deal is that you will be waiting up to 10 weeks after the end of the promotion to have the bonus miles credited to your account.
That’s something to bear in mind if you’re planning to make a transfer with the intention of locking in a specific award in the near future.
(Cover Image: Cathay Pacific)