Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles loyalty program has just announced a major devaluation — but is at least giving plenty of notice to members.
For bookings made on (or after) Oct. 1, redemption rates for flights from the West Coast of the United States to Hong Kong will change as follows, each way, per person:
- Economy: 27,000 miles (a decrease of 3,000 miles)
- Premium economy: 50,000 miles (an increase of 5,000 miles)
- Business class: 85,000 miles (an increase of 14,000 miles)
- First class: 125,000 miles (an increase of 15,000 miles)
From the East Coast of the United States, and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD), to Hong Kong, rates will change as follows, each way, per person:
- Economy: 38,000 miles (a decrease of 4,000 miles)
- Premium economy: 75,000 miles (an increase of 15,000 miles)
- Business class: 110,000 miles (an increase of 35,000 miles)
- First class: 160,000 miles (an increase of 35,000 miles)
It is a genuine improvement that economy-class redemption rates are shrinking slightly, and from the West Coast, the increases to premium-cabin rates are mild. However, the devaluation is severe if you plan to fly Cathay Pacific’s business- or first-class product with Asia Miles from the East Coast.
Changes to pricing for flights operated by Oneworld partner airlines, such as American Airlines, British Airways and Alaska Airlines, are also coming for bookings made from October. Here is the new distance-based Oneworld award chart:
Looking at some popular routes operated by partner airlines:
- Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to Miami International Airport (MIA): 35,000 miles in economy (an increase of 5,000 miles), or 85,000 miles in first class (an increase of 5,000 miles)
- New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR): 45,000 miles in economy (an increase of 10,000 miles), 80,000 in business class (an increase of 10,000 miles) or 110,000 miles in first class (an increase of 15,000 miles)
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT): 63,000 miles in economy (an increase of 3,000 miles), 100,000 in business class (an increase of 10,000 miles) or 150,000 miles in first class (an increase of 10,000 miles)
- Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Sydney Airport (SYD): 68,000 miles in economy (an increase of 3,000 miles), 120,000 in business class (an increase of 20,000 miles) or 165,000 miles in first class (an increase of 15,000 miles)
Flights booked before Oct. 1 can be confirmed at the existing rates and will not be subject to the new pricing, even if the ticket is changed after this date.
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Asia Miles has explained the decision as part of the “holistic review of the programme which is based on the current market situation, and competitiveness of our offerings.”
It is worth noting that with demand to Asia so strong, Cathay Pacific currently releases very little award availability to its own members and those of partner programs, so this devaluation may have little impact on most travelers in the short term.
However, the same doesn’t hold true for partner inventory, so the increase to those award rates is frustrating, especially given how easy it is to earn Asia Miles with transferable points programs. And it adds to a growing list of programs that have raised award prices so far in 2023 — including United MileagePlus (once in May and again in June), Etihad Guest, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Alaska Mileage Plan.
While devaluations are an unpleasant reality of the world of points and miles, the good news is that Asia Miles is providing plenty of notice of the changes. For any bookings made until Sept. 30, the existing redemption rates will apply, regardless of your travel dates.
This gives you several months to book any Asia Miles redemptions you may have been saving for, so don’t wait to book.