Cathay Pacific Announces They’re Devaluing The Asia Miles Program

Cathay Pacific has announced a devaluation which goes into effect October 1. Unlike U.S. carriers they still have a true award chart, which means that when raising award prices they have to tell you. And they’re giving three months’ advance notice.

Make no mistake, though: Asia Miles will be worth less. The FAQ for the changes even has a question “Are you devaluing Asia Miles?” And even they do not say no.

This is especially important to U.S. frequent flyers because Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program is a transfer partner of American Express, Citibank, Capital One, and Bilt. They’re also frequently used to book awards on British Airways, since the fuel surcharges they collect are much lower than other programs (like BA itself, or American AAdvantage) for the same flights.

Here’s the new award chart for travel on Cathay Pacific. You’ll see that:

  • Their longest business class flights go up from 85,000 to 110,000 miles each way (29% increase) and first class goes from 125,000 to 160,000 miles each way (28% increase).

  • US West Coast to Hong Kong goes up from 70,000 miles to 84,000 miles each way (a 20% increase) and first class goes up from 110,000 miles to 125,000 miles each way (14% increase).

Meanwhile premium cabin partner awards go up by as much as 40,000 miles each way. And it’s not as though they followed Singapore Airlines’ lead and increased redemption prices while eliminating fuel surcharges, either.

They last devalued in 2018 making long haul premium cabin awards more expensive especially. In some sense it’s odd to do this again now, just as they’re trying to turn the program into a ‘lifestyle brand’ but on the other hand it’s not surprising they’d do it now right as they’re losing focus on seeing themselves that way rather than focusing on delivering actual value to their customers.

Cathay Pacific suffered mightily during the pandemic, becoming partially a ward of the state. Hong Kong is becoming less relevant, and turning inward towards China’s ‘Greater Bay Area’. To continue to have global ambitions they need to offer more value, rather than less. So this cost-cutting, while perhaps feeling necessary, also reeks of giving up.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Now that Red China dominates Hong Kong I will never go back to Hong Kong.
    RIP Cathay Pacific.

  2. Did you see IHG’s latest “we’re dynamic pricing so we don’t need to ever admit changes anymore” deval? Try booking IC Thalasso or IC Maldives or any other top aspirational property. They were 90k/nt two years ago, then 120k/nt this past year…. now they are an astounding 250k/nt, that is if you’re even lucky enough to find any availability. Crazy.

  3. Cathy Pacific devaluing is no big deal because Hong Kong is now a no go zone. I have already switched to other Asian hubs.

  4. Any idea if this will affect American partner miles requirements since they are dynamic or partner dependent yet? I’m my recent searches to Asia, it seems like the only partner available was JAL. I did find some CP for interasia travel.

  5. They’ve also just started recruiting mainland Chinese for their cadet pilot program (in addition to the mainland Chinese cabin crew recruitment, previously reported). No thanks. Cathay Pacific, as we knew it, is dead.

  6. Does Asia Miles let you book a couple of long haul first class award seats on Cathay? If so I’d say that there’s still some value here because finding business class long haul award space through partners on Cathay is incredibly difficult and first class space in nonexistent. If Cathay doesn’t offer this then it’s just burning the customer for no apparent reason.

  7. Cathay Pacific died along with Hong Kong when it was turned over to the CCP. Horrible customer service and flagrant violation of rules requiring rest intervals between flights for ATP pilots.

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