Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles is a transfer partner of American Express, Citibank, and Capital One. Up until now it hasn’t been a great store of value, a place to transfer points and hold them, because Asia Miles expired after 36 months – this didn’t get extended with more activity in your account.
The good news is that this is changing – effective January 1, 2020 you can extend the life of your miles with any activity in your account every 18 months. Earning any miles, or redeeming any miles will extend validity. (Cancelling and redepositing miles from an award doesn’t count.)
On the one hand this means without any further activity in your account miles expire after 18 months instead of 36 months. However on net this is a much better policy for members. And if you have points in your account and want to extend their life, it’s easy to keep them active. Even transferring 1000 miles in from a bank program (Amex, Citi, Capital One) will do the trick.
In the U.S. it’s common not to have expiring miles – that’s the Delta, United, and JetBlue policy. American and Alaska expire miles, but you can keep them active with just about any account activity.
Internationally true expiring miles – that cannot be extended in a meaningful way – has been common. That’s still the case for Singapore Airlines, for instance. KrisFlyer miles expire 36 months after they’re earned. I wonder whether this customer-friendly change to Asia Miles will exert pressure for change in other programs.
The ability to extend the life of miles in an account makes transfers to Asia Miles much more useful, since you aren’t really going to strand miles in there that you may lose. Cathay Pacific has a distance-based award chart and fuel surcharges are often lower than what British Airways charges for the same itinerary (infant fares as well).
(HT: One Mile at a Time)