Best Ways to Use Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for Maximum Value

Cathay Pacific has a very nice award program, but it is the most complicated award program of all the airlines. There are multiple award charts and different rules for each award chart. Some partners only operate on limited routes, some partners have different rules, etc. My advice is to stick to the OneWorld Multi-Carrier award since you can do up to 5 stopovers. 

Airlines You Can Fly On

  • OneWorld Partners: American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Fiji Airways, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia, Qantas, Qatar, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines, and SriLankan Airlines. 
  • Other Partners: Aer Lingus, Air Canada (limited routes), Air China, Air New Zealand (HKG-AKL), Alaska Airlines, Austrian Airlines (limited routes), Bangkok Airways, Gulf Air, Jet Airways, Lufthansa (limited routes), Shenzhen Airlines (limited routes), and SWISS (limited routes).

Partner Rules: There are two charts at the below that detail the different rules different partners (e.g., some allow one-ways, some using the mixed-carrier chart whereas some use the OneWorld multi-carrier chart, etc.)

Cathay Pacific/Dragon Routing Rules 

  • For one-way awards, one en-route stopover or one transfer is allowed.
  • For round-trip awards, it is pretty complicated depending on where you open jaw is and number of sectors, so read the full terms. If you are not doing an open-jaw at the turn around point, you can do either 3 stopovers; 2 stopovers and a transfer; or one stopover and 2 transfers. 

OneWorld Multi-Carrier Routing Rules

  • Must fly on at least two OneWorld Airlines or three if you include Cathay Pacific. 
  • Five stopovers, two transfers, and two-open jaws are permitted. 
  • Cannot travel in premium economy

Rules for All Awards

  • Mixed cabin awards are available. Award will be pro-rated depending on distance. 
  • Backtracking is not allowed.
  • Standard Flight Awards on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon can be made up to 353 days prior to departure.
  • Choice and Tailored Flight Awards can be made up to 360 days prior to departure.
  • For Standard Flight Awards on Partner airlines other than Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, the advance booking start date is subject to individual Partner airlines’ rules.

Routing Rules- Full Terms

Booking Online: Only Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia Airlines, Qantas Airways, and Qatar Airways can be booked online via the Asia Miles award system. For all other airlines, you have to fill out an award questionnaire or call 1-866-892-2598 (better option)

Fuel Surcharges: Cathay passes on partner's surcharges, but most of the time they are less than the partner's actual fuel surcharges. There are no or low surcharges on Aer Lingus, Alaska, American, Cathay Pacific/Dragon, LATAM, and Qantas (only if departing Australia). There are less surcharges on British Airways flights compared to using American Airlines points or Avios.

Phone Number: 1-866-892-2598 (the phone agents are generally not the greatest. The award system is overly complicated, so even the supervisors of the phone agents sometimes don't understand how the Asia Miles program works).

Distance- You can calculate the distance of your flights including any connections using GCMap.com. Then use this number to compare it to the corresponding distance on the charts below.

Fees

  • Online- Rebooking ($25 or 1,000 points; (per passenger, per sector), Change to Redemption Group Nominee ($50).
  • Call Center- Rebooking ($40 or 4,000 points), Ticket Re-Issuance/Change of routing or cabin ($100 or 10,000 points), Award Ticket Refund ($120 or 12,000 points), and Change to Redemption Group Nominee ($75).

Standard Award Chart for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon 

The U.S. and Canada Penalty- Cathay Pacific does one thing that I really hate, which is to charge 5,000 points extra under the "Long-Type 2" heading for the origin, destination, or turnaround point for any city in the U.S. or Canada. 

Translation of the Distance Chart

Inside the Red Band- 10,000 points for economy, 18,000 for premium economy, 25,000 points for Business class. 

  • This band is one of the sweet spots for Cathay Pacific.
  • You can also fly New York (JFK) to Vancouver on Cathay Pacific within this band. The business class is lie-flat. 
  • Note: The Maldives are outside of this band, but Colombo is within the band. 

Between Blue and Red Band- 22,000 points for economy, 30,000 for premium economy, 45,000 for business class.

Between Blue and Green Band- Cathay Pacific prices this band at two different prices. Europe and South Africa are 30,000 for economy, 40,000 for premium economy, and 65,000 for business class. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver are 30,000 in economy, 45,000 in premium economy, 70,000 in Business, and 110,000 in first class. 

Chicago, Toronto, Washington D.C. New York (EWR/JFK), and Boston- 42,000 in economy, 60,000 in premium economy, 85,000 in business class, and 125,000 in first class. 

 

 

OneWorld Multi-Carrier Chart

Airline Partner Rules

Mixed and Multi-Carrier Rules

 

Choice Award Chart for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon (more expensive)

 

Upgrade Award Chart for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon

Valid classes

  • J, C, D, I (Business Class) for upgrades to First Class
  • W, R (Premium Economy Class) for upgrades to Business Class
  • Y, B, H, K, M (Economy Class) for upgrades to Premium Economy Class (for flights with Premium Economy Class)
  • Y, B, H, K, M (Economy Class) for upgrades to Business Class (for flights without Premium Economy Class only)

 

Companion Award Chart for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon

Must book a flight within F, A (First Class) or J, C, D, I (Business Class). Not valid on mixed-carrier bookings.