Cathay Pacific’s frequent flyer program Asia Miles is one of our favourites due to its consistently lower-than-average award redemption rates and high-quality airline partners.
One key thing to note is that the best value redemptions are to be had by redeeming for Premium Economy, Business or First Class flights.
Here are our top tips for getting maximum value from your Asia Miles balance.
When you think Qantas, re-think Asia Miles
Asia Miles redemption rates are generally cheaper than Qantas Frequent Flyer and have most of the same partners, as they are part of the same oneworld alliance.
For example, a Business Class seat on the seasonal Qantas Auckland to Perth route will set you back 80,000 Asia Miles return, whereas you would have to pay 100,000 Qantas Points for the same privilege.
Do note that the main partner that Asia Miles doesn’t have access to and Qantas does is Emirates; conversely, Asia Miles members can earn and redeem miles on some Star Alliance airlines like Air New Zealand and Air China, which Qantas members cannot. Given Air New Zealand is our national airline, this actually increases the appeal of Asia Miles even more.
Book a return rather than one-way ticket
Unlike in a lot of programs, including Air New Zealand Airpoints, Qantas and Velocity Frequent Flyer, Asia Miles redemptions for return flights are less than double the price of a one-way.
For example, 70,000 Asia Miles is required for a one-way Business Class ticket on Air China from Auckland to Beijing, whereas a return ticket costs 120,000 miles, which is less than double.
You can access the full Asia Miles award chart here.
Read more: Introduction to the Asia Miles program
Fly to Hong Kong return for 120,000 in Business Class/72,000 in Premium Economy
Cathay Pacific flies from Auckland to Hong Kong daily, and will commence direct flights from Christchurch in December 2017.
You’ll get (generally) excellent customer service and a comfortable lie-flat seat in Business Class on Cathay’s brand-new Airbus A350 for 120,000 miles return.
If you wanted to save some points or take another person with you, you could fly in Premium Economy for 72,000 miles.
Note that Cathay does not currently offer a First Class product to New Zealand, so look to connecting flights to US cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, and European cities such as London Heathrow, Paris and Frankfurt for that experience.
Fly the modern A350 in Business Class from Auckland to Europe or Canada for 110,000 one-way
The Airbus A350 is the newest plane in Cathay Pacific’s fleet, which compared to the A330 and 777, offers wifi connectivity, increased oxygen circulation (which reduces jetlag), more storage, and an improved modern design.
All flights from Auckland are operated by an Airbus A350, with other routes in our region including Melbourne, Manila, Taipei, Singapore and Bangkok, as well as London Gatwick, Paris, Rome, Dusseldorf and Vancouver. Expect more routes to be served by the A350 in the future.
You can fly Business Class on the A350 all the way one-way from Auckland to any of those European destinations or Vancouver for 110,000 Asia Miles.
Fly to South America in LATAM Business Class for 120,000 return
Business Class on the LATAM 787 Dreamliner serving Auckland
South America is one of the most expensive continents for travellers to get to. Luckily, the direct flights from Auckland are operated by LATAM, a oneworld airline, meaning you can use your Asia Miles to avoid spending a lot of cash on your ticket.
Do note that redemptions on LATAM flights must be return tickets.
Read more: Guide to LATAM redemptions
Fly American Airlines Business Class Auckland to Los Angeles for 70,000 miles one-way
Whilst it can be extremely difficult to find award space in Business Class on any airline on direct flights across the Pacific, particularly on Qantas flights from Australia, it’s seemingly not so bad from New Zealand – and if you come across availability in American Airlines Business Class, you’ll save 14,000 points by redeeming an award through Asia Miles (70,000 miles) rather than Qantas (84,000 points).
Book from Hong Kong and on Cathay Pacific and certain partners to minimise fuel surcharges
Flights on any airline in any cabin departing from Hong Kong will attract very low or no fuel surcharges, which definitely favours Cathay Pacific, as Hong Kong is its hub.
In addition, you will pay minimal fuel surcharges on the following partner airlines:
- American Airlines: except flights to/from Europe
- airberlin: a great option for Transatlantic travel
- Aer Lingus
Quarterly 20% redemption discounts
About every three months, Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles frequent flyer program discounts by 20% redemptions for last-minute award seats on select routes in Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class.
From experience, discounts are frequent for New Zealand, and tend to favour Business and Premium Economy redemptions over Economy ones, which is good news from a value point-of-view.
Fly around the world on oneworld carriers on one award
Using the oneworld Multi-Carrier award chart, you can travel on a lengthy round-the world-itinerary in Business or First Class with five stopovers and two open-jaws on a combination of oneworld carriers, including Cathay Pacific.
The major advantage of this Asia Miles redemption over Qantas’ equivalent is that it is far cheaper!
Qantas allows a round-the-world itinerary up to 35,000 miles, but charges 280,000 Qantas Points in Business Class, and 420,000 in First Class.
For a similar distance, Asia Miles only charges 190,000 and 275,000 miles in Business and First Class, respectively.
Comparing Qantas to Asia Miles, this is a whopping 145,000 points saving for First Class and 90,000 in Business!
Read more: Asia Miles round-the-world redemption guide
Asia Miles is one of our top four frequent flyer program recommendations for travellers in New Zealand due to their favourable medium- and long-haul redemption rates, especially compared to Qantas Frequent Flyer, and their large number of high-quality airline partners.
What has been your best-value redemption for Asia Miles? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Supplementary images courtesy of Cathay Pacific and Asia Miles.