Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program is a partner with American Express Membership Rewards, New Zealand’s only flexible point program.
If the majority of your points come from credit card spend on your Amex, then an Asia Miles redemption can be a useful option instead of using Qantas Points (which is the more commonly known oneworld frequent flyer program for Kiwis).
You’ll have access to all the same oneworld airline partners as Qantas (including Qantas), but with different pricing and redemption mechanics – and there are some decent deals to be had by looking beyond Qantas Frequent Flyer.
Redeeming Asia Miles to the USA – available airlines and routes
Asia Miles can be redeemed on Cathay Pacific’s oneworld partners.
Have a read of our post on using Qantas Points to the US – the same set of airline partners with Asia Miles are available as with Qantas Points, with the exception of Jetstar, Fiji Airways and Emirates who don’t partner with Asia Miles for redemptions.
As such, I won’t go through all the route and airline combinations in heaps of detail again – here’s a quick visual summary of the main airline partners and routes from New Zealand to the US:
One difference when using Asia Miles on Qatar Airways is the lack of the 15,000 mile upper limit in the top band, meaning you could theoretically redeem for an Auckland – Doha – Los Angeles flight (a very long way round!) which wouldn’t be possible when using Qantas Points.
Comparing example redemptions to the US using Qantas Points or Asia Miles
|Route (one way)||Airline / Cabin||Qantas Points||Asia Miles (one way)||Asia Miles (return)|
|Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington via Australia||Los Angeles||Qantas Business Class||112,000||85,000||145,000|
|Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown, Wellington via Sydney||Honolulu||Qantas Business Class||84,000||70,000||120,000|
|Auckland via Hong Kong||New York||Cathay Pacific Business Class||139,000||110,000||175,000|
|Christchurch (Dec 2017) via Hong Kong||New York||Cathay Pacific Business Class||139,000||110,000||175,000|
|Auckland||Los Angeles||American Airlines Business Class||84,000||70,000||120,000|
|Auckland via Santiago||New York||LATAM Business Class||139,000||110,000||175,000|
|Auckland via Doha||New York||Qatar Airways Business Class||213,000||110,000||175,000|
As you can see, Asia Miles pricing is always more competitive, on a point per point basis, than when using Qantas Points.
Pricing can be checked / researched by using the Asia Miles Flight Award Finder.
Like Qantas, Asia Miles also has a distanced based award chart, with one major difference – Asia Miles offer better value when redeeming for return redemptions.
A particularly acute example would be for non-stop flights to Los Angeles from Auckland on American Airlines – Asia Miles really shines because it would save you 14,000 points one-way, and 48,000 points on a return ticket compared to when using Qantas Points.
Qantas Frequent Flyer also tends to pass on more taxes and fuel surcharges than Asia Miles, offering better value redemptions (some of the time). You can check the taxes for Asia Miles redemptions for Qantas, Cathay Pacific and British Airways flights online, with them being charged in Hong Kong dollars.
These costs apply to redemptions on a single airline – or if for an itinerary including two airlines, the pricing also applies but only if Cathay Pacific is included as one of the carriers.
Things to know when redeeming Asia Miles
The full set of Asia Miles guides is here, but the essential reading is this post: Tips for booking Asia Miles points redemptions, award holds and pricing.
Summing up – use Asia Miles to get to the US?
As I said early in this guide, Asia Miles are going to primarily be earned by many Kiwi travellers from credit card spend on Amex – although you can of course earn them from travel on Cathay Pacific and oneworld partners (including Qantas) too.
As the mileage earning opportunities with Asia Miles in New Zealand compared to Qantas Points are effectively the same now that ANZ no longer offer a direct earn Qantas Points card, it’s definitely the program to look out for (not counting Air New Zealand Airpoints of course, where it’s super hard to earn enough Airpoints to redeem on long haul Business Class flights).
Asia Miles can be a great option for oneworld airline travel in Business Class, assuming you can access the currency to earn enough points to redeem for your intended trip.