Cathay Pacific redemption schemes

Asia Miles is a distance-based program. It devalued its used-to-be-excellent redemption scheme back in 2018, and hence another mediocre frequent flyer program was born. That apparently wasn’t good enough for Cathay Pacific, so they doubled down by taking away a free stopover on one way flights. At least, it still publishes their award redemption charts, for now. 

Cathay Pacific airline partners

Oneworld airline partners

  • Alaska Airlines 
  • American Airlines 
  • British Airways
  • Finnair 
  • Iberia 
  • Japan Airlines 
  • Malaysia Airlines 
  • Qantas 
  • Qatar Airways 
  • Royal Air Maroc 
  • Royal Jordanian Airlines 
  • S7 Airlines 
  • SriLankan Airlines

Other airline partners

  • Air Canada 
  • Air China 
  • Air New Zealand 
  • Bangkok Airways 
  • LATAM 
  • Lufthansa 

Good redemptions

In my opinion, the 5001 – 7,500 miles band from the Asia Miles awards chart (Long Type 2 for flights from / to the U.S.) represents a reasonably good value in Business Class. Basically you can fly from anywhere on the West Coast to Hong Kong for 70,000 miles. The Ultra-Long band is not so bad either because it’s unlimited: you can fly to Australia or South Africa via Hong Kong for 85,000 miles and you’re allowed a free stopover in Hong Kong on the round trip. 

Cathay Pacific sweet spots

The second Cathay Pacific award chart is called oneworld Multi-Carrier Award Chart. It’s really amazing and worth taking a better look.

oneworld Multi-Carrier Award Chart

Here are most important rules:

  • You can use oneworld airlines only – no other partners are permitted.
  • You must fly on two oneworld alliance airlines without Cathay Pacific or three or more oneworld airlines if you want to include Cathay Pacific.
  • You can use up to FIVE (!) free stopovers along the way.
  • In addition, two open jaws and two transfers (layovers less than 24 hours) are also permitted.
  • You must start and end your journey in the same country.
  • No Premium Economy.
  • Your whole itinerary will be charged in the highest class booked in any of your segments.

Oh boy! Cathay Pacific really lets you go crazy if you’re so inclined. There are no region restrictions, so you can zigzag around the globe to your heart’s content! You can trackback or even return to the point of origin, which means (be still, my beating heart!) that you can effectively book more than one journey on the same award ticket! 

Admittedly, I’ve never attempted anything that creative, but there are no reasons why you can’t if your future travel plans include a lot of go-time. For those of you who aren’t super-ambitious (or have limited vacation time, like me), a route like this should be possible.

  • Dallas to Paris on American: Stopover 
  • Paris to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific: Stopover 
  • Hong Kong to Phuket on Cathay Pacific: Stopover 
  • Phuket to Kuala Lumpur on Malaysian: Transfer
  • Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo on Japan Airlines: Stopover 
  • Tokyo to Dallas on American

According to GCMAP, this epic itinerary clocks between 20,000 and 25,000 miles and would cost you only 185,000 miles in Business Class. But isn’t 185,000 miles a lot to pay for a trip? Well, a simple round trip between Dallas and Hong Kong would cost 170,000, so squeezing five world-class destinations for slightly more miles looks good to me.

The only (but huge) problem here is finding award space in business for at least the longest segments of this itinerary. A lot of stars must align your way to make this happen.

Taking it easy

Is the above itinerary still too ambitious for you? I hear you! Let’s try something simpler?

  • Los Angeles to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific: Stopover 1
  • Hong Kong to Tokyo on Japan Airlines: Stopover 2
  • Tokyo to Los Angeles on American Airlines

Remember that you need at least two other oneworld airlines if you use Cathay Pacific.

This journey will only cost you 155,000 miles in Business Class!

Keep in mind that Cathay Pacific and most other carriers’ fuel surcharges are moderate as long as you try to avoid Qatar (huge YQ surcharges) and British Airways (huge YQ surcharges and UK taxes).

How to book

You can book oneworld and Latam awards online – for booking award tickets on other airlines call 866-892-2598.

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