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A 50,000 mile Cathay Pacific Visa bonus (not for beginners)

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This article was last updated Aug 10, 2017, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.


cathay170The Cathay Pacific Visa Signature® card is offering 35,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days of account opening. Also, earn 25,000 bonus miles when you spend an additional $7,500 in the first 12 months. This offer expires June 30, 2018.

The bonus alone will get you a roundtrip flight between New York and Vancouver on Cathay Pacific, in one of the most comfortable Business Class seats in the world, or use the miles for flights on any oneworld partner, like American Airlines.

The card also has an interesting earning scheme that allows you to earn 1.5 miles on all purchases outside the U.S.

It’s hard to recommend holding the Cathay Pacific Visa Signature® card year after year because it doesn’t seem to have much of a retention value beyond that. Even a complimentary Marco Polo Green membership, which is not very valuable to begin with, is limited to the first year of cardmembership.

Is it the best offer?

The regular Cathay Pacific card’s bonus is 25,000 miles so this is an excellent offer, considering the very reasonable $2,500 spending requirement remains the same.

The card offers:

  • 2 Asia Miles per $1 spent on eligible Cathay Pacific travel and in-flight purchases
  • 1.5 Asia Miles per $1 spent on dining in the US or abroad
  • Marco Polo Club Green membership for the first year (2 free checked bags on most flights)
  • No foreign transaction fees

The only really interesting ongoing benefit of the Cathay Pacific credit card is 1.5x on all purchases made abroad. If you frequently travel abroad, this would be a great card to put all your overseas charges on except travel expenses, for which there are better options, like Chase Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige.

It also offers Green Marco Polo membership, which is an entry elite level that doesn’t have major benefits aside from 2 free checked bags. Unfortunately, you’re only getting the Green Marco Polo membership for the first year.

How Cathay Pacific miles work

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is a transfer partner of three big U.S. programs, so accumulating Asia Miles on top of this bonus is easy, and something we recommend if you are an advanced points and mile user.

You can transfer points from Citi ThankYou®, American Express Membership Rewards®, or Starwood Preferred Guest®.

And you can use Cathay Pacific Asia Miles to book award flights on the following airline partners:

oneworld Partners:

  • airberlin
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines

Non-oneworld Partners:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air New Zealand
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Bangkok Airways
  • Gulf Air
  • Jet Airways
  • Lufthansa
  • Royal Brunei Airlines
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • SWISS International Air Lines

Cathay lets you book many of its partner airline awards online, but you’ll need to create a login first.

What can you do with 50,000 Cathay Pacific miles?

The Cathay Pacific Asia Miles award chart charges for flights based on the total distance of the flight segments in your trip, which adds a layer of complexity that we wouldn’t recommend for novice miles and points users.

For round trips, you calculate your mileage band by the longer of the outbound or return trip in your itinerary, and you can have 2 (or more) stopovers in addition to your destination, which can make for some exotic trips.

Business Class between New York and Vancouver / Los Angeles

50,000 Asia Miles will buy you a round trip Business Class flight between New York and Vancouver on Cathay Pacific or between New York and Los Angeles or San Francisco on American. Both Cathay and American feature cabins on these transcontinental flights with fully lie-flat seats and premium food. Alternatively, you can get a one-way ticket in First Class on either route for 40,000 miles.


Economy between New York and Sao Paulo or Rio for 45,000 miles and Premium Economy for 54,000 miles

This is a great price for a flight that will cost you 60,000 miles with major U.S. programs. You can fly LATAM or American, although American’s 777 features a dreadful 10 across layout in Economy, so you will be more comfortable with LATAM’s A350. Besides, if you fly LATAM you can visit both Sao Paulo and Rio by working in a stopover.

You can also book a Premium Economy seat for 54,000 miles

Volcanic Galapagos Landscape Galapagos Islands

New York to Galapagos Islands for 45,000 miles in Economy

You can fly LATAM from New York to the Galapagos Islands, either San Cristobal or Baltra, via Guayaquil for 45,000 miles in Economy. Most people skip Guayaquil, but it can make a great stopover to enjoy the coastal resort towns and villages, like Salinas or Puerto Lopez.


Economy to most of Europe and North Africa from the Eastern U.S. for 45,000 miles

As long as the distance between your departure and destination doesn’t exceed 5,000 miles, your roundtrip flight to Europe will cost 45,000 miles. From New York that covers as far as Moscow, and from Miami, as far as Berlin.


 Chicago, New York, or Boston to most of Europe on Aer Lingus with a stopover in Dublin for 45,000 miles

You can fly to any destination in most of Europe served by Aer Lingus, from Chicago and New York with a stopover in Dublin for 45,000 miles (that even includes Iceland). And from Boston, you can fly to every Aer Lingus destination in Continental Europe, and even as far as Tenerife, the most popular of the Canary Islands.

Should you get it now?

If you collect Asia Miles, you probably should, because of the record 50,000 miles bonus.

And if you don’t currently collect Asia Miles, you might take another look at the program. While Asia Miles can be confusing, it’s also very rewarding when you get the hang of it, especially when you consider its exotic stopover policy.

Aside from having a lot of partners, Asia Miles members get a head start of a few weeks for Cathay Pacific award space. Add the generous stopover policy, and you’ve got something worth considering if you’ve tapped out a lot of the bonus opportunities with the major U.S. mileage programs.

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