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Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Cheat Sheet for Using Your Miles

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Cheat Sheet for Using Your Miles

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This article was last updated Aug 27, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

If you want to fly Cathay Pacific or any of its oneworld partner airlines, Asia Miles can offer great value if you know where to look. It’s also a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards® and Citi ThankYou®, so you don’t need to fly Cathay Pacific to easily take advantage of Asia Miles awards. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

In this article:

Airlines you can book and where to find award space

You can use Cathay Pacific Asia miles to travel on Cathay Pacific, the oneworld alliance of airlines, such as American Airlines and Japan Airlines, and Cathay Pacific non-alliance partner airlines, including Air China and Air New Zealand. There are 11 airlines you can book travel online: Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Qantas Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian Airlines and SriLankan Airlines. To book on other partner airlines, submit a “Flight Award Request Form” when you sign into your membership awards account and a customer service representative will contact you. Below is a list of airlines you can book with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and where you can check for award space. Those that aren’t available on one of the websites below can be booked by calling Cathay Pacific: 866-892-2598.

Alternatively, you can submit an online booking request. You can use Cathay Pacific’s charts or the Cathay Pacific online award calculator to find your projected price. 

Region Airline Where to check for award space
Asia Air China airchina.com 
North America, Asia (and around the world) American Airlines AA.com
Asia Bangkok Airways bangkokair.com 
Asia Cathay Pacific cathaypacific.com 
Asia Japan Airlines jal.com 
Asia Malaysia Airlines malaysiaairlines.com 
Asia Sri Lankan Airlines srilankan.com 
Europe British Airways britishairways.com
Europe Finnair finnair.com
Europe Iberia iberia.com
Europe S7 Airlines s7.ru
Latin America LATAM Airlines latam.com
Middle East Gulf Air gulfair.com
Middle East Qatar Airways qatarairways.com
Middle East Royal Jordanian rj.com
North America Alaska Airlines AlaskaAir.com
Pacific Air New Zealand airnewzealand.com
Pacific Qantas qantas.com

How much do awards cost?

Cathay Pacific uses a standard chart and a priority chart. Both charts encompass economy, premium economy, business and first-class seating. Priority rates are typically one and a half times the Saver rates.

Cathay Pacific prices from/to North America

The Asia Miles Standard Award and Asia Miles Choice Award charts apply to Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights only.

Asia Miles Standard Award

Cabin Class Asia Miles Required by Distance Zone (One-way)
Ultra-Short Short Medium Long – Type 1 Long – Type 2 Ultra-Long
1-750 miles 751-2,750 miles 2,751-5,000 miles 5,001-7,500 miles 5,001-7,500 miles 7,501+ miles
Economy 7,500 10,000 22,000 30,000 30,000 42,000
Premium Economy 11,000 18,000 30,000 40,000 45,000 60,000
Business 16,000 25,000 45,000 65,000 70,000 85,000
First 25,000 40,000 70,000 100,000 110,000 125,000

Asia Miles Choice Award

Cabin Class Asia Miles Required by Distance Zone (One-way)
Ultra-Short Short Medium Long – Type 1 Long – Type 2 Ultra-Long
1-750 miles 751-2,750 miles 2,751-5,000 miles 5,001-7,500 miles 5,001-7,500 miles 7,501+ miles
Economy 11,500 15,000 34,500 46,000 47,000 63,000
Premium Economy 17,500 28,000 45,000 62,500 70,000 91,000
Business 25,000 40,000 70,500 97,500 105,000 127,500
First 37,500 60,000 105,000 150,000 165,000 187,500

oneworld Multi-Carrier Award Chart

This chart applies when you fly two or more oneworld partner airlines in a single trip.

Award Zone Distance in actual miles Asia Miles required to claim award/ award type    
Economy Class Business Class First Class
1 0 – 1,000 30,000 55,000 70,000
2 1,001 – 1,500 30,000 60,000 80,000
3 1,501 – 2,000 35,000 65,000 90,000
4 2,001 – 4,000 35,000 70,000 95,000
5 4,001 – 7,500 60,000 90,000 140,000
6 7,501 – 9,000 65,000 100,000 150,000
7 9,001 – 10,000 70,000 110,000 160,000
8 10,001 – 14,000 90,000 135,000 220,000
9 14,001 – 18,000 100,000 155,000 250,000
10 18,001 – 20,000 105,000 165,000 260,000
11 20,001 – 25,000 115,000 185,000 280,000
12 25,001 – 35,000 130,000 210,000 300,000
13 35,001 – 50,000 150,000 240,000 345,000

Tip: In this chart, the distance is round trip. So if you’re flying Los Angeles to New York (2,500 mile distance one-way) you will fall into Award Zone 05, since the round-trip distance is 5,000 miles.

Cathay Pacific started including fuel surcharges on its flights Nov. 2, 2018, and it adds them to awards on most other carriers. If you want to avoid or minimize fuel surcharges, the rule of thumb is to use the airlines with small fuel surcharges, or those that don’t impose them on their own flights. However, keep in mind that sometimes airlines impose (or don’t impose) surcharges on partners against what seems to be the obvious logic.

What are award change and booking fees?

  • Close-in booking fee: None
  • Change date: $25 or 1,000 miles using online self-service to make the change
  • Routing changes (same date and airline): $100 or 10,000 miles
  • Refund/redepositing: $120 or 12,000 miles

When are award seats made available?

Cathay Pacific allows awards to be booked from 360 days before departure (on Cathay Pacific and Dragonair only).


A waitlist for awards and upgrades is available. Once you clear, you can transfer the needed miles to your account.. If you are hoping for an upgrade, you can also check for an ‘instant upgrade’ at check-in with your Asia Miles.

What stopovers are allowed?

Three stopovers are allowed on standard round-trip tickets.

When you redeem using the OneWorld chart (for flights that involve two or more oneworld airlines that aren’t Cathay Pacific) you can make up to five stopovers.

Can you hold an award seat?

Asia Miles can hold Cathay Pacific awards while you complete a transfer from American Express or Citibank.

What are the best award values?

The Asia Miles charts have some great sweet spots.

Los Angeles to Hong Kong is under 8,000 miles and using the oneworld MultiCarrier chart, your round-trip award ticket would cost 60,000 miles in economy and 90,000 miles in business. If you want to maximize the award, add a trip to Hanoi and Halong Bay to your travel plans. Since the distance between LAX and HKG is 7,260 miles, and HKG and Hanoi 526 miles, you will still be under 8,000 miles.

Play with stopovers in Europe. Obviously, the very best, although not the easiest, way to maximize your values is to take full advantage of stopover rules combined with no or low fuel surcharges, such as visiting several cities in Europe using Aer Lingus, Iberia and Air Berlin. You could begin your journey in Boston and end it in New York, if you wish. You could go like this: BOS-DUB (stopover) , DUB-TXL (destination), TXL-MAD (2nd stopover), MAD-JFK (open jaw). The whole trip is 8,500 miles, so it should be 65,000 in economy and 100,000 in business.

Can you upgrade with miles?

Yes, but only on flights operated and marketed by Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon. For Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon, upgrade awards are available in the following fare classes:

  • J, C, D, I (Business Class) are available for upgrades to First Class
  • W, R (Premium Economy Class) are available for upgrades to Business Class
  • Y, B, H, K, M, L, V (Economy Class) are available for upgrades to Premium Economy Class (for flights that have Premium Economy Class)
  • Y, B, H, K, M, L, V (Economy Class) are available for upgrades to Business Class (only for flights without Premium Economy Class)

For more information on upgrades go to this page and scroll down.

Upgrades on Cathay flights can be wait-listed, with priority by status and value of your fare. If the waitlist doesn’t clear by the day of departure, you can request an “instant upgrade” with your miles while checking in at the airport or even in the airline lounge.

Tip: You can only upgrade from Economy to Business on flights that don’t have a Premium Economy cabin. Otherwise, if you want to sit in Business Class, you need to buy a Premium Economy ticket first.

What does an upgrade cost?

You can use the Flight Award Finder to find the cost of upgrade. For example, for a JFK-HKG flight, the cost of a one-way upgrade is:

  • 30,000: Economy to Premium Economy and 35,000 for Premium Economy to Business
  • 48,000 Economy to Business
  • 65,000 Business to First

Alternative miles to book Cathay Pacific flights

You can use American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and other Cathay Pacific partners to book Cathay Pacific flights. Keep in mind, however, that Cathay Pacific limits availability to partners, especially premium classes.

What hotel points can you transfer from?

Marriott Hotels and Resorts permits transfers of Marriott Bonvoy points to Asia Miles at a ratio of 3:1. There is a 5,000 mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer.
Other partners include:

  • Le Club AccorHotels: 2 Le Club AccorHotels points =1 Cathay Pacific mile.
  • Best Western Rewards points: 5,000 Best Western Rewards points = 1,000 Cathay Pacific miles.
  • IHG® Rewards points: 5 IHG Rewards Club points = 1 Cathay Pacific mile.
  • Hilton’s HHonors program exchanges points to miles at a 10:1, with a minimum exchange of 10,000 points.
  • Shangri-La Golden Circle: 1:1.

What are Asia Miles worth?

Asia miles are worth 2 cents each or more in our view. If you’re booking Economy Class flights, expect less value – closer to 1.5 cents or less – especially since Economy Class fares to Asia are often available for $1,000 or less round-trip, but the ability to add free stopovers adds value.

What credit cards earn Cathay Pacific miles?

There is no U.S.-based Cathay Pacific credit card, but there is no shortage of earning opportunities either, since Cathay Pacific is a transfer partner of three U.S. based credit card rewards program. You can transfer points from the Citi ThankYou Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy programs.

Can you book awards for others?

Yes, but you must create your own “Redemption Group.” You can add up to five “nominees” free of charge, after that it’s $50 for every change made online and $75 for any change made via other channels.

Can you transfer miles to someone else?

Yes, but it costs $170 for the first 10,000 miles transferred online and $140 for additional blocks of 5,000 mileage credits. If you transfer miles using alternative channels, you’ll pay $250 for the first 10,000 miles and $200 for blocks of 5,000 mileage credits.

Do Asia Miles expire?

Miles will expire after three years regardless of activity.

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