Cathay Pacific Diamond guide

Diamond status in Cathay Pacific's recently-rebranded ‘Cathay’ program packs a punch for its loyal members.

By Staff Writers, September 16 2022
Cathay Pacific Diamond guide

Diamond is the highest published tier in the rebranded Cathay loyalty program (except for the invitation-only and somewhat secretive Diamond Plus tier) and takes a lot of flying to reach its lofty heights.

Cathay Pacific's now-eponymous Cathay program has replaced the Marco Polo Club, but in name only: on the whole, Cathay Diamond status remains the same as Marco Polo Diamond.

To begin with, Cathay Diamond is equivalent to Qantas Platinum and Oneworld Emerald status, so you can enjoy complimentary access to partner first class lounges worldwide, as well as fast-track services at all airports and many more perks besides.

It's considered far easier to reach Qantas Platinum than Cathay Diamond for the very first time – although once you've got your foot in that door, renewing your shiny card will be simpler in the years to come.

Here's how to qualify for Cathay Diamond status and maximise your use its benefits.

How to earn Cathay Diamond status

Status Points are the means by which Cathay Pacific tracks your progress in the program and your journey up the loyalty ladder, with each rung or tier delivering more benefits.

Status Points can be earned on Cathay Pacific and all Oneworld airlines, including Qantas 

The new Cathay tiers, with Diamond only surpassed by the invitation-only Diamond Plus.
The new Cathay tiers, with Diamond only surpassed by the invitation-only Diamond Plus.

The journey to Cathay Diamond begins with the entry-level Cathay Green tier, which no longer attracts the US$100 (A$145) joining fee of the Marco Polo Club. Then comes Silver, Gold and finally Diamond.

Cathay’s approach to moving between tiers is a little different to most other airlines – each time you reach a new tier, your existing Status Points balance is wiped and you start afresh on your higher goal.

So when starting as an entry-level Cathay Green member, you won't immediately be catapulted to Diamond with your first 1,200 Status Points under your belt. You'd first need to qualify for Cathay Silver with 300 Status Points, then earn another 600 Status Points for Cathay Gold

Then and only then does your travel start contributing to the 1,200 Status Points needed for Diamond; although in future years, your status retention criteria will also be set at 1,200 Status Points without first needing to requalify for the lower tiers.

That’s quite different to the likes of Qantas Frequent Flyer, whereby earning 1,400 Qantas status credits from scratch within a membership year you'd soar straight from Bronze to Platinum. 

(But at the same time, each time you upgrade your membership year also resets to day one, giving you the longest possible time to move further up, drop back down or remain where you are, based on your flying habits.)

Flying business class with Cathay Pacific will help you quickly reach Diamond status.
Flying business class with Cathay Pacific will help you quickly reach Diamond status.

As to earning those Status Points: a return Australia-Hong Kong trip with Cathay Pacific will earn you 170 Status Points in full-fare business class or 140 Status Points on discount business class from all major Australian cities except Cairns. 

The same trip with Qantas earns a flat 120 Cathay Status Points, meaning you'll reach your status goals faster by flying on Cathay Pacific.

From Sydney to London return via Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific awards 320 Status Points on entry-level business class fares or a much more healthy 380 Status Points on flexible business class tickets.

For a traveller who has already reached Gold, it would take four more return trips from Sydney to London in Cathay Pacific discount business class to reach Diamond status.

Overall, a newly-minted Cathay Green member would need to earn 2,100 Status Points within three years to reach Diamond for the first time, being 300 (Silver) + 600 (Gold) + 1,200 (Diamond), with a full year available to reach each level.

Lounge access for Cathay Diamond members

With the Oneworld Emerald badge stamped on your Cathay Diamond card, first class lounges such as Cathay Pacific’s The Pier at Hong Kong International Airport are always open to you when departing on Cathay Pacific, Qantas and other Oneworld airlines.

This also means access to Qantas Domestic Business Lounges within Australia, and Qantas International First Lounges – or Premium Lounges such as at London – when heading overseas.

Cathay's flagship The Pier First Class lounge at Hong Kong.
Cathay's flagship The Pier First Class lounge at Hong Kong.

Diamond members can bring two guests to Cathay Pacific lounges before eligible flights, although the guest limit remains at one for partner lounges including those of Qantas. 

Children under two years of age continue to be admitted independently of your guest allowance as per Oneworld policy.

A special arrangement with Air New Zealand means Diamond travellers can also access the Air New Zealand business class lounge in Auckland.

Checked baggage allowance for Cathay Diamond members

Diamond members can always expect a hefty baggage allowance when flying with Cathay Pacific.

There's one extra piece allowed, boosting the total allowance to the following:

  • A generous 69kg over three 23kg bags on economy flex and economy essential fares
  • A whopping 96kg over three 32kg bags in business class
  • A massive 128kg over four 32kg bags in first class

Additional perks for Cathay Diamond members

First class check-in and priority boarding are always open to you and your guests as a Marco Polo Club Diamond member, while Qantas' First check-in similarly awaits for journeys on the Red Roo.

Cathay Diamonds enjoy some of the best treatment Cathay Pacific has to offer.
Cathay Diamonds enjoy some of the best treatment Cathay Pacific has to offer.

Diamond members also get much higher priority when it comes to waitlisted flights, and can book a full-price economy, premium economy or business class seat on a sold-out flight up to 24 hours before departure.

On top of that, some new status perks will land by the end of 2022, such as discounts for Cathay Diamonds who use Miles Plus Cash to book Cathay Pacific flights.

Mid-status Diamond rewards

For true road-warriors who go above and beyond the requirements for Diamond with no signs of slowing down, three 'mid-tier rewards' sweeten the journey.

At 1,400 Status Points, you’ll be given two Cathay Pacific first or business class lounge passes which can be used if you’re bringing in more guests above the limit, or which can be gifted to your Redemption Group nominees to use even when they're travelling without you.

These passes have to be redeemed online before airport check-in, not in the lounge, as an invitation to the lounge will be included on the traveller's boarding pass.

Cathay lounge passes can be gifted to a family member, friend or colleague.
Cathay lounge passes can be gifted to a family member, friend or colleague.

At 1,600 Status Points, four single-sector upgrades will be added to your account. Upgrades are only eligible on specific fares and need to be requested up to three days before travel, subject to availability.

These give you or a travel companion a one-up class upgrade on any Cathay Pacific flight, as long as you have an eligible base fare.

The following base fares can be upgraded:

  • Economy: Y, B, H, K, M, L and V fares can be upgraded to discount premium economy (E) or discount business class (I) if premium economy is not available.
  • Premium Economy: W and R fares can be upgraded to discount business class (I)
  • Business class: J, C, D, P and I fares can be upgraded to first class (A)

If successful, you’ll earn Asia Miles and Status Points at the new fare rate, not the original fare.

These bookable upgrades can be used by any companion travelling with you, or any Redemption Group nominee attached to your Asia Miles account, even if you’re not personally flying too.

Use your complimentary Gold upgrades from business class to first class on selected Cathay Pacific intra-Asia flights
Use your complimentary Gold upgrades from business class to first class on selected Cathay Pacific intra-Asia flights

Finally, earning 1,800 Status Points within a year will net you a complimentary Companion Gold Membership.

This will let you treat a family member or friend to 12 months of Cathay Gold status, including business class lounge access before any flight operated by a Oneworld airline and Qantas Club access within Australia. 

Just be sure to nominate someone within six months of earning this benefit or it will expire.

If after all this you still have plenty of future travel up your sleeve, then keep a look out for a subtle tap on the shoulder – you might be welcomed into the secret Diamond Plus tier of the Cathay Pacific Cathay program.

21 Apr 2017

Total posts 41

Miles plus cash booking discounts are already operational for DMs :)

03 Jun 2019

Total posts 26

Out of curiosity, can anyone confirm if Diamond Invitation (Million Miler prior to CX joining oneworld/VPs with invitation from CX) status still exist?


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