Cathay to launch Asia Miles credit cards around the world

Get ready for direct earning of Asia Miles and ‘on the ground’ Status Points

By David Flynn, March 2 2023
Cathay to launch Asia Miles credit cards around the world
Executive Traveller exclusive

Cathay Pacific frequent flyers around the world could soon be earning many more Asia Miles as well as topping up their annual haul of Status Points, all through everyday spending.

Having launched a trio of Cathay cards with Hong Kong’s Standard Chartered bank in mid-2021, the airline is now working on a steady rollout of Cathay cards in other countries under a ten-year partnership which sees Mastercard as the airline’s “exclusive partner.”

“We’ve already launched a second one in China now, and we'll keep rolling” Paul Smitton, who heads the airline’s Customer Lifestyle arm, tells Executive Traveller.

Cathay’s worldwide Mastercard alliance replaces a previous arrangement whereby “we had different deals with different people in different markets,” Smitton reflects.

Cathay-branded credit cards will unlock travel and status benefits.
Cathay-branded credit cards will unlock travel and status benefits.

Getting Cathay credit cards into the wallets and purses of travellers and carving out its slice of the crowded card space will see the airline offer similar enticements as with the Standard Chartered cards, which currently include

  • sign-up bonuses of up to 100,000 Asia Miles
  • a high spend-based earning rate for Asia Miles
  • earning up to 100 Status Points per year
  • Cathay Pacific business class lounge passes
  • priority airport check-in and boarding

But Smitton is eager to quell the concern of high-flying Cathay Gold and Diamond members that their ranks will swell – and lounges will become more crowded – by status being earned paying business expenses rather than flying in business class.

“We’re very cognisant of flying as being the most important thing from a status perspective“ he tells Executive Traveller, “so the number of Status Points you can get for non-flying activity is more of a booster as opposed to something that’ll get you status in and of itself.“

In other words, it will always remain a small enough number of Status Points to assist cardholders in retaining their Cathay Silver, Gold or Diamond status when their flying falls just short of the mark, or to close the gap between moving up from one tier to the next.

Smitton’s team is also working on a ‘behind the scenes’ upgrade of the Cathay Pacific website which will make it easier to book flights with Asia Miles.

“At the moment the engines we have for (what we’d call) cash bookings and the redemption network (for Asia Miles) are two separate things.”

Smitton wants to see any booking be able to expose not only the ticket price but “standard awards and the Miles Plus Cash option” all on the same screen.

08 Nov 2022

Total posts 2

If they launch in Australia could be really good for us. Has very similar OW availability to QFF but at far fewer points for ultra long haul (Europe/N America). 

05 Oct 2022

Total posts 2

The Cathay cards in Hong Kong are great in concept, but pretty poor if you already have status. The points earning rate is pretty dire, and is beaten by other cards.

The benefits are pretty poor for existing DMs. Not sure how the free J-class lounge passes are benefiting me when DM give me access anyway.

Great card if you don't have status. Pretty much irrelevant if you're already holding status. 

When the cards were launched, they were positioned as "better aligning your status in the air on the ground". I'd say the cards fail to acheive that. 

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 271

Most points are for bonus poins anyways, not necessarily lounge access. However, YMMV.

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