Cathay Pacific will soon close down its Marco Polo Club loyalty program, but the airline’s millions of frequent flyers have nothing to worry about – the program is being rebooted under the Cathay ‘superbrand’, along with the Asia Miles rewards scheme.
The Hong Kong-based carrier believes the move will turbocharge its loyalty arm, both in benefits available to customers and revenue-earning potential for the airline.
“Marco Polo Club and Asia Miles members will come under one membership in the coming few months,” former Asia Miles CEO and now Director of Customer Lifestyle Paul Smitton tells Executive Traveller.
All Asia Miles and Marco Polo Club members will see their miles, points and perks automatically transferred to the Cathay program, to run off a single “seamless” website and app, Smitton says.
Those newly-minted Cathay members “will access Status Points and Asia Miles, as well as the full range of awards, all in one place on our website and mobile apps.”
Cathay Status Points are the new name for Marco Polo Club Points – the mechanism by which loyalty is recognised and rewarded – and Smitton says there will be new ways to earn these on the ground in addition to flying, primarily through Cathay co-branded credit cards.
However, he maintains there’ll be no devaluation of Status Points when the changeover takes place, with 1 Club Point being transformed into 1 Status Point.
The new Cathay program will retain the same four familiar Marco Polo Club status tiers which will now be known as Cathay Green, Silver, Gold and Diamond (along with the invitation-only Cathay Diamond Plus level).
New status perks will include “priority access to lifestyle events, experiences and travel packages” for Cathay Golds; and by the end of 2022, discounts for Cathay Diamonds who use Miles Plus Cash to book Cathay Pacific flights.
It’s not yet known if the entry-level Cathay Green tier will lose its long-standing US$100 joining fee or an annual renewal fee of US$100 or 20 Club Points.
However, Cathay Green members will lose the ability to use Premium Economy check-in counters when flying economy; they’ll also have to forego priority boarding and the ability to buy a Cathay Pacific lounge pass for 200 Club Points.
Asia Miles members who don’t belong to the Marco Polo Club will be assigned Cathay Green status in July 2022.
The singular Cathay program will spearhead the airline’s its push into the broader lifestyle market, beyond travel alone, with partnership-backed “platform” plays in retail, wellness, hotels and dining intended to entrench Asia Miles as the de facto second currency of Hong Kong.
“Other than the travel privileges members value most, we are working closely with our 800+ partners to curate a full range of lifestyle experience for them to enjoy,” Smitten tells Executive Traveller.
As previously reported, all Marco Polo Club Diamond, Gold, and Silver members will see their status extended to December 2022, with exceptionally modest criteria to retain that status through to December 2023, such as not even setting foot on a Cathay flight.