Cathay Pacific readies huge change for millions of frequent flyers

Cathay Pacific will soon streamline its loyalty proposition by retiring the long-standing Marco Polo Club brand.

By David Flynn, May 30 2022
Cathay Pacific readies huge change for millions of frequent flyers

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.

Cathay-branded credit cards will unlock additional status benefits.
Cathay-branded credit cards will unlock additional status benefits.

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 307

Hopefully they'll be able to "relaunch" anything with the way things are going at the moment.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 73

I've wondered for a long time why there's both Asia Miles and Marco Polo. This is much better. the whole program was a mess. As well as merging Cathy Dragon onto Cathy itself too as one brand.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Mar 2019

Total posts 21

The Cathay program cannot be used, and the airline cannot be flown, until the govt lifts the ban on travelers from 150 countries transiting in HKG. Seems perilously headed toward the bankruptcy court.

11 Nov 2020

Total posts 6

You have to wonder if the HK rulers really want Cathay to survive. Perhaps the chiefs higher up want to see Cathay fail, and then a Mainland airline pick up the assets in a fire sale.....

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

20 Jun 2013

Total posts 51

"Simplify things and remove complexity"....not sure about that one, Asia miles was a points based programme only, Marco Polo on it's own raised the bar and provided a paid to use (for Green) or points earn for status, as such even green members had an incentive to join with the two perks that made any initial application worthwhile. People value something they pay for, to make it "free" is a free for all approach that degrades the value of the brand. I would have imagined that the "Marco Polo Club" brand would have been a valued long standing brand and to eliminate that on it's own beggars belief. Assuming CX make thru these difficult times!

Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

01 Oct 2021

Total posts 7

Cathay is now dead and buried. Its not coming back end of story. If you understand Chinese culture in any way or form you will know that punishment means cutting the legs off anyone who questions authority. Cathay will be merged into Air China sooner than you think and HKG will become a regional airport while cargo operations will be moved to Shenzhen.

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 99

The name change is irrelevant . What is relevant the subtle but retrograde deletion of members benefits in particular the previously included benefit to waitlist award flights , now removed which is very disappointing given the scarce rewardflights open .

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