New Cathay loyalty program to replace Marco Polo Club, Asia Miles?

The fresh Cathay rewards platform could bring together Marco Polo Club and Asia Miles into a more streamlined offering.

By David Flynn, July 6 2021
New Cathay loyalty program to replace Marco Polo Club, Asia Miles?

Cathay Pacific plans to reboot or replace its stand-alone Marco Polo Club and Asia Miles programs in the first half of 2022 as a rewards spearhead of its push into the broader lifestyle market beyond travel alone.

Described as a “premium travel lifestyle brand” to be known simply as Cathay, the move will see the airline – which will continue to be called Cathay Pacific – become just one pillar of the parent Cathay super-brand.

In turn, Cathay will reach into retail, wellness, hotels and dining through new partnerships aimed at transforming Asia Miles – or its successor – into Hong Kong’s de facto second currency.

Although the Cathay push will gather momentum over the coming six months, the airline says it “will culminate in a refreshed customer relationship programme in the first half of 2022.”

While little else is known about this program, which is expected to carry a fresh name, the airline has acknowledged the sometimes confusing coexistence of Asia Miles as its rewards currency alongside Marco Polo Club as its frequent flyer scheme.

“Many members have told us they would like their experience with Asia Miles and Marco Polo Club to be more seamless” the airline states. 

“That’s why we’re bringing together Cathay Pacific, Marco Polo Club and Asia Miles under Cathay – to simplify the way you interact with us, including how you earn status and use your miles.”

A Cathay Pacific spokesman declined to offer Executive Traveller more clarity on the fate of the Asia Miles and Marco Polo Club programs, apart from confirming that “the miles balance and expiry date of Asia Miles, and the club points balance and mid-tier benefits of Marco Polo Club, will be carried over when the refreshed programme goes live.”

Additionally, Cathay Pacific’s Cathay FAQ page notes that “all existing Marco Polo Club and Asia Miles members will automatically become members of the refreshed programme once it launches.”

“Once the refreshed programme launches, there will be greater clarity and convenience when earning and redeeming miles, an improved integrated experience, and new offerings for members to enjoy.”

As part of this, Marco Polo Club members will be able to earn vital Club points, which are used to determine frequent flyer status, on the ground as well as in the air.

Cathay is also tipped to launch a new co-branded credit card with Standard Chartered HK – which already offers an Asia Miles Mastercard – in the coming weeks, which will be followed by a new online shopping channels, “an exciting dining platform” and “a new and engaging wellness platform.”

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

QF

02 Oct 2012

Total posts 44

I may be old fashioned, but watch this space for increases in points levels for redemption bookings in first and business class and any other changes they can push through to generate more revenue for CX.   That's normally what airlines do when they make sweeping changes to their loyalty programs (once you get past the marketing hype).

I can see the sense in a totally all-new "Cathay XXXX" program which combines MPC and Asia Miles, the spit between two functional arms of an airline loyalty program is always a bit cumbersome compared to say Qantas which has points and status credits as two currencies within the one program.

Marco Polo Club as a brand doesn't really mean anything, doesn't connect with 'Cathay Pacific', same with Asia Miles, so if the airline wants to make "Cathay" into a "super brand" then having "Cathay Club" for example with earnings in Cathay Miles and Cathay Status Credits makes a lot of sense.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 288

Cathay's language is interesting and seems a bit contradictory, it talks about a "refreshed" program but then there's talk about "bringing together" and "integration" for MPC and AsiaMiles, plus miles and Club points being "carried over" which could mean they are transferred to an all-new single Cathay rewards program.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2019

Total posts 27

Cathay is in a world of pain with passenger numbers down 98.9% May 2019 vs May 2021. They are going to have to pull a lot of rabbits from a hat to get their business back; and this is just one small step.

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 168

This could go either way, and Cathay's language isn't really helping. Agree with AsiaBizTraveller that maybe a reboot is in order with new 'Cathay' names, but don't forget that Air Canada rebooted its frequent flyer program after buying it back from a third party, and after looking at a range of new names decided to stick with 'AeroPlan'. The good news there was that Air Canada totally overhauled and updated AeroPlan with a lot of great new features, so Cathay should be looking at Air Canada among other airlines for how to modernise a loyalty scheme. AsiaMiles certainly works as a 'points' brand, and Marco Polo Club doesn't have any strikes against it either, so maybe they'll just both re revamped under a new Cathay umbrella brand. Still a bit confusing!

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 5

They will struggle and need something tempting, unless you are travelling onward into China or Canada why transit in HK after all of the problems.  Good product but weighed down by the political situation as a destination makes even transit  question.  Who knows in a years time when we might be traveling what it will look like.

 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jan 2017

Total posts 12

It may be unfair and discriminatory, but for me  it's hard to separate Cathay Pacific from the Beijing crackdown on personal and Press freedoms in Hong Kong, which sadly, is no longer a transit hub, or a destination, for me.


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