Cathay Pacific’s Business Plus loyalty program provides companies and their travellers with valuable benefits as a reward for booking Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights.
Free to join, perks range from complimentary Marco Polo Club memberships through to lounge access, flight upgrades, travel vouchers, priority baggage and even discounted airfares, saving the company money and making the journey more enjoyable for those on the road.
Australian Business Traveller sat down with Cathay Pacific’s Head of Global Sales in Hong Kong, Paul Johannes, to learn more about the airline’s reward program for businesses: here’s what Australian entrepreneurs need to know.
Cathay Pacific Business Plus: the basics
At its core, businesses can earn Business Plus reward points when booking Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights, used accelerate from one Business Plus membership tier to the next, unlocking a new raft of perks every time their tier is upgraded.
Unlike programs such as Qantas Business Rewards where the company earns redeemable frequent flyer points, Business Plus points can’t be spent: think of them more like ‘status credits’, but for a company – rather than an individual – which allow that company to move through the membership ranks, much like a frequent flyer making the trek from Silver to Gold.
Participating in the Business Plus program is free, and doesn’t impact your travellers’ ability to earn personal frequent flyer points or to build frequent flyer status on their business journeys, such as by earning miles in the Asia Miles scheme and Club Points via The Marco Polo Club.
Travellers are also free to participate in other loyalty programs, Johannes confirms, so if one of your high flyers prefers their Qantas Frequent Flyer membership over The Marco Polo Club, they can continue earning Qantas Points and status credits on their Cathay Pacific flights, with the business still scooping up Business Plus points from those same journeys.
Membership is open to all registered Australian businesses with an ABN: there’s no requirement to be enrolled for GST, so whether you’re just starting out or have a whole team working for you, you can sign the business up and start earning rewards when you travel.
“It's a generous program,” adds Johannes. “It's easy to join, no muss, no fuss: you're in and you start earning.”
Cathay Pacific Business Plus: earning Business Plus points
Separate to the points and status credits earned by your travellers, your company accrues its own balance of Business Plus points. For Australian businesses, these are awarded at the following rates, which vary based on the type of fare booked and the distance of each flight sector:
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For example, booking a return Cathay Pacific business class ticket between Sydney and Hong Kong generates 140-170 Business Plus points in total, depending on the types of fares booked. Make that a return business class trip from Sydney to London (via Hong Kong), and you’re looking at 320-380 Business Plus points from the round trip.
Avid frequent flyers might recognise that the number of Business Plus points a business can earn matches the number of Club Points (status credits) an individual can earn on the same flights, which keeps things simple – but again, one doesn’t replace the other: they’re earned in tandem.
Cathay Pacific Business Plus: membership tiers and beginner benefits
As your business starts piling up Business Plus points, its membership can move up the ladder as follows, based on the number of Business Plus points earned over a 12-month period:
- Tier 0 (the starting point): 0-600 Business Plus points
- Tier 1: 601-1,200 Business Plus points
- Tier 2: 1,201-1,800 Business Plus points
- Tier 3: 1,801-2,600 Business Plus points
- Tier 4: 2,601-3,400 Business Plus points
- Tier 5: 3,401+ Business Plus points
Right off the bat at Tier 0, you’ll start with five complimentary Marco Polo Club Green memberships for your road warriors, each valued at US$100 and giving the traveller priority check-in and boarding privileges with Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, where available – even on the very first flight they take for the company.
Assign all five memberships and that’s US$500 (A$695) of value just for joining and booking your first flight – and with no sign-up fee for companies joining the Business Plus scheme, you’d be crazy not to take advantage.
What’s more, book your Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon business travel via the airline’s Business Plus website and your travellers will also get priority baggage (even on the lowest-cost airfares), and your company will earn bonus Business Plus points atop the normal earning rate, to help it reach the next tier faster.
Cathay Pacific Business Plus: benefits at Tiers 1-3
If your business earns 600 Business Plus points in a year, you’ll move up to Tier 1, which gives you five further Marco Polo Club Green memberships (another US$500 value), along with two A$100 vouchers to spend on Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon flights.
You’ll also receive one complimentary upgrade certificate, valid for a bump-up the next-highest cabin class on a flight of your choosing and as availability permits on any Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon route, such as for an upgrade from premium economy to business class.
How you use that upgrade is up to you: whether on your own travels as the business owner, to surprise a hard-working employee for a job well done, or as an incentive around the office to be earned by staff with the highest sales or best performance.
Ascend to Tier 2 and you’ll score another cabin upgrade, three further A$100 flight vouchers and five additional Marco Polo Club Green memberships – and the same again when you reach Tier 3, with the addition of one complimentary lounge pass.
That pass provides one-off access to a Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon business class departure lounge when flying with either airline: handy if you’re booked in premium economy or economy class and don’t already have lounge access by way of your frequent flyer status.
Cathay Pacific Business Plus: benefits at Tiers 4-5
Taking things further, Tier 4 unlocks one additional business class lounge pass, two extra one-class cabin upgrades, three A$100 flight vouchers, five more Marco Polo Club Green memberships, and one Marco Polo Club Silver membership for a traveller of your choosing.
Over and above the benefits of the Green tier, Silver provides unlimited access to Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon business class lounges when flying with those airlines, along with 10kg of extra checked baggage on most flights – and in some cases, a higher cabin baggage allowance too.
When stuck in economy, even on short routes like Hong Kong-Taipei, Silver travellers can preselect extra legroom seats at no charge on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights, among many other perks such as Oneworld Ruby status, granting access to business class priority check-in across the entire Oneworld airline allowance, including with Qantas.
Make it all the way to Tier 5 and your company gets two further lounge passes, two additional cabin upgrades, three more A$100 flight vouchers, exclusive access to fare discounts when booking your journeys via the Business Plus website, another five Marco Polo Club Green memberships, and one more Marco Polo Club Silver card.
For members at Tiers 4 and 5, those complimentary Silver memberships can serve as a status upgrade for travellers who already hold Green-level status – including that awarded through the Business Plus program – or can be given to a different traveller for an instant enrolment at the Silver tier.
Keep in mind, all benefits are cumulative: so, if your business makes its way from Tier 0 all the way to Tier 5 in a year, you’ll scoop up a grand total of 30 Marco Polo Club Green memberships, two MPC Silver cards, four business class lounge passes, seven flight upgrades, and 14 $100 flight vouchers: that’s thousands of dollars in benefits from a program that costs nothing extra to use or join!
Australian business owners can enrol in the Business Plus program here to start earning Business Plus points. Benefits of the program, including the first five complimentary Marco Polo Club Green memberships, will be yours to enjoy and assign after making your first Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon flight booking.
Just note, as Cathay Pacific operates the Business Plus program in a variety of countries, the tier levels and benefits available to businesses can differ between regions. The information provided in this article is relevant only to Australian-registered businesses, so if your company is based elsewhere, contact Cathay Pacific for details of the program relevant to your region.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Hong Kong as a guest of Cathay Pacific.