Cathay Pacific’s frequent flyer program Asia miles is one of our favourites due to its consistently lower-than-average award redemption rates and high-quality airline partners.
This remains the case, even after Asia miles’ June 2018 program changes, which produced a mixed bag of good and bad outcomes.
One key thing to note is that the best value redemptions are to be had by redeeming for Premium Economy, Business or First Class flights. To understand why, consider joining the Point Hacks ‘earning more points’ email course.
Here are my top tips for getting maximum value from your Asia miles balance.
1. When you think Qantas, think Asia miles
Asia miles redemption rates are generally cheaper than Qantas Frequent Flyer, especially with Qantas’ pricing increases for premium cabins in September 2019. They also have most of the same partners, as they are part of the same oneworld alliance.
For example, a Business Class seat on Qantas from Perth to Auckland return (via Sydney) will set you back 100,000 Asia miles, whereas you would have to pay 164,000 Qantas Points for the same privilege.
Do note that the main partner that Asia miles doesn’t have access to where Qantas does is Emirates. Conversely, Asia miles members can earn and redeem miles on select Star Alliance airlines like Air Canada and Lufthansa, which Qantas members cannot.
2. Fly to Hong Kong in Premium Economy/Business for 60,000/90,000 return
Cathay Pacific has an extensive network from Australia, with about ten daily flights in total from five cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
You’ll get (generally) excellent customer service and a comfortable lie-flat seat in Business Class on Cathay’s fleet of Airbus A330s and A350s and Boeing 777s.
If you wanted to save some points or take another person with you, you could fly in Premium Economy for 60,000 miles.
Note that Cathay does not currently offer its First Class product on flights to Australia. Therefore, look to connecting flights to US cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, and European cities such as London Heathrow, Paris and Frankfurt for that luxurious experience.
3. Fly the modern A350 in Business Class to Europe or Canada for 85,000 one-way
The Airbus A350 is the newest plane in Cathay Pacific’s fleet. Compared to the A330 and 777, it offers wifi connectivity, increased oxygen circulation (which reduces jetlag), more storage and an improved modern design.
As of late October 2019, the airline will operate the A350 on all Australian routes except Adelaide. Other routes within our region include Auckland, Bangkok, Singapore and Taipei, with London, New York, Rome and Vancouver further afield.
4. Fly to South America in LATAM or Qantas Business Class for 75,000 one-way
South America is one of the most expensive continents for travellers from Australia to get to. Luckily, the two nonstop flights from Australia are both operated by oneworld airlines, meaning you can use your Asia miles to avoid spending a lot of cash on your ticket.
Previously, you had to book a return ticket on LATAM using Asia miles. That restriction has now been lifted.
5. Fly in Qantas or American Airlines Business Class from Sydney to Los Angeles for 75,000 one-way
However, if you are lucky enough to come across availability in Qantas or American Airlines Business Class, you’ll save over 33,000 points by redeeming an award through Asia miles (75,000 miles) rather than Qantas (108,400 points).
6. Fly to Doha in a Qatar Airways Qsuite from 70,000 one-way
The Qsuite is arguably the world’s best Business Class product and we are lucky to have it flying from Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.
You’ll pay 70,000 miles for one-way redemption from Perth or Adelaide. However, Sydney and Canberra are 20,000 miles more expensive.
Read more: Qatar redemption guide
7. Book with certain partners to minimise fuel surcharges
The following airlines attract no or minimal fuel surcharges when using Asia miles:
- Aer Lingus
- American Airlines (except flights to/from Europe)
8. Fly around the world on oneworld carriers on one award
Using the oneworld Multi-Carrier award chart, you can travel on a lengthy round-the world-itinerary in Business or First Class. You can get up to five stopovers and two open-jaws on a combination of oneworld carriers, including Cathay Pacific.
The major advantage of this Asia miles redemption over Qantas’ equivalent is that it is far cheaper!
Qantas allows a round-the-world itinerary of up to 35,000 miles but charges 318,000 and 455,000 Qantas Points in Business and First, respectively. For a similar distance, Asia miles only charges 210,000 and 300,000 miles in Business and First Class.
Read more: Asia miles round-the-world redemption guide
That’s partly due to their favourable medium- and long-haul redemption rates, especially compared to Qantas Frequent Flyer. In fact, the most you can pay for a one-way Cathay Pacific Business flight anywhere in the world is 85,000 miles.
Finally, Asia miles partners with a large number of high-quality airlines such as Qantas, Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways.
To book a redemption using your Asia miles, start by clicking here.
What has been your best-value redemption for Asia miles? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Supplementary images courtesy of Cathay Pacific and Asia miles.
Looking for more inspiration for how to spend your hard-earned frequent flyer points?
Here is a comprehensive list of all of our Best Uses of Points guides. There may be some overlap but each guide has its own twist.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Best uses of Qantas Points
- ‘Ultimate’ uses of Qantas Points
- Best uses of 60,000 Qantas Points
- Best uses of 75,000 Qantas Points
- Best uses of 100,000 Qantas Points
- Best uses of 150,000 Qantas Points
- When it makes sense to use your Qantas Points for domestic travel in Economy (and when it doesn’t)
- Best uses of Qantas Points from the East Coast
- Best uses of Qantas Points from Perth
- Reader responses: what is the best use of Qantas Points?
- Seven of the cheapest Qantas Points redemptions for luxurious Emirates flights
- The cheapest ways to fly Cathay Pacific First Class with Qantas Points
Velocity Frequent Flyer
- Best uses of Velocity Points
- Best uses of 40,000 Velocity Points
- Best uses of 80,000 Velocity Points
- Best uses of 100,000 Velocity Points
- Five flight redemptions that maximise your Velocity points balance
American Express Membership Rewards
- Best uses of Etihad Guest miles
- Etihad Guest vs Velocity for Virgin Australia flights comparison guide