Asia Miles is an appealing frequent flyer program for Australian points collectors. It has a wide range of points earn partners, including most of the major credit card rewards programs in Australia.

However, the program is not without its intricacies and quirks. It helps to understand the various ins and outs when you come to make a redemption through Asia Miles.

In this guide, I’ll show you how to redeem Asia Miles effectively. I go over how to book online and over the phone. I also answer whether you can book stopovers and award holds through the program.

Hong Kong skyline
Did you know you can get a free stopover on redemptions through Asia Miles?

The basics of Asia Miles

Asia Miles is Cathay Pacific’s points program. (For elite status, you’ll need to look at the separate Marco Polo Club.)

Asia Miles can be used for travel on Cathay Pacific and oneworld partners like Qantas. They offer great value for long-haul travel in First, Business and Premium Economy Class.

Qantas A380 First Class seat
It’s cheaper to book Qantas First Class with Asia Miles than Qantas Points

Here are some examples of sweet spots with Asia Miles (all one-way):

  • Any Australian city to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific Premium Economy for 30,000 miles
  • Melbourne to Tokyo in Qantas or Japan Airlines Business for 70,000 miles
  • Sydney to Los Angeles in Qantas First for 120,000 miles

Which Asia Miles partner flights can you book online?

You can use your Asia Miles online with the following partners: Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LATAM, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian Airlines, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines.

JAL plane in tarmac
You can book Japan Airlines flights online using Asia Miles

However, you will need to phone Asia Miles on 1800 129 264 (open 24/7) for bookings with all other partners. Examples include Air Canada, Air New Zealand and Lufthansa.

When is the best time to call Asia Miles?

The best time to call Asia Miles from Australia is before 8am Australian Eastern Standard Time. (The call centre in Hong Kong is 2-3 hours behind, depending on daylight savings.) Hold times are much shorter at this time. It is open 24/7.

The call centre can be a very hit-and-miss affair. It’s best to set aside an hour to make a redemption over the phone. If you speak Cantonese or Mandarin, choosing this option from the menu may reduce your wait time.

Does Asia Miles allow stopovers?

Yes, Asia Miles allows one stopover on one-way awards. On roundtrip tickets, you can book two stopovers and one open-jaw. You cannot book stopovers online—you must phone the call centre to do so.

This is useful for long-haul travel. For example, you could book a roundtrip ticket from Melbourne to London. You could fly Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, stopping over there on the way over. And coming home, you could opt for a couple of days in Doha flying Qatar Airways.

Asia Miles example stopover
You can get two stopovers on a return ticket to Europe

Another good option is to leverage the oneworld Multi-Carrier Award Chart to book a round-the-world trip. You’ll get five stopovers and two open-jaws on this type of ticket.

In short: Asia Miles stopover rules are pretty liberal. You can use them to your advantage to craft a lengthier and more valuable itinerary. Just make sure you can find award availability that works with your plans.

Can you put Asia Miles awards on hold?

Sometimes. Here is what we know:

  • Awards can be put on hold under ‘specific circumstances’
  • The request must be approved by a supervisor
  • Holds seem to be for up to three weeks (!)
  • It helps to have at least 70% of the required miles already in your account
  • Cathay Pacific flights seem to be guaranteed when on hold
  • Conversely, partner airline flights are not guaranteed and can be booked by other passengers in the meantime
Qantas plane
Whilst holds on Cathay Pacific flights are guaranteed, those on partners like Qantas are not

Putting an award on hold can be helpful when you are waiting for points to transfer over from a credit card rewards program. This way you can hold a seat and then confirm it when the points arrive in your Asia Miles account.

Which Australian credit cards transfer to Asia Miles?

Asia Miles partners with the following credit card programs in Australia:

American Express Explorer card | Point Hacks
American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to Asia Miles at a 2:1 ratio

Make sure that the names on your credit card rewards and Asia Miles accounts match exactly. This will help to prevent delays.

Here are some other ways to boost your Asia Miles balance.

Summing up

There is good value to be had from the Asia Miles frequent flyer program. Therefore, it pays to know the ins and outs of how it works—and how you can maximise its benefits.

You can book all Cathay Pacific and most partner flights online. However, if you do need to call, the shortest wait times are during the early morning in Australia.

Asia Miles allows stopovers on both one-way and roundtrip tickets. However, you must book these over the phone. Another option is to book a round-the-world trip with up to five stopovers.

Points can take a few days to arrive from your bank’s program. Therefore, you may want to explore the option of putting an award on hold. Just be aware you’ll have to phone up to do this and the hold is not guaranteed.

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How to use Asia Miles: insider tips on stopovers, award holds and transfers was last modified: January 21st, 2020 by Matt Moffitt