Cathay Pacific’s loyalty program Asia miles has quietly increased the price of some long-haul flights on partner airlines.

The background

In June 2018, Asia miles devalued its award chart. They increased redemption rates on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights. They also eliminated award charts for partner airlines—now you have to use this online pricing calculator.

Japan Airlines 777 JL772 at Sydney Airport | Point Hacks
This change affects only partner airline flights, like Japan Airlines (not Cathay Pacific)

The latest change

Hong Kong frequent flyer website Fly For Miles has reported that Asia miles has increased redemption rates for flights of 2,751-5,000 miles. (All other distances still cost the same.)

Here are the changes:

CabinOld priceNew pricePrice change
Premium Economy35,00043,000+23%

This change appeared to have come into effect in late September 2019.

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How does this affect travellers in Australia?

This increases the cost of flights such as:

  • Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane/Adelaide to Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Airlines (Perth is still same)
  • Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane to Singapore/Hong Kong on Qantas
  • Sydney to Singapore on British Airways
  • Sydney to Bali, Bangkok, Shanghai and Tokyo on Qantas
  • Sydney to Tokyo on Japan Airlines
Qantas A380 First Class seat
A Qantas First Class redemption from Sydney or Melbourne to Singapore has increased from 75,000 to 87,000 Asia miles

Does Asia miles have any sweet spots?

Yes, they do, especially for ultra-long-haul flights to Europe and North America. You can read about them here.

Summing up

A 22-23% price increase for Premium Economy and Business Class redemptions on medium-haul partner flights is disappointing. (Devaluations tend to be around the 10-15% mark.)

If you have an Asia miles balance and were eyeing off one of these redemptions, then you’ll have no choice but to pay the higher price.

However, if you want to get more value from your miles, you may want to aim for a longer (or shorter) flight.

This could be an indication that the program intends to progressively increase redemption rates distance band-by-band. However, I doubt that that will actually happen.

What’s your take on this pricing change? Does this affect your travel plans?

Asia miles increases price of some long-haul flights was last modified: April 17th, 2023 by Matt Moffitt