Asia Miles is jumping on board the ‘points plus pay’ train, with the introduction of its flexible ‘Miles Plus Cash’ option. From 30 March 2021, members can book any available seat on any flight on the Cathay Pacific website, including on partner airlines.
Standard Flight Award seats will remain, but the airline will scrap its more-expensive Choice and Tailored Flight awards in favour of the flexible new ‘Miles Plus Cash’ payment model.
It means you’re essentially converting your Asia Miles into cash to pay off a standard commercial ticket, rather than snagging a great-value Flight Award, so we expect the equivalent cost to be much higher.
‘Miles Plus Cash’ lets you book any flight, but at a cost
Take the Sydney to Hong Kong route, for example, where a return Business Class Flight Award will set you back 90,000 Asia Miles + taxes. That’s excellent value at a fixed rate.
But since the cash fare costs about A$4,500 return when on sale, we’d expect that the ‘Miles Plus Cash’ option to cost at least 450,000 Asia Miles for the same ticket, depending on the conversion rate at the time.
(That’s assuming you get at least 1c per mile worth of value with this booking, which is still a high estimate).
Asia Miles is playing coy on the conversion rate of miles to cash, stating “the conversion rate may vary by origin, destination, fare, cabin, date or any combination of these factors.”
It’s not a surprising move that Asia Miles is shifting towards a ‘points plus pay’ model. While the number of miles required for flights will undoubtedly be high, it does offer high-spending high-flyers more options with using their miles, as all flights on the Cathay website are eligible.
It could equally be a useful option for those who have a small amount of Asia Miles in their balance but don’t know what to do with it. You’ll need at least 5,000 Asia Miles to start offsetting the cost of your ticket, but getting a small discount is better than letting those miles expire.
Just remember that flights booked through ‘Miles Plus Cash’ will follow the fare rules of a commercial ticket, which may be stricter than Flight Award bookings. If you have the means to save up for a Flight Award, then we still wholeheartedly recommend you do so.
Will you be using the ‘Miles Plus Cash’ option with your Asia Miles balance? Let us know in the comments below.