If the majority of your points come from credit card spend, then an Asia miles redemption can be a useful alternative to using Qantas Points, especially since the number of Qantas Points needed for Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class redemptions increased drastically earlier in 2019.
You will have access to all the same oneworld airline partners as Qantas (including Qantas) with Asia miles, but with different pricing and redemption mechanics – and there are some decent deals to be had by looking beyond Qantas Frequent Flyer.
Redeeming Asia miles to the USA – available airlines and routes
Asia miles can be redeemed on Cathay Pacific’s oneworld partners.
Have a read of the last post on using Qantas Points to the US – the same set of airline partners with Asia miles are available as with Qantas Points, with the exception of Jetstar, Fiji Airways and Emirates who don’t partner with Asia miles for redemptions.
As such, I won’t go through all the route and airline combinations in too much detail again. Here is a quick visual summary of the main airline partners and routes from Australia to the US:
In terms of the number of Qantas Points and Asia miles needed, the table below provides a quick comparison for some of these routes, correct from December 2019.
|Route (one way)||Airline / Cabin||Qantas Points||Asia miles (one-way)|
|Sydney, Brisbane||Los Angeles||Qantas Business Class||108,400||75,000|
|Sydney, Brisbane||Los Angeles||Qantas First Class||162,800||120,000|
|Melbourne, Adelaide||Los Angeles||Qantas Business Class||108,400||90,000|
|East Coast||New York||Qantas Business Class||82,000||90,000|
|East Coast||Honolulu||Qantas Business Class||82,000||75,000|
|All Australian ports via Hong Kong||New York||Cathay Pacific Business Class||159,000||85,000|
|All Australian ports via Qatar Airways, Japan Airways||New York||Qatar Airways or Japan Airlines Business Class||159,000||90,000|
As you can see, Asia miles pricing is now always more competitive, on a per-point basis, than when using Qantas Points – especially for non-Qantas Business Class and for all First Class itineraries.
Pricing can be checked using the Asia miles Flight Award Finder (you may need to be logged in).
Qantas Frequent Flyer also tends to pass on more taxes and fuel surcharges than Asia miles, offering better value redemptions (some of the time).
The Asia miles numbers quoted above apply to redemptions on that single particular airline only – it may vary if you are mixing two oneworld airlines.
An itinerary that involves two oneworld airlines excluding Cathay Pacific or three oneworld airlines including Cathay Pacific will fall under a different ‘oneworld Multi-Carrier Award Chart’.
This is priced a bit higher than standard single-airline redemptions but allows you to combine multiple airlines into a long trip up to 50,000 miles. It’s unlikely that you’d need to do this for simple Australia-USA trips though. It applies more to round-the-world bookings.
Things to know when redeeming Asia miles
The full set of Asia miles guides is here, but the essential reading is this post: Tips for booking Asia miles points redemptions, award holds and pricing.
Summing up: use Asia miles to get to the US?
Asia miles are going to primarily be earned by many Australian travellers from credit card spend, although you can earn them from travel on Cathay Pacific and oneworld partners (including Qantas) too.
There are fewer mileage-earning opportunities with Asia miles in Australia outside of flying and credit cards than compared to Qantas Points, so it will be a bit tougher to build up a bigger balance. But the payoff could be worth it, as the redemption rates are a lot lower than Qantas’.
The major flexible points programs in Australia all partner with Asia miles:
- Westpac Altitude Rewards
- American Express Membership Rewards
- ANZ Rewards
- Citi Rewards (for Citi Prestige cardholders)
As a result, I’d suggest there are quite a few more bonus point opportunities from credit card spend which could be transferred to Asia miles than from direct earn Qantas Frequent Flyer cards. Just make sure to pick up the right credit card for your needs.
Asia miles can be a great option for oneworld airline travel in Business and First Class, assuming you can access the currency to earn enough points to redeem for your intended trip.
* Featured image courtesy of Cathay Pacific
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