At the beginning of October Cathay Pacific released the details of a range of changes to the Marco Polo Club, their program for status recognition, which kick in from mid April next year.
Thankfully there are no changes to Asia Miles earn or redemption rates (yet), but I figured it was still worth going into some detail on the Marco Polo Club changes as there is the potential to use the Asia Miles and Marco Polo Club programs for points and status earn on Qantas flights, instead of Qantas Frequent Flyer.
This analysis has been written by Mark Ross-Smith who runs flyora.com, and is based on his own deep analysis of the routes that Cathay fly and the new status earn rates. If you’re a frequent Cathay Pacific flyer, it’s worth a read to see if you’re going to be better off under the new changes with Marco Polo Club.
This analysis is best considered along with Mark’s calculator which shows the difference in status earn across all Cathay Pacific routes and fare classes.
Some other key facts about the Marco Polo Club changes:
- Club Points are the new status point currency, removing Club Miles and Club Sectors as used now
- Club Points are determined by airline, cabin booked, fare class and route
- Marco Polo Green membership – for skip the queue status for Cathay flights – increases to $100 USD
- The changes are articulated in more detail over at AusBT.
Now, over to Mark…
How do the Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club changes affect you?
There are winners and losers in every frequent flyer program ‘enhancement’, and I want to save you the legwork by highlighting what the program changes mean in terms of earning and retaining Marco Polo elite status.
To achieve this, I’ve reverse engineered the program qualification levels, earning classes, and flight segments so that the data can be manipulated and ordered so that it’s possible to find the best and worst status earning segments.
Status points earned are on the Y axis, fare class on the X axis. This graph paints a picture of all CX flights, in all eligible booking classes combined to create an average earning level towards status, with old vs new status earn compared.
Top 5 Losing Routes
Top 5 Winning Routes
The overall sentiment of the changes appears to align with Cathay rewarding business & first class passengers.
While there is no sizeable jump in earning capacity towards status in any premium cabin – there is a reasonable pull back at the lower end, especially for medium haul routes to India.
The other clear winners are Marco Polo Club members who book in low fare classes (Q,N,S) that will now earn credit towards status.
Interestingly, I would think first class sectors would be earning near the top of the table. The biggest mover in first class is Hong Kong – Frankfurt with a +31% gain in status earning power.
If you’re a high flyer shelling out the big bucks – this leaves you in a sweet position in that you will earn elite status faster than ever before under the new program changes from April 16, 2016.
Unfortunately if you’re in Premium Economy or lower – your status earning power has been greatly reduced if you’re in anything except some of the cheapest fare buckets (which will now earn status).
What I do find odd is that Cathay didn’t appear to overlay the data for flights/booking classes that earn significantly less and calculate what options these passengers have in terms of other airlines.
I’ve done the math – and if a passenger chooses a competing carrier on an ultra long haul route (likely transit via another Asian city) – there is now scope to earn more points on competing carriers.
Overall, I believe this is a positive result for the majority of Marco Polo Club frequent flyers.
This was originally published at FlyOra.com.