The Best Ways To Earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles In 2019

Asia Miles is the rewards and miles earning program of Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific. It is a top choice for flyers in Asia, with a strong network of partners there, but also popular elsewhere due it its great redemption options. This article looks at the best ways to earn Asia miles – from flying, credit card transfers and elsewhere.

Cathay Pacific A350
Asia Miles – the miles programs of Cathay Pacific. Photo: Cathay Pacific

Earning from flying Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon

The most obvious way to earn miles is by flying the host carrier – Cathay Pacific and its subsidiary Cathay Dragon. Mileage earning is based on the ticket booking code / class and the flight distance. Asia Miles has not switched to a revenue based earning system as several other airlines have (including Oneworld partner American Airlines). All mileage continues to be earned based on distance.

Mileage earning was changed in 2018 – in our opinion to a more complex and less transparent system. Asia Miles switched from using a simple percentage rate of the distance flown to a chart based zone / destination system. The general idea is still the same – you will earn at least 25% of miles flown for the lower economy tickets and 100% and above for full fare economy and premium cabins. But instead of being able to calculate this, you now need to rely on the Asia Miles tables and calculator to show how many miles will be earned.

Earning Asia Miles
Earning Asia Miles with Cathy Pacific – Economy Class. Image: Asia Miles
Asia miles earning
The earnings rate for Cathay Pacific Business Class. Image: Asia Miles

One important point to note about Asia Miles earnings is that they award for the lower booking classes of M, L, V, S, N and Q. If these booking classes with Cathay are credited to other Oneworld programs, they do not usually earn any miles.

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Earning Asia Miles with other airline partners

One of the strengths of the Asia Miles scheme is its wide range of partner airlines. Cathay Pacific is a member of the Oneworld alliance, and as such miles can be earned from flights with all Oneworld carriers. Unusually for an alliance member airline, the scheme goes much further and includes an additional 12 major non-Oneworld airlines.

Oneworld airlines. Image: Oneworld

Partner airlines include all Oneworld airlines:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • Latam Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • Sri Lankan Airlines

And also additional non-Oneworld partners:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Canada
  • Air New Zealand
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Air China
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Bangkok Airways
  • Gulf Air
  • Jet Airways
  • Lufthansa
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Swiss
Alaska Airlines
Earn Asia Miles with a wide variety of partner airlines including Alaska Airlines. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Miles earned vary between all airlines. Mileage rates are all based on the flight distance and booking code, using a percentage of the total flight miles as earned miles. As with flights with Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, this is usually a minimum of 25% for discount economy (but watch out for the lowest classes which do not earn with some airlines), and 100-150% for premium cabins.

There are tables and information published on the Asia Miles website, but the best way to work out how many miles a flight will earn is to use the calculator tool. Be aware that some non-Oneworld partners have restrictions on which routes are eligible for mileage earning.

Earn Asia Miles from BA flights
Earn Asia Miles from BA flights – earnings table. Image: Asia Miles

Transferring miles from financial rewards schemes

Other than flying, one of the best ways to build up Asia Miles is by transferring in from other programs. Members based outside of Asia in particular can take advantage of this method to access Asia Miles and its great airline redemption options, whilst crediting flights to other airline programs where they wish to build up status.

Asia Miles is a partner of three leasing financial rewards scheme – more than most frequent flier programs. Points earned (typically from credit card spend) can be transferred into Asia Miles from the following programs:

  • American Express Membership Rewards. Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ration to Asia Miles.
  • Citi Thankyou Rewards. Points transfer to Asia Miles at 1:1, in multiple of 1,000 points.
  • Capital One Venture Miles. Venture Miles can be transferred to Asia Miles at a ratio of 2:1.5 (so 10,000 miles transfers to 7,500 Asia Miles).
American Express Platinum
Transfer American Express Membership Reward Points to Asia Miles. Image: Simple Flying

Transfer miles from Marriott Bonvoy, and others

Another good way to build up Asia Miles is by transferring from the Marriott Bonvoy program. Miles here can be earned from hotel stays or from credit card spend with affiliated credit cards.

Points transfer to Asia Miles at a ratio of 3:1. In addition, there is a 5,000 mile bonus for every 60,000 Bonvoy points transferred.

Marriott Bonvoy
Transfer from Marriott Bonvoy to Asia Miles. Image: Marriott

Transfers are also possible from some other major hotel programs, including Hilton Honors, Best Western Rewards and IHG Rewards Club. Rates here are less favorable, and not a good deal in our opinion. Hilton Honors Points, for example, transfer at a 10:1 ratio. But as always if you have a specific Asia Miles target in mind, and a healthy source of hotel points, these can still be a good deal!

Using an Asia Miles branded credit card – only for Hong Kong

Asia Miles offers two main co-branded credit cards – the American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card and the Standard Chartered Asia Miles MasterCard. These are only available to those based in Hong Kong.

Rewards are good – a sign on bonus of up to 154,000 miles with the American Express card, and 40,000 miles with the Standard Chartered card. And ongoing rewards of at least one mile per six Hong Kong Dollars with both cards.

Earning miles from hotel stays

One of the best ways to earn miles, aside from flights and transfers from other programs, is through hotel stays. Asia Miles has partnerships with many hotel programs and earning miles here should be no problem for the frequent traveler! The hotel partner list is huge – bigger than most other airline programs! It includes many Asian based hotel chains as well as the larger international ones.

Asia Miles hotel partners
A selection of Asia Miles hotel partners. Image: Asia Miles

Miles are either earned per night or per stay, or based on the total spend. The vast majority of hotels earn miles per stay – typically 250 or 500 miles per stay – clearly a better deal for short stays! Some of the main international hotel partners include Best Western, Hyatt Hotels, IHG, Marriott and Radisson. These all earn points per stay, except Marriott which awards two miles per dollar spent.

For full details of partners and the earnings rate for each, see the details on the Asia Miles website.

Earning from hotel stays booked through Agoda

It is also possible to earn Asia Miles from booking through online travel agent Agoda. This may offer better rates than the chains direct (though note you would not normally receive any hotel status benefits if booking this way), and also opens up a wide variety of non-chain properties.

Miles are earned through the Agoda ‘PointsMax’ scheme. Simply select this when searching for properties, and booking rates will be shown including bonus Asia Miles. There are often several rate options with different awards – check them carefully to make sure you get the best value!

Agoda booking
Earn Asia Miles with Agoda bookings. Image: Agoda

Earning miles from car rentals

Asia Miles can be also earned from car rentals. These are awarded either per rental or based on total spend. Check full details on the Asia Miles website.

Partners include:

  • Alamo: 500 miles per rental
  • Avis: From 500 miles per rental (250 miles for contract rates)
  • Budget: 500 miles per rental
  • Europcar: 500 miles per rental
  • Hertz: 500 miles per rental outside Asia, 250 miles within Asia
  • National: 500 miles per renta
  • Rentalcars.com: Two miles per 10 Hong Kong Dollars (or equivalent)
  • Sixt: 500 mile per rental, 1000 miles per chauffeur booking
  • Zuzuche.com (mainland China agency): Three miles per 10 Renminbi (or equivalent)

There are often some good bonuses in place, these will be advertised on the Asia Miles website and are usually sent out by email if you have your account subscribed to receive offers.

Asia Miles and Avis
Avis bonus earning offer with Asia Miles. Image: Asia Miles

Earning miles from shopping

Asia Miles has a shopping portal. This works much the same way as other shopping and cashback portals, where you click through to online merchants to earn miles for completed purchases. The majority of the options, however, are local to Hong Kong, and use elsewhere is quite limited.

Asia Miles shopping
Earn miles through shopping. Image: Asia Miles

Earn miles from dining

Asia Miles operates a dining program, known as ‘Dine and Earn.’ This awards Asia Miles based on total spend at a wide range of restaurants, with a range of bonuses and promotions as well.

This is focused on Hong Kong and Asia (mainly Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore) though – it is not international.

Asia Miles Dine and Earn
Earn miles with Asia Miles Dine and Earn. Image: Asia Miles

Final thoughts

Asia Miles is a great rewards program. There are plenty of ways to earn points to allow access to some excellent value redemptions. Many of the options are focused on Hong Kong and Asia (such as shopping, dining and branded credit card spend), and this is a great scheme for those based there!

But travelers based anywhere can still build up plenty of miles with flight credits, hotels and cars, and transfers from other partners. Asia Miles is very strong here with extensive flight and hotel partners, as well as one of the best sets of transfer partners of any program. It is quite common to build up miles in the program this way, to allow access to their airline redemption options, whilst using another airline program as the main point for crediting flights and building status.

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