So You Still Want to Redeem Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for Europe or South America?

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Redeem Cathay Pacific

Some may say I’m a bit obsessed with Cathay Pacific, writing one post after another about something we can’t control or prevent – devaluations. But that’s because the Asia Miles program used to one of the very best, featuring fair award charts and terrific stopover policies (in fairness, it looks like the CX stopovers policy hasn’t been adversely affected so far). Asia Miles are also easy to get (Cathay Pacific is a transferring partner for American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and SPG), plus there is a credit card with a decent 35,000-60,000 miles bonus, although the bonus expires on June 30.

What’s with the Cathay Pacific single partner award chart?

I’ve wanted to wait a few days hoping for more clarity in the partner award scheme. Unfortunately, it hasn’t materialized. There is still no new Single Partner award chart, even though Cathay Pacific promised it would become available on June 22. Instead, they introduced a calculator, which, unlike a chart, is a pain to deal with. Playing with this calculator, I’ve come to some interesting conclusions I’d like to share with you.

Here is the short version

Redeem Cathay Pacific miles for flights to Europe and southern South America from almost anywhere that is NOT the West Coast Ditto for using Asia Miles to fly to Hong Kong FROM the West Coast. It still makes sense compared to the U.S.-based airline award charts.

The long version

If we take British Airlines out of the equation (Cathay Pacific fuel scamcharges added to BA flights are often smaller than BA’s own scamcharges, but still quite high) we are left with the following Cathay Pacific airline partners to Europe:

  • American
  • Iberia
  • Finnair
  • Aer Lingus

Cathay Pacific adds scamcharges to all of these four airlines, but they’re reasonable – less than $200 per round trip. There are other Cathay Pacific partners like Lufthansa and Swiss, but, from what I’ve heard, Cathay Pacific seems to add hundreds in fuel scamcharges to these 2 airlines, so I’m not looking into them.

Below, I’m listing all flights I’ve found between the U.S. and Europe/southern South America on all four airlines. You might want to bookmark this page for future reference.

To redeem Cathay Pacific miles for Europe or Latin America you will usually pay 25,000 miles in Economy and 50,000 miles in Business Class for all the routes below (twice as many for round trip) except the ones in red where you’ll pay 40,000 in Economy and 75,000 miles in Business (twice as many for round trip). The major U.S.-based airlines charge from 55,000 to 70,000 miles, so 75,000 is hardly competitive. Seasonal flights are included.

Flying a Cathay Pacific Single Partner to Europe for 50,000 in Business Class

American Airlines flies to:

  • Prague (from Philadelphia)
  • Paris (from Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York–JFK, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Chicago)
  • Frankfurt (from Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia)
  • Munich (from Philadelphia)
  • Athens (from Philadelphia)
  • Budapest (from Philadelphia)
  • Reykjavik (from Dallas)
  • Dublin (from Philadelphia, Charlotte, Chicago, New York–JFK)
  • Shannon (from Philadelphia)
  • Milan (from Miami, New York–JFK)
  • Rome (from Philadelphia, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York–JFK)
  • Venice (from Chicago, Philadelphia)
  • Amsterdam (from Philadelphia, Dallas/Fort Worth)
  • Lisbon (from Philadelphia)
  • Barcelona (from Miami, New York–JFK, Charlotte, Chicago, Philadelphia)
  • Madrid (from Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York–JFK, Philadelphia, Charlotte)
  • Zurich (from Philadelphia)
  • Edinburgh (from JFK)
  • London (from Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York–JFK, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham)
  • Glasgow (from Philadelphia)
  • Manchester (from Philadelphia, Chicago)

Iberia flies to:

  • Madrid (from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco)

Aer Lingus flies to:

  • Shannon (from New York–JFK, Boston)
  • Dublin (from New York–JFK and EWR, Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington)

Note: some Aer Lingus destinations show as ineligible on the Cathay Pacific website. You’ll need to call.

Finnair flies to:

  • Helsinki (from New York–JFK, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco)

Flying a Cathay Pacific Single Partner to southern South America for 50,000 in Business Class

American Airlines flies to:

  • Rio de Janeiro (from Miami, New York–JFK, Dallas/Fort Worth)
  • Sao Paulo (from Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York–JFK), Santiago (Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami)
  • Buenos Aires (from Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles (begins 12.19.18), Miami, New York–JFK)

LATAM flies to:

  • Rio de Janeiro (from Miami, Orlando)
  • Sao Paulo (from Boston, Miami, New York, Orlando, Las Vegas)
  • Buenos Aires (from New York – JFK, Miami)
  • Santiago (from Los Angeles, Orlando, New York – JFK)

Cathay Pacific Discrimination Against the Americas

It seems that by non-publishing the Single Partner’s award chart, Cathay Pacific has borrowed a page from the Delta book, but that’s not all it did. Basically, the Single Partner’s award chart follows the single Cathay Pacific/Cathay Dragon chart, but it will charge you 5,000 miles more.

redeem Cathay Pacific miles

New Cathay Pacific Award Chart

When you come to this realization, things get easier. You even notice that Cathay Pacific does the same thing with the “LONG–Type 2” award.

Long – Type 2 applies when the mileage distance of either inbound or outbound itinerary falls between 5,001 and 7,500 miles and the origin, destination or turnaround point includes any city in the Americas.

Basically, to redeem Cathay Pacific miles you will pay 50,000 miles (instead of 45,000 miles) for flights between 2,751 and 5,000 miles and 75,000 (instead of 70,000 miles) for flights between 5,001 and 7,500. I’ve confirmed it times and again by throwing different city pairs into the Asia Miles calculator. You will pay 70,000 miles for the same flight distance if it doesn’t include a North American origin or destination. Let’s compare a one way flight between London and Hong Kong on British…

redeem Cathay Pacific miles

The Creat Circle Map distance between London and Hong Kong is about 6,000 miles

… and a similar-length flight between London and Los Angeles (also on British, although the result will be the same on American)

redeem Cathay Pacific miles

The Creat Circle Map distance between London and Los Angeles is about 5,500 miles

As you can see you’ll pay 40,000/75,000 for the latter vs. 35,000/70,000 for the former.

Just another confirmation of my thesis (LOL) that Cathay Pacific discriminates against American travelers.

Oh well!

So I thought I’d ask again: Would you still redeem Cathay Pacific miles for Europe or South America?

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2 Responses to So You Still Want to Redeem Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for Europe or South America?

  1. Juan says:

    Doesn’t make sense to pay the surcharges and extra miles when there are other deals out there.
    What is the best use of the Asia miles then, for someone from the West?

    • Andy Shuman says:

      Deals like what? Far as I know, the only programs that beat 100,000 miles in J to Europe and South America are ANA and JAL. But JAL miles are hard to get, and ANA also add surcharges to most partners. So, not much to choose from.

      Besides, there are no YQ in the Americas.

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