Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles valuation can be summed up pretty concisely with one sentence. Fantastic on their metal, terrible on anyone else’s. When we first started taking a look at their award availability as it pertained to our basket of hypothetical redemptions, we were very impressed. That, as it turns out, is because step 1 is quoting intra regional city pairs. As Cathay flys to most major Asia/Pacific hubs, award availability was great. However, once we started looking at availability to North America, specifically cities that Cathay does not directly fly to, things turned south. However, even with terrible availability on Oneworld partners, Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles fared well. This month, we assigned an ACRV of $0.0113.
|Intra-Asia Non-zero Average||0.0235|
|International Non-zero Average||0.0233|
|Overall Non-zero Average||$0.0234|
Taking a look at the chart above, we can see that when there is availability, almost always on Cathay metal, value is excellent.
Cathay’s award booking system looks crude, but it’s actually very good. The interface feels very utilitarian, like what you would expect a booking agent at some reservation desk to be looking at. Visual appeal aside, it’s quick and intuitive. This is highly contrasted to many airlines, which appear to spend plenty of money on graphic designers, and not much on developers. Looking at you Aegean.
Between the redemption count above and the best/worst chart below, we can easily see there is a ton of value to wring out of Asia Miles if one is willing to be a little flexible. Our best award for the month came from a business class ticket quoted for 45,000 miles + $94.88. The lowest priced cash alternative was $3,589.00, providing an award value of $0.078/mile. Furthermore, there were a full 3 redemptions in our exceptional category(>$0.06).
Cathay is currently a transfer partner of Amex, Citi and SPG. In many ways, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines are direct competitors. It would be nice if the former could follow the latter’s lead into the Ultimate Reward family. Gripes aside, Cathay’s Asia Miles offer great potential for those who are part of a participating credit card award program, especially if one happens to live in a US gateway served by the carrier.