UPDATE 9 July 2021: Cathay Pacific announced a new master brand called Cathay, with plans to merge Asia Miles and Marco Polo Club into a single programme come early 2022. Read more here.
Singapore-based members who are very familiar with Krisflyer (Mainly Miles has an incredibly resourceful guide) may fumble at the first glance of Asia Miles.
Asia Miles is atravel rewards programme, a fully-owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific Group. Members of Asia Miles can earn miles through everyday activities such as dining, hotel stays and flights, and use the miles for flights, hotel stays, and even lifestyle goods.
Marco Polo Club (MPC) is Cathay Pacific’s loyalty programme, rewarding frequent flyers with perks as they move through the tiers by accumulating club points. When you accumulate enough club points, you will get to a certain tier which will give you extra benefits from extra checked baggage allowances to lounge access.
While Asia Miles is free to join and use, there is a first-time joining fee of USD100 for MPC, payable every year unless you earn a minimum of 20 club points, which can be earned rather easily with any return flight from Singapore to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific.
Note that club points cannot really be used to redeem for anything; these club points are simply a count on how much you fly in a year. For those familiar with Qantas Frequent Flyer and British Airways’ Executive Club, the club points are synonymous with status credits and tier points respectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have included some Asia Miles 101 FAQs below, so you can either click directly to it or slowly read through this lengthy article.
- What’s the difference between Asia Miles and Marco Polo Club? Are they the same?
- How do I earn Asia Miles?
- Can I transfer credit card points to Asia Miles?
- What can I use my Asia Miles for?
- How much is one Asia Mile worth?
- What are the different statuses you can achieve with Marco Polo Club?
- How do I earn status with oneworld?
What’s the difference between Asia Miles and Marco Polo Club? Are they the same?
Asia Miles is a travel rewards programme, meaning you get miles (the programme currency) for your activities, i.e. flying with Cathay Pacific, dining, credit card points, etc. This is a free programme, similar to Krisflyer. There are no tiers or levels in this programme – everyone earns at the same rate, and uses the same redemption charts.
Marco Polo Club (MPC) is Cathay Pacific’s loyalty programme, which give you status points (Club Points) when you travel with them or other oneworld airlines. There’s no other way to earn Club Points. There is also an annual fee of USD100 to join the MPC, but this can be waived if you earn at least 20 Club Points in any programme year.
How do I earn Asia Miles?
There are several ways to earn Asia Miles.
Flights: This is the most straightforward way. Flying with Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon or oneworld airlines will earn you both Asia Miles and Marco Polo Club points.
Cathay Pacific has moved towards a fixed miles award system since 2018, so the amount of miles you earn from flying depends on (i) the fare class of your ticket,and (ii) which distance category your journey fall into.
This is the chart:
Hotels: Asia Miles also partners many hotel partners that allow you to convert your hotel loyalty points to Asia Miles.
Some examples below:
- LeClub Accor: 2 points to 1 Asia Mile
- Hilton Honors: 10 points to 1 Asia Mile
- World of Hyatt: 2.5 points to 1 Asia Mile OR 500 Asia Miles per stay
- IHG Rewards Club: 5 points to 1 Asia Mile OR 500 Asia Miles per stay
- Marriott Rewards: 3 points to 1 Asia Mile, bonus of 5,000 Asia Miles for every 60,000 points converted; OR 1 Asia Mile per USD2 spent on stay
And many more. For more details, refer to Asia Miles website.
Credit Cards: Asia Miles is probably the second most accessible mileage conversion programme after Krisflyer in Singapore. Many credit card rewards programme in Singapore will allow you to transfer your points to Asia Miles. See more details in the question below.
Of course, there are other ways to earn Asia Miles, including car rentals and other obscure manners which I will not cover. For details, refer to the Asia Miles website.
Can I transfer credit card points to Asia Miles?
Credit Cards: Asia Miles is probably the second most accessible mileage conversion programme after Krisflyer in Singapore. Many credit card rewards programme in Singapore will allow you to transfer your points to Asia Miles.
For starters, some of the most widely-used miles earning credit cards are existing partners of Asia Miles:
- UOB PRVI MasterCard
- UOB PRVI Amex
- DBS Altitude Visa
- BOC Elite Miles MasterCard
- Citibank PremierMiles
- Citibank Rewards
- Standard Chartered Visa Infinite
- American Express Platinum Credit Card, and many more.
Most bank programmes in Singapore already have Asia Miles have a conversion partner, and the rates are similar to what you get with Krisflyer.
From time to time, Asia Miles run targeted offers to encourage members to transfer to Asia Miles. For instance, DBS was running a 15% bonus offer to transfer DBS reward points to Asia Miles in early 2019, so you shouldn’t rule out similar offers in future.
What can I use my Asia Miles for?
Asia Miles can obviously be used to redeem for Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon and many oneworld flights, including those operated by Qantas, Japan Airlines and American Airlines. For more details on redeeming flights on Cathay Pacific, as well as tips and tricks, click here (coming soon).
Beyond the oneworld alliance, Asia Miles has also gotten some other partner airlines on board, including Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines and Lufthansa.
On top of that, like many other airline frequent flyer programme, you can also use your Asia Miles for hotel stays, attractions, and lifestyle awards, although these are really not the best way to use your miles.
One unique proposition of Asia Miles is the ability to use your miles for Asian pop concerts, typically held in Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan. Some of the concerts that you could previously book for included Andy Lau, Khalil Fong and Mayday. The redemption rates are not that cost effective – for instance, a Mayday concert going for JPY12,800 (~SGD158) was going for 24,000 miles, working out to 0.6 cents per mile, which is not a great use of miles unless tickets are sold out everywhere else.
How much is one Asia Mile worth?
This is a perennial question on top of everyone’s mind – how much is one mile worth?
The usual answer will be: it depends.
For an economy class redemption (which is highly not recommended), the value can go down as low as under 1 cent, to over 3 cents.
Business class redemptions can range between 3-6 cents per mile, depending on destination, airline and dates.
First class redemptions can go as high as 10 cents per mile, but not likely achievable given that the inventory is typically limited.
Of course, the above valuation is a simple one: it takes the commercial value of the ticket, divided by the number of miles required for a similar class of travel. There’s also the other school of thought on how much you are willing to pay for the ticket, that’s probably closer to the actual value you attach to a mile.
What are the different statuses you can achieve with Marco Polo Club?
Marco Polo Club offers four tiers to its members: Green, Silver, Gold and Diamond. Green is the entry level tier, while Silver, Gold and Diamond comes in after accumulating Club Points within a programme year.
To requalify for Green each year, you will need to accumulate 20 club points each year. That’s pretty simple – the cheapest return economy fare from Singapore to Hong Kong that’s eligible for Asia Miles will get you 20 club points. If you fail to earn at least 20 club points, note that you will have to pay the USD100 fee in lieu of it.
Silver, Gold and Diamond will come at 300, 600 and 1,200 club points respectively. That sounds like an awful lot but trust me, there are too many diamond members in the programme.
One important thing to note if you are starting from the bottom (i.e. Green): each time you reach a new tier, your club point resets. So if you are starting from Green and wants to achieve Gold or Diamond within a single year, you will need 900 club points for Gold, and 2,100 club points for Diamond. Ridiculous, I know.
For a summary of what Asia Miles can be used for and what each MPC tier offers, see the table below:
How do I earn status with oneworld?
Silver, Gold and Diamond also correspond to oneworld’s Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald status respectively, which standardises the tiers across its member airlines. This also means you get corresponding benefits when travelling with oneworld member airlines. For instance, if you are an MPC Diamond, you will be treated like a Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum member when you travel with Qantas.