Until January 31, 2021, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is offering a 10% or 15% bonus whenever you convert your credit card points into Asia Miles under their new “Miles of Possibilities” promotion.
Asia Miles had also offered a similar 10% bonus back in January 2020, so this is a repeat round with the added possibility of being targeted for a higher 15% bonus.
Let’s take a closer look at the “Miles of Possibilities” promotion and all the sweet spots, which are now 10% or 15% sweeter than usual, that you can benefit from.
Register for the Promotion
In order to benefit from the 10% or 15% bonus, you’ll need to register beforehand. Simply head to this page on the Asia Miles website, enter your last name, membership number, and email address, and you’re all set.
Upon registering, you’ll find out whether you’ve been lucky enough to be targeted for the 15% conversion bonus, or whether you’ll only get a 10% bonus.
Needless to say, if you’re playing the game in two-player mode, then be sure to register all Asia Miles accounts within your household to maximize your chances of receiving the 15% bonus on one of the accounts.
However, keep in mind that Asia Miles is generally very strict about matching the names and addresses when converting points, so you won’t be able to transfer one person’s MR points or Avion points into another person’s Asia Miles account or vice versa.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Conversion Ratios
As it concerns Canadians, the major points programs and optimal transfer ratios that allow you to earn Asia Miles are as follows:
Amex MR: 1,000 MR points = 750 Asia Miles
Amex US MR: 1,000 US MR points = 1,000 Asia Miles
RBC Avion: 1,000 RBC Avion points = 1,000 Asia Miles (must convert a minimum of 10,000 RBC Avion points)
HSBC Rewards: 25,000 HSBC Rewards points = 8,000 Asia Miles
With the 10% or 15% bonus in place, these ratios are therefore boosted to the following levels until January 31, 2021:
Amex MR: 1,000 MR points = 825 or 863 Asia Miles
Amex US MR: 1,000 US MR points = 1,100 or 1,150 Asia Miles
RBC Avion: 1,000 RBC Avion points = 1,100 or 1,150 Asia Miles
HSBC Rewards: 25,000 HSBC Rewards points = 8,800 or 9,200 Asia Miles
Among the Canadian financial partners, I’d consider RBC Avion to be the “best” way to accumulate Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, followed by Amex MR (mainly because MR points can also be transferred to other programs at a better 1:1 ratio) and then HSBC Rewards.
If you have US credit cards issued by Citi or Capital One, then those points conversions would also be eligible for this 10% or 15% Asia Miles bonus.
Meanwhile, as I understand it, the scope of this promotion only includes transfers from credit card partners and not hotel partners, so it doesn’t seem like Marriott Bonvoy conversions to Asia Miles would be eligible.
Note that the promotion is explicitly limited to converting credit card points to Asia Miles, and excludes the miles you might earn as part of a signup bonus or on regular purchases on the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum. Incidentally, this also makes it strictly optimal to use the RBC Avion Visa Infinite over the RBC Cathay Pacific card on your purchases this month, since you’re effectively earning 1.1 or 1.15 Asia Miles per dollar spent by doing so with this promotion in place.
In my experience, points transfers from Amex US MR to Asia Miles have been instantaneous; meanwhile, transferring from the Canadian currencies has always resulted in a delay of 3–5 business days.
You’ll also want to make sure that the names and addresses on both the sending and receiving accounts match with each other, as there have been several data points on RBC Avion transfers, in particular, being delayed due to mismatches in the systems.
The promotion page specifies that the bonus miles would be credited to your Asia Miles account within 8–10 weeks of the transfer. In practice, I expect it to take less time than that, but this likely means that you wouldn’t be able to make a booking with your bonus miles immediately after initiating the transfer.
What Are the Best Sweet Spots?
I’ve written a detailed post on the best sweet-spot redemptions via Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, and the 10% or 15% conversion bonus only makes them even more compelling.
As a reminder, here is the Asia Miles award chart for standard one-way awards. Importantly, a one-way award may consist of at most two segments, and as of April 2020 there is no stopover permitted at the intermediate point. This limits your ability to customize the routing and restricting your journey to the major Oneworld hubs.
As a result, many of Asia Miles’s sweet spots are largely concentrated on flying in premium cabins with Oneworld airlines, some of which happen to be among the world’s best.
If your journey solely involves Cathay Pacific flights, then it’ll be subject to the award chart above.
Meanwhile, if there is a single partner airline involved, you’ll get charged 5,000 more Asia Miles than the above chart for economy, premium economy, and business, and 10,000 more Asia Miles than the above chart for First Class (the exception is the Medium distance zone for partners, which now requires 61,000 and 82,000 miles for business and First Class respectively).
My preferred use of Asia Miles would be to redeem them for business class or First Class flights on Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines, both of which come with reasonable fuel surcharges and allow for generous routings.
For example, you could book an award from Toronto to Hong Kong to Johannesburg in Cathay Pacific business class for 85,000 Asia Miles. The Hong Kong–Johannesburg flight restarts in April 2021, and transiting through Hong Kong is currently allowed as long as you’re travelling on a single ticket.
(Note that ever since the one-way stopovers were eliminated, the Asia Miles website sometimes struggles to book “ultra-long” awards directly online. You may book these awards either through the Asia Miles contact centre or over live chat on the Asia Miles website.)
Assuming you are targeted for the 15% conversion bonus, that’s equivalent to either 98,600 Amex MR points, 74,900 Amex US MR points, or 74,900 RBC Avion points (or a mixed portfolio of the above).
74,900 Avion points for business class all the way to South Africa? That’s a pretty great deal – especially considering the fact that a program like Aeroplan, as a point of comparison, would charge you 85,000+ points for the same journey.
As the cherry on top, Asia Miles members generally have access to a much wider range of Cathay Pacific First Class and business class availability than other partners like Alaska Mileage Plan, and I’ve found that as long as you’re somewhat flexible within the span of a few days, you’re quite likely to find a few seats in at least business class from most of the North American gateways.
Replace the above examples with the ever-excellent Japan Airlines for only 5,000–10,000 Asia Miles more: 90,000 or 135,000 Asia Miles for an “ultra-long” journey in business class or First Class, respectively.
Qatar Airways Qsuites for 90,000 Asia Miles could also be on the cards, but their fuel surcharges are generally hefty (think $500+ per direction), so you’d want to originate in one of the low-surcharge countries to make it worth your while.
Then we have the Asia Miles multi-carrier award, which can be incredibly lucrative for extensive round-the-world travel with an allowance of five stopovers and two open-jaws – although it’s the type of travel that you’d be more likely to book in future years, when the pandemic has passed us by and the world has opened up again.
A comprehensive world trip to all six continents, involving almost 35,000 miles in distance flown, would cost you 130,000 Asia Miles in economy class or 210,000 Asia Miles in business class; from the perspective of RBC Avion collectors, that corresponds to 113,100 Avion points or 182,700 Avion points under the 15% bonus, respectively.
There’s a mixed and multitudinous range of even more compelling sweet spots hidden within the Asia Miles program, so I encourage you to play around with the search engine and figure out what kinds of creative routings may be booked.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Asia Miles has improved their mileage expiry policy as of 2020. Whereas in the past, your miles would expire within 36 months of earning them, nowadays they’ll be safe as long as you have activity in your account within a rolling 18-month period.
It therefore makes sense to transfer over some Asia Miles under this 10% or 15% promotion as long as you can see yourself taking aim for one of the sweet spots we discussed sometime in the foreseeable future.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles’s “Miles of Possibilities” campaign is offering a blanket 10% or 15% bonus on all incoming credit card points transfers until January 31, 2021. You’ll find out whether you were targeted at the 10% or 15% level upon registering for the promotion.
With three financial partners in Canada (and even more in the US) allowing you to earn Asia Miles, this promotion is a great opportunity to top-up your balance and accelerate your progress towards booking a memorable trip in the future using one of the program’s many sweet spots.