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Cathay Pacific, the de facto flag carrier in Hong Kong, suffers from no shortage of blog coverage here in the United States. They have a great business- and first-class product, which I hope to try in the future. Dan has flown Cathay business and experienced four of their five (!!!) lounges in HKG, so if you’re looking for a review, look no further.
Today, we’re going to focus on their new credit card, aimed at US consumers, and whether or not it’s worth your time. You can get to the card’s landing page here.
First off, this card is being offered through Synchrony Bank. This is not one of the bigger credit card issuers in the US, which is both a good thing (leaves room for other cards at more popular banks) and a bad thing (Synchrony who?). Beyond that, this card offers some interesting earning possibilities:
- 2 Asia Miles per dollar spent on Cathay Pacific travel/in-flight purchases
- 1.5 Asia Miles per dollar spent on dining in the US or aboard
- 1.5 Asia Miles per dollar spent on purchases outside of the US
- 1 Asia Miles per dollar on all other purchases
It also offers 25,000 points after you spend $2,500 within 90 days, no foreign transaction fees, and complementary enrollment in Cathay’s Marco Polo Club at the Green tier. This card comes with a $95 annual fee, and that fee is NOT waived in the first year.
What’s Marco Polo Club?
Marco Polo Club is one of Cathay’s two loyalty programs (the other being Asia Miles). Per the Cathay website:
Marco Polo Club is the loyalty [program] of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon that is designed to reward our most valuable customers with benefits and services that enhance their travel experience. There are four tiers in the club – Green, Silver, Gold, and Diamond – and each offers its members a range of privileges and benefits that make every journey something to look forward to.
With the Cathay card, your enrollment in the Green tier gets you:
- The ability to redeem points for lounge access, extra legroom seats, and extra baggage;
- More free checked baggage;
- Designated check-in counters; and
- Priority boarding
Normally, this would set you back $100 (not worth it, in my opinion!), but for free, it’s a nice benefit.
25,000 mile bonus?
25,000 Asia Miles aren’t going to get you very far, sadly. Take a look at the award chart:
Even regional flights, like to Saigon or Shanghai are going to set you back 20,000 miles for a roundtrip economy redemption. And San Francisco? That bonus will only cover ~63% of the miles need to get there one-way in economy. In my opinion, you’re better off earning miles through American Express, Citi, or Starwood, and then transferring them to Cathay.
While it’s great to see Cathay add a US credit card, overall, this card isn’t worth a spot in your wallet, even if you travel with Cathay often. You’d be better served with a card that earns convertible points, like the American Express Platinum, which earns five points per dollar on airfare, rather than be locked into earning points with just the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program.
Are you going to be grabbing this card? If so, what will you use the 25,000 points for?