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Asia Miles are the proprietary miles currency of Cathay Pacific Airlines, a oneworld alliance member based out of Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific flies to many destinations from its Southeast Asia hub, but using Asia Miles on partner awards can be one of the more lucrative ways to use your Asia Miles.
How to Get Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles are fairly easy to accumulate. In addition to flying on Cathay Pacific, there are a variety of other ways to get Cathay Pacific miles, even if you’re not currently flying internationally. You can get Asia Miles by flying on its partners such as American Airlines, Alaska Airlines or British Airways. You can also transfer to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles from several transferrable currencies:
- American Express Membership Rewards points
- Citi ThankYou points
- Capital One Venture miles
- Marriott Bonvoy points
Basically everything except Chase Ultimate Rewards. Cathay Pacific also has a co-branded credit card through Synchrony Bank (not an affiliate link). At the time of this writing, it’s offering 40,000 Asia Miles but it has gone as high as 50,000 miles in the past. My wife and I both signed up for the card a few years ago, so we each have about 53,000 Asia Miles.
Do Asia Miles Points Expire?
Historically, Asia Miles expired after 3 years of inactivity, regardless of any activity. That meant that there was no good way to extend the expiration of your Asia Miles. Cathay Pacific changed their expiration policy back in December 2019, moving to an inactivity policy, which is much more common in the miles and points world. It meant that miles earned don’t expire if there’s any activity in an 18-month period. What I didn’t realize then is that this was not a retroactive policy. Instead, any miles earned before January 1, 2020, still expire after 36 months, no matter if there is activity or not.
I thought I’d be able to simply transfer 1,000 Membership Rewards or ThankYou points to my Asia Miles account in order to keep the Asia Miles active, but that doesn’t seem like it will work.
What to Do With Expiring Asia Miles
So, what can you do with expiring Asia Miles? First, the good news is if your miles were earned on or after January 1, 2020, you can easily extend them by just transferring over some Membership Rewards or ThankYou points, like I mentioned earlier.
If you’re in the same boat as me, here are a few ideas I thought of. I figured I’d share and see if anyone else has better ideas.
My first thought — and really the best use of Asia Miles — would be to use them to fly either Cathay Pacific or partner airlines. Cathay Pacific actually has an amazing award chart with a ton of good value.
The problem is that I don’t see myself flying anywhere any time soon. Certainly not by the end of May, which is when they expire.
You can “renew” your miles, which will transfer them from the old system into the new system of expiration. That would be a fantastic option except … it’s $20 for every 2,000 miles.
I have no plans to spend more than $2,000 to extend both my and my wife’s miles. There are also a variety of “lifestyle awards” and transfers to random Hong Kong programs that also seem like pretty bad ideas.
So unless anyone here has better suggestions, my best thought is to book a flight before my miles expire. If I can find something that I think that we might actually be able to use, that would be best. If I can’t find anything like that, then my best idea is to book a flight that I think has a high chance of being canceled or changed. Something with a lot of connections maybe? I’m not sure — I’ll have to think about that. Then, I hope that the flight gets canceled or drastically changed. Once the flight is canceled, I think (hope?) the Asia Miles that will be refunded to me will be the “new” miles that don’t expire as long as there is some activity.
The Bottom Line on the New Asia Miles Expiration Policy
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles changed their expiration policy in January 2020 to one where Asia Miles don’t expire with any activity within 18 months. But any miles earned BEFORE January 2020 still expire after 36 months, regardless of activity.
Between my wife and I, we have more 100,000 Asia Miles expiring in a few months and we’re trying to figure out how to not let them go to waste.
Anyone else in this situation? What would you do with expiring Asia Miles?
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