Make the most of your frequent flying by earning Marco Polo Club points and Asia Miles, and spending them on more than just flight rewards.
- Best Transpacific Airline 2015 - Skytrax World Airline Awards
- Best First Class Amenity Kit & Lounge 2015 - Australian Business Traveller Awards
- Best Frequent Flyer Programme 2015 - Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Awards
- Best Airline Lounge in Asia-Pacific 2015 - Business Traveller Asia-Pacific Awards
Cathay Pacific has come a long way since it started operations in 1946, and like most prominent airlines, it offers flyers the opportunity to participate in its frequent flyer program, the Marco Polo Club.
Membership for this program comes in multiple tiers, and members can look forward to reservation and check-in benefits as well as baggage privileges and lounge access. Members can accumulate points and Asia Miles through different means so you can fly with more than 20 Asia Miles partner airlines as well as earn rewards.
What is the Marco Polo program and how does it work?
The Marco Polo Club offers members a number of air travel related benefits, and this program, in addition to Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, also gives members the ability to earn points through the ‘oneworld alliance’ that comprises of airlines such as British Airways, American Airlines, Qantas, Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines.
This program comes with multiple tiers, and getting through these tiers depends on how frequently you fly, where more flying results in higher tiers. Higher tiers of course, give you access to more rewards.
- Membership tiers. This program consists of four tiers, and these tiers progress from Green, for entry level members, to Silver, Gold, and Diamond. Membership status changes when there is an adequate increase in either club miles or club sectors, and this increase needs to take place every membership year. Resetting both, club miles and club sectors, takes place at the end of each membership year. Please see the table below of membership thresholds.
|Tiers||Club miles (longer flights)||Club sectors (shorter flights)||Oneworld membership tier|
- Benefits of a higher status level. Higher tiers come with increased benefits. For example, members in the top tier, Diamond, can access guaranteed business class seats on Cathay Pacific flights up to 24 hours before departure, and this benefit is not available to members of other tiers. Tier levels play a role in how much extra luggage you can carry, lounge access and check-in privileges, preferred seating and boarding.
How to earn Marco Polo Asia Miles
Marco Polo Club members can earn air miles through its Asia Miles travel reward program, and you can use accumulated points for companion tickets, upgrades and flight awards. Earning these miles is rather straightforward; buyers earn miles when they fly and when they use services of more than 500 partners spread over nine categories.
Those flying first class earn 150% of the actual miles they fly; business class flyers, 125%; premium economy class flyers, 110%; and economy class flyers, 25%, 50%, or 100%. What members need to bear in mind, though, is that the miles earned depend on eligible class fares.
- Partner airlines. In addition to earning miles when you fly with Cathay Pacific, you also earn miles when you fly with any of its airline partners, and its long list of airline partners include Aer Lingus, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Dragonair, Finnair, Gulf Air, Jet Airways, Qantas, Royal Brunei Airlines, S7 Airlines, and AirBerlin.
- Hotel partners. Marco Polo Club members can earn Asia Miles when they stay with select hotels, the world over. Hotel partners include names like Accor, Fairmont, Hilton, Hyatt, Jinling, Jumeirah, Marriott, Park Plaza, Radisson, Shangri-La, Starwood, Taj, and more.
- Other partners. In addition to airline, credit card, and hotel partners, Marco Polo Club members can also earn Asia Miles when buying duty-free products onboard Cathay Pacific and Dragonair flights, when dining with more than 300 global dining partners, and when buying cosmetics through online merchants on the Asia Miles iShop.
- Linked credit cards. American Express Cathay Pacific Credit Card, American Express Cathay Pacific Corporate Card, and American Express Charge and Credit Card holders can earn miles in different ways. ANZ credit cardholders also qualify, where they can convert their reward points to miles. Credit cards issued by establishments like Citibank, HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Westpac also qualify to earn miles.
Associated Asia Miles airlines:
|Air China||British Airways||JALways||Qantas Airways|
|American Airlines®||Finnair||Jet Airways||Vietnam Airlines|
|Gulf Air||Dragonair||J-Air||Royal Jordanian Airlines|
|Alaska Airlines||Japan Airlines||LAN||Flying with Cathay Pacific|
|China Eastern Airlines||JAL Express||Mexicana Airlines|
|Iberia||Japan Transocean Air||Malév Hungarian Airlines|
Cathay Pacific services 115 destinations on five continents, however its strength lies in its well developed Asian network. Cathay Pacific has its hub in Hong Kong, but if you are a frequent traveller to Singapore, Bangkok or Hong Kong using the Cathay Pacific services is the best way to build up your Asia miles. This does not mean you are limited to Cathay Pacific when flying to Asia simply that it is your best first choice, many of the partner airlines will still provide Asia miles points no matter where you are flying, which is one of the great benefits of this rewards program.
Comparison of credit cards allowing you to transfer points to Marco Polo
Related: Transfer your points to Asia MilesBack to top
Where can I redeem Marco Polo Asia Miles?
With more than 19,000 Asia Miles, you have various options in redeeming your miles, and these include flight rewards the include flight tickets and upgraded fares, as well as lifestyle rewards.
- Flights. With sufficient Asia Miles you can get flight tickets, and these include both, one way and return tickets. The process to redeem miles for tickets is fairly simple; you start by calculating the number of miles you require using Marco Polo’s ‘flight reward calculator’. Redeeming accumulated miles follows a separate process for Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Dragonair, and British Airways, and a separate one for all other participating airlines.
- Upgraded fares. As a Marco Polo Club member you have the option of upgrading your ticket by a class through the use of your Asia Miles. For example, you can upgrade from economy to premium economy, from premium economy to business, from business to first, and even from economy to business in flights that do not offer premium economy.
- Hotel award offers. There are over 60,000 hotels that you can redeem your Asia miles for including: W London Leicester Square, Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Le Meridian Piccadilly, the Stafford London by Kempinski, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park and the Langham London.
- Car rental awards. A range of car rental services you can redeem for; book your reservations and receive confirmations in real time.
- Lifestyle awards. You'll also be able to choose from thousands of products, bit on exciting experiences as well as donate them to a good cause.
Marco Polo rewards
Lifestyle awards or rewards give you the option of using your miles beyond the realm of flight tickets. Asia Miles iRedeem, for example, gives you the ability to shop for different products and services that belong to categories like travel, gourmet and wine, entertainment and events, electronics and accessories, home and kids, and so on. Asia Miles iAuction is an online platform where Marco Polo Club members can bid on rewards like exclusive dinners, holiday packages, electronic gadgets and sports memorabilia.
Members can also donate their miles through Asia Miles for Charity and the environment, a platform that works in directing your miles to charities that put them to good use. Through this, your Asia Miles can help charities in mobilising volunteers, aid workers, and doctors, and they can also play a role in providing free travel to elderly who wish to visit their relatives.Back to top
How does Marco Polo compare to other frequent flyer programs?
When you join the Marco Polo Club you get automatic membership to Asia Miles, an unaffiliated program linked to the Marco Polo Club. Members, in addition to qualifying for flight rewards, as is the case with most other frequent flyer programs, also have the ability to spend their miles on products not related to flying.
- Points expiry. Points in your Marco Polo Club membership start accumulating from the day you join and continue to accumulate for exactly a year from that date. At the end of one year, any remaining points are lost. The miles that you collect through Asia Miles are valid for three years, and this is from the month the miles enter your account. What helps is the fact that you can have your miles extended for three more years, and this happens in blocks of 2,000 miles, charged at USD 12.00 per block, approximately AUD 12.70.
- Status comparison. Although membership to the Marco Polo club comes at a price, every flight that you take with either Cathay Pacific or any of oneworld’s participating airlines contributes towards raising your membership status through its four tiers. Compared to other frequent flyer programs, Marco Polo’s tier status are similar.
Let’s compare the amount of Status Credits earned on a one-way, full-fare economy class flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.
|Status credits earned||Status credits needed for Silver membership||Other requirements||Annual requirements to maintain silver level|
|Virgin Velocity||100||250||Two eligible sectors||Earn 200 Status Credits and fly two eligible sectors|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||90||300||Four eligible Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar flights||Earn 250 credits per 12 month period and four eligible flights|
|Cathay Pacific Marco Polo||7.5||20||N/A||Earn 20 credits per 12 month period|
Pros and cons of the Marco Polo program
The Marco Polo Club program ranks fairly well in comparison to other frequent flyer programs and while it comes with its share of pros there are certain drawbacks you should know about as well.
- Marco Polo and Asia Miles, together, give you the ability to redeem your miles for an assortment of flight rewards, and that members have numerous options to choose from when it comes to earning and spending partners is a definite plus. The fact that members can extend the validity of their miles is another distinct benefit.
- The fact that accumulated miles expire in three years is a drawback, and the joining fee, in case you don’t have a suitable credit card, is something you should know about.
Frequently asked questions about the Marco Polo program
There are various frequently asked questions about the Marco Polo program, and given below are answers to ones asked most commonly.
Can I pool all of my family’s points?
This program, unlike a few others, does not allow family pooling of points. What you can do, though, is transfer your miles to a redemption group member’s account, with a minimum transfer limit set at 10,000 Asia Miles.
Do I have to pay to become a member?
Members are required to pay a one time joining fee of USD 50.00, approximately AUD 52.50. This fee does not apply if you have a suitable Cathay Pacific co-branded credit card, or in case you are a frequent first or business class traveller with either with Cathay Pacific or Dragonair.
Do I have to live in Australia to become a member?
Where can I compared frequent flyer programs?
Please see our comparison of frequent flyer programs.