Yay! Cathay Pacific Asia Miles don’t expire so fast anymore
New rules let you keep your points as long as you're earning.
Few things annoy frequent flyers more than draconian expiry policies which mean your points expire before you've had the chance to use them.
Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles has long been one of the worst offenders. Under current rules, any Asia Miles you earn expire three years after you have earned them, no matter how much activity there has been on your account subsequently. (The same approach is used by Emirates Skywards, Singapore Airlines Krisflyer and Malaysia Airlines Enrich, incidentally.)
Why is that an issue? The chief problem is that it made redeeming flight awards from Asia Miles challenging if you weren't an extremely regular flyer since building up your points total takes time. And if you weren't aware of the expiry date, your points stash could evaporate without having the chance to use it at all.
Fortunately, the rules are changing. As of 1 January 2020, any Asia Miles in your account won't expire provided that you have earned at least 1 Asia Mile in the last 18 months. This matches the approach taken by Qantas Frequent Flyer, Cathay's fellow oneworld airline.
Annoyingly, Asia Miles you've earned prior to that date will still expire, so you'll have to keep an eye on those. When you do redeem rewards, Asia Miles which have an expiry date attached will be used up first.
It's not perfect, but it's a big improvement on having a fixed expiry date for every single Asia Mile you've earned. It's also not too hard to earn Asia Miles even if you're not actually taking a Cathay Pacific flight during those 18 months. As I noted in our guide to earning Asia Miles in Australia, some Qantas domestic flights include a Cathay Pacific codeshare and can thus earn Asia Miles directly.
Despite the improvement, Cathay Pacific's frequent flyer scheme is one of the more confusing options around. Don't get me started on why status credits are attributed as Marco Polo Club. Asia Miles has never been particularly high on my list of schemes to consider because of the expiration rule, but I'll now spend some time considering if adding it into my arsenal is worth it as I'm planning my 2020 frequent flyer goals over the Christmas break.
For most Australians, Qantas is likely to be a more productive points-earning choice, not least because there are far more ways to earn credit card bonus points. Within Qantas Frequent Flyer, Cathay Pacific reward seat availability is very good right now, which I suspect in part is due to traveller caution due to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. So as an airline it definitely remains an option, but Asia Miles may not be the best way to earn or redeem points with it.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.