Has Cathay Pacific Been Removed As an Amex Transfer Partner?

Of the three major bank-issued transferable points currencies, American Express Membership Rewards has the most airline transfer partners. By last count, they had 17 airline transfer partners:

Frontier-Membership-Rewards-1

However, I’ve received several comments and emails from readers over the weekend noting that Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program no longer shows online as an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner:

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Cathay Pacific is actually one of American Express’ newer transfer partners, as they were added back in mid-2012.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this. On one hand it’s possible that the partnership was discontinued, though if that were the case I find it a bit odd that no advance notice was given, and/or that no announcement was made about it at all.

In a way this kind of seems like what happened between Korean Air SkyPass and Chase Ultimate Rewards, whereby the partnership was temporarily suspended, before being reinstated.

Either way I wouldn’t consider this a huge loss. Personally I’ve never transferred Membership Rewards points to Asia Miles for my own travels. That being said, there aren’t many oneworld members that are Membership Rewards transfer partners, and Cathay Pacific does have a fairly lucrative oneworld distance based award chart, which allows up to five stopovers:

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I’ve put in a query with American Express, so I’ll report back when I hear what’s going on.

Comments

  1. “Cathay Pacific does have a fairly lucrative oneworld distance based award chart”

    Ben, can you please be more specific, what awards you consider a good deal?
    thank you.

  2. @ Lantean — I posted the chart above. For example, flying up to 190,000 miles with five stopovers could potentially be a great deal. I think the stopovers are the selling point here. If you care a lot about stopovers then Cathay’s chart might be especially interesting to you.

  3. Is Asia miles now the best program if you want to book Cathay F when the schedule opens? BA destroyed their partner award chart and AA/AK open up their schedule a few weeks after BA/Cathay so the seats are mostly taken.

  4. Amex just renewed its cobrand agreement with Cathay in Hong Kong, so I very much doubt they would cut this relationship. More likely a glitch or preemptively taking it down while making tech changes behind the scenes.

  5. Asia Miles are huge for day-of-departure upgrades on CX for AA EXPs who fly to points in Asia that AA doesn’t (i.e., almost all of them). This would be a big loss IMHO.

  6. @ Chris — For travel on partner airlines they charge whatever those airlines would charge on revenue tickets. For travel on Cathay there are fuel surcharges, but they’re not too bad, in my opinion.

  7. @ Peter — These agreements are typically extremely regionalized, so I wouldn’t read too much into that.

  8. @ Sachin — For most regions it probably is, though personally I haven’t had too much issue finding space when the American schedule opens either.

  9. It’s still showing as a partner on the Australian Membership Rewards site, if that has any bearing.

  10. Re: Stopovers

    I fly on a 1W Explorer Award (RIP) and I enjoyed it. But for the most part, stopovers aren’t a huge deal for me. Generally, most of my travel is concentrated in a regional small enough that having to fly domestic/short haul flights is no big inconvenience. It might cost me a few extra hundred, but oh well — at least I don’t have to fight for award space then.

    F awards on these types of schemes are quite the rip off though. These days, you generally find F on long haul flights only, so you pay a huge premium to take advantage of it on one or two flights. When I did the 1W explorer award, I flew like 22,000 miles, but only two flights would have had F… if I could have even found the space.

  11. Asia Miles has some sweet spots in their award chart. Eg. 120k rt on Qantas J from SYD/BNE to LAX. This is comparable to AA award chart, but CX has access to QF inventory the same time as QFF, so you are more likely to snatch the seat over AA. Downside is you need rt to get that rate. One way is 70k.

  12. @lucky – in that I have had tremendous success upgrading CX flights on day of departure using Asia Miles even when ticketed on AA ticket stock. There’s no other way to my knowledge to do so.

  13. @Lucky:

    Unfortunately, yes…..

    For poor Aussies here, all credit card affiliated FFP here except Velocity charge fuel surcharge. So in a way, whatever redemption that gives the lowest rate is the best deal.

    Definitely compare to AAdvantage or USDM, Asia Miles is nothing special.

  14. @Lucky – in your first post, I do not understand what you mean by “flying up to 190,000 miles with five stopovers” – where do you see flying up to that many miles on the award chart? Also, does their award chart calculate the total distance no matter how many segments (for stopovers), rather than per segment like Avios?

    @Micahel Kao – what are typical YQ for that route?

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