Cathay Pacific’s Credit Card Has A New 50,000 Mile Sign-Up Bonus

In February Cathay Pacific introduced a credit card in the US market for the first time. When the card was first introduced it had a 25,000 mile sign-up bonus, though it has now been increased. The Cathay Pacific Visa Signature Card is now offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Asia Miles after spending $2,500 within 90 days, which is twice as big as the previous one (with the same spend requirement).

The card is issued by Synchrony Bank, which primarily issues credit cards for retailers. This is the first airline they’ve partnered with an airline. On the plus side, I believe it’s pretty easy to be approved for their cards, though they’re also notorious for giving small credit limits.

The card has a $95 annual fee, and doesn’t offer a particularly compelling return on spend:

  • 2x points for Cathay Pacific purchases
  • 1.5x points on dining
  • 1.5x points on purchases outside the U.S.
  • 1x point per dollar dollar spent on everything else

Cathay-Pacific-Visa-3

As you can see, you can do better in just about any category with other cards.

The one unique benefit of the card is that it offers complimentary Green membership in the Marco Polo Club. That’s the base level in the Marco Polo program, which doesn’t get you all that much in the way of benefits. The main benefit is that you can redeem points for things like extra legroom seats, extra baggage, lounge access, etc.

Nonetheless Cathay Pacific ordinarily charges $100 to renew Green membership, so some will find value in that.

Cathay-Pacific-Marco-Polo-Green-Benefits

If you do apply for this card and want to earn more Asia Miles, the program is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest, so there are plenty of other opportunities to pick up these miles.

For the very basics on redeeming Asia Miles, here’s their award chart for travel on two or more airlines other than Cathay Pacific (or three or more airlines if including Cathay Pacific), which is based on the cumulative distance of the itinerary:

Meanwhile here’s their award chart for travel on a single airline, based on either one-way or roundtrip distance flown:

It used to be that their award chart was terrible, but as other programs have gotten worse, by comparison it’s actually quite competitive now.

Bottom line

I don’t find Cathay Pacific’s credit card to be terribly compelling in terms of the return on spend that it offers, though an increased 50,000 mile sign-up bonus does make it more worthwhile to sign-up for. There are some solid uses of Asia Miles, and it’s easy enough to top off your mileage balance with a points transfer from another currency.

Does anyone plan on taking advantage of this 50,000 mile sign-up bonus?

(Tip of the hat to Doctor of Credit)

Comments

  1. Actually, the second chart above applies to all awards, as long as the whole trip is on a single airline (any airline), or 2 airlines including Cathay Pacific/Dragon.
    The oneworld (multi-carrier) chart is for trips that includes travel on 2 airlines and neither of them is Cathay Pacific/Dragon, or on 3 or more airlines.

  2. Realize this probably just breaking, but would value your expert analysis on nuts and bolts of using the miles in another post! Particularly taking fuel surcharges into account.

  3. The Green MP membership is helpful in getting the egate access for HKG.

    My question is whether you get the green MP membership as long as you have the credit card or for the first year?

    This is what CX web site says:

    “New members will enjoy a complimentary Green membership to the Marco Polo Club for the first year of enrolment.”

  4. Cathay Pacific and JAL are the 2 OW Airlines that still have this Oneworld Award Chart, very similar in price to the old AA Oneworld Explorer Award that AA decided to discontinue overnight without any notification in April 8 2014. I think it was the first “cut” that AA did after Parker became CEO.

    A lot of options if you learn how to maximize those stopovers. I was able to do MIA-BOS-NRT(stopover)-SYD(stopover)-AKL(open jaw)-PPT-IPC(stopover)-SCL(stopover)-MIA for 150K AA miles in Business + 30K for AKL-PPT (in J too) with TN on a separate award since they were not OW airline but AA partner.

    Keep in mind with CX in order to take advantage of a complex route, you need to include CX in one leg, otherwise the limit of airlines will be 2 Oneworld partners (instead of 3 or more when CX is included).

    @Ben, a correction is need it in your post.

  5. Heh. This is great for us. Hong Kong signup bonuses are usually half the miles for twice the dollars. And what you have to take into account is that there is usually a lot of availability. Spend 2500 on a random credit card and get enough miles for a J ticket to Bali and back? Sure

  6. I got a “will receive decision by mail in the next 15 business days” notice. Anyone got an instance approval?

  7. @nonamelive From what i understand, Synchrony doesn’t do instant approvals with this card- applications are reviewed manually. I got the same notice this morning after applying. To find out if you were approved before the letter arrives I suggest checking your Transunion report through Credit Karma etc as they might show the new account sooner.

  8. Is Cathay like SQ and LH, in that they release more FC to those with their own miles than they do to partners? Because looking for CX thru the BA site, their FC award availability resembles that of AA. 🙁

    Even the old technique of booking J in advance, then upgrading the week before, now seems totally futile.

  9. I’m curious why the name of the issuing bank on most offers is in tiny print at the bottom of the legal mumbo jumbo. I’ve been in the game awhile now, so I know many of the card/bank relationships.

  10. @Oliver meeting the spend on the card get you a round trip to Bali in J according to what chart?

  11. @dave yes should have clarified this. We are based in HK. But Bali is still a five hour flight, and you get reverse herringbone flat beds. So basically a US premium transcon – I don’t think 50k miles is that bad a price for these.

  12. I too got the “you will receive a decision on your application by mail in the next 15 business days” message when I applied yesterday. According to Doctor of Credit, there apparently is no way of checking on the status, but I thought I’d calling Synchrony Bank anyway. The agent took a few moments to look into it, only to come back and tell me that Synchrony Bank does not carry this card (she’s obviously clueless).

    Anyhoo… any more data points on this app status for the this card? It’s not the end of the world to wait a couple weeks, but that seems rather ancient in this day and age of instant approvals, status checking, etc…

  13. If i’m currently already a silver marco polo member, am I eligible for the 50k bonus miles? Or is this just for people who have never been marco polo members?

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