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About six months ago, Synchrony Bank launched Cathay Pacific credit card and Greg asked: Should you be inspired to earn 25,000 miles with the Cathay Pacific Visa? To sum that up, the answer was more or less: “Meh.” It might have made sense for some to make a quick mileage score, but it wasn’t all that special. That “Meh” might just turn into a “Yeah” with the new signup bonus being offered: 50,000 Asia Miles after spending $2,500 in your first 3 months.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Asia Miles after spending $2,500 in the first 90 days
- $95 annual fee is not waived
- Earn 2X on Cathay Pacific purchases
- Earn 1.5X on dining
- Earn 1.5X on international purchases (purchases made outside of the US)
- Earn 1X everywhere else
What are the miles worth?
According to our Reasonable Redemption Values, we’ve got the miles pegged at 1.17 cents each. Based on my reading of this excellent post from Travel is Free about the best uses of Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, I think that valuation might be a tad low. I can’t speak from experience on Asia Miles, but Drew has put together some really interesting itineraries in that post, and I see a number of other possibilities based on the charts. The challenge would be fuel surcharges on most partners. However, there are a number of interesting partners with no fuel surcharges and building a complex itinerary with multiple stopovers is possible. Fifty thousand miles on their own won’t get you around the world, but with Cathay being transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points, and SPG, there are a lot of ways to amass the miles you need for a pretty big round-the-world type trip.
As a quick reference, here are the Asia Miles award charts (found here). The first is for an itinerary that mixes Cathay Pacific with one partner airline. Miles required will be based on cumulative distance flown (you can use gcmap.com to estimate distances).
If you’re looking to build a more complex itinerary with more partners (and stopovers), this is the chart you would use:
Of course, another interesting use of Cathay Pacific miles couldCathay Pacific Companion Ticket Awards be companion tickets. See: Business Class for two: .
While the card’s dining bonus category isn’t very compelling (you could use a number of other cards between Amex and Citi to earn more than 2 Asia miles per dollar on dining), the “foreign purchases” category might be interesting to those who can source resale items internationally and pay for them with a credit card. I’m not aware of another card that bonuses international spend in general. Of course, if the bulk of your international spend is on travel, you can do better with other cards. If you’re interested in piecing together multiple-stop itineraries in business or first class, Asia miles is worth a look whether or not you’re interested in this card. However, if that type of trip appeals to you, I suspect that the chance to pick up 50K easy miles might interest you even more. As always, the link has been added to our Best Offers page.
H/T: Doctor of Credit