Yesterday Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles announced a list of changes to their earning and redemption charts coming into effect June 22, 2018. There are a couple blog posts out there that detail the changes, however I assume most of us here just want the rundown from a Canadian perspective.

The Rundown

Changes to Earning

  • Zone-based earning, a change from the traditional Distance-based calculation
  • NOT changing to Revenue-based earning

Changes to Redemption

  • One-way flights at 50% miles of a roundtrip
  • Short to medium haul flights <5000 miles, will cost around the same number of miles as before (at a glance)
  • Long haul flights >5000 miles, will cost more miles than before (at a glance)
  • Distance-based chart with 5 distance bands, a change from 7 distance bands

New distance bands
1 to 750 miles – Ultra-short
751 to 2,750 miles – Short
2,751 to 5,000 miles – Medium
5,001 to 7,500 miles – Long
7,501+ miles – Ultra-Long

Example – Short distance (751 to 2,750 miles)

Cathay Pacific flight between Vancouver and New York (JFK) clocks in at 2,449 miles and offers a full 4 cabin service.

Here are the new redemption rates per cabin and how they compare with the old rates.

Roundtrip redemption rates for YVR JFK (2449 miles)

For further analysis, here is how the new rates stack with British Airways Avios, which also runs a distance-based chart for oneworld flights.

Roundtrip redemption rates for YVR JFK (2449 miles)

If you’re not sure what to do with your Asia Miles, “Short” distance flights under 2,750 miles cost is a pretty sweet redemption as you see above.

And now that one-way redemptions are 50% of the roundtrip cost, we’re looking at 10,000 Asia Miles in Economy, 18,000 in Premium Economy, and 25,000 in Business class. Not bad at all.

Earning Asia Miles for Canadians

You can transfer points to Asia Miles from the following programs.

  • AMEX Membership Rewards 10,000 = 7,500 Asia Miles (4:3)
  • Starwood Preferred Guest 20,000 = 25,000 Asia Miles (4:5)
  • RBC Avion 10,000 = 10,000 Asia Miles (1:1)


After reviewing some redemption examples, the June 22 changes seem quite tame to me. I would not call it a devaluation as we have a fair share of flights decreasing in miles as there are flights increasing in miles.

Whenever changes occur, we just want to continue to focus our redemptions on sweetspots within the program. Long haul flights got more pricey, but you shouldn’t be redeeming Asia Miles on journeys >5000 miles anyways.

Definitely do not give up on Asia Miles!

Chao is not your typical Asian: he’s good with numbers, likes deals, and loves to travel on miles. He calls Vancouver, Canada home and travels to Asia and Europe once a year visiting family and exploring new sceneries. He is best known for helping beginners grasp the concept of points and sharing unique methods to earn and redeem miles efficiently. Chao is one of the main content writers for PointsNerds.


  1. Hi Chao!

    I’ve been looking into AMEX Cobalt vs AMEX Gold. I’m pretty new to collecting points, but my current goal is to rack up as many points to use them to get cheaper/free flights to Asia to visit family (I live in Canada), or to fly to destinations in other continents. Which card would you say is the best for this? And how would AMEX Cobalt & AMEX Gold compare to Scotiabank’s Gold AMEX (and consequently Scotia’s travel program)?

    Thank you!!


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