One of the numerous uses of starpoints is the ability to transfer points into airline miles at a 20,000 starpoints=25,000 miles rate.
Cathay Pacific is arguably the best airline in which to transfer points to.
Note that Cathay Pacific has no US based credit card, so the Starwood Amex is the absolute best method to earn Asia miles from credit card spending.
People have been asking for months to help clarify the highly complicated Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program, so here’s a start.
The confusion stems from the fact that the program is very different than normal US based mileage programs, but its primary value is owed to that uniqueness.
First of all, about the airline, Cathay Pacific.
-They operate with their hub in Hong Kong.
-They are part of the Oneworld (AA, BA, JAL, Qantas, etc.) Alliance.
-They consistently win awards for their top-notch business and first classes, and even economy is much better than US based airlines.
Cathay Pacific has 2 programs, the Marco Polo club and Asia miles.
Marco Polo club is only for recognition for frequent fliers. If you are just transferring starpoints you will never need to worry about the Marco Polo Club, so just ignore it.
US based mileage programs charge based on the country of flying. If you want to go from New York to Tel Aviv or Los Angeles to Tel Aviv on Continental it will be the same 70,000 miles in coach or 100,000 in business/first.
At the same token, Los Angeles to Hawaii and New York to Hawaii will always be 35,000 miles.
Asia Miles charges based on the distance of the flight. For regular mileage tickets there are 7 mileage zones.
Mileage Zone Chart Linky
Here’s how it works:
First go to the great circle mapper to research the one-way distance of a flight.
For example type in ORD-LHR(Chicago/O’ Hare-London/Heathrow) to discover that the distance is 3,953 miles, or that JFK-GRU(New York/JFK-Sao Paulo) is 4,745 miles.
Then plug the number into the Asia Miles award chart to discover that both of those distances will fall into Zone C.
While you use the one-way distance to figure out the zone, the miles shown is the price for a round-trip ticket in that zone.
So a round trip ORD-LHR on AA or British Airways or JFK-GRU on AA or JAL will be 45,000 in coach, 60,000 in business, and 90,000 in first.
These rates, especially for business class, are significantly less than if you have miles on AA, BA, or JAL.
Here’s where the program gets really bizarre:
Look at the distance from LAX-HNL(Los Angeles-Honolulu) and SFO-HNL(S. Fransisco-Honolulu).
Believe it or not, LAX is further from HNL than SFO is. 157 miles further to be precise.
Because of that very small difference though, SFO-HNL falls into Zone B, while LAX-HNL falls into Zone C!
To be continued…
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