It has been over a year since this post was lasted updated. With some changes to their airline partners and an upgrade to the co-branded RBC credit card, this post is due for an update.
First of all, one change that I was hoping for has yet to occur. The expiry policy for Asia Miles continues to be 36 months after your miles are deposited. This means that you need to redeem your miles within 36 months of being deposited unless the member pays $40 USD for every 2,000 miles to renew for another 3 years. That means, you will be paying 2 cents for every mile that you want to renew. Not worth it to me.
My suggestion is to always have a specific reward redemption in mind, with a plan of action to determine whether you can accumulate enough miles within 36 months. It may seem a little tedious, but there are enough options, even for Canadians to top up your rewards account in time.
This post will focus on ways to top up your account so that you can redeem for a specific reward redemption before your miles expire.
If you fly with one of Asia Miles’ significant number of airline partners, you can bank those miles to Asia Miles instead of that airline. Below is a list of all its partners, including Oneworld alliance members (marked with a *):
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air New Zealand
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines*
- Austrian Airlines
- Bangkok Airways
- British Airways *
- Gulf Air
- Iberia *
- Japan Airlines*
- Jet Airways
- Malaysia Airlines*
- Qantas Airways*
- Qatar Airways *
- Royal Brunei Airlines
- Royal Jordanian Airlines*
- S7 Airlines*
- Shenzen Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines*
- Swiss International Air Lines
Asia Miles has an extensive list of car rental and hotel partners, that you can earn Asia miles with, instead of their respective points programs. If you happen to be in Asia, there are many other retail options that you can take advantage of.
RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum
If you frequently fly with Cathay Pacific, it may be worthwhile to have the RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum card in your wallet. If you are an RBC client, you can potential push them to waive the annual fee, using the multi-product route. Talk to a banker about this. For now, these are the highlights of the credit card:
- $120 annual fee
- $50 annual fee for a supplementary cardholder
- Earn 35,000 sign up bonus miles (earn 15,000 after the first purchase and earn 10,000 after spending $6,000 in the first 3 months, earn 10,000 after the first year anniversary)
- Earn 2 miles for every $1 CAD spent on Cathay Pacific purchases online
- Earn 1.25 mile for every $1 CAD spent on all foreign currency purchases
- Earn 1 mile for every $1 CAD spent on all other purchases
- Receive complimentary Green Tier membership in the Marco Polo Club
I have been very impressed with RBC continually improving this credit card. It used to be a $150 annual fee for the primary cardholder and a $75 annual fee for the supplementary cardholder. Rarely do we see annual fees drop, as well as a permanent increase in the sign up bonus offer. I think that RBC did a fair compromise by having a high spending requirement, which would make the sign up bonus more sustainable in the long term. I also like how they offer a 10,000 miles incentive to retain your credit card beyond the first year. Would be even better if they continually offer this bonus every year.
Canadians are also fortunate enough to have multiple transfer partner options to top up their Asia Miles account.
- American Express Membership Rewards: converts at a 4:3 ratio (minimum of 1,000 Membership Rewards and increments of 100 thereafter)
- RBC Rewards converts at a 1:1 ratio (minimum of 10,000), watch for transfer bonuses of up to 20%
There are also hotel transfer options (Best Western, Hyatt, Hilton, IHG), but Starwood may be the most valuable transfer partner:
- Starwood Preferred Guest: converts at a 1:1 ratio (minimum of 2,500), better to transfer 20,000 Starpoints to earn the 5,000 bonus miles, and watch for additional transfer bonuses
List of Cathay Pacific Flights
Below is a list of Cathay Pacific flights that operate out of Canadian airports:
Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
- Cathay Pacific: Hong Kong
Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
- Cathay Pacific: Hong Kong, New York-JFK (5th Freedom flight)
Calgary International Airport (YYC)
Cathay Pacific: Hong Kong (cargo only)(discontinued)