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Earlier today I shared why I now think that Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is by far the best Amex Membership Rewards transfer partner. I also wrote an article explaining how you can leverage some of the unique perks of booking with Asia Miles to fly Cathay Business Class from Europe to Hong Kong and back to the UK for just 85,000 Asia Miles (or Amex Points) in total.
If you have read those pieces (and I strongly recommend that you do before continuing with this post), you won’t be surprised to hear that there are plenty more incredible Asia Miles redemptions.
So far, I’ve concentrated on redeeming Asia Miles on Cathay Pacific itself, but some of the very best redemptions are actually with oneworld partner airlines like British Airways, American Airlines, LAN and Qantas.
Asia Miles award chart
Asia Miles has lots of different award charts. For now, the one we are focusing on is just the standard award chart below:
As you can see, the number of miles required for a one-way redemption is determined simply by the cumulative distance of the flights involved – it’s not region-based or segment-based like many other programmes’ award charts.
There is an important limitation though, which is that a one-way award can only include 2 segments. In other words, you are allowed only one connection.
The award prices listed are for travel on Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, with partner awards generally pricing out 5,000 miles more.
It’s also important to know that if you combine more than one partner airline on a single award, the price gets calculated off a different award chart with different rules. We are going to stick to an award that only involves one partner.
Europe-USA-UK in American Airlines Business Class for 70,000 Asia Miles (or Amex MR Points)
As you will now know from the previous posts, Asia Miles allows stopovers on one way redemptions. What that means is that (assuming you can find award space, which isn’t easy!), you can book Madrid-New York (stopover)-London in AA Business Class for just 70,000 Asia Miles:
For comparison, you would need 124,000 British Airways Avios to book the exact same flights.
Madrid-Miami (stopover)-London would be 90,000 Asia Miles, because the total distance of the flights pushes the award from the “Long” category to “Ultra Long”:
You would need 154,500 British Airways Avios to book the same flights.
Note that the taxes/surcharges on Asia Miles partner awards can be relatively high (compared to sticking with Cathay Pacific flights) – about £360 in total for each of the examples above. That said, the surcharges are still almost always going to be the same or less than what British Airways Executive Cub would charge if you used Avios.
The main issue with booking these particular flights is actually going to be tracking down award availability on American – they hardly open up anything at all on some routes.
The general principle is what I’m really trying to get across though. To turn one-way Asia Miles redemptions into ‘almost returns’, you need to find a partner airline hub city that serves at least 2 destinations in Europe. (Ideally, you want one of those destinations to be in the UK for the sake of convenience, but it’s not essential).
The reason for this is because although the Asia Miles routing rules and stopover policy are extraordinarily generous, you are still only allowed 2 segments on a one-way award, and you can’t start and end a one-way redemption in the same country.
Can you think of any more examples where it is possible to create an ‘almost return’ one-way redemption using Asia Miles?