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Given everything that is going on globally with COVID-19 and the current state of the travel industry, it might not seem hugely important right now, but what I consider to be the best deal in the points and miles world is coming to an end.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is a 1:1 transfer partner from American Express Membership Rewards, and due to very generous routing rules – particularly the ability to have a stopover on one way redemptions – you can engineer some truly ludicrous redemption values. It’s even technically possible (though hard due to availability) to book almost a full Round The World ticket in Business Class for just 90,000 miles:
Unfortunately, from 1st April 2020, these sort of redemptions will no longer be practical for most people, as stopovers are going to be limited to 24 hours:
“New duration limit for stopovers
Stopover duration will now be limited to a maximum of 24 hours for Asia Miles Awards and Airline Partners Awards. Please note that all waitlist bookings made before 1 April 2020 are bounded by this change.
For example, if you redeem an itinerary with Cathay Pacific from Taipei to Bangkok, transiting through Hong Kong, the maximum duration for your stopover in Hong Kong is 24 hours. If the duration is more than 24 hours, you are required to make two separate bookings, with Taipei to Hong Kong as the first booking, and Hong Kong to Bangkok as the second.”
If you just happen to love flying, or only want to visit somewhere very briefly, it looks like you will still be able to take advantage.
When loyalty programmes offer values that are completely out of step with their competition, it’s inevitable that changes will be made at some point. The new restriction obviously isn’t great news, but on the plus side, I’m actually surprised it has lasted for so long.
Have you ever made a cool redemption using Asia Miles? – let us know what you managed to book in the comments!