An End to One of the Great Award Values

For years I’ve been a huge fan of Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles program.

AsiaMiles could be used to upgrade flights on their partners, including American and some great upgrade options with British Airways.

And there have been some real gems in the award chart, such as just 60,000 miles for a business class award under 5000 miles each way. So a British Airways award from the US East Coast to most of Europe was just 60,000 miles in business, compared to 100,000 miles in BA’s own program. Last year a colleague came to me, about to redeem 100,000 Delta miles for a ‘SkyChoice’ (no capacity control) award to Europe in coach. Instead I suggested he transfer 50,000 Starwood points to 60,000 AsiaMiles and redeem for the same award on British Airways in Business (where availability was quite open). He got hooked on the Molten Brown Spa at Heathrow (they’ll be changing spa providers to Elemis, but that’s another story – an actual positive in my view) having never been to an airline lounge…

But starting October 15th many of these great values go away — another program devaluation.

As usual, mileage increases really focus on business and first class redemptions, i.e. the ones I care about.

Now only Y, B, and H economy fares are eligible for upgrade on American and British Airways (most expensive fares).

    Since 1999, the spectrum of Economy Class fares has also widened enormously. In order to keep the increases in the mileage requirement to a minimum, we have therefore decided to exclude lower fare classes from Business Class Upgrade Awards.

(Emphasis mine. And though it’s not explicitly clear here, it may no longer be possible to upgrade from World Traveller Plus to Business on British Airways, just coach to World Traveller Plus.)

And in addition to other changes, that great 60,000 mile business class award is going to be 80,000 miles — less than BA still, but the standard amount of most carriers. And first goes from 90,000 to 120,000… Bummer. Mental note to be sure I redeem for 2008 by October 15th of this year…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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