Cathay wants to make it easier to book flights with miles

An extensive overhaul of the Cathay Pacific website will bring cash and Asia Miles bookings onto a single screen.

By David Flynn, August 3 2023
Cathay wants to make it easier to book flights with miles

Not every Cathay Pacific frequent flyer was thrilled to see the airline’s long-standing Marco Polo Club loyalty scheme replaced in August 2022 by the new Cathay program, but the next big change is far more likely to win approval from high flyers.

A revamp of the Cathay Pacific booking site will let travellers book their tickets with cash, Asia Miles or a miles+cash combination all on the same screen, rather than shunting miles-based bookings to a seperate and poorly-designed page.

It seems obvious – why wouldn’t you want to have all your options presented when booking a flight from Hong Kong to London, for example? – but Cathay is now overhauling this “legacy system” to bring cash bookings and miles-based bookings together.

“At the moment the engines we have for (what we’d call) cash bookings and the redemption network (for Asia Miles) are two separate things, two separate engines,” explains Paul Smitton, Cathay Pacific’s Director of Customer Lifestyle.

“You’ve manually got to repeat the process of putting in from two dates etc to see what your mileage option is, versus cash or Miles Plus Cash.”

“But from a customer's point of view, when booking a flight you might not be thinking ‘redemption or cash’”, he tells Executive Traveller.

Every option on one screen

Smitton wants to see any Cathay booking be able to expose not only the ticket price but “standard awards and the Miles Plus Cash option” all on the same screen.

“We want to bring all that together (and) make it easier for customers to use their miles… because you have to be customer-centric.”

Another means of bringing more value to Cathay’s 13 million frequent flyers, and ideally helping to swell that number, is the ongoing rollout of co-branded Cathay credit cards around the world in a ten-year partnership with Mastercard.

Cardholders in Hong Kong and China can already pocket Asia Miles on everyday spending, and in some cases also pick up Status Credits on the ground “as a booster” to what’s typically earned when flying – either to assist the retention of Cathay Silver, Gold or Diamond status when their flying falls just short of the mark, or to close the gap between moving up from one tier to the next.

This week saw Canada added to the roster, with Cathay partnering with fully-digital challenger Neo Financial.

Due ti launch by year’s end, the Cathay Pacific Neo Mastercard will replace the current RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum Card with up to 2 Asia Miles per dollar spent plus a sign-up bonus up to 45,000 Asia Miles.

03 Mar 2023

Total posts 5

I wish they'd co-brand an Australian Credit Card.  I would gladly ditch Qantas FF entirely and go with Cathay's program.  I find Qantas points completely useless for booking overseas flights and particularly for upgrades.  Points seem to be forever being devalued by Qantas and it's impossible to get an upgrade on QF international flights using points, unless you're a top-tier member.

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 314

A few AMEX cards allow transfers to Cathay. Not a bad option.

08 Jul 2020

Total posts 1

Looking at bookings SYD-HKG-Anywhere Europe up to 360 days out reveals no J award seat availability. Even looking at just SYD-HKG reveals no availability. The current CX booking engine is slow and awkward to use.
Any overhaul of the system can only be positive though I am not holding my breath.

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