Who Is the Cathay Pacific Visa Signature Credit Card Good For?
The Cathay Pacific Visa Signature card from Synchrony Bank is good for anyone looking to rack up some Asia Miles, especially for those currently limited by sign-up bonus restrictions imposed by larger banks. Asia Miles is a transfer partner of both American Express Membership Rewards and Citi Thank You points. However, American Express has a once-in-a-lifetime rule for earning sign up bonuses, and Citi limits sign up bonuses to once per 24 months per rewards family.
Therefore, many people looking to earn Asia Miles may have no other options. Previously, Cathay Pacific did not have a credit card issued in the U.S., so this is a new opportunity. Synchrony Bank is not a big player in the travel rewards space; they mostly issue store cards for retail companies. They have not imposed sign up bonus restrictions like the bigger banks which should make this a relatively painless application and bonus earning opportunity.
The sign-up bonus for this card is 25,000 Asia miles after spending $2,500 in the first 90 days of opening your account.
There are three bonus categories offered by this card:
- Earn 2 Asia Miles per $1 spent on Cathay Pacific travel and in flight purchases
- Earn 1.5 Asia Miles per $1 spent on dining in the US or abroad
- Earn 1.5 Asia Miles per $1 spent on purchases outside the US
All other purchases within the U.S. will earn the standard rate of one Asia Mile per $1 spent. The bonus category for foreign purchases is the most interesting of the bonus categories. There are many cards available which earn bonus points for travel on the co-branded airline or for dining, but a broad-based foreign purchase bonus category is unique. For those that spend a lot of time outside of the U.S. and have the need or ability to spend a significant amount of money in other countries, this represents a significant earning opportunity.
What Do Your Points Get You?
Asia Miles is the award flight program of Cathay Pacific and regional subsidiary Cathay Dragon. These airlines are both based in Hong Kong.
- Complimentary green tier membership in the Marco Polo club. Marco Polo club is Cathay Pacific’s elite status program (separate from Asia Miles) and normally costs $50 to join.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Chip enabled security
- Visa Signature benefits such as roadside dispatch, emergency card replacement, and emergency cash disbursement
- Redundant bonus categories for those who don’t spend much outside the US
- Award program has a 25% lap infant award fee when most programs only charge 10%
- Miles expire 3 years after they are earned and account activity does not extend mileage expiration
How Far Do Your Points Go?
Cathay Pacific’s award charts are not very generous, but there are some decent redemption opportunities. Keep in mind, that while the awards may not be particularly cheap, Cathay Pacific has one of the nicest premium cabin products in the world so quality makes up for quantity to an extent here. Cathay Pacific has a distance based award chart. There are pros and cons to this type of arrangement. The pros are that short haul awards are relatively cheap, and you have the flexibility to travel to any country for a given price as long as it is within a given mileage bracket. The primary con is that long haul awards are almost universally expensive. The standard Asia Miles award chart is displayed below, which applies when flying on Cathay Pacific or up to one partner:
|Distance in actual miles||0 – 600||601 – 1,200||1,201 – 2,500||2,501 – 5,000||5001 – 7,500||7,501 – 10,000||10,001 or above|
Asia Miles required to claim award
|One-way Economy Class||10,000||15,000||20,000||25,000||40,000||55,000||70,000|
|One-way Premium Economy Class||12,000||18,000||24,000||30,000||48,000||66,000||84,000|
|Premium Economy Class||18,000||24,000||36,000||54,000||72,000||108,000||132,000|
|One-way Business Class||20,000||25,000||30,000||45,000||70,000||85,000||110,000|
|One-way First Class||25,000||30,000||40,000||70,000||105,000||130,000||160,000|
Cathay Pacific is a OneWorld Alliance partner, which means their US based partner is American Airlines. Keep this in mind if you need to book a positioning leg to an international gateway city. Business class awards from the eastern US to South East Asia (including Hong Kong) cost 85,000 miles each way, where as they cost 70,000 when booking via American Airlines. Flights from the west coast can often make it under the 7,500 threshold and therefore are on par with AA.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
- Zero Liability
- Lost luggage reimbursement