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You know how in the Earn and Burn chapter of my book, I talk about not storing miles like the frequent flyer program is a bank because the value of them only goes one way – and that’s down?

Well, hopefully, you haven’t stashed away millions of Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles for your retirement, because if you did you are about to earn a lot of negative interest.

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I’m going to, first off, praise Cathay Pacific.

Why? Because they are actually giving a full month’s notice and they are not couching this as a customer-centric move. Most airlines and hotel chains love to tell us they’ve enhanced benefits while ripping the guts out of their program… Cathay is just telling us what is happening on June 22nd.

Now clearly I’m not praising the actual devaluation. You may know by now that my interest in miles and points is all about luxury travel for next to nothing – and premium cabin redemptions are exactly where Cathay is making the largest changes – to the downside.

Below you can see some examples Cathay Pacific has provided. The new bold award pricing begins June 22, 2018

If you only ever book short flights in coach, you will come out ahead in many cases. But not if you redeem for J/F internationally.  Cathay Pacific has historically given a nice discount for a round trip redemption. So while a one way in Business Class from NYC to Hong Kong stays the same at 85,000 miles, a round trip will now cost 25,000 miles more than before.

A few long haul one-way redemptions do go down, like this one:

Remember that as part of the Oneworld Alliance, you can redeem AsiaMiles for most of the same partner flights you are familiar with redeeming your American Airlines AAdvantage miles for. They have their own award chart for multi-carrier awards (2 or more Oneworld airlines or 3 if you include Cathay).

That new chart looks like this:

The graphic above only shows trips up to 14,000 miles but you can go all the way up to 50,000 flown miles for 240,000 (Business) or 345,000 miles (First)

The one bone being thrown, besides to domestic coach flyers is for those that actually fly Cathay.

Many/most flights will earn more Asia Miles than before, so some CX frequent flyers may actually be pleased.

But for most of us that are US-based and transfer to Cathay Pacific from credit card partners (Citi ThankYou, American Express Membership Rewards, and SPG), it’ll be another example of needing to earn more to buy the same flight.

Thoughts? Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

New to all of this? My new “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available now.

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I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at this year's South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.


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