Using Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program is a great way to upgrade from economy to premium economy, onward to business class or even from business class to first class with the airline – or to book flights with Cathay Pacific and its Oneworld partners including Qantas, British Airways and Qatar Airways.
Australian Business Traveller explores the top five Australian credit cards for earning those Asia Miles on your everyday transactions: use the right card in the right places and you’ll be flying high in no time!
1. American Express Explorer Card
Take hold of an American Express Explorer Card to earn two Membership Rewards Gateway points per dollar spent on most charges, equal to 1.5 Asia Miles. There’s a $395 annual fee to pay, but that’s more than offset by a $400 travel credit you can use towards flights and hotels.
Apply and spend at least $1,500 within the first three months and you could earn an added bonus of 50,000 Gateway points, worth 37,500 Asia Miles, with the card also delivering two yearly visits to the American Express Lounge at Sydney Airport, whether you’re flying with Cathay Pacific or another airline.
2. American Express Business Accelerator Card
Have an ABN? You could be pocketing up to two Membership Rewards Ascent points per dollar spent on the American Express Business Accelerator Card – equal to 2 Asia Miles – in return for a $160 annual fee.
After accruing 100,000 points in a single calendar year, the earning rate decreases to 1 Asia Mile per dollar on all future spend, except on insurance, utility and government payments which always earn the equivalent of 0.5 Asia Miles per dollar.
3. Westpac Altitude Black American Express with World Mastercard
Whip out Westpac’s Altitude Black American Express card to earn 2.5 Altitude Rewards points per dollar spent, equal to 1 Asia Mile, or swipe the companion Altitude Black World Mastercard to fetch 1.25 Altitude Rewards point per dollar spent instead: on-par with 0.5 Asia Miles.
These rates are true of all spends made on or after July 1 2017 (excluding ATO payments) – although if you apply before June 28 2017, pay a reduced annual fee of $195 in the first year (normally $395) and then spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first 90 days, you’ll also amass 80,000 bonus Altitude points, equal to 32,000 Asia Miles.
4. American Express Platinum Charge Card
The iconic American Express Platinum Charge Card also churns out the equivalent of one Asia Mile mile per dollar spent on everyday charges (delivered as one Membership Rewards Ascent Premium point) and with 80,000 bonus Asia Miles up for grabs after spending $1,500 on purchases within the first three months, but against a higher $1,200 annual fee and without a companion Visa or Mastercard to use where AMEX isn’t accepted.
However, dining out at most Australian restaurants attracts a higher 3 Asia Miles per dollar spent, with 2 Asia Miles earned per dollar on all airline, hotel and overseas transactions (up to 300,000 Asia Miles per year, after which all transactions earn 1 Asia Mile per $1), except for government, utility and insurance payments which always attract the equivalent of 0.5 Asia Miles per dollar spent.
5. American Express Platinum Edge Card
Also among the ranks but without the four-figure annual fee: the American Express Platinum Edge Card, tempting with no annual fee at all in the first year ($195 thereafter) and 1 Asia Mile per dollar spent on the bulk of transactions, uncapped.
That’s boosted to 3 Asia Miles per dollar spent at major Australian supermarkets and 2 Asia Miles per dollar spent at major petrol stations – also uncapped, and delivered as Membership Rewards Ascent points which convert to Asia Miles on a 1:1 rate. Predictably, insurance, government and utility payments earn a lower 0.5 Asia Miles per dollar spent.
Honourable mention: ANZ Rewards Black Visa
The cards above are great if you regularly shop where American Express is accepted, but if you’re looking to earn a respectable number of points in other places – such as where Visa or Mastercard is more welcome – the ANZ Rewards Black Visa is worth a look.
Use that card and you’ll earn the equivalent of 0.66 Asia Miles per dollar spent where Visa is accepted, on all transactions made until August 5 2017 and on the first $5,000 of monthly spend thereafter, after which you’ll earn 0.33 Asia Miles per dollar until your next statement period begins.
ANZ’s current sign-up offer also sees you paying no annual fee in the first year, with a bonus 75,000 ANZ reward points (equal to 25,000 Asia Miles) landing in your account when you spend at least $2,500 on purchases within the first three months.