Top Australian credit cards for earning Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Top Australian credit cards for earning Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

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 by October 2 2017 and spend at least $1,500 within the first three months and you could earn an added bonus of 100,000 Gateway points, worth 75,000 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 October 26 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 100,000 bonus Asia Miles up for grabs when applying by October 2 2017 and 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 a $195 annual fee 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.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


  • Michael Kao

    Michael Kao

    15 Jun, 2017 10:10 am

    I have 3/5 of the above cards so I must be on the right track :)

    However, the top 5 mentioned are all Amex (although Westpac Altitude comes with MC, the earn rate is a lot less), it might be a good idea to compare "top Australian non-Amex card for earning AM after RBA apocalypse". (I know ANZ black visa was mentioned. But post apocalypse at 0.33 point per dollar is hardly competitive....) Citiprestige used to be great..... Now my understanding is Westpac Altitude come at the top. If there is any non-Amex that's better than Altitude that I've missed, please let me know.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin


    15 Jun, 2017 10:29 am

    Hi Michael, options for earning Asia Miles through Visa or Mastercard are quite limited in Australia to a handful of high-end cards, ANZ's card having the highest rate of the lot for everyday spend (0.66/$1 on spends up to $5,000 per month, which is fine-enough for most people who would be using AMEX where they can anyway to earn the most points), and any article of the 'best non-AMEX cards' would realistically highlight every card rather than only the best as there are so few, so the best option for publication to aid the most readers was an overall 'best cards' guide, including a reference to the best non-AMEX option for the most readers.

    You'll also find Asia Miles-earning Visa/Mastercards from Westpac, NAB, HSBC (Premier only), Citibank (Prestige only) and Diners Club (companion Mastercard) should you choose to explore them, all of which earn fewer points per dollar spent on regular transactions than the cards we've highlighted above.

    No member give thanks

  • mara scotton


    22 Jun, 2017 07:16 pm

    Hi Chris,
    That 'sweetener' of a free weekend stay if you spend $2k before January 1st, is that a one-of when first joining or does it apply every year?

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin


    22 Jun, 2017 09:24 pm

    Sorry, what are you asking about? There's nothing in the article above or in the comments about what you've queried.
    No member give thanks

  • mara scotton


    23 Jun, 2017 08:02 pm

    Sorry - I was referring to the Hilton Macquarie car. Posted under the wrong discussion.
    No member give thanks


25 May, 2018 09:06 pm

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