Cathay Pacific Asia Miles eliminates award waitlisting

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Effective 22 October 2021, Cathay Pacific awards either are or aren't available- waitlisting is no longer an option.

Cathay Pacific has made a surprising change to Asia Miles, which in my opinion reduces the attractiveness of the programme. 

From 22 October 2021, the ability to waitlist for an award has been removed (exceptions apply for upgrades and companion awards). Awards will either be available or unavailable, although existing waitlist bookings will continue to be valid. 

Asia Miles eliminates award waitlisting

Cathay Pacific A350-1000 Business Class
Cathay Pacific A350-1000 Business Class

Asia Miles historically allowed members to waitlist for an award on Cathay Pacific, when nothing was available for immediate confirmation. While no one likes being left in limbo, it at least meant you had a chance, and saved you from having to keep rechecking the website. 

Moreover, since waitlisting was only available to Asia Miles members, it gave them a leg up over those trying to book Cathay Pacific awards through partner programmes. Trust me, when you’re competing for seats with Americans and their well-padded AAdvantage accounts, you need all the help you can get. 

But Schrödinger’s waitlist is no more- going forward, awards either are or aren’t available. The waitlist function has been removed from Standard awards (remember, Cathay Pacific already eliminated Choice and Tailored awards back in March 2021, leaving Standard as the only option), but will still be available for upgrade and companion awards.

If you were already on the waitlist for an award prior to 22 October 2021, that booking will continue to be valid and clear/not clear under the old system.

Why is Asia Miles doing this?

It’s quite clear that Asia Miles is trying to push members towards Cathay Pacific’s newly-launched Miles Plus Cash feature. I mean, they say as much in the FAQs: 

4. How can I make a confirmed booking if redemption seats are not available during peak travel seasons?

You can book your tickets with Miles Plus Cash on the Cathay Pacific website. This gives you instant booking confirmation, and more freedom and flexibility when you are looking for your ideal flights.

Miles Plus Cash is conceptually similar to buying a revenue ticket. That means you’ll be able to use Miles Plus Cash for any available seat, on any flight sold by Cathay Pacific. If you can buy it with money, you can buy it with Miles Plus Cash.

The problem is: Miles Plus Cash offers awful value. I did some analysis back when it launched, and never saw an instance when the value per mile was more than 0.93 cents. 

RouteCabinValue Per Mile
SIN-HKGEconomy0.66-0.72
SIN-HKG-SFOPremium Economy0.66-0.90
SIN-HKG-NRTBusiness0.66-0.90
SIN-HKG-FRAFirst0.66-0.93

For the sake of comparison, Singapore Airlines’ Pay with Miles option gives you a constant 0.95 cents per mile value regardless of route, cabin or dates, or how many miles you use, so it’s clearly the superior option- and it’s not even something I’d recommend in the first place!

Conclusion

Cathay Pacific B777-300ER Business Class

Cathay Pacific has eliminated award waitlisting effective immediately, although existing waitlist bookings will remain valid. It’s also attempting to nudge customers to taking up its (poor value) Miles Plus Cash option, should award space not be available. 

This removes one of the key advantages of being an Asia Miles member, although Asia miles still remains a viable backup frequent flyer programme for someone based in Singapore (in terms of ease of earning miles and alliance coverage). 

What do you make of Asia Miles’ removal of the waitlist feature?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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John

Still have a ton of miles with them from that stupid bonus conversion scam. Never again

Last edited 9 months ago by John
Cassandra

I told you so. Mass miles devaluation is coming now that borders are opening up.

SKS

Oh Kay Can.

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