Cathay members: Enjoy 24 hour free cancellation on all Cathay Pacific bookings

Cathay members can enjoy free cancellation on any booking within 24 hours, provided there's at least eight days to departure. Here's how it works.

While some jurisdictions require airlines to offer free cancellation within 24 hours of booking (e.g. the USA), this is far from a universal rule.

Customers who misspell their name or make other mistakes with destinations, dates and flights could therefore be on the hook for hefty change fees or, in a worst case scenario, have to forfeit the ticket altogether.

But some airlines are voluntarily making things easier. For example, members of Cathay (the merged entity that combines Asia Miles and Marco Polo Club under a single name) are eligible for free cancellation within 24 hours for any Cathay Pacific ticket they book, regardless of destination.

While this isn’t a particularly new policy (it started back in April 2023, from what I can see on FlyerTalk), it’s the first I’m hearing of it.

Cathay’s 24-hour free cancellation

Cathay 24 hour free cancellation

Customers who make bookings via the Cathay Pacific website or mobile app will enjoy free cancellations within 24 hours, provided the following conditions are met:

  • Cathay membership number was added during the booking process or when you signed up for the membership while booking your flight
  • Booking was made more than eight days before the departure of your first flight
  • Booking was paid with cash or a mix of miles and cash
  • Refund request was made via Manage Booking within 24 hours after booking

The fare, tax and fuel surcharges will be fully refundable in these situations, along with advance seat reservations, pre-paid extra baggage and lounge passes. 

Do note that the Cathay membership number needs to be added during the booking process. If you forget to do so, adding the number retroactively will not make you eligible for the 24-hour free cancellation.

Refunds should be processed within seven days. 

Refund exceptions

Bookings cannot be refunded if:

  • The flight ticket had been previously used, rebooked, reissued or held
  • “Hold your fare” service has been used
  • You’re holding a split booking (where one or more passengers have been separated from the original booking)
  • The refund request is made after the date and time for free cancellation, as shown on the payment page and confirmation email; and
  • The refund request is made through our online refund request form, Customer Care or live chat

Asia Miles flight award bookings, hotel reservations, land and sea transportation, travel insurance and packages purchased together with flights are not eligible for refunds under this policy. 

While it’s a shame there’s no leeway for award bookings, none of the conditions here are overly onerous, and the main thing to remember is that the booking must be made at least eight days before departure. 

Moreover, it doesn’t mean that you have to credit the flight to Cathay. If you prefer, you can always switch to a different frequent flyer programme during check-in, and credit the miles elsewhere. Be sure to check out wheretocredit.com suggestions on which programme to credit a given ticket.

Conclusion

Cathay Pacific A350-1000 Business Class

It’s always struck me as unfair that airlines generally don’t need to honour mistake fares, but customers who make mistakes in their booking have to pay penalty fees, or even forfeit the whole ticket.

So it’s good to see certain airlines taking the initiative to reduce the asymmetry, and Cathay’s 24-hour free cancellation policy is a nice little touch. This lets you lock in a fare without having to commit to it immediately, using the breathing space to block leave, check the availability of hotels and rental cars, and other pre-trip logistics.

Any experiences with Cathay’s 24 hour free cancellation policy?

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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☺️ smile

Singapore Airlines. We are looking at you.

Howard

Time for SQ to institute such similar policy. It always shocks me coming to Asia that airlines don’t offer such free cancelation services that the US ones do.

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