As those of you who fly regularly with Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) will know, one of the innovative features of their frequent flier scheme is to split it into two: Asia Miles (which allows travellers to accumulate/cash in frequent flier points, aka “earn and burn”) and the Marco Polo Club (which provides perks of various kinds to frequent fliers).
After quite a bit of rumbling, CX has made it official: as of April 2016, it’s revamping the Marco Polo club, moving away from using miles travelled and/or sectors as a way to gain status, to a new “point system” that rewards those who fly in premium classes but makes it much harder for those who fly economy class to gain or retain status. As I see it, they are basically turfing a bunch of people out of the Club.
I have my own take on this but I wonder if other forumosans who fly regularly with CX have any thoughts?
My heart is not full of warm feelings for CX right now, but this statement is only true if you book ultra discounted economy tickets (S or N class fares, IIRC). Other economy fares (including V, M, K, etc) earn 100% of miles flown in their Asia Miles scheme.
The two schemes complement each other. As I wrote above, Asia Miles handles the basic “earning and burning” (or, for BP, “using or losing” ) of mileage. Marco Polo has so far kicked in if and when you get sufficient mileage (or, in the new system effective in April, acquire sufficient “points” or, in the case of the basic Green level, fork over US$100 for one year) to then benefit from various escalating privileges: priority boarding, use of business class counters, access to lounges, and other fancy stuff at the top end.
As I dug around and saw more discussion about the upcoming changes in the Marco Polo club, the term that stuck for me is “devaluation,” especially of economy class or premium economy class mileage/segments. Frequent CX fliers beware!
I fly Cathay a lot because I find that they’re normally the cheapest, most convenient option for flights from TPE to UK and ME airports. Just recently signed up to the Marco Polo/Air Miles racket so I’m a bit disappointed by the news that it’s going to be devalued soon. On the other hand the ME airlines give great perks but the flights tend to work out more expensive or involve more/longer layovers, so Cathay’s still probably my first choice for the foreseeable.
As I mentioned above, the obvious (and harsh!) changes are coming to the Marco Polo Club. But subtle changes are happening at Asia Miles too, where apparently they have brought in a former Quantas executive to make this part of CX more profitable. The trend here is to give away tons of miles through various schemes–but then to make redemption more difficult by restricting seats or upping the amount of miles needed to get upgrades or free flights. Unfortunately for us on the consumer side, this seems to be an industry-wide trend.
I don’t think you know very much about how Cathay Pacific crew and the CEO of that time (Rupert Hogg) felt. The Chairman of the company expressed sympathy and implicit support for the ongoing anti-extradition bill protests in HK—and the company was squeezed hard by Beijing.
Given the challenges the company has since faced during the COVID crisis, perhaps they did Hogg a favour. Managing that company now looks like a nightmare.
Cathay has been in financial strife for a number of years, and the ownership by Swire has been diluted down to the 45% that it currently owns. Air China and Qatar Airways own 30% and 10% respectively. The protests didnt help of course, as it brought on PRC pressure, and Covid stuffed them completely as they had no Domestic arm (likewise Singapore) to help, just Cargo kept some money flowing in.
As to the cattle that pay to fly, they have found standards of service declining and value of the points they accumulated decline and even expire earlier, with bugger all hope to spend then on a flight as there were bugger all flights. They can pay for hotels, but unless you want a weekend away in Taiwan, you cant spend them there either.
Before Covid started I had decided to give up on them, and I will go back to using Singapore or CAL for trips to/from Australia in future. Cathay will revert to the ‘last resort if nothing else is available’ airline.
And right now, with the eye-popping restrictions forced upon them in HK (leading to flights and entire routes being cancelled or suspended willy nilly), they should not even be a “last resort,” as their status as a transfer-friendly airline has been utterly smashed.
Yes, definately not a place to transfer at present, as you could land there and they suddenly cancel the onward flight, for long enough that you may be forced into the HK version of Quarantine - not worth the risk however cheap the ticket is.
I completely agree. HKG is utterly unworkable as a transfer point right now, at least until the HK authorities adjust their eye-popping restrictions (extremely unlikely to happen before the upcoming BIG OLYMPIC SHOW being staged by their masters in Beijing).