Frequent mileage programs in Asia?


#1

Hi folks. I was wondering if anyone had a grip on the frequent flyer programs in Asia, which ones are worth registering for, etc. Cathay Pacific, China Air, Eva, Singapore Airlines, Shanghai Air, etc.

The last time I checked into one (Eva Air), it had a ridiculous mileage accumulation requirement and wouldn’t let me add the flight I had just taken, so I didn’t look into it further.

I don’t fly often, maybe twice a year, and have been pretty terrible with keeping up with my Stateside mileage, but having just updated all my U.S. FF accounts online (what a great service!), I was wondering if anyone participated in the Asian airline programs and what their thoughts on those were.

I also asked Gus who flies frequently inter-region but like me, he hasn’t been too good at following up with updating/accumulating his mileage points.

Thanks in advance!


#2

Hey Christine, I like Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles programme. They fly Taipei-HK-Toronto and Taipei-HK-NY very cheaply, and they also go to all of the vacation destinations in Asia that I like. That’s how I spend my earned points. I also like the fact that I can use my American Express Card and my newly minted Standard Chartered Visa card to accumulate points. Seeing as Visa can be used for everything from groceries to gas to movie tickets, in the course of a year, I can get quite a few points. ChinaTrust Bank also offers a partnership with Cathay, as does Hong Kong Bank and Citibank.


#3

I have 2 FF cards. One is affiliated with OneWorld, the other with Star Alliance. My company sends me OS quite a lot - and I cannot always choose the airline I want (due to limitations on times, connections etc.) But having both means there is a very good chance that I will get points whichever airline I fly, and will be able to redeem them on partner airlines (also on hotel bookings etc.)

My Co-op bank Visa card is not linked, but thanks Maoman, I will look at Standard (or HSBC) to see if I can get points on purchases. My foreign Amex is just too expensive to use (stung on Forex rates), and a hassle to pay, but did have points. But my current card (on which I seem to spend a lot) isn’t giving me any points - which is annoying.

I have to admit - the fees and bank charges in this country are brilliant. Not the daylight robbery like home.


#4

Almost forgot - Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles programme is part of OneWorld - the alliance of airlines which includes American Airlines, British Airways, Aer Lingus, Quantas, Iberian Airlines, FinnAir and LanChile.


#5

I keep Northwest Airlines. I know it is a lame airline, but I can accrue KLM points (on those TPE-BANGKOK trips), points to HK (you can earn on British Airways), points on Northwest on flights to Japan, Alaska, Hawaii, the US. You can also accrue Malaysia Airlines miles on Northwest, great for flights to places Malaysia flied in Asia and LA and Capetown.
I have had bad experiences on United’s club.
Tip: If you have an American Express card, sign up for their points service. It costs like NT$1,200 I think, but you can transfer points to the Starwood Preferred Guest card (Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels). You can then transfer these points to most major airline clubs. A bit of a pain, but not bad for earing miles just by using a credit card.


#6

I got Star Alliance and MAS (teams up with KLM), but slowly I come to the conclusion it’s not worth it anymore. MAS asks for 60,000 miles for a one-way upgrade to Europe while LH (part of Star Alliance) just increased from 40,000 to 50,000, the last time I did upgrade it was 30,000 only. Will never get there again I think, as well considering that none of the above flies my required route now.

Best thing would probably to subscribe to a local or regional airline, but if you fly twice a year it might not matter - but then if it’s for free why not!?