In February Cathay Pacific introduced a credit card in the US market for the first time. When the card was first introduced it had a 25,000 mile sign-up bonus, though it has now been increased. The Cathay Pacific Visa Signature Card is now offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Asia Miles after spending $2,500 within 90 days, which is twice as big as the previous one (with the same spend requirement).
The card is issued by Synchrony Bank, which primarily issues credit cards for retailers. This is the first time they’ve partnered with an airline. On the plus side, I believe it’s pretty easy to be approved for their cards, though they’re also notorious for giving small credit limits.
The card has a $95 annual fee, and doesn’t offer a particularly compelling return on spend:
- 2x points for Cathay Pacific purchases
- 1.5x points on dining
- 1.5x points on purchases outside the U.S.
- 1x point per dollar dollar spent on everything else
As you can see, you can do better in just about any category with other cards.
The one unique benefit of the card is that it offers complimentary Green membership in the Marco Polo Club. That’s the base level in the Marco Polo program, which doesn’t get you all that much in the way of benefits. The main benefit is that you can redeem points for things like extra legroom seats, extra baggage, lounge access, etc.
Nonetheless Cathay Pacific ordinarily charges $100 to renew Green membership, so some will find value in that.
If you do apply for this card and want to earn more Asia Miles, the program is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest, so there are plenty of other opportunities to pick up these miles.
For the very basics on redeeming Asia Miles, here’s their award chart for travel on two or more airlines other than Cathay Pacific (or three or more airlines if including Cathay Pacific), which is based on the cumulative distance of the itinerary:
Meanwhile here’s their award chart for travel on a single airline, based on either one-way or roundtrip distance flown:
It used to be that their award chart was terrible, but as other programs have gotten worse, by comparison it’s actually quite competitive now.
I don’t find Cathay Pacific’s credit card to be terribly compelling in terms of the return on spend that it offers, though an increased 50,000 mile sign-up bonus does make it more worthwhile to sign-up for. There are some solid uses of Asia Miles, and it’s easy enough to top off your mileage balance with a points transfer from another currency.
Does anyone plan on taking advantage of this 50,000 mile sign-up bonus?
(Tip of the hat to Doctor of Credit)