In February 2017, Cathay Pacific introduced a co-branded credit card in the US. 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
Cathay Pacific A350 business class
When the card was first introduced it had a welcome bonus of 25,000 miles after spending $2,500 within 90 days. Since then we’ve seen them offer an increased welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 within 90 days, which is obviously much better. However, that offer was only around for a limited time, and up until recently the welcome bonus was back to 25,000 points.
The Cathay Pacific Visa Signature Card is now offering an increased welcome bonus of up to 60,000 Asia Miles. This involves a significant amount of spending, though. Here’s how the offer is structured:
- Earn 35,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 within the first 90 days
- Earn 25,000 additional bonus miles after spending an additional $7,500 within the first 12 months
In other words, in the end you’re earning 60,000 Asia Miles after spending $10,000 within the first year. Incrementally you’re earning a total of ~4.3 Asia Miles per dollar spent between $2,500 and $10,000 of spend (since you earn a total of 32,500 miles for $7,500 worth of incremental spend).
For a sense of how you could spend 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:
If you do a lot of spend then it could make sense to take advantage of the Cathay Pacific welcome bonus. Personally if I were to spend that much, I’d rather welcome for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card, which offers a tiered welcome bonus of up to 100,000 bonus Avios with the same spend requirement:
- 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $3,000 within the first three months
- An additional 50,000 bonus Avios after spending an additional $20,000 within the first year
For less initial spend, you could earn 50,000 Avios rather than 60,000 Asia Miles, and for double the spend, you could earn a substantial amount more Avios. Furthermore, I’d personally consider Avios more valuable than Asia Miles. Not only that, but it’s easier to top off a British Airways account for a redemption.
I suspect many will be able to take advantage of the offers on both cards, which works great too. Personally I think I’d probably wait for a welcome bonus of 50,000 Asia Miles after spending $2,500 to return.
(Tip of the hat to @IadisGr8)