Cathay Pacific Introduces Its First US Credit Card
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – JetBlue Plus Card,Chase Sapphire Reserve
Hong Kong-based carrier Cathay Pacific just announced its first credit card for US travelers, and it’s now open for applications.
The Cathay Pacific Visa Signature Card is offering a sign-up bonus of up to 45,000; earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days of account opening. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you purchase and fly with Cathay Pacific round-trip or 2 one-way flights by June 30, 2018. It comes with a $95 annual fee, and there are no foreign transaction fees.
So far, pretty standard for an airline co-branded card. But it does distinguish itself a bit when it comes to the earning rates:
- 2x miles on Cathay Pacific purchases
- 1.5x miles on dining in the US and abroad
- 1.5x miles on international purchases (those made outside the US)
- 1x miles on all other purchases made inside the US
2 miles per dollar is the standard airline card offering, but the Cathay Pacific Visa Signature Card sweetens the deal a bit by offering bonus categories for dining and international purchases (the latter of which is of the more unique bonus categories we’ve seen). That said, 1.5x miles isn’t incredibly lucrative, especially compared to the JetBlue Plus Card, which bests the co-brand competition by offering 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores in addition to 6x points on JetBlue purchases.
This card also offers complimentary first-year Green tier membership in Marco Polo Club, the loyalty program of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon. This is the lowest level of status, and benefits include priority boarding and check-in, extra free baggage allowance and the ability to redeem points for things like lounge access and extra-legroom seats. Since this status is only complimentary for the first year, you’ll have to pay the $100 or 100-club point fee to renew if you want to keep it after that time frame.
Is it worth it?
TPG doesn’t include Asia Miles, Cathay Pacific’s loyalty currency, in his monthly valuations. If you want to redeem for an award flight on this carrier, you can go through American Express Membership Rewards (with a 1:1 transfer ratio), Citi ThankYou Rewards (also 1:1) or Starwood Preferred Guest (1:1 with a 5,000-point bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer). And since Cathay Pacific is part of the Oneworld alliance, you can also book flights on the airline using miles from other Oneworld carriers such as American Airlines, as TPG Editor-in-Chief did to book first class on Cathay’s 777-300ER from New York to Hong Kong. You can even book Cathay Pacific flights through Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan program.
Since there are plenty of options for topping up your Asia Miles account to book a Cathay Pacific award flight, it’s not essential to earn Asia Miles directly. And while this card does offer more bonus categories than your average airline co-branded card, at 1.5x (for both dining and international purchases), they’re hardly the most rewarding rates out there — especially compared to more premium picks that earn transferable points like the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x points on dining and travel) and the Citi Prestige Card (3x on air travel and hotels, and 2x on dining and entertainment).
For US-based travelers who frequently fly on Cathay Pacific and would rather earn Asia Miles directly than transferring from one of several partner programs, this new card could be a good fit. It does offer some unique bonus categories, but they’re far from being the most lucrative ones around.
H/T: One Mile at a Time
Will you be signing up for the Cathay Pacific Visa Signature Card?
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