My wife gets her Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold card renewed (via Amex Platinum)

I receive a continual stream of emails about the Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold card that comes with the American Express Platinum charge card.

The first question is, not unreasonably:

If you get this amazing Gold card from Amex Platinum – which gives you all the benefits of British Airways Silver status, including lounge access – why isn’t it mentioned on the Amex website?!

This is a very fair point. The answer, I imagine, is that Amex is very protective of its relationship with British Airways and does not want to openly annoy them more than is necessary.

(After all, why bother spending money chasing Silver status with BA when you can get the same benefits by paying Amex £450 instead?)

There is one oblique reference to the Cathay Gold card on the Amex website. It says that Platinum gets you ‘unlimited access to over 1,000 airport lounges’. That number actually refers to the 600 Priority Pass lounges plus the 550 oneworld lounges around the world (knocking off a few like Galleries First at Heathrow and Gatwick and The Concorde Room at Heathrow which require a higher class of card).

I admit, though, it is a bit odd.

The second question is:

Is Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold just for one year?

Well, according to the private (log-in required) Amex Platinum website where you apply for the card, it is just one year. However, so far, I don’t think that anyone has NOT had it renewed.

And yesterday, this dropped through our letterbox for my wife (albeit without the stones ….):

Marco Polo Gold

The covering letter said:

“Welcome to a new year of Gold membership

Cathay Pacific and American Express hope you have enjoyed your complimentary one-year Gold membership in The Marco Polo Club, and we are delighted to renew it for another year. This is an exclusive benefit offered to you as a Platinum Cardmember.”

Just to be clear, my wife has credited a total of ZERO flights to her card in the past year, and accumulated ZERO points.

Now, of course there is no guarantee that this will continue for a 3rd year. It is possible that Cathay thought that a one year period was too short, given that people tend to book long-haul flights well ahead. (Although, if that were the case, it would have been more helpful to tell people earlier it would get renewed.)

If you like the sound of getting a Gold card for BA lounge access, there is unfortunately no sign-up bonus at present on the Platinum card. You could still get the card (£450 fee), apply for the Cathay card, and then cancel Platinum – you would get a pro-rata refund on your membership fee, so probably wouldn’t be more than £100 out of pocket.

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Promotional code for £20 off when you spend £100 on British Airways short-haul flights
Lufthansa scraps First Class on 25% of routes
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, airline miles and hotel points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our emails via the box to your right.

Comments

  1. I had mine renewed but understand that Amex did this following hike in fee and it is for 1 year from that point. I paid the new fee from aug 12 so ineed to wait till aug 13 to know if it will be renewed for a 3 rd year.
    Thanks for bump on Amex platin sign up bonus. Got my wife signed up on last day. Had the card in 6 days, paid for holiday and have 77. 000 points credited between accounts already. Now applying for credit card to all a cancellation with a month.

  2. …all the benefits of BA Silver – does that include the 100% mileage bonus on paid BA flights?

    • Not if you credit your flight to BA in the end. You would presumably get the bonus in your Cathay account though if you credited it to that.

      For completeness, I should also say that Cathay Gold does not get you a higher baggage allowance on BA above and beyond what your ticket allows. A BA Silver card would do this. For some reason, this is not a standard oneworld partner benefit.

      • No Cathay does not give tier bonuses.

      • I asked about this on Flyertalk and someone kindly pointed me at a BA page on baggage allowance, which states that OneWorld Sapphires do get an extra item of baggage in all cabins.

        The relevant section is here:
        http://www.britishairways.com/travel/bagchk/public/en_gb
        (if you open the ‘Size and weight of free baggage allowances’ tab)

        Information for frequent flyers
        The following frequent flyer members can check, free of charge, an additional bag regardless of their class of travel (except hand baggage only fares). This applies to all customers travelling on the same booking.

        •British Airways Executive Club Gold
        •oneworld Emerald
        The following frequent flyer members can check in two bags in all cabins, on all routes, unless the cabin allowance is greater (except hand baggage only fares). This applies to all customers travelling on the same booking.

        •British Airways Executive Club Silver
        •oneworld Sapphire
        The following frequent flyer members can take the maximum weight of 32kg per bag without paying the heavy bag charge. This applies to all customers travelling on the same booking.

        •British Airways Executive Club Gold and Silver members
        •oneworld Emerald and Sapphire

        • Oops, I meant OW Sapphires can check in two bags in all cabins (not one extra to each category)

          The paragraph divisions have come out unclearly above, so the key section is:

          The following frequent flyer members can check in two bags in all cabins, on all routes, unless the cabin allowance is greater (except hand baggage only fares). This applies to all customers travelling on the same booking.

          •British Airways Executive Club Silver
          •oneworld Sapphire

  3. I had the Plat card which I cancelled in Oct 2012 after refering mrs xcalx for the plat. At the time mrs xcalx along with son and DIL had supplementary cards which were also cancelled.. We all applied for and received CX Gold cards in Feb 2012 .
    I am the only supplementary card holder now. 2 days ago 3 of us received the “Welcome to a new year of Gold ” letter . DIL received a Green card complete with luggage tags. The letter started ” We hope you enjoyed your year of Gold ” .

  4. Hingeless says:

    Ms hingeless got a cx gold card on her supp plat last year. An envelope arrived yesterday with a horrible green card. Interesting thing is that she now has her own plat card so lets see if we can turn it gold again.

    • My wife got her card as the supp on my account, she does not have her own Plat

      • Then you are twice (thrice?) blessed! :D

        I’m now plat-less. Had AmEx been upfront about continuing CX renewal, I may have retained my plat. AmEx told me three times in writing and also verbally that renewal was up to CX, not AmEx, as AmEx paid CX only for the first year.

        Oh, well. I’ve just requalified for BA Silver until 2015 so the need is hardly pressing.

  5. My first year is up in June. It’s the only thing keeping me Plat really, so if no renewal I’m off

  6. The card from my first year of CX gold expires at the end of this month, so I hope mine is renewed too! When was your wife’s card due to expire?

    I’ve found having this card very useful, primarily to pre-allocated seats on BA flights, something I do find ridiculous to pay for (especially at £60 each way for Club World!). Exec Club call centre have been very helpful on every occasion I’ve asked them to do this, they will happily take out your BA number (if you’ve booked on your BA account on-line, using Avios etc), apply your CX number which opens up the seat map on-line for you to book seats for free, and then they re-apply your BA number to ensure you earn your BA miles for the flight.

    So I think whilst it might seem anti-BA for Amex to be offering this benefit, I actually think it can drive custom to BA, I’ve certainly flown with BA more than I might have done with the benefit of having a more enjoyable experience through lounges, seat allocations and priority boarding that this card brings.

    I’d love to see this as an ongoing benefit like the hotel and car-hire ones are.

  7. This is a theory that they are allowing CX gold renewal if this is the first year you paid £450. I don’t think we are at the point yet were someone is in their 2nd year of £450 membership and has gotten the CX card. the rise in fee came in summer last year ?

  8. Interesting thought – this is my first year of £450, my first card was during my last £300 year so fingers crossed. That said my card is due to expire in 15 days and not had anything from them yet.

  9. vindaloo says:

    How do you get the CX Gold for a supplementary card holder? The site specifically says this is for the main card holder only, and I found it impossible to sign up anyone else. When you go to the page that allows you to sign up for the various partner benefits, if you choose the supplementary card holder the tick box for CX gets greyed out. The hotel and car hire partners can still be ticked, as these are advertised as being available separately to the main and supplementary card holders.

    Have I missed something, or has this restriction been imposed only recently (I got the Platinum card in January)?

  10. My CX Gold arrived last week, and I cancelled my Plat this week. Anyone have experience of if/when golden benefits with other programs are cancelled?

    • Priority Pass is cancelled immediately, other cards remain until the expiry printed on them.

      • Thanks for reply. I thought Priority Pass would cancel as linked to card (can still login, but that means nothing after only 4 days), but wasn’t sure about others. Of course when I asked Amex they said every gold status would be cancelled, but knew I’d get a more knowledgable answer here (which I hope is the case. The PP cancellation doesn’t bother me just yet as Mrs’ plat and hence PP still valid for upcoming trip. In any case, there is still the CX Gold to fall back on.

  11. Likewise vindaloo – I thought this benefit was only for the primary card member. Perhaps if you just fill out the form with the supp card number but leaving the box ticked for main card member it might work?

  12. I love this card. I’m well on my way to Silver, but not there yet. Am in Asia at the moment and have made extensive use of the Cathay lounges (which are amazing), and was waved straight through into the BA lounge at Heathrow (I’d previously been challenged for not using the Cathay card on my reservation). Love it!

    And once I get silver, I’ll probably cancel. :)

  13. John Johnson says:

    Am I missing something? How do you actually apply for the Cathay Pacific / Marco Polo gold card using your Plat card? I can’t see a paper application form in the Plat pack (unlike Avis, Hertz HHilton etc.) Is there a link on the Plat account website?

    • Yes, its hidden away on the americanexpress.co.uk/platinum website. Didn’t know they didn’t even put a form in the new member pack ….

      Is there still a Hilton form in the pack?! They dropped that 31st December!

  14. Unlikely as Aer Lingus is not in oneworld. I think they only let BA elites in. There is a Priority Pass lounge in both T1 and T2 though.

  15. Has any one had a tough time getting their Marco Gold Card via Amex?
    I applied for this over three months ago and its not been sent yet. Called a few times and been assured it was all handled. However later found out they lost my requests twice.

    • Someone I know who got one last week told me it had taken 4 weeks, instead of the 10 days mine took. Certainly not 3 months though!

    • I got mine last week (as with Mrs), and ours took about 3 weeks from application to delivery.

  16. does this work for usa amex plat card

  17. Does anyone know if/how I can use the Marco Polo Gold to get free seat reservation on BA flights bought with Avios when I am BAEC Blue member? I can’t see there is any option on the BA site ‘manage your flight’ pages that allows this – possibly by phoning?
    Thanks
    Frisco