In this article we’ll look at how you can earn Avios and British Airways tier points by flying with Cathay Pacific and whether it’s worth it compared to flying British Airways.
It is possible to earn Avios and British Airways Executive Club tier points on Cathay Pacific and its subsidiaries instead of Asia Miles. This is because they both belong to the oneworld alliance.
When you book or manage your flights with Cathay Pacific, you will be able to add your British Airways Executive Club number. Upon completion of your flights you will automatically be credited the correct Avios.
However, you will earn a different amount of Avios on Cathay Pacific compared to if you fly British Airways. This is because they have different earning rates.
On Cathay Pacific, you will earn Avios at a maximum of 150% of miles flown if you fly first class. On British Airways flights, however, first class fares can come with 300% of miles flown – so double what you’d expect to earn on Cathay Pacific.
How many Avios do you earn flying with Cathay Pacific?
Here is the full chart of earning rates, sourced from this page of the British Airways website. We are comparing the earnings when you take a flight on Cathay Pacific compared to taking a flight on British Airways.
Economy lowest – 25% on both airlines
Economy flexible – 100% on both airlines
Premium Economy lowest – 100% on both airlines
Premium Economy flexible – 110% vs 150% on British Airways
Business – 125% vs 150%-250% on British Airways
First – 150% vs 250%-300% on British Airways
As you can see, economy earning rates are the exact same for both airlines. For flights in premium economy, business and first you will suffer some severe losses, earning up to half less on Cathay Pacific than you would on a British Airways flight. Obviously, something is better than nothing but if you’re flying on a flexible first fare you’d be disappointed to miss out on an additional 150%.
You are also NOT eligible for the usual 25%, 50% or 100% tier bonus if you hold a Bronze, Silver or Gold Executive Club status card, further cutting into your earnings. Looking purely at Avios, it makes more sense to fly with British Airways to Hong Kong if possible – although arguably Cathay Pacific is the superior airline.
When it comes to tier points, however, you are better off flying with Cathay Pacific than British Airways if your trip involves a connection. This is because tier points are earned per flight, so connecting in Hong Kong to your final destination will earn more tier points than taking a direct flight on British Airways from London. London to Hong Kong to Tokyo on Cathay Pacific would earn more tier points than a direct BA flight to Tokyo because of the connecting leg.
You can work out how many tier points you will earn on the BA tier point calculator here. Remember to search leg by leg if you are connecting.
(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works. You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )
(Head for Points is the UK’s biggest frequent flyer website with 2.4 million monthly page views. Want to learn more about earning and spending Avios? Click here to read our latest news stories and click here to join the mailing list for our weekly or daily email newsletters.)
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also good bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These are available to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.