Although not hugely relevant to the UK market, we thought it was worth making you aware of what is happening over at Cathay Pacific, given that it is a partner oneworld airline with British Airways.
The frequent flyer program at Cathay Pacific hasn’t always been the easiest to understand. Historically, it has been formed of two parts: Asia Miles, the points rewards scheme, and Marco Polo Club, which handed out status.
Cathay Pacific has, finally, merged the two into one scheme called ‘Cathay’.
Whilst Asia Miles will still be the official name for Cathay’s reward points, the Marco Polo Club will be retired. Marco Polo Club Points have been renamed Status Points, which makes it clearer what they represent.
Apart from that, not much else changes. The status levels will stay the same, with the same Diamond, Gold, Silver and Green tiers from Marco Polo Club. All members will be seamlessly transferred across and will also benefit from automatic status renewal through 2022. Asia Miles members will automatically be enrolled as Cathay Green members.
My gut feeling is that Cathay hopes it can branch out and become more of an all-purpose loyalty scheme like Virgin Points, rather than being tied exclusively to frequent flyers.
That’s a challenging proposition. As Virgin Red is finding, it is tricky to offer rewards and incentives for people who rack up hundreds of thousands of miles from flights as well as those who picks up a handful each time they go to the supermarket. It will be interesting to see if they succeed.