Quite often, the best practices in points make the least sense. Why would someone earn miles from a Hong Kong based loyalty program if they are flying on British Airways or other Oneworld airlines within Europe or the USA? It turns out, there are many reasons. AsiaMiles is an intriguing program for people on both sides of the Atlantic offering savings on points, easy ways to create them and solid loyalty benefits. Here are a few reasons to consider AsiaMiles over Avios…
If there was one headline worthy case for considering AsiaMiles over Avios, it would be the fact that you need fewer points for the same flights, and you pay lower surcharges too. That’s correct – even if you plan on flying on British Airways, you’d pay fewer miles booking your ticket through AsiaMiles than you would via your British Airways Avios account. Not only will you pay fewer miles, you’ll also enjoy a massive savings on the pesky surcharges.
You probably want to know more…
For flights from London to New York in business class round trip, British Airways would require 100,000 Avios and £667 off peak, or 120,000 and £667 for peak dates. It’s not huge savings, but AsiaMiles charges 100,000 points on dates British Airways considers peak, and £600 in surcharges, which saves £67 per passenger. If you can find seats on American Airlines, you’ll save far more on surcharges, which is a feature you cannot take advantage of if booking via British Airways.
Things get more interesting though. For flights from London to Hong Kong, British Airways requires 150,000 points return on off peak dates for their own flights, or 180,000 return for flights on partners or peak dates. Conversely, Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles program requires a mere 130,000 points for flights on their own metal, or 140,000 return for any other dates or flights on other airlines.
And things get even more interesting when you mix in two or more Oneworld airlines, not including Cathay. By doing so, you gain access to even lower rates to all sorts of destinations. In this regard, Cathay almost encourages you to fly more and spread out a big redemption.
If you flew across the pond in British Airways business class, then took a short US flight on American and then flew home with Iberia, you could book an East Coast itinerary like that for 90,000 points all in. That’s a savings of at least 10,000 points, with more flying included. And yes, surcharges would be much lower.
An around the world trip would cost 185,000 AsiaMiles (scroll to bottom chart), giving you up to 25,000 miles of earth to play with, with six flights or more. That’s 5,000 points more than BA would charge for a mere trip to Hong Kong.
There are many reasons people choose to use the British Airways Avios program, myself included, and ease of earning Avios is one of the big reasons. But creating AsiaMiles is also a lot easier than you think.
AsiaMiles is a transfer partner of both the US and UK Amex Green, Gold and Platinum cards, which means you can instantly convert points from Amex>AsiaMiles at a 1:1 ratio. This is one of the many reasons our best advice is to earn flexible points, such as Amex Membership Rewards, since it gives you choice. In the US, AsiaMiles is also a transfer partner of Citi. AsiaMiles can also be created by transferring Marriott Bonvoy Points.
Of course, you can earn AsiaMiles by entering your AsiaMiles number for flights on virtually all Oneworld airlines too.
The British Airways Executive Club is an attractive program because it’s a bit of an all rounder. It’s a program that makes it relatively easy to acquire points and gives you many airlines on which you can redeem them. It’s also one of the easiest programs to earn elite status. It’s why we suggested that many American Airlines fliers may have far more joy as members of the British Airways program, than their own program!
All the advice above is incredibly sound and logical for someone who earns most of their points via spending for the simple reason that you’ll need to use fewer AsiaMiles points to achieve the same flights, versus booking them with Avios.
But if you’re a frequent flyer who is looking to cash in on benefits such as lounge access and other perks, it’s much harder to earn elite status via the AsiaMiles/Marco Polo loyalty program than it is with the British Airways Executive Club/Avios program. For this reason, if you’re a frequent flyer, despite higher redemption costs, you may still do better to stick with BA, because of how much easier it is to achieve elite status.
Food for thought, right?