Who checks and counts their Asia Miles when the statement comes in every month to see they have been credited with the right number of miles? I don’t, but I probably should.
Although increasingly difficult to claim – especially on popular long haul routes like Hong Kong to London – it’s always worth a try. Especially, if like many passengers, you buy a cheaper ticket and use the miles to upgrade to something more comfortable.
Buying an economy ticket and using miles to upgrade to Business used to be a cost effective way to use miles. But I imagine that was too popular, or too many people were forking out for full fare Business tickets, because Cathay Pacific has recently slipped in a sneaky new rule – you can only upgrade one class using miles. So gone are the days of Economy to Business. Now they’ve introduced Premium Economy on many routes, you have to cough up the cash for one of those if you want to upgrade on miles to Business. But it’s still a good deal.
Here by the way, are how the numbers stack up. Taking a sample date of December 4 outbound to London from Hong Kong, returning on December 14, you would pay HK$13,836 for an economy return ticket. For that you’d get 7,500 Asia miles. Premium Economy would cost you $20,149, but you’d get a generous 13, 372 Asia miles. That’s a big difference in miles.
A Business Class seat would cost $61,510 and you’d get a relatively measly 14,958 miles. If you use miles to upgrade from Premium Economy to Business it would cost you 30,000 Asia Miles. So by flying premium economy you rack up a free upgrade to Business quite quickly.
But then I heard from a couple of passengers who did this recently. They found they had not been credited with their Premium Economy miles for the paid-for part of the ticket. Instead they had just been credited with Economy ticket miles. This had been going on since September.
He contacted the airline and was told the computer software was not yet updated to do miles from Premium Economy. He was told his missing miles would now be credited.
But you have to wonder what would have happened if he had not inquired.
I asked Cathay how many Premium Economy customers had not received their full miles and when would they receive them?
This was the reply. Of course it wasn’t a direct answer to direct questions. Instead I was told that Asia Miles and Cathay Pacific are undergoing a “system enhancement” on air mileage records “which aims at providing a better and more efficient service to meet customers’ needs.” Why do they always say that?
The system upgrade is scheduled to be completed by year end. For those air ticket mileage redemption upgrade from Premium Economy Class to Business Class on or after 1 September 2013, Asia Miles members will encounter a delay of the actual mileage record, I was told. Well at least they own up to that bit. “All respective mileage records on Premium Economy Class of the members concerned will be updated accordingly by the end of November.” Cathay would like to apologise for any inconvenience induced and your understanding is appreciated. See, it may be tiresome, but it pays to check those Asia Miles statements.