Cathay Pacific is set to revamp its two frequent-flier programmes - with high-spending customers winning out over regular economy travellers, sources have told the Sunday Morning Post. While details have yet to be confirmed, the airline's Marco Polo Club is expected to be overhauled to focus on big spenders travelling only with Cathay and its sister airline Dragonair. Members would not qualify for flights on other airlines in the Oneworld Alliance and the club would focus on those who pay for premium seats or buy the most expensive, fully flexible economy fares. The big losers would be economy-class passengers who have made enough journeys to reach the club's higher tiers and benefit from perks such as lounge access. They would be directed to a new version of the Asia Miles scheme, which would allow customers to redeem air miles on Cathay, Dragonair and Oneworld flights, but will offer minimal other perks. Cathay, which has won a range of awards for its frequent-flier schemes, said it would make an announcement "if and when" the changes came to fruition. "We look forward to introducing initiatives that will benefit our passengers, and in particular our most loyal customers, to ensure they enjoy a rewarding travel experience with us," a spokeswoman for the carrier said. Cathay proposed last month that those eligible for lounge access as members of the club's silver tier - which can require 20 or more economy-class flights a year - might only be allowed four lounge passes per year. Loyal Cathay passengers have given the idea the thumbs-down. David Chen spends US$33,000 per year on flights to Taiwan and the mainland and is a member of the club's elite diamond tier. He described the possible changes as "short-sighted". "I think Cathay needs to be an industry leader rather than a follower," Chen said, adding that airlines elsewhere, especially in the US, had also saved money by switching to revenue-based loyalty programmes. "[Cathay] has lost its boldness of being ahead of the curve, and is now just playing safe and wanting only to follow what other people are doing." Ali Ebrahim, an exporter whose 30 medium and long-haul trips in economy earn him a place in the second-highest gold tier, said the changes would "alienate" loyal customers. "It's still very unclear what the new system might look like, so it's hard to foresee what kind of status I could maintain," he said. "Asia Miles is currently one of the most expensive programmes in the world for redeeming free flights, but because Cathay offers a rewarding loyalty programme, customers are willing to overlook this. Therefore, given any changes on the loyalty side, it may make sense [for passengers] to re-evaluate and consider other options."