Cathay Pacific restructures Marco Polo Club

Cathay Pacific has today announced changes to the Marco Polo club that will come into effect from 15 April, 2016. The changes affect the way in which status is determined, and also changes a number of the benefits granted at each status level.

To support the changes, Cathay Pacific has provided a number of pages on its website that outline all of the changes. If you are a Marco Polo member, then the website is well worth reading in order to understand the changes that are being made. The relevant section of the website can be accessed here.

The main takeaway from the changes, is that Cathay Pacific is changing its program to better reward those that frequent its premium cabins, while making things harder for those that fly mainly on discounted tickets.  Or, to put in Cathay Pacific’s own words:

As the Cathay Pacific network continues to grow, so does the need to evolve the Marco Polo Club. New cabin products and additional routes, in particular ultra-long and ultra-short ones, mean that the way members earn status no longer accurately reflects their contribution to the airline.

That is to say, that the program was not properly reflecting the revenue that various groups brought to the company.

Tiers

The first big change can be found in the way status tiers are determined. Marco Polo Club will be moving to a measure known as Club Points, with set requirements for each of the tiers. These are as follows:

Cathay Pacific has published a number of charts, one for each airlines, showing the number of Club Points earned in each fare class and distance flown. For Cathay Pacific, this chart is as follows:

As can be seen, Long Haul in First class is quite rewarding, while down at the deepest discount economy fares, the pickings are quire slim indeed. Keep in mind that while the earnings on S.N and Q, these classes don;t make an appearance on the current scheme of counting sectors.

When travelling on OneWorld partner airlines, Club Points are aslo accrued, however these do tend to be at lower rates that would be earned on the equivalent Cathay Pacific ticket. This is a little similar to how Qantas adjusted SC earn, although Cathay do not seem to have been as punitive toward members flying on competing airlines.

Benefits

Status is one thing, but it is the benefits that come with status that are of most interest. On this front, Cathay have again made some changes, mainly to reward the better customers.

FIrst up are the bookable upgrades being made available to Gold and Diamond members:

Gold Member

1,000 club points: Four Bookable Upgrades
You will be eligible to earn four single-sector Bookable Upgrades to one cabin class up for yourself and travel companions on qualified flights at 1,000 club points.

Diamond Member

1,600 club points: Four Bookable Upgrades
You will be eligible to earn four single-sector Bookable Upgrades to one cabin class up for yourself, your travel companions, or anyone you have designated as a member of your redemption group at 1,600 club points, providing you with the flexibility to discover more and travel better.

Secondly, there are some changes to Lounge Access. The big one is that Diamond Members will no longer be able to access the lounges when not flying on Cathay Pacific or other oneWorld airlines.

There will, however, be lounge passes being made availabe at various stages.  This is basically:

  • 1 business lounge pass at 200 points for Green members;
  • 2
    business lounge passes at 450 points for silver members;
  • 2 business
    lounge passes at 800 points for Gold members;
  • 2 first class lounge
    passes at 1400 points for Diamond members.

While there are a few other changes, these are the main ones.

There are some pretty significant changes all up, and there will be winners and losers. Marco Polo Club members will need to review the changes in terms of their own individual situation to see how they come out.

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