Cathay Pacific History

Sydney H. de Kantzow, an Australian, and Roy C. Farrell, an American founded Cathay Pacific in September 1946. Original routes included flights between Hong Kong, Sydney, Manila, Singapore, Shanghai, and Canton, and the airline went into the 50s and 60s with profits high. As the world’s first airline to have international services to Fukuoka, Nagoya, and Osaka, Cathay Pacific saw double-digit growth from 1962-1967. By 1964, the airline reached its one-millionth passenger and initiated a computerized reservation system in the 1970s.

Around 1990, Cathay Pacific and their parent company, Swire Pacific, bought shares of Dragonair and Air Hong Kong to help boost their passenger and cargo services. By the late 90s, Cathay Pacific had left the Kai Tak International Airport and started service to Hong Kong International Airport from JFK. This flight became the very first nonstop transpolar flight from New York to Hong Kong and took about 16 hours to complete.

During the break of the millennium, Cathay Pacific upgraded its fleet and dealt with labor relations that caused many pilots to skip their flights and thus cancellations ensued. This caused legal disputes, which ended in 49 of the 1,500 pilots being fired in 2002, but 11 years later, they won the lawsuit against Cathay Pacific for breach of contract, breach of the Employment Ordinance, and defamation. By 2006, instead of expanding Dragonair’s international reach, Cathay Pacific acquired Dragonair and changed routes to service Sendai, Phuket, Manila, and Kathmandu. The acquisition also led to a 37% decrease in staff members from Dragonair. Additionally in 2006, Cathay Pacific celebrated their 60th anniversary, with in-flight meals from well-known Hong Kong restaurants and a road show.

By the beginning of 2009, the airline was in trouble again and reported a yearly loss; Cathay Pacific’s second after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. They also suffered blows from the flattening of fuel prices and the lack of first class passengers flying from New York to Hong Kong. However, as 2010 rolled around, Cathay Pacific set record profits and in 2014, they were able to upgrade their flight network to include Manchester, Zurich, and Boston. They also became the world’s largest international cargo airline and founded the Oneworld alliance with Dragonair.

Over the years, Cathay Pacific has won “World’s Best Airline” four times, which is more than any other airline, and was Skytrax’s Airline of the Year for 2014. Their outstanding service and first class seats are among some of the best, and their continued strive for excellent can be seen in their leading Asia Miles and Marco Polo Club awards programs.


Cathay Pacific and the Oneworld Alliance

Cathay Pacific is one of the founders of the Oneworld alliance and continues to share partnerships with the following airlines:

  • Air Berlin
  • America Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LAN Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines
  • TAM Airlines


Cathay Pacific Main Hubs and Where They Fly

Cathay Pacific’s headquarters and main hub are at the Hong Kong International Airport with focus cities in Taipei (Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport) and Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi Airport).

Main Hub:

  • Hong Kong International Airport

Where They Fly:

  • Adelaide
  • Amsterdam
  • Anchorage
  • Atlanta
  • Auckland
  • Bahrain
  • Bangalore
  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Boston
  • Brisbane
  • Cairns
  • Calgary
  • Cebu
  • Chengdu
  • Chennai
  • Chicago
  • Chongqing
  • Colombo
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Delhi
  • Denpasar
  • Dhaka
  • Doha
  • Dubai
  • Düsseldorf
  • Frankfurt
  • Fukuoka
  • Guadalajara
  • Hanoi
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Hong Kong
  • Houston
  • Hyderabad
  • Jakarta
  • Johannesburg
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • London
  • Los Angeles
  • Malé
  • Manchester
  • Manila
  • Melbourne
  • Mexico City
  • Miami
  • Milan
  • Moscow
  • Mumbai
  • Nagoya
  • New York City
  • Newark
  • Osaka
  • Parks
  • Phnom Penh
  • Penang
  • Perth
  • Riyadh
  • Rome
  • San Francisco
  • Sapporo
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai
  • Singapore
  • Surabaya
  • Sydney
  • Taipei
  • Tokyo
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver
  • Xiamen
  • Zurich
  • Zhengzhou


Cathay Pacific’s Frequent Flyer and Loyalty Programs and How They Work

Cathay Pacific has Asia Miles, the frequent flyer program, and The Marco Polo Club, the loyalty program. Those who join The Marco Polo Club are automatically enrolled in Asia Miles, and The Club determines your level based on the previous year’s travel.

The Marco Polo Club has four different tiers (Green, Silver, Gold, Diamond) with varying amenities depending on your status and a $50 entry fee. The Club is designed for those who travel frequently while Asia Miles is for every traveler with mile accruals and award travel bonuses. Your Marco Polo Club status is derived from the mile count you have at the end of the year in your Asia Miles bank.

Green members are entry-level with bonuses like a 24-hour club service line for flight reservations, priority boarding, and lounge access. The Club members have to earn four Club Sectors in order for their membership to be renewed.

Silver status comes when you earn 30,000 Club miles or 20 Club Sectors over the course of the year. Benefits of Silver membership include extra baggage allowance, Business Class lounge access, Frequent Visitor e-Channels for immigration at Hong Kong International Airport, and priority wait listing. This status also ties to the Oneworld Ruby tier, which means Silver members enjoy extra benefits when flying a Oneworld alliance airline.

Travelers reach Gold status when they earn 60,000 Club Miles or 40 Club Sectors during a year and have guaranteed Economy Class seats booked 72 hours before departure, extra baggage is allowed, and Business Lounge access. Like Silver, Gold Marco Polo Club status is equal to Sapphire Oneworld status, which means additional benenfits are tacked on when Gold members fly Oneworld airlines.

For those who fly over 120,000 Club Miles or have 80 Club Sectors at the end of the year Diamond status is awarded. Top priority wait listing, first class check-in counters, first class lounge access, and extra baggage are some of the plusses. Additionally, the Diamond tier is identical to the Oneworld Emerald tier, which gives Diamond travelers extra perks when flying on Oneworld airlines.

The top tier of The Marco Polo Club is Diamond Plus. If you’re in the top one percent of travelers worldwide, you earn Diamond Plus status, which has only a few extra bonuses above Diamond status. Diamond Plus members can nominate a companion to Diamond status, access the CX First Class lounge no matter the airline they’re flying, and are considered Oneworld Emerald status members on Oneworld alliance airlines.

When it comes to Asia Miles, consistently ranked as one of the top awards programs, members can earn miles with over 500 partners and redeem them for free travel. This frequent flyer program partners with The Marco Polo Club to give you added benefits for staying with the program as well as access to lounges, extra luggage, or upgraded flights.


Cathay Pacific First Class Seats


Best Cathay Pacific Award Travel Flights


How to Book Cathay Pacific Award Travel

The best way to book award travel for Cathay Pacific is to go through your online Asia Miles or Marco Polo Club account and review the chart. Both the Asia Miles Awards Chart and the Priority Awards Chart use flight distances to calculate the amount of miles you need for a free flight. For example, a 1,000-mile flight in first class costs 55,000 points, but if you have a 9,000-mile one-way flight in economy, it also costs 55,000 points. The distance-based chart makes it much easier to claim awards and calculate them. However, these charts are only applicable for Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, British Airways, or Qantas. For any other partner airline redemption, you must fill out an Airline Award Request form online. You can call 1-866-892-2598 for Asia Miles customer service, but it’s much easier to book online through your account.


How to Earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and The Marco Polo Club Status

Asia Miles members can earn points through 500 partners in nine categories including Airlines, Hotels, Finance and Insurance, Dining and Banquets, Travel and Leisure, Retail, Cars and Transport, Telecoms, and Professional Services. You can also earn miles though iShop, the online shopping portal, and redeem miles for concert tickets, travel, electronics, or other items. By utilizing the partnerships that Cathay Pacific has, Asia Miles members earn miles not only on all flights, but on basically the entire trip. Those who earn enough miles and Club Sectors can join The Marco Polo Club and enjoy the benefits that come with it.


Cathay Pacific Partners
  • Aer Lingus
  • Air China
  • Air China Cargo
  • Air Hong Kong
  • Air New Zealand
  • Air Seychelles
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Bangkok airways
  • British Airways
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • Comair
  • Dragonair
  • Cathay Pacific Cargo
  • Cathay Pacific Catering Services Limited
  • Cathay Pacific Services Limited
  • Cathay Pacific holiday
  • Dragonair Holidays
  • Fiji Airways
  • Finnair
  • Flybe
  • Japan Airlines
  • Jet Airways
  • LAN Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • S7 Airlines
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Hong Kong Airport Services
  • Vogue Laundry Service Limited
  • China Pacific Laundry Services
  • VN/CX Catering Service Limited
  • CLS Catering Services Limited