How to Use Cathay Asia Miles’ Generous Waitlist Policy

by Stephen

We have previously covered Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles frequent flyer program and how Asia Miles offers some attractive mileage rates for certain redemptions. I wanted today to quickly highlight the program’s very generous and convenient waitlist process.

cathay pacific cx first class f

Cathay Pacific first class seat and caviar service.

Like some other programs out there, Asia Miles allows members to waitlist for awards on their own metal on which no space is available. The premise of waitlisting awards is that if and when award space is released at a later date, that space will be diverted to the flyer who waitlisted, rather than released to everyone.

Unfortunately this isn’t how things always work out. There are many reports on Singapore KrisFlyer, for instance, whereby waitlisted awards don’t clear even if award space is released.

In contrast to this, it seems like waitlisted Asia Miles awards clear automatically and immediately when the corresponding award space is released. Even better, waitlisted awards that clear are automatically confirmed (i.e., held and taken out of inventory) for about a month.

With Asia Miles, no credit card information is needed at the time of waitlist. While in the past, no miles needed to be in an account to waitlist, this has since changed and 70% of the miles required for the award must be in the account for waitlisting to be allowed (thanks to multiple readers who pointed out this change). That means you can waitlist for whatever you want, wait until it clears, and only then transfer points over, rather than take a risk by speculatively transferring points.

Awards can be waitlisted online through the Asia Miles website, and held awards can be ticketed online as well, making the process smooth and efficient. A friend waitlisted a business class award for JFK-YVR several weeks ago and was recently notified that it had cleared and that the award was on hold. Checking availability, it appears that his waitlist automatically cleared right around when Cathay released several business class award seats.

waitlisted award cathay pacific

CX Asia Miles waitlisted award. Note the very generous hold time.

Kudos to Asia Miles for having a very generous and customer-friendly policy that makes booking Cathay Pacific awards convenient. Given the fairly predictable nature of Cathay award space, one could presumably waitlist for an a desired award and expect that waitlist to clear rather than checking manually for availability every day.

Moreover, the fact that awards clearing the waitlist are automatically held for up to a month allows for flexibility in planning. While I certainly don’t condone abuse of this generous policy, waitlisting multiple awards and then coming back later to cancel unwanted awards that have cleared and been placed on hold might not be a bad idea.

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Mark July 7, 2019 - 6:35 pm

You must have 70% of the miles in your account to waitlist

Michael July 28, 2019 - 7:36 pm

Yes, the article is incorrect. You do need 70% of the required miles in your account to waitlist. It’s a real risk to waitlist – you may not get a seat and you have no idea when that will be confirmed. Better off booking known available seats wherever you can get them with any airline (even if it requires more miles/points).

Stephen July 29, 2019 - 2:50 pm

You guys are both correct, as this policy has changed since the post was originally written. Updated accordingly; thanks!

Ben January 7, 2020 - 1:54 pm

Any idea if you waitlist 2 F class awards, but they do not clear, would they look to book you in J class? I suspect that is unlikely, but considering waitlisting 2 F awards for a few months down the road and want to know what options I may or may not have. Thanks.

Tim February 19, 2020 - 6:35 am

I booked my wife on Cathay First and put myself on the waiting list a year out. Now with 3 months out someone somehow jumped me and took a first class seat. How did this happen? Did the person do first choice waiting list at 187,500 miles instead of my waiting list of 125,000 miles? If not, then do people with business class upgrading to first award redemption jump me? I really think it is highly unlikely someone paid $20,000 for their ticket Hong Kong to Boston


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