American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card: Best for Affluent Cathay Pacific Loyalists

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card: Best for Affluent Cathay Pacific Loyalists

Top Miles for Cathay Pacific Loyalists & 10 Free Lounge Visits

Good for

  • Affluent Cathay Pacific loyalists
  • Consumers who prioritise lounge access on their travels
  • Those who want to earn high miles rates on nearly all their spend

Bad for

  • Consumers with average or low incomes
  • Individuals who fly with a variety of airlines
  • People who prioritise other travel perks over lounge access

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

Wealthier consumers who mostly fly with Cathay Pacific should definitely consider American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card. Cardholders earn air miles at highly competitive rates of 0.167 miles per HK$1 local spend, 0.250 miles overseas, and 0.333 miles on Cathay Pacific flight bookings.

Additionally, consumers who enjoy travelling in comfort can enjoy 10 free lounge visits per year, one of the most generous lounge perks available. Frequent Cathay Pacific flyers will also be delighted to receive waived enrolment fees to a Green tier Marco Polo club membership, which provides access to flight upgrades and more.

ProsCons
  • 0.333 mi/HK$1 Cathay Pacific bookings
  • 0.167 mi/HK$1 local spend, 0.250 mi overseas
  • 10 free lounge visits/yr
  • High HK$300k min. income requirement
  • No rewards boost for other airlines
Promotions:
  • Receive 5k miles w/ HK$5k spend in 1st 3mo
  • Earn 0.333 miles per HK$1 overseas spend in 1st 3mo
  • Earn 0.200 miles per HK$1 local spend in 1st 3mo
  • Receive 1k miles for online application
Card Overview
Pros:
  • 0.333 mi/HK$1 Cathay Pacific bookings
  • 0.167 mi/HK$1 local spend, 0.250 mi overseas
  • 10 free lounge visits/yr
  • Promotions: Receive 5k miles w/ HK$5k spend in 1st 3mo
  • Earn 0.333 miles per HK$1 overseas spend in 1st 3mo
  • Earn 0.200 miles per HK$1 local spend in 1st 3mo
  • Receive 1k miles for online application
Cons:
  • High HK$300k min. income requirement
  • No rewards boost for other airlines

What Makes American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card Stand Out

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card is ideal for affluent consumers seeking top miles rates and one of the most generous lounge perks on the market. In addition to earning amongst the highest miles rates on local and overseas spend, cardholders earn top miles rates when booking Cathay Pacific Flights. Although Amex Cathay Pacific Elite may not be accessible to the average consumer, those who are able to access it can enjoy 10 free lounge visit every year and waived enrollment fees for a Green tier Marco Polo Club membership.

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Card is great for high-earning Cathay Pacific loyalists looking to rapidly earn miles. Cardholders earn 0.167 miles per HK$1 general spend and 0.250 miles overseas, some of the highest rates on the market. This is more than twice the usual rewards rate of 0.067 miles per HK$1 of local and overseas spend. As if that weren't enough, consumers also earn 0.333 miles on Cathay Pacific flight bookings–the highest available uncapped miles rate for bookings. Although BOC i-Card offers 0.667 miles per HK$1 of online bookings, it technically earns in points and is capped at just 10k points per month (approximately 666.67 miles).

Amex Cathay Pacific Elite also differentiates itself with its generous lounge offering. Cardholders enjoy 10 free lounge visits per year, with no spending requirements or other qualifiers. While some competitor miles cards offer complimentary lounge visits, they almost always require consumers to hit certain spending levels in order to redeem each visit.

Consumers can also enjoy waived enrolment fees for a Green tier membership in Cathay Pacific's Marco Polo Club, which allows consumers to earn Club Points on flights with oneworld partner airlines. The more points earned each year, the higher level of perks they can access. However, failure to earn enough points results in a downgrade to the next highest tier the consumer qualifies for. If a Green tier member doesn't earn enough points to maintain their status, they can also renew their membership by paying US$100 (approximately HK$777).

Marco Polo Club Membership Tiers & Key Benefits
  • Green Tier
  • Redeem extra legroom seats w/ Asia Miles
  • Member can use Premium Economy class bag-drop counters, free priority boarding
  • Up 2 checked bags on most flights
  • Redeem extra lounge access w/ Asia Miles
  • Silver Tier
  • Free extra-legroom seat reservation, advanced seat reservation and priority waitlists
  • Member & guests can use Business class bag-drop counters, free priority boarding
  • Up 2 checked bags (3 w/ First Class ticket)
  • Free Cathay Pacific/Dragon lounge access before flights marketed by CP & redeem lounge access w/ Asia Miles
For more information on Marco Polo Club Tiers and Benefits, visit the Marco Polo Club website

Amex Cathay Pacific Elite, as an upgraded version of its non-elite sister card (Amex Cathay Pacific), is only accessible to more affluent people. Amex Cathay Pacific Elite requires an income of HK$300k, 50% higher than the average income and double the market standard HK$150k minimum income requirement. Additionally, it has a HK$1.8k annual fee, and consumers must spend at least HK$150k per year to waive the fee. Many miles cards have no fee at all, or have easier waivers requirements. Cardholders can also receive a fee waiver by holding a Silver tier Marco Polo Club membership, which can be accessed quickly by frequent flyers purchasing business class tickets.

Comparison Between Cathay Pacific Co-Branded Cards

Amex Cathay PacificAmex Cathay Pacific Elite
Min. Income Req.HK$150kHK$300k
Miles/HK$1 Spend
  • 0.125 miles locally
  • 0.188 miles overseas
  • 0.250 miles Cathay Pacific bookings
  • 0.167 miles locally
  • 0.250 miles overseas
  • 0.333 miles Cathay Pacific bookings
Lounge Access2 Free Visits/Yr10 Free Visits/Yr
Annual FeeHK$980HK1.8k
Spend Req. for WaiverHK$100kHK$150k

Finally, compared to other cards for high-spenders, Amex Cathay Pacific Elite doesn't offer a wide variety of travel perks. While the lounge perk is very generous, consumers can find a broader variety of perks like discounted flights, free hotel stays, limo transfers and more with other cards.

Nonetheless, American Express Cathay Pacific Elite is ideal for affluent Cathay Pacific loyalists seeking top miles rates on local, overseas and Cathay Pacific flight booking expenditures. Although its minimum income requirement and high fee make it inaccessible to average consumers, high-spenders can enjoy one of the most generous lounge perks available.

How Does American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Card's Rewards Program Work?

Use our quick guide below to learn how you can redeem your credit card rewards.

  • Rewards are earned as Asia Miles
  • Asia Miles can only be redeemed for flight awards, upgrades and tickets with Asia Miles partner airlines
  • Cardholder must link card to their Asia Miles account
  • Asia Miles earned from charges in a monthly statement will be forfeited in event of a missed payment, but can be reinstated after the payment is made within 90 days for a fee of HK$50

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Card's Features & Benefits:

Card Overview
  • Annual Fee: HKD 1,800, 1-Year waiver, then w/ HK$150k annual spend or by holding Marco Polo Club silver tier or above
  • Income Requirement: HKD 300,000
Rewards Rate Details
  • 0.167 miles per HK$1 local spend
  • 0.250 miles per HK$1 foreign currency spend
  • 0.333 miles per HK$1 Cathay Pacific flight bookings spend
Benefits & Perks
  • Free Plaza Premium Lounge Access for primary and supplementary cardholders
  • Waived enrolment fees for Marco Polo Club Green tier membership
  • Free travel accident and inconvenience insurance
Promotions:
  • Receive 5k miles w/ HK$5k spend in 1st 3mo
  • Earn 0.333 miles per HK$1 overseas spend in 1st 3mo
  • Earn 0.200 miles per HK$1 local spend in 1st 3mo
  • Receive 1k miles for online application

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card's Rewards Exclusions

The following credit card expenditures are ineligible for rewards.

Finance charges; late payment charges and other fees and charges (including annual fee and charges for dishonoured cheques); balance transfers; Express Cash and other cash services and related handling fee; tax bill payment and other credits to your account; amounts billed for gas; electricity and other utilities and the purchase of American Express Travellers Cheques; Gifts Cheques or Gift Certificates
Refunds (including tax refunds from overseas purchases)

How does American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card Compare Against Other Cards?

Read our comparisons of American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card with other cards and learn what makes each card unique in its own way. We compare and contrast each card to highlight its uniqueness to help you identify the card that you need.

Graph showing some of Hong Kong's best credit cards in terms of value-to-consumer after two years, based on an average monthly spend of HK$12,000
American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card v. American Express Cathay Pacific Credit Card
  • Annual Fee: HKD 980 (waiver available)
  • Stand-Out: Boosted 0.25 miles/HK$1 on Cathay Pacific flights
  • Read Our Full Review
American Express Cathay Pacific Credit Card offers Cathay Pacific loyalists a more accessible way to earn impressive miles rates and enjoy free lounge visits. Cardholders earn a slightly lower 0.125 miles locally, 0.188 overseas and 0.250 on Cathay Pacific flight bookings. Consumers also enjoy the same waived enrolment fee for a Green tier membership in Cathay Pacific's Marco Polo Club, although they only get 2 free lounge visits per year.


Although it has less generous perks and rewards rates, the minimum income requirement for Amex Cathay Pacific Card is only HK$150k–half the requirement of the Elite version. Its annual fee of HK$980 is also waived with just HK$100k annual spend, compared to the HK$150k annual spend required by the Elite edition. Ultimately, Amex Cathay Pacific Card is a more accessible and affordable version of Elite, at the cost of lower miles rates and fewer free lounge visits per year.

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card v. Citi Prestige Card
  • Annual Fee: HKD 3,800
  • Stand-Out: Free 4th night at hotels + annual gift of 20k miles
  • Read Our Full Review
Wealthy consumers who value top-tier luxury travel perks beyond lounge visits should consider Citi Prestige Card. Cardholders earn the same 0.167 miles locally and 0.250 miles overseas as they would with Amex Cathay Pacific Elite, but they also receive Annual Relationship Bonus Points based on their relationship with Citibank and a yearly "Thank You Gift" of 20k miles.


As mentioned, Citi Prestige Card really stands out in terms of perks. In addition to free lounge visits before every flight, cardholders also enjoy a free 4th night stay at any hotel, waived green fees at select golf courses in SE Asia and more. These perks come at a cost, as Citi Prestige Card has an unwaivable annual fee of HK$3.8k–the highest annual fee on the credit card market. Additionally, Citi Prestige Card's minimum annual income requirement of HK$600k–twice that of Amex Cathay Pacific Elite.

All in all, while Citi Prestige Card is ideal for affluent people willing to pay for the highest level of luxury perks, Amex Cathay Pacific Elite offers a competitive lounge perk and a boost for Cathay Pacific bookings.

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card v. BEA Flyer World Mastercard
  • Annual Fee: HKD 1,800 (waiver available)
  • Stand-Out: 0.2 miles/HK$1 everyday spend
  • Read Our Full Review
BEA Flyer World Mastercard is a great option for consumers who want to rapidly earn miles on nearly every purchase. Cardholders earn 0.125 miles per HK$1 spend at supermarkets, department stores, travel agencies & government departments, and 0.200 miles elsewhere.


Although Amex Cathay Pacific Elite offers higher rates overseas and on Cathay Pacific flight bookings, BEA Flyer World Mastercard has higher rewards on most local retail and on bookings with other airlines. All in all, BEA Flyer World Mastercard may be a better option for consumers who spend a majority of their time in Hong Kong, while Amex Cathay Pacific Elite is ideal for frequent Cathay Pacific flyers with large overseas budgets.

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card v. Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard
  • Annual Fee: HKD 2,000 (waiver available)
  • Stand-Out: Up to 1.25 mi/HK$1 on dining + miles for banking w/ SC
  • Read Our Full Review
Consumers who want to earn the same top miles rates locally and overseas in a much more accessible package should consider Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard. While only requiring an annual income of HK$96,000, SC Asia Miles provides the same rewards rate of 0.167 miles per HK$1 local retail expenditure and 0.250 overseas as Amex Cathay Pacific Elite. However, SC Asia Miles also offers consumers 0.250 miles for online and dining transactions (0.750 with select restaurants, boosted to 1.250 on Mondays).


Although SC Asia Miles doesn't have any luxury travel offerings, it offers other perks like monthly miles rewards simply for banking with Standard Chartered. As mentioned, SC Asia Miles is much more accessible due to its minimum annual income requirement being less than 1/3 of what Amex Cathay Pacifc Elite requires.

Overall, average consumers looking to rapidly earn airmiles with a special boost for dining may be better suited to Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard, especially if they don't prioritise lounge access.

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card v. DBS Black World Mastercard
  • Annual Fee: HKD 2,000
  • Stand-Out: 45% discount on flights when redeeming miles through iGO
  • Read Our Full Review
DBS Black World Mastercard is ideal for consumers seeking more flexible redemption options and discounted flights when redeeming miles. Cardholders earn the same 0.167 miles per HK$1 local transaction and 0.250 overseas as they would with Amex Cathay Pacific Elite. While Amex Cathay Pacific Elite only rewards consumers in Asia Miles, DBS Black World allows consumers to freely redeem rewards in Avios, Asia Miles and more. Even better, cardholders enjoy a 45% discount on flights when redeeming through DBS's iGo Platform.


In terms of perks, DBS Black World allows consumers to enjoy discounted lounge and limo access for flat rates. While Amex Cathay Pacific Elite provides 10 free lounge visits, consumers prioritising convenient travel to and from the airport may prefer the perks offered by DBS Black World. Altogether, while Amex Cathay Pacific Elite remains superior for Cathay Pacific loyalists, DBS Black World Mastercard is ideal for people seeking deep flight discounts.

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card v. American Express Cathay Pacific Credit Card
  • Annual Fee: HKD 980 (waiver available)
  • Stand-Out: Boosted 0.25 miles/HK$1 on Cathay Pacific flights
American Express Cathay Pacific Credit Card offers Cathay Pacific loyalists a more accessible way to earn impressive miles rates and enjoy free lounge visits. Cardholders earn a slightly lower 0.125 miles locally, 0.188 overseas and 0.250 on Cathay Pacific flight bookings. Consumers also enjoy the same waived enrolment fee for a Green tier membership in Cathay Pacific's Marco Polo Club, although they only get 2 free lounge visits per year.


Although it has less generous perks and rewards rates, the minimum income requirement for Amex Cathay Pacific Card is only HK$150k–half the requirement of the Elite version. Its annual fee of HK$980 is also waived with just HK$100k annual spend, compared to the HK$150k annual spend required by the Elite edition. Ultimately, Amex Cathay Pacific Card is a more accessible and affordable version of Elite, at the cost of lower miles rates and fewer free lounge visits per year.

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card v. Citi Prestige Card
  • Annual Fee: HKD 3,800
  • Stand-Out: Free 4th night at hotels + annual gift of 20k miles
Wealthy consumers who value top-tier luxury travel perks beyond lounge visits should consider Citi Prestige Card. Cardholders earn the same 0.167 miles locally and 0.250 miles overseas as they would with Amex Cathay Pacific Elite, but they also receive Annual Relationship Bonus Points based on their relationship with Citibank and a yearly "Thank You Gift" of 20k miles.


As mentioned, Citi Prestige Card really stands out in terms of perks. In addition to free lounge visits before every flight, cardholders also enjoy a free 4th night stay at any hotel, waived green fees at select golf courses in SE Asia and more. These perks come at a cost, as Citi Prestige Card has an unwaivable annual fee of HK$3.8k–the highest annual fee on the credit card market. Additionally, Citi Prestige Card's minimum annual income requirement of HK$600k–twice that of Amex Cathay Pacific Elite.

All in all, while Citi Prestige Card is ideal for affluent people willing to pay for the highest level of luxury perks, Amex Cathay Pacific Elite offers a competitive lounge perk and a boost for Cathay Pacific bookings.

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card v. BEA Flyer World Mastercard
  • Annual Fee: HKD 1,800 (waiver available)
  • Stand-Out: 0.2 miles/HK$1 everyday spend
BEA Flyer World Mastercard is a great option for consumers who want to rapidly earn miles on nearly every purchase. Cardholders earn 0.125 miles per HK$1 spend at supermarkets, department stores, travel agencies & government departments, and 0.200 miles elsewhere.


Although Amex Cathay Pacific Elite offers higher rates overseas and on Cathay Pacific flight bookings, BEA Flyer World Mastercard has higher rewards on most local retail and on bookings with other airlines. All in all, BEA Flyer World Mastercard may be a better option for consumers who spend a majority of their time in Hong Kong, while Amex Cathay Pacific Elite is ideal for frequent Cathay Pacific flyers with large overseas budgets.

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card v. Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard
  • Annual Fee: HKD 2,000 (waiver available)
  • Stand-Out: Up to 1.25 mi/HK$1 on dining + miles for banking w/ SC
Consumers who want to earn the same top miles rates locally and overseas in a much more accessible package should consider Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard. While only requiring an annual income of HK$96,000, SC Asia Miles provides the same rewards rate of 0.167 miles per HK$1 local retail expenditure and 0.250 overseas as Amex Cathay Pacific Elite. However, SC Asia Miles also offers consumers 0.250 miles for online and dining transactions (0.750 with select restaurants, boosted to 1.250 on Mondays).


Although SC Asia Miles doesn't have any luxury travel offerings, it offers other perks like monthly miles rewards simply for banking with Standard Chartered. As mentioned, SC Asia Miles is much more accessible due to its minimum annual income requirement being less than 1/3 of what Amex Cathay Pacifc Elite requires. Overall, average consumers looking to rapidly earn airmiles with a special boost for dining may be better suited to Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard, especially if they don't prioritise lounge access.

American Express Cathay Pacific Elite Credit Card v. DBS Black World Mastercard
  • Annual Fee: HKD 2,000
  • Stand-Out: 45% discount on flights when redeeming miles through iGO
DBS Black World Mastercard is ideal for consumers seeking more flexible redemption options and discounted flights when redeeming miles. Cardholders earn the same 0.167 miles per HK$1 local transaction and 0.250 overseas as they would with Amex Cathay Pacific Elite. While Amex Cathay Pacific Elite only rewards consumers in Asia Miles, DBS Black World allows consumers to freely redeem rewards in Avios, Asia Miles and more. Even better, cardholders enjoy a 45% discount on flights when redeeming through DBS's iGo Platform.


In terms of perks, DBS Black World allows consumers to enjoy discounted lounge and limo access for flat rates. While Amex Cathay Pacific Elite provides 10 free lounge visits, consumers prioritising convenient travel to and from the airport may prefer the perks offered by DBS Black World. Altogether, while Amex Cathay Pacific Elite remains superior for Cathay Pacific loyalists, DBS Black World Mastercard is ideal for people seeking deep flight discounts.

Jacob Weiss

Jacob is a Junior Research Analyst at ValueChampion, focusing on credit cards and other consumer financial products. Previously, he covered hedge funds and long only products for Cambridge Associates. He holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Maryland and has passed Level 1 of the CFA exam.