Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club: Program Changes Now Live – Beware Of Your Status Earnings!

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Cathay Pacific reminded their Marco Polo Club members this week via email that their program changes came into effect on April 15th 2016, moving to a zone based system for earnings of credits.

MP ChangesMembers will from now on earn their status credits based on a zoning system similar to British Airways Executive Club, making it more difficult to obtain a higher status level for Economy fliers.

Last year we wrote about the changes Cathay Pacific planned for their Marco Polo program (access here) and what I heard from longtime Marco Polo Elites, even Diamonds who on occasion fly Economy class they are not very happy about the changes (no surprise there).

Here is the new chart again from the previous piece:

MP Chart

A Diamond will from now on need 1,200 Club Points (Gold 600, Silver 300) so you can see why Economy Class customers who so far were able to get Diamond with a fair amount of flying (~ 10 longhaul roundtrips, even in low booking classes) are not that happy.

What did Cathay write in their email?

Welcome to a new chapter of Marco Polo Club
As of 15 April 2016, the changes to Marco Polo Club have gone into effect, allowing you to enjoy a new way of earning status, with new, flexible benefits.

While your membership year remains unchanged, the higher value of your club miles or club sectors has now been converted proportionally into club points. You can check the number of club points you have by logging into your account.

Transitioning to the new programme
As a Green member, if you have earned any club points during your current membership year, we will automatically renew your membership to support your transition in the first year. Thereafter, you can earn 100 club points to renew or you may choose to pay the annual renewal fee of USD100.

More flexible benefits
You will continue to enjoy priority check-in, boarding, and a dedicated Marco Polo Club service line. We are also pleased to offer you a new mid-tier benefit of a Business Class Lounge Pass to allow you to enjoy our premium lounge experience when you reach 200 club points.

Marketing language to prop up the bad news I suppose. But I can just repeat myself what I said previously. More and more programs are going back to their roots of trying to reward good [read: big spending] customers. While that is absolutely right and justified I’m not so sure if at the same time they should completely abolish and neglect the loyalty of those who fill the back of the cabin. Many companies these days have ‘Economy Only’ travel policies and those ‘business’ travelers will not be happy.

Conclusion

We all knew this was coming and everybody had ample time to consider another program since September. I’m just a green member, having credited cheap Cathay tickets that would otherwise earn next to nothing on BAEC, my main oneWorld program.

For those still considering Marco Polo Club and are on the hunt for Gold Status, check if the American Express Platinum Charge Card in your country of residence comes with Marco Polo Gold Status (Canada used to have this feature available and Australia as well).

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