Published on February 13th, 2017 | by William Charles12
Cathay Pacific Credit Card by Synchrony Bank Full Review – 25,000 Mile Bonus, $95 AF & 2x/1.5x/1x Categories
As promised, the Cathay Pacific card has just been launched today. This card is issued by Synchrony and below you can find our full honest review. We will also provide some basic information about Synchrony bank.
- Sign up bonus of 25,000 Asia miles after $2,500 spend within the first 90 days of account opening
- Annual fee of $95 is not waived the first year
- Card earns at the following rates:
- 2x Asia miles per $1 spent on eligible Cathay Pacific travel and in-flight purchases
- 1.5x Asia miles per $1 spent on dining in the US or aboard
- 1.5x Asia miles per $1 spent on purchases outside of the US
- 1x Asia miles on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- Complimentary first year green tier membership in the Marco Polo Club (Cathay Pacific’s loyalty program. Green tier is their base level and as I understand it first year is always free. Second year onwards you need to pay $100 USD or earn 100 Club points).
Green Tier Membership
This comes with the following benefits:
- Ability to redeem points for:
- Extra legroom seats
- Extra baggage
- Lounge Access
- Check baggage allowance of 3 pieces for first class and 2 peices for all other classes (excluding journeys from/via the Americas and direct flights to Auckland. Flights from/via America’s have a max of 2 pieces of baggage)
- Designated Check In Counters
- Priority Boarding (only member can use this benefit)
Overall these benefits are pretty useless, according to this table you’re not really getting any extra baggage at all. Being able to redeem points for specific things isn’t exactly a benefit considering the cost either.
Loyalty Program & Earning Rates
I was surprised that this card earns 1.5x on all foreign purchases and also comes with no foreign transaction fees. The 1.5x on dining isn’t really interesting considering the variety of better cards out there. It is worth remembering that SPG, American Express Membership Rewards & Citi ThankYou points all transfer to Cathay. This means you could actually earn 1.5x Asia miles on all purchases with the Everyday Preferred if you hit the transaction requirements.
The ability to transfer miles is important, because if you look at their award chart you’ll see that 25,000 miles doesn’t get you far.
I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on redeeming miles, because I’m not. I’d recommend you read this post over at Travel is Free to get a good idea on the best uses of these miles.
People will likely have a few questions about Synchrony Bank, sadly I don’t have the answers but I’m hoping people can help each other in the comments.
- Can their cards be churned?
- Not possible to know whether it’ll be a soft/hard pull before requesting a credit limit increase.
- They will pull TransUnion unless that is frozen and in that case it’ll be Experian.
- They are sensitive to new accounts, but not inquiries.
- If you have other questions, ask them in the comments. If you know the answer, please answer them.
It’s hard to get too excited over a 25,000 mile bonus, this is doubly true when it comes with a $95 annual fee that isn’t waived in the first year. I’m hoping that this card sees some limited success so Synchrony & Cathay Pacific can follow Alaska’s lead and increase the bonus on this card to something more attractive ($100 + 30,000 miles is a lot more competitive).
I love that these co-branded portfolios are going to smaller card issuers, we saw the same with Banco Popular acquiring the Avianca cards. Honestly if this card didn’t have the annual fee I’d sign up for it and recommend it (with some stipulations) but the fact it does kills it for me.
What are your thoughts on this new card? I’d love to know in the comments.