Posted by William Charles on February 13, 2017
Credit Card Review no image

Published on February 13th, 2017 | by William Charles

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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.

Card Basics

  • 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.

asia miles

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.

Synchrony Bank

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.

Our Verdict

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.

 



12 Responses to Cathay Pacific Credit Card by Synchrony Bank Full Review – 25,000 Mile Bonus, $95 AF & 2x/1.5x/1x Categories

  1. Fathiss says:

    Same thoughts as yours for same reasons. Well said.

  2. Sam says:

    25k isn’t amazing even without an annual fee. What I like is the 1.5 on foreign transactions. Like you said you can do just as well with Amex exp (and freedom unlimited, obviously), but it seems like a new idea, and maybe other cards will start offering it as well

  3. juan says:

    Everyone is still waiting for the ability to extend the 3-year expiration.

  4. E Dantes says:

    Support all the reasoning here, too. With no AF first year, maybe worth it on a “why not” scenario, but doesn’t seem like you’re even getting much takeaway.

    Still glad you post these, though!

  5. Bob says:

    Info on Sync:
    1. Nobody knows about churnable bc this is the first miles card I’ve ever heard from by Sync. My gut says yes, though
    2. Sensitive to new accounts but not inquiries. But overall lower approval standards than major banks
    3. TU for everything, EX if TU frozen
    4. Ridiculous CLI opportunity, basically every 1-2 months an account is available for SP CLI by calling in or online request. Many DPs of like people doing 3k to 8k to 15k within 4 months. However at some point there is a ceiling and Sync does do FR if you have multiple products with high CL

  6. Mser says:

    No ability to extend miles? Bah. $95 for 25K and a hard pull is meh. Granted it is TU, but still.

    1.5x everywhere with no requirements is decent. I disliked fooling around with EDP 30 wipes nonsense and canceled the card long ago. PRG 2x at grocery is much more useful for my purposes.

  7. Mark says:

    Most synchrony bonuses and approvals on cards are only good once in a 12 month period. They will usually remind you of that if you call to close an account (like a Sams MC). Think it’s only for the cobranded ones.

  8. MontyFC says:

    My parents are outside US and do most of their expenses in cash. I am debating if I should open the account and send them an add-on card to earn 1.5% on all their expenses. Yes, we will have to keep track of the expenses and settle the book at later dates. Spending close to $6333 would offset the fees at 1.5% cash back.

    Correct me if I am wrong but it’s not required that the add-on member is a US resident.

  9. redmango says:

    I just opened a new Old Navy credit card from Synchrony Bank 3 months ago and my TU went down to 637 and Equifax to 640. Is it the good time to apply for CX credit card? What are my chances of being approved? rejected? Thanks

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