Airline mile rewards plans are one of the greatest things to affect the airline industry in years. They are each structured a little differently and offer different benefits but their overall approach is similar. They create incentives for loyal customers by regarding them with airline miles which can then be redeemed for free or discounted flights, upgraded seats, or a number of other benefits.
We at MilesXpress are always on the constant search to find and compare different mile rewards programs from the top airlines in the world. Today we will be looking at the miles programs of Emirates Skywards, Cathay Pacific Asia, and Etihad Airways Guest to determine which mile program is the best for our readership.
Of the three mile programs compared today Emirates Skywards Miles is the only one with a firm expiration time on your earned miles. After 36 months (3 years) the miles you have earned will expire. This is irrelevant if your rewards account has shown activity, or if you have flown in that time period. One of the cool caveats is that you can purchase flights up to 12 months in advance, even if your miles are set to expire. So hypothetically 35 months in you can buy tickets for an additional 11 months away.
Emirates is a very safe airline that has partnered with 15 other airlines based in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the Americas where miles can be used. If you already have a flight schedule that you paid for you can also use the miles for an inflight upgrade. And if you don’t plan on flying there are various industries like the hotel and retail industry where Emirates has created strategic partnerships that allow their loyal customers to redeem their miles. You can buy Emirates Skyward miles for about $30 per 1,000 miles.
Cathay Pacific is an airline based out of Hong Kong that has the Asia Miles reward program.
Like its competitors, they have created partnerships with 20 other airlines where the miles can be transferred too. Cathay Pacific expiration date on the miles is more flexible than the Skywards program. After 18 months of inactivity, the miles do expire, But if you fly or if your rewards account shows other approved activity the time frame resets back to 18 months, indefinitely. Cathay Pacific Asia miles can only be spent on flights or in-flight upgrades. You can buy Cathway Pacific Asia Miles for about 1-2 cents per mile.
The final and in our opinion the best miles reward program is Etihad Airways Guest Miles. There expiration date structured is the same as Cathay Pacific, where it extends by 18 months at a time when miles are used or account activity is shown. But they have the largest number of approved partners with whom the miles can be used, 24. This is the largest partner network of any of the 3 airlines compared. Additionally, instead of only being able to use the miles for flights or flight upgrades (which you can do) you can also use them in the Etihad online store for qualifying products. You can buy Etihad Airways Guest Miles for about 1-2 cents each.
Etihad flexibility with redeeming the miles, the larger number of partner airlines, and their mile expiration policy make them the winner of MilesXpress best airline mile program.
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