anonymous person with miniature airplane on chalkboard

Do you have a pile of Asia Miles about to become obsolete? This may be an unconventional way to use them, but I’ll suggest it anyway: Donate your expiring Asia Miles to charity.

Ok, I know expiring airline miles isn’t exactly the most pressing coronavirus-related problem. This wasn’t the lofty post I had planned on writing to kickstart my blog again in 2021. But if any of you read my travel budget post, you’ll know that my accumulated miles helped me save a lot of money over the past two years. Letting my miles expire felt like a sin. So, back to solving pandemic-related first-world problems: how to spend unextendable expiring Asia Miles earned before 2020?

Sometime last year, when I first noticed those emails stating that a portion of my Asia Miles will be expiring at the end of January, I ignored them. Booking a flight ticket with reward points was the last thing on my mind.

I didn’t think Cathay Pacific would just let our miles expire. Given the covid situation and our inability to travel safely, surely Cathay would give us some option to extend. Well, I was wrong. 

Cathay Pacific throws loyalty members a bone

Talk about being stingy! While Cathay Pacific did update their terms so that miles earned after January 2020 no longer expire if there’s activity within 18 months, their new policy excludes any miles earned before Jan. 2020. Let’s be real, those are the concerned miles that’s plaguing the main bulk of pandemic-trapped loyalty members.

With only a few days left till Jan. 31, I diligently googled my options and came across this savvy article by Aaron Wong from Mile Lion.

The subhead says it all:

While it’s uncertain whether Australia will accept leisure travelers by August 2021, I’m booking a flight nonetheless. Why? To rescue my Asia Miles. 

If you have a ton of miles, you should definitely do what Aaron did. Unlike Aaron, I only have about 4k miles expiring Jan 31, 2021 (in 4 days) with another 13k expiring next January.

I flirted with the idea of just booking a random flight to nearby countries like Malaysia or Singapore (10k miles + 143HKD taxes). After plugging in the details, the thought of all the unknown factors gave me a huge headache. In the very likelihood that I would have to change my dates, rebooking would cost another $25USD. Plus, I really have no idea where I’ll be 6 months from now. 

Donating expiring miles to charity for peace of mind

Instead of wasting any more mental energy, I decided the best way to spend my 4k+ soon-to-be-expired miles was to donate them to charity through Asia Miles Redeem Awards portal.

There were quite a number of packages ranging from 500 miles and up. I wish there were more options that targeted relief funds for natural disasters in Indonesia, but there weren’t any.

After tinkering with the numbers, here are the charity packages I chose, which added up to 4300 miles.

Donate your expiring Asia miles to this charity program which throws birthday and festive celebrations for the elderly
Food Angel: Birthday and Festive Celebration for Elderly

I chose this because I remembered how charity groups provided a source of entertainment for my late grandmother who lived alone in Hong Kong.

Donate your expiring Asia miles to this charity program which provides 0-3 Years Old Orphans with a 10-Day Eco-Friendly Fruit Supply
“Eco-Friendly Fruit for Orphans” Providing 0-3 Years Old Orphans with a 10-Day Fruit Supply
Donate your expiring Asia miles to this charity program which provides 10 Sachets of Therapeutic Milk to Malnourished Children
10 Sachets of Therapeutic Milk to Malnourished Children

And because I didn’t want to lose even a single mile to cheapass Cathay, I used 100 miles as a one-time lump sum contribution to their offset carbon emissions program:

If you have expiring Asia miles earned prior to 2020, you can donate them to their offset carbon emissions program using a one-time lump sum contribution
* I tried to make this donation but hit a snag with their glitchy webpage. Currently in the process of raising the issue to Cathay Pacific. We’ll see what happens.

Total Asia miles expiring: 4353
Total Asia miles donated: 4400
Feel-good factor: 8 out of 10

In conclusion, if you have some miles to burn, donating your expiring Asia Miles to charity will help you feel good that they went to some worthy cause of your choice.

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