One thing Cathay does well in general is its lounges. They have a good footprint of their own lounges, which they list on their website. We have also reviewed many of these, including Bangkok, Hong Kong – The Deck, The Arrival, Kaohsiung, London Heathrow – first class and business class, Manila, Shanghai Pudong, Taipei and Tokyo Narita.
Here we explain how you can get access to these lounges (Cathay sets out its rules on their webpage).
Travel in First or Business Class
If you travel on a first or business class ticket, lounge entrance will typically be part of the ticket. First class passengers can bring in a guest (also travelling on a One World flight the same day), business class passengers can only enter themselves.
This applies for Cathay flights and other One World flights, but access to arrival lounges is limited to passengers on Cathay flights. Also note that your ticket needs to a One World ticket, so for example if you book a Cathay flight on a codeshare with a non-One World airline like Philippine airlines, you may be denied access.
Marco Polo Tier Membership
Marco Polo is the loyalty programme for Cathay.
The lowest level at which you can access lounges is Silver, when you are entitled to lounge access without guests when you depart on a Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon flight. This is more generous than many other frequent flier programmes, which do not grant lounge access at this level, and is one of the perks of the Marco Polo programme.
Gold members can access business class lounges and bring one guest. They can also access arrival lounges, without guests.
Diamond members can access first or business class lounges, with up to two guests. They can also access arrival lounges, without guests.
Other One World Programme Tier Memberships
One World is an airline alliance which includes Cathay and other airlines like Malaysian, JAL, British Airways and American. We have a post comparing Asia Miles, American Advantage and British Airways Executive Club. Even for people living in Hong Kong, being a member of one or more of these programmes can make sense – many readers are members of multiple programmes, partly because flights sometimes credit at different levels within different programmes.
Passengers with Sapphire membership in a One World programme other than Cathay can access business class lounges and bring one guest. They cannot access arrival lounges.
Passengers with Emerald membership in a One World programme other than Cathay can access first or business class lounges and bring one guest. They can also access The Arrival lounge in Hong Kong, without guests.
Cargo Clan Elite Membership
Cargo Clan is Cathay’s loyalty programme for logistics professionals. Elite members are entitled to access Business Class lounges, with one guest, and they are entitled to access arrival lounges without guests.
Using a Lounge Pass
Marco Polo offers members lounge passes when they reach certain milestones in their mileage earning each membership year (we explain the details in this post). These passes can be redeemed for access to Cathay lounges as follows. As they are given for certain milestones, not all members receive them.
At all levels, the beneficiary must be departing on Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon flights. Green members can redeem a pass for lounge access for themselves or a travel companion. Silver members can already access the lounge by dint of their membership status as discussed above, so they can redeem a pass for lounge access for a travel companion.
Gold and Diamond members can use the pass for a travel companion. But they can also use it for a nominee even if the member is not flying. To do this one needs to register the nominee as a member of one’s “redemption group” online. The pass needs to be activated for that nominee’s flight online within the online checkin period.
Lounge passes give Business Class lounge access except those earned while a Diamond member, which give first or business class lounge access. (So, even if you are a Diamond now, if you are redeeming lounge passes earned before you reached Diamond level, it seems that your lounge passes will get business class lounge access only).
Other Ways to Get Lounge Access
Cathay does not sell day passes to its lounge. If you want to use a lounge, you may consider a paid airport lounge, like the Plaza Premium lounges (we reviewed their Gate 40 lounge and arrival lounge in Hong Kong). Some credit cards include Priority Pass membership, which offers free lounge entrance or some lounge passes for many such (non-Cathay) lounges. We have an old post with more details, though the exact details change from time to time.