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Can I Book Cathay Pacific Award Tickets Using Both Chase and Amex Points?

by on April 20, 2014 · 4 comments

in American Express, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Chase, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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It’s easy to rack up points in a bunch of different programs but when it comes time to use them, it can be tricky, especially when trying to book one type of ticket from one account and another ticket from another points program.

TPG reader Louis actually messaged me on Facebook asking: “I haves a bunch of Amex points and a bunch of Chase points, but not enough for two tickets. How can I book a Cathay Pacific award using both?”

Luckily for Louis, British Airways is a transfer partner of both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards (and also of Starwood Preferred Guest), as well as a Oneworld partner of Cathay Pacific, whose awards show up on BritishAirways.com. That means you can instantly transfer your Amex and Chase points into a single British Airways account and book both tickets from there if that’s easier, and usually British Airways’ site will even tell you how many awards seats are remaining on each flight so you’ll know how critical it is to book the award. Amex is also a transfer partner of Asia Miles, Cathay Pacific’s program, but you generally get better mileage values from BA Avios. I did a comparison here.

To broaden the conversation, let’s say you needed to book a SkyTeam ticket instead. Well, Amex transfers to Delta and Flying Blue, the mileage program of Air France/KLM. Chase points do not, but they do transfer to Korean Air, another SkyTeam carrier, so you could book one ticket using Delta miles and another using Korean Air mile, for instance.

Cathay Pacific First Class Seat

There’s a way to book that Cathay First Class seat with both Amex points and Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Or with Star Alliance, Chase points transfer 1:1 to United while Amex points do not. Instead, you might have to transfer your Amex points to Aeroplan (Air Canada’s program) and book through that program or even transfer to Aeroplan then convert those miles to US Airways miles (you lose some value), and book an award with them instead depending on where you’re flying and what carrier because of fuel surcharges. However, as you can see, with a little creative thinking, you have options.

This is where it really gets more advanced as it takes times to understand all of the different transfer partners and then their partners, as well as what mileage they each require for the award you’re interested in, taxes, fuel surcharges, etc. But there are tremendous opportunities to be had as well if you educate yourself on award charts, fuel surcharges and more.

We have done many series before on minimizing your British Airways fees (which I’ve included below), and on ANA as well as Aeroplan which are key Star Alliance transfer partners of American Express. It does take some time to understand the nuances of transfer partners and to learn these ins and outs. For instance, as I mentioned above, Amex points transfer to Asia Miles, which is the Cathay Pacific program, though it may not make sense to transfer there, but rather to book through partners such as British Airways or Iberia. It can get confusing, but doing a little bit of research on finding which program is going to get you those same tickets for the least amount of miles and fees will pay off.

Have other questions? Let me know by messaging me on Facebooktweeting me or emailing me at [email protected]

References:

Transferring Amex Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios versus Cathay Pacific
Maximizing British Airways Avios Series: Spotlight on Taxes and Fees

How to Redeem British Airways Avios Without Huge Fees
Analyzing Amex Membership Rewards Star Alliance Partners
ANA Award Taxes and Fees: Airline Partner Roundup
Overview of Aeroplan Star Alliance Partners and Fees
Analyzing Amex Membership Rewards Star Alliance Transfer Partners – Should You Transfer To Aeroplan, ANA or Singapore?
Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners
Ultimate Guide To Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Transfer Partners

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on Facebooktweeting me or emailing me at [email protected]

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Sam

    TPG, I need your help looking for award availability on Cathay using the BA search tool. For some reason it’s only showing BA flights, not Cathay.

    Trying to search LAX-BOM, November 23, return December 7 , first class, no stopovers. It’s showing plenty of BA availability through LHR, though I wanted to take Cathay? How can I see if Cathay award travel is available?

    Thanks!!

  • Tom

    @Sam, you need to search for each flight segment separately. The BA search tool is not very good at returning multi-leg itineraries, especially on partner airlines.

  • Miles

    Aeroplan->US Airways is still an option? I would have figured they would have discontinued that when US Airways left Star Alliance.

  • iamtheman

    The worst deal is trying to use Ultimate Rewards on their website for a supposedly 25% bonus. In actual fact, the hotel prices are greater than the 25% discount so using points this way is a loser. Also, you are making your reservation through a third party who doesn’t forward the reservation to the hotel until the day before so that you can’t be certain that the reservation has reached the hotel correctly until the last minute. Finally the UR phone line just rings and rings, I have never had it picked up in less than 15 minutes. The only travel I will book with points are cruises. For these you don’t use the website but talk with a human who calls the cruise line while you are on the phone. You can get any special promotions for these reservations plus the 25% savings is not quite substantial.

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