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Update 10:47am: Much of the award availability below appears to be “phantom” space — there is availability for one passenger on some dates, but none on others. There does appear to be business-class availability for two or more passengers, however. Here’s a first-class award we managed to put on hold for five days (via American AAdvantage), for example:
Airfare pricing can vary widely between a pair of cities depending on which direction you’re flying, and Cathay Pacific is reminding us that the same variation applies to award availability. For flights from Singapore to the US through the end of the schedule, Cathay Pacific is offering five times as many first-class award seats as it is for flights departing the US.
Cathay is generally known for offering one of the most luxurious and consistent first-class products in the skies, with nonstop flights from its hub in Hong Kong to Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. The airline’s spacious 777-300ER first-class cabins feature just 6 seats in a 1-1-1 configuration, where most airlines put 8 seats in first.
Fewer seats means less award space, and that’s generally been the trend. It’s nearly impossible to find more than one Cathay first-class award seat no matter how far out you book. This is especially good news for people with a large stash of Alaska miles, since you can book these Singapore-US flights for just 70,000 Mileage Plan miles per person each way.
If you’ve taken advantage of the offers on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and/or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, you could also transfer 60,000 Starpoints to Alaska to book the ticket since you’ll get a 5,000-mile bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer. Alternatively, you could book this ticket for a whopping 110,000 AAdvantage miles one-way at post-devaluation prices.
So just how good is this availability? Let’s take a look.
Be warned — searching on the British Airways website can be a cumbersome process, as you have to search day by day and can’t look at a calendar. That being said, up to five first-class seats are available on many days, especially toward the end of the schedule.
Here are five first-class seats available from Singapore (SIN) to Los Angeles (LAX) just a few days before Christmas:
Or, you and three friends could fly to Chicago in the middle of the winter (though I don’t know why you would):
If you’re a gushy romantic, you could even surprise your special someone with a trip to New York on Valentine’s Day (or return home from a trip to Asia), with no shortage of Champagne and chocolate en route:
It’s worth noting that many dates also have excellent business-class availability, which can be booked for 50,000 Mileage Plan miles or 70,000 AAdvantage miles. There’s also a fair amount of first and business-class availability on Japan Airlines from Singapore to the US, which can be booked at about the same prices.
We don’t know how long this availability will last, although with this many seats spread out across several cities, you should be able to find something that works for you. If you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia, it might even make sense to route through Singapore on the way home to take advantage of this rare opportunity.
Know before you go.
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