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Cathay Pacific just announced its newest route to the US: Hong Kong (HKG) to Washington DC’s Dulles airport (IAD) starting September 15, 2018. This will become Cathay Pacific’s longest route in the world when it launches and will be operated by its brand new Airbus A350-1000.

Now, the great news: There’s award space open on this route! While the inaugural on September 15 is filled up, there’s award space open on periodic dates through the end of schedule.

Unfortunately, you’re not going to find this award space easily. While American Airlines is a partner of Cathay Pacific, CX awards don’t show up on aa.com. Same for Alaska’s Mileage Plan website. Even our favorite award search service ExpertFlyer doesn’t show Cathay Pacific award availability.

Your best bet is to search on either British Airways’ or Qantas’ website. Then, call the mileage program that you want to book with.

For those that live outside of Washington DC, unfortunately, there’s been zero award space on domestic connecting flights into DC as far as I’ve seen:

When I called Alaska Airlines to book this award for myself, the agent showed an error when trying to price it out. A long hold later, she was able to figure out that there’s a schedule change occurring now. While she was unable to ticket the award for this reason, she was able to hold the space for 18 days.

For now, here’s the schedule for the new flight:

  • CX 861 — Washington DC (IAD) 1:15am Departure ⇒ Hong Kong (HKG) 5:10am+1 Arrival [Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday departures]
  • CX 860 — Hong Kong (HKG) 6:35pm Departure ⇒ Washington DC (IAD) 10:20pm Arrival [Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday departures]

Here are your best options for booking this route (the regions or distance band for each are in parentheses, along with connection and stopover rules):

Alaska MileagePlan (US to Asia, connecting flights allowable at the same price, 1 stopover allowed on one-way awards):

  • 30,000 miles each way in economy
  • 35,000 miles each way in premium economy
  • 50,000 miles each way in business class

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank (partner itineraries with a flight distance between 14,000 and 20,000 miles, up to three stopovers):

  • 60,000 miles round-trip in economy
  • 80,000 miles round-trip in premium economy
  • 100,000 miles round-trip in business class

American Airlines AAdvantage (US to Asia Region 2, connecting flights allowable at the same price, no free stopover allowed)

  • 37,500 miles each way in economy
  • Premium economy awards aren’t bookable with AAdvantage miles
  • 70,000 miles each way in business class

That’s right, for just 50,000 Alaska miles one-way or 100,000 JAL miles round-trip, you can fly in Cathay Pacific’s business class product for 16 hours each way!

If you don’t have enough Alaska, Japan Airlines or American Airlines miles, each of these airlines are partners with Starwood Preferred Guest. Remember you can get 5,000 bonus miles for each increment of 20,000 Starpoints that you transfer, and there’s a daily limit of 79,999 Starpoints.

Starpoints transfer to American Airlines and Alaska Airlines in about two days, but you’re going to have to wait up to seven days for transferred Starpoints to reach your JAL Mileage Bank account. Thankfully, you can call and hold American Airlines awards for up to five days while your points transfer. However, you can’t hold Alaska or JAL awards.

H/T: One Mile At A Time

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