Act now to book incredible Cathay Pacific first and business class award availability

Sep 13, 2019

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One of the best first class experiences in the skies is Cathay Pacific’s first class. While the seat can’t compete with Etihad’s The Apartment, Emirates first class or Singapore Suites, Cathay Pacific makes up much of the difference with exceptional service, incredible food and drink and extraordinary lounges.

And if you’ve been waiting for your chance to try Cathay first for yourself, you’re in luck. Cathay Pacific recently rearranged some of its flights between the US and its hub in Hong Kong, and Jamie Baker on Twitter caught that there’s plenty of award space open on these reset flights:

For those that don’t know what that tweet means, allow me to translate: Cathay Pacific’s (CX) new flight 843 begins in April and there’s 1 first class award (1F) and 4 business class awards (4J) on many of these flights. You’ll also find premium cabin award space on multiple return flights back from Hong Kong to JFK.

Where to search for award space: The two easiest sites to search for Cathay Pacific award space is either on Cathay’s own Asia Miles website, or on the British Airways website since British Airways is part of the same Oneworld alliance as Cathay. However, you likely won’t want to use either program to actually book these awards, as you can get significantly better pricing via other means.

Mileage cost: There’s two main award programs that you’ll want to consider for booking these awards. The best way is to use Alaska Mileage Plan. Alaska’s amazing partnership with Cathay Pacific means awards cost just:

  • Business class: 50,000 Mileage Plan miles
  • First class: 70,000 Mileage Plan miles

If you need more Alaska miles to make this redemption happen, Alaska miles are currently on sale for just 1.97 cents each and based on our recent tests, the miles show up instantly. That means you can score business class for $985 and first class for $1,379 each way.

The other program to consider is American Airlines AAdvantage. Hong Kong is in “Asia Region 2” on the American Airlines award chart, so the awards will price as:

  • Business class: 70,000 AAdvantage miles each way
  • First class: 110,000 AAdvantage miles each way

Even better, with both programs, your final destination doesn’t have to be Hong Kong. You can connect onward to anywhere in Asia that Cathay Pacific serves for the same award cost.

Free stopover: If you’re booking with Alaska miles, you can book a stopover in Hong Kong for as long as you want before continuing on to your final destination. For example, last fall, I visited Hong Kong for a few weeks before continuing onto Singapore (SIN) in business class on Cathay Pacific for no extra cost in order to catch the world’s longest flight home. Note that you’ll have to call Alaska to book Cathay awards.

Booking with AAdvantage miles: As Cathay Pacific awards don’t appear on American Airlines’ website, you’re going to have to call to book these awards. And, with the bad weather happening this afternoon, you might have to wait a bit to get a US agent. However, you may be able to get an agent quicker by calling an American Airlines call center in another country.

Airline: Cathay Pacific
Routes: JFK to/from HKG and beyond
Cost:
50,000 Alaska miles or 70,000 American Airlines miles in business class. 70,000 Alaska miles or 110,000 AA miles in first class. Taxes/fees starting at $5.60 one-way.
Travel Dates:
April-August 2020
Pay Taxes/Fees With: Citi Prestige Card (5x on airfare),  Citi Premier® CardChase Sapphire Reserve Card (3x on airfare) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)

Here are a few examples of what you can book:

New York (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG) on May 9-10:

  • 8+ awards in business class
  • 1 in first class

New York (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG) on June 12 and 14:

  • 8+ awards in business class
  • 1 in first class

New York (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG) on July 18-22

  • 4 awards in business class
  • 1 in first class
  • This could be a way to get transpacific for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which start July 24

Hong Kong (HKG) to New York (JFK) on June 8-11

  • 8+ awards in business class
  • 1 in first class

Hong Kong (HKG) to New York (JFK) on June 8-11

  • 4 awards in business class
  • 1 in first class

Maximize Your Purchase

Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire ReserveAmerican Express® Gold Card Citi Premier® CardCiti Prestige Card (5x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
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  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
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Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
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