Deal alert: Fly the best business-class products with widespread award availability for 4+ passengers
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Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific are currently offering fantastic business class award availability out of their U.S. gateways for travel in late 2021 or early 2022. Specifically, as reported by Live and Lets Fly, there’s availability for four or more passengers on many flights, meaning you might be able to book an entire “quad” on a Qsuite-equipped aircraft.
You can depart from a number of major U.S. cities, such as Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York-JFK, San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA), and fly nonstop to either Doha (DOH) or Hong Kong (HKG). That said, many dates have continuing award space to other cities in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and beyond. For example, we’re seeing lots of continuing award space to cities like Singapore (SIN) and Johannesburg (JNB)
Let’s take a closer look at what’s available and the best ways to book one of these flights. Qatar and Cathay Pacific business class are both often regarded as some of the best business class products in the sky.
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Airlines: Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific
Routes: ATL/BOS/ORD/DFW/IAH/LAX/MIA/JFK/PHL/SFO/SEA/IAD to DOH/HKG and beyond
Cost: 70,000 AAdvantage miles + $5.60 taxes and fees one-way
Dates: October 2021 through the end of the booking window
Pay taxes/fees with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline; on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel) for travel protections on the award flight.
Below are a few examples of what you can book. We recommend using AA’s calendar function or a different Oneworld search tool and filtering your search to only show Business/First class to find the best availability.
New York-JFK to Doha (DOH) for 70,000 AA miles + $7.65 one-way nonstop (4+ seats available):
Los Angeles (LAX) to Doha (DOH) for 70,000 AA miles + $7.65 one-way nonstop (4+ seats available):
New York-JFK to Hong Kong (HKG) for 70,000 AA miles + $5.60 one-way nonstop (4+ seats available):
San Francisco (SFO) to Hong Kong (HKG) for 70,000 AA miles + $5.60 one-way nonstop (4+ seats available):
Seattle (SEA) to Doha (DOH) for 70,000 AA miles + $7.65 one-way nonstop (4+ seats available):
How to book
One of the cheapest ways to book Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific awards is with American Airlines AAdvantage miles. You can book any of the flights above for just 70,000 AAdvantage miles one-way and minimal taxes and fees.
You can tag on a connecting flight within the U.S. and within the Middle East or South East Asia for no extra charge. If you want to connect to Africa, you’ll pay just 5,000 more miles.
The only downside to booking with AAdvantage is that American doesn’t have any credit card transfer partners. You can, however, boost your AAdvantage balance by picking up an American cobranded credit card:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Plus Admirals Club access for yourself and up to 10 authorized users.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening.
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card: 10,000 miles and a $50 statement credit after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening — with no annual fee
The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Booking your award with credit card points
Fortunately, there are still ways you could book these award tickets with transferrable points. If you have American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One or Citi ThankYou points, your best bet is to transfer points to Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles loyalty program.
The airline uses a distance-based award chart, and flights from the U.S. to Doha and Hong Kong cost between 70,000 and 90,000 miles depending on where you depart. While the taxes and fees for Cathay Pacific-operated flights are under $100, unfortunately, Asia Miles passes on fuel surcharges of $650 or more for Qatar Airways awards.
If you’d like to burn your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer them to British Airways Avios. Just note that this won’t be the cheapest option due to BA’s new partner award chart and attached fuel surcharges. For instance, a flight from Chicago to Doha costs 154,500 Avios and $674 in business class.
The same award chart applies to Cathay Pacific flights, but fortunately, the taxes and fees are much lower on those tickets.
BA’s website doesn’t always show all available partner awards, so we recommend cross-checking your search on AA.com. If you find a flight that’s not listed on BA’s website, you can call the BA Executive Club to book your award ticket.
Maximize your purchase
When paying the taxes and fees on your award ticket, be sure to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases and offers travel protection in case anything goes wrong. Cards that fit the bill include The Platinum Card® from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
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Featured photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.
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