Cathay Pacific Business Class Award Space is Wide Open


Aspire to Cathay Pacific Business Class.

  • It is one of the world’s nicest Business Classes, featuring a fully flat bed on flights of up to 16 hours between the United States and Hong Kong.
  • It is dirt cheap at 55,000 American Airlines miles one way or 110,000 US Airways miles roundtrip. This is just 10% more than flying half the time in a far inferior product to Europe.
  • Award space is widely available. Cathay Pacific releases 2 Business Class seats on a ton of flights 11 months in advance.

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Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® comes with 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first three months. The card also comes with other awesome benefits like a 10% rebate on miles used for award bookings.

Cathay Pacific Business Class serves fascinating destinations like Southeast Asia, the Maldives, and Australia.

There are better products in the world (like Cathay Pacific First Class for instance), but for excellence, cheapness, ease of finding award space, and ease of getting the miles, I anoint Cathay Pacific Business Class the best premium cabin product in the miles world.

  • Where does Cathay Pacific Business Class fly?
  • How can you book it?
  • How many miles do you need?
  • What is the award space picture?
  • Why is booking Cathay Pacific Business Class then changing to First Class a good deal?

Where Cathay Pacific Flies in North America

(Boston Starts May 2, 2015), from
(Boston Starts May 2, 2015), from

If you don’t live in one of the above cities, connect on American Airlines or US Airways flights to one of the cities. You can fly in domestic First Class on an international Business Class award for zero extra miles.

Booking Cathay Pacific Business Class

Search for Cathay Pacific Award Space on Here’s how.

The best time to book the award space is 11 months out, when it is released, because Cathay Pacific loads their schedule with 2 Business Class award seats very often.

Here’s a search I ran on (via Award Nexus) for 2 seats in Business Class from Los Angeles, Newark, JFK, Boston, or San Francisco to Hong Kong 10 months from now. There is space on at least one route on 10/15 days, and 14 total flights in the 15 days with award space for 2 passengers in Business Class.

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Once you find award space, you need to call American Airlines or US Airways to book the space depending on which miles you want to use.

American Airlines charges:

US Airways charges:

  • 110,000 US Airways miles roundtrip to Hong Kong, anywhere else in North Asia, or Australia in Cathay Pacific Business Class
  • 120,000 US Airways miles roundtrip to Southeast Asia, the Maldives, or the Indian Subcontinent in Cathay Pacific Business Class

You can connect in Hong Kong to Cathay Pacific’s or its subsidiary Dragonair’s flights. Both are searchable on Between them, they cover much of Asia plus Australia and the Maldives.

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Cathay Pacific and Dragonair Flights from Hong Kong

Cathay Business as a Path to Cathay First

The most reliable time to find Cathay Pacific First Class award space is within 48 hours of departure when Cathay Pacific releases all but one of its unsold seats as First Class award space.

Most people don’t want to wait until 48 hours before departure to book award space.

Book 2 Business Class seats 11 months out, and if space opens up in the last day or two, you can switch to First Class for just the difference in miles plus a change fee.

  • American Airlines generally charges no change fee to upgrade an award like this, however the stated change fee is $150 for first passenger plus $25 for each additional passenger on the same record locator.
  • US Airways will charge $150 per ticket to change an award, but doesn’t even allow changes to the return once you’ve flown the outbound.

Getting the Miles

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® with 30,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

Application Link: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard®

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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  1. What about F award availability? Any success in finding space on Avios? Almost impossible to find Space in December January and February. Is CX blocking space? Is there better luck closer in to desires dates?

  2. I have a question about upgrading on Cathay 24/48 hours before a flight to business/first class. Is the mileage amount the one-way upgrade difference or the round trip difference that was booked originally?

  3. Hi Scott,
    I am current booked a trip to Taiwan using US airways miles via Europe. I have booked most of my flights in first class expect the leg from LHR to HKG is in biz. I did this when they weren’t collecting the fuel surcharge at that time. If I see some first class seats open up in the same flight and wanting to move those two biz class seats to first, will I be running the risk of paying fuel surcharge? Technically, the leg from IAH to LHR is in BA first and will not want to change it at all. Any idea if it is worth the risk to do this?


  4. Trying to book a flight from SFO to HKG in Jan 2016 with AA miles…. I searched on to find the seats and I see there are two award seats left on the flight I am interested in. I called the AAdvantage Gold service desk (800-848-4653) and they claim those dates have not been released to them yet.

    Is that normal for the seats to show up on but for them not to be available when you call?


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