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 gcmap.com
(Boston Starts May 2, 2015), from gcmap.com

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 ba.com. 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 ba.com (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 ba.com. 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®

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