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Cathay Pacific First Class is:

  • awesomefull trip report
  • cheap: 67,500 American Airlines miles one way between the United States and East Asia
  • easy to book with miles

Cathay Pacific operates six-seat First Class cabins between the United States and Hong Kong, so there aren’t many seats to give away, and yet Cathay Pacific manages to regularly offer one seat up to 11 months before departure on tons of flights.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 1.42.22 AM
Me in Cathay Pacific First Class about to catch some ZZZZs

Cathay Pacific is also one of the airlines that releases a lot of its unsold premium inventory as award seats as departure approaches. (United and Lufthansa are two other airlines like that.)

I wanted to figure out the pattern for this last-minute release of award space, so I checked Cathay Pacific routes between the United States and Hong Kong for the next two weeks.

  • What is the pattern of Cathay Pacific First Class award space between the United States and Hong Kong for the next two weeks?
  • How can you search for Cathay Pacific award seats?
  • How can you book Cathay Pacific award seats?

Cathay Pacific flies to five destinations in the United States (and adds Boston in May 2015). Newark is operated by a plane without First Class, so First Class is only available to/from:

  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Chicago (ORD)

I searched all four routes in both directions from the next two weeks on ba.com (via Award Nexus).

From United States to Hong Kong

Days with award space in next two weeks:

  • Los Angeles: 6
  • Chicago: 4
  • New York: 3
  • San Francisco: 0

All the award space is in the next week, except for one day in week 2 with an award flight from Chicago to Hong Kong. The best days for award space are the next four days.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 2.06.36 AM

From Hong Kong to the United States

Days with award space in next two weeks:

  • Los Angeles: 11
  • Chicago: 5
  • New York: 5
  • San Francisco: 4

Every route has more award space heading back to the United States than heading to Asia.

Just like the other calendar, there is much more award space is in the next week, than there is 8-14 days out.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 2.06.48 AM

Booking Cathay Pacific First Class

Cathay Pacific is a member of oneworld, so its award space can be booked with American Airlines and US Airways miles. Neither collects fuel surcharges on Cathay Pacific award flights.

To book with American Airlines or US Airways, call the airline whose miles you’re using.

  • American: 800-882-8880
  • US Airways: 800-622-1015

American Airlines charges 67,500 miles each way to Hong Kong or anywhere in Southeast Asia in Cathay Pacific First Class.

US Airways charges 120,000 miles roundtrip in Cathay Pacific First Class to Hong Kong, 160,000 if you continue to Southeast Asia, and 140,000 if you fly all the way to Australia.

We know that the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will no longer be offered as soon as the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer programs integrate, some time in early 2015. That means that the chance to earn 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase will disappear soon. Check out all the places you can go with just the sign up bonus.

Recap

Cathay Pacific First Class award space is easy to book at the last minute. The best time to book is within the last week or even 4 days before departure.

There is ample award space in First Class on all American routes in both directions with Los Angeles having the best award space.

Book with American Airlines or US Airways miles and pay zero fuel surcharges. The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® offers 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase.

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


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