April 17, 2016

How to Book Cathay Pacific First Class Award Tickets

Here at ATRP, we spend considerable time writing abut how to earn miles and points.  Using those miles and points to actually book award tickets and hotel nights with points is where the real fun begins.  I get a lot of questions about booking Cathay Pacific first and business class award tickets using American AAdvantage miles.  This post is a step-by-step guide to search for award availability using British Airways' search engine.  Since American doesn't actually show Cathay's availability online, this is the easiest way to find flights with open seats.

Cathay Pacific 777-300ER at LAX
Once you find availability, you'll need to call American Airlines to actually book the flight.  Having the availability on hand will make the transaction MUCH easier.

For reference, we've flown Cathay Pacific in first and business class about half a dozen times.  You can read about our past flights here:

Cathay Pacific First Class

Beyond having a great first class product, Cathay Pacific has some of the best first class lounges in the world at their Hong Kong hub.  While The Wing is amazing, The Pier is the newest lounge in the system and I'd say one of the best first class lounges in the world.

View from The Pier at Hong Kong's International Airport

If you already have sufficient mileage in your AA account, congratulations!

Let's say you live in Los Angeles and want to go to Hong Kong next year.  It is now 110,000 American AAdvantage miles each way for Cathay Pacific First Class.  While the recent devaluation sucked, it's been fairly easier to acquire AAdvantage miles.

First, you want to create (if you haven't already done so) a British Airways Executive Club account.  Once that's done, go ahead and login to your account.

Mouse over "Executive Club" and click on "Spending Avios."

Click on "Book a Reward Flight"

You're now on the screen where you can start searching.  For this case, enter LAX as the origin and Hong Kong as the destination.  I like to search for one-way awards to find availability a bit faster.  Select the date (you'll be able to click through a calendar to see dates a week at a time) class, and number of passengers.

Click "Get Flights" and you'll be taken to the results screen.  Here you can see, there is plenty of availability nearly a year out.  In first class, there is one seat on 3/4 flights.  In business class there are 5 seats on 3/4 flights.

You can easily change your search in terms of origin, destination, dates, and class of service.  Once you have the flights you'd like to book, write down the dates and flight numbers.  It's also good to have the departure times just in case.  Call American Airlines and provide the agent with the flight information and they will be able to book the award.

That's it!  It will likely take a bit of searching to find availability.  Cathay is great about releasing 1 seat when the schedule opens and as departure nears.  It's more challenging to find multiple seats but with a little bit of leg work, we've been able to do so multiple times.

Cathay Pacific First Class Caviar Setup

Scoring a premium award on Cathay Pacific isn't the easiest process.  But it is definitely worth it!

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