Booking for Cathay First and Business WIDE OPEN (Including Olympics)

Cathay Pacific is one of my favorite airlines in the world. They have a fantastic business class seat and one of the world’s best first class products. However, award availability can be incredibly tough to come by. Especially in first class.

Luckily for us, that’s not the case today. Cathay Pacific just released a TON of premium cabin space on flights between New York (JFK) and Hong Kong. With flights blocked off at 16 hours, it’s hard to think of a better way to splurge for first or business.

The Dates

For the best availability, you’ll want to search from April to the end of August. We’re seeing a ton of dates with at least one first class seat and 4 business class seats available. This includes the during the Olympics in Tokyo! Some dates have up to nine business class seats available. I’m not sure I have that many friends I’d pay for, but hey, if you want to make your own party in the sky, go for it.

4 seats in business class and 1 seat in first class on multiple flights during the Olympics

While you’ll still want to get to Tokyo, getting over to Asia is half the battle. If you’re not able to find award availability on Cathay between Hong Kong and Tokyo during those dates, you can always buy a cheap cash ticket or use points with another Asian carrier.

Best Ways to Book

Cathay Pacific Business Class (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

While it can be a bit tedious, the best way to search for award availability on Cathay Pacific is through British Airways website. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option to book with. Let’s look at some of your options to snag one of these award seats.

American AAdvantage

Oneworld partner American offers a solid way to book Cathay Pacific business class.  American also offers a 5-day award hold if you need time to solidify plans.

  • Business: 70,000 miles to Asia 2.
  • First: 110,000 miles to Asia 2.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska’s Mileage plan is undoubtedly the best way to book these flights. Just 50,000 miles will get you all the way to Hong Kong (or anywhere in Asia) in business class. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to book Cathay flights online using Alaska Airlines’ miles. Once you’ve found dates that work for you, just give them a call and an agent will help you book.

  • Business: 50,000 miles
  • First: 70,000 miles

Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program is a partner of  both American Express and Citi. If a flight isn’t available with a partner, it’s worth checking out Asia Miles as they tend to have better availability.

  • Business: 85,000 miles
  • First: 125,000 miles

British Airways Avios

Typically, using British Airways Avios for long-haul partner flights is verboten. However, with the 40% transfer bonus from American Express, using Avios might make more sense.

  • Business: 108,250 miles. However, this will only cost 77,320 miles if using the 40% Amex transfer bonus.
  • First: 144,250 miles However, this will only cost 103,040 miles if using the 40% Amex transfer bonus.

Good luck booking. We hope to see you in Tokyo for the Olympics! Let us know in the comments if you were able to snag some of these award seats.

Author: Stephen Hoechst

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  1. American does not allow you to transit from North American to Asia 1 via Asia 2. You should correct that.

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    • You’re right and that’s not the intent. The point is, it’s cheaper for people to continue on to Japan or Korea than ending in HKG. The JFK-HKG leg is available. If you can find a connecting flight on Cathay to Japan or Korea (same itinerary), it’ll save you some miles. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

      Post a Reply
    • Thanks for the catch. Updated. You can do Asia 2 via Asia 1, but not the other way around. Thanks AA for keeping it simple…

      Post a Reply
      • But. Not on Alaska! One more reason. Alaska for the win 🙂

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  2. @ryan is correct, would be two separate awards flying JFK-HKG-TYO

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