Saturday, January 3, 2015

First Class Cathay Pacific

This summer, I will get my first taste of a first class seat. My family will be taking an Alaskan cruise that starts in Vancouver. We are flying Cathay Pacific from New York to Vancouver and back. This flight is on a Boeing 777-300ER, four class airplane. It includes six open suites in first class. I have a seat in first class booked for both directions. And it cost me 32,500 AA miles for each direction. I have accumulated AA miles throughout the years with several different Citibank credit card sign ups.


But once you have learned the methods of accumulating miles and points, the next step is to use or “burn” them. A popular phrase in my hobby is to “earn them and burn them” when referring to miles and points. Cathay Pacific is a one world partner with American Airlines. Below is the AA partner award chart. The JFK-YVR flight is 12.5K miles in economy, 25K in business, and 32.5K in first. This is one of the best ways of trying out Cathay’s first class product, consistently named as one of the best premium class seating products in the airlines industry.

Next, I had to find a flight for my specific date of travel. Here’s where it has been helpful being around others who are in this hobby. You would think that you could search the AA site for your preferred flight. But when I search on for JFK-YVR, I am only provided flights on either AA or Alaska Airlines, and none that originates from JFK. That’s because AA is not very good about showing available flights on most of their oneworld partners, including Cathay.


So instead, I log into my British Airways account and search for flights with the same city pair. I am now able to find availability on Cathay for June 22, with five seats available in business class. 

There are only six first class seats, and Cathay will typically open up one or two seats to awards once the schedule for the flight opens. But one of the great things that you can count on with Cathay is that within 24-48 hours prior to departure that they will open up all remaining first class seats to awards redemption, save one seat. I will be checking for more first class award seats right up until the day before departure. I’ll keep you posted in a few months as to my success.

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