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FlyerTalk Forums Thread Wiki: CX (Cathay) Award availability - F & J
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Cathay Pacific Award Availability
when using Alaska Airlines Miles


North American CX Gateway Cities


New York City (JFK/EWR)
Boston (BOS)
Toronto (YYZ)
Chicago (ORD)
Vancouver (YVR)
Los Angeles (LAX)
San Francisco (SFO)


Notes and tips:

You cannot book CX award flights on alaskaair.com.

http://www.alaskaair.com/content/mil...rs/cathay.aspx

Quote:
Award Travel on Cathay Pacific

Book Your Award Travel: To use Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™ Miles on Cathay Pacific, call Alaska Airlines Reservations at 1-800-252-7522 (TTY: Dial 711 for Relay Services) 5:00 a.m. - Midnight (PT), daily
Both BA and JL websites can be used to search for CX partner inventory. JL is typically a more accurate engine. BA should only be used on a per-segment basis (in other words, do not search for LAX-BKK, search for LAX-HKG, then HKG-BKK). Note that AS award availability is only for 330 days, the BA engine will show availability to 365 days.

There are mixed reports on getting a CX stopover outside of HKG. By rule, HKG is the only allowed stopover. Stopovers are not allowed on intra-Asia award bookings (you will need a North American segment to be able to book a stopover).

All CX awards except for the intra-Asia award must either originate or end in HKG or North America. If you wish to fly Middle East/India/Europe/Asia/Australia to a CX destination beyond your initial flight to or from HKG that is not a North American destination, it will be two awards: XXX-HKG and HKG-YYY. CX intra-Asia awards do not include a stopover.

CX releases availability close in. If you do a change where you book another cabin and upgrade to F (which often may be the only way to get F on CX), you will be charged the $125 rebooking fee (waived for MVPG+).

*Have the AS CSR perform the search one leg at a time (Transoceanic first). That might yield more results than the whole itinerary at once.*

The CX forum has a FAQ on the CX experience.


Award eligible Destinations
By region.

(Dragon Air is not allowed on AS award)

Africa
Johannesburg (JNB)


Asia
Bangkok (BKK)
Beijing (PEK)
Cebu (CEB)
Denpasar (Bali) (DPS)
Fukuoka (FUK)
Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)
Hong Kong (HKG)
Jakarta (CGK)
Kuala Lumpur (KUL) [Ends 30 April]
Manila (MNL)
Osaka (KIX)
Sapporo (CTS)
Seoul (ICN)
Shanghai (PVG)
Singapore (SIN)
Surabaya (SUB)
Taipei (TPE)
Tokyo (HND)



Australia/NZ
Adelaide (ADL)
Auckland (AKL)
Brisbane (BNE)
Cairns (CNS)
Melbourne (MEL)
Perth (PER)
Sydney (SYD)

India/Middle East

Bahrain (BAH)
Chennai (MAA)
Colombo (CMB)
Delhi (DEL)
Doha (DOH)
Dubai (DXB)
Hyderabad (HYD)
Malé (MLE)
Mumbai (BOM)
Riyadh (RUH)
Tel Aviv (TLV)


Europe (To/from HKG only. NA is separate award)

Amsterdam (AMS)
Barcelona (BCN)
Düsseldorf (DUS)
Frankfurt (FRA)
London (LHR, LGW)
Manchester (MAN)
Milan (MXP)
Paris (CDG)
Rome (FCO)
Zurich (ZRH)
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Old Jan 13, 11, 6:32 pm   #1
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CX (Cathay) Award availability - F & J

Can anyone provide info on their experience with First and/or business awards on CX? We're looking for four seats between N. America and South Africa - 2 in F and 2 in J (apparently CX doesn't release more than 2 F seats for awards), but a recent call to the Award desk sounded discouraging.

We've traveled BA in F many times (even to S. Africa) and enjoyed it immensely, but the fuel surcharges ($800+ pp) make that partner a non-partner. AS should dump them as a partner.

DL and AA have inferior products, and while we might consider AF, it's the last resort since they don't appear to offer F.

Thoughts? Ideas? Experience? All welcomed. Thanks!
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Old Jan 13, 11, 6:46 pm   #2
  
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How far out are you planning? I have redeemed several CX awards for two seats in first or business, most of which were redeemed 300+ days out or within 30 days of departure. You may need to redeem the US-HKG-US legs first and then later add the HKG-JNB-HKG legs when they become available. Do you have an Asia Miles account, Expert Flyer or KVS to check availablity? If not, I would suggest subscribing. My redemptions are usually very quick as I find available seats before calling.
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Old Jan 13, 11, 6:53 pm   #3
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We're planning way far ahead - looking either in December this year or March 2012. Know we're too far in advance of the March dates, so that's when I had them check in March of this year and there seemed to be quite a few. Again, SFO or LAX to HKG don't seem to be the issue - it's the HKG-JNB leg.

Don't have Asia Miles acct, nor subscriptions to Expert Flyer or KVS. Figure Asia Miles is free, but what about Expert Flyer or KVS - costs for those? Wouldn't Asia Miles be more reliable for checking award availability since that's CX's program?

Good insights, though - thank you!
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Old Jan 13, 11, 9:05 pm   #4
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So far this year I'm still 100% on CX and QF when using BA.com partner award tool
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Old Jan 13, 11, 10:21 pm   #5
  
Join Date: Oct 2010
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I have used Alaska miles to fly to Asia and JNB several times in the last year and can offer several observations.

As J is 125K and F is 140K all four of you should go in First. ( I will show you how to get around the apparent 2 seat limit below) Also, be advised that while you can always get F seats from the US to HKG, CX uses two different types of aircraft between HKG and JNB. The 747 has an F cabin, but the Airbus 343 only has J. CX is using the 747 between now and March 2010 and again in December 2011. However, in April 2010 they switch to the 343. If you confirm seats in F on the 747, be sure to double check a couple of months in advance.

I have never had more than a couple of other travellers in F and have frequently had the cabin to myself, where they put you in one seat for meals and entertainment and your bed is already made up in the adjacent seat before you even board the aircraft. The service in F is stunning and the extra 15K miles are worth it.

You may also want to consider flying out of SFO or YVR, more pleasant and efficeint than LAX, and where CX uses more spacious 747's and not the 777 which has fewer seats in F, and where the galley is in the front and there will be all night traffic past your seat.

Although Cathay typically only loads 2 F award seats about 360 days in advance, with the exception of the holidays, they almost always load in 4-6 additional F seats about a week in advance of the actual flight date.

Although you can use KVS or ba.com to determine award availability, the simplest and best tool is to establish a free account at asiamiles.com (CX FF program) and check availability there. In my experience the availability shown on asiamiles is 100% identical to the inventory made available to Alaska Airlines frequent flyers. Once you establish an account there, to demonstrate how the F seats are loaded in for the next week, check availability for tomorrow(be sure to check the "flexible travel date" bubble) and in most cases you will see there is plenty of space in F over the next week. Then check availability for a date two weeks from now. Do this a few times over the next week and you will see the pattern whereby CX sometimes loads in this F inventory a day at a time and sometimes loads in a whole week of seats at one time.

Whether you elect to travel next Christmas or in March 2012, you should monitor availability on the asiamiles website and book 2 F seats (exhausting that inventory) and 2 J seats on the same plane 360 days in advance. Then, relax for 11 months. About a month before your departure date, start checking availability in F again on the asiamiles website and monitor the loading in of F seats.

When availability on your date appears on the asiamiles website, give the partner desk a call and they will quickly and efficiently upgrade the J seats to F by redepositing the J miles in your account and subtracting the F miles. This might be a bit tricky over the Christmas holidays, but if you are flexible, I am virtually certain that you will find four seats in F on the same plane. In March 2012, it will be a snap.

Good luck, enjoy the trip and feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

Last edited by macfadsj; Jan 13, 11 at 10:42 pm
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Old Jan 13, 11, 11:04 pm   #6
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Thanks very much for the tips CD and mac...

After researching EF vs KVS, was really keen on EF until I saw on their website they didn't support or get data for CX.

So, I'll go the free route and sign up for Asia Miles to see what I can find there.
Read over on the CX forum that it appears the JNB route is routinely 'sold' in F, but trying to get confirmation of that, but am hopeful your experience is indicative of what I'll find.
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Old Jan 14, 11, 12:02 am   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flytoeat View Post
Do you have an Asia Miles account, Expert Flyer or KVS to check availablity? If not, I would suggest subscribing. My redemptions are usually very quick as I find available seats before calling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxasflyer View Post
After researching EF vs KVS, was really keen on EF until I saw on their website they didn't support or get data for CX.
Indeed, the KVS Tool is the only specialized tool that supports Award Availability for CX as well as for most other OneWorld member airlines, including BA/IB/MA/LA/4M/KA/MX/JL:

http://Help.KVSTool.com/#AwardUpgradeClasses_OneWorld
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Old Jan 14, 11, 10:41 am   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macfadsj View Post
Although you can use KVS or ba.com to determine award availability, the simplest and best tool is to establish a free account at asiamiles.com (CX FF program) and check availability there. In my experience the availability shown on asiamiles is 100% identical to the inventory made available to Alaska Airlines frequent flyers. Once you establish an account there, to demonstrate how the F seats are loaded in for the next week, check availability for tomorrow(be sure to check the "flexible travel date" bubble) and in most cases you will see there is plenty of space in F over the next week. Then check availability for a date two weeks from now. Do this a few times over the next week and you will see the pattern whereby CX sometimes loads in this F inventory a day at a time and sometimes loads in a whole week of seats at one time.
Without becoming a member of Asia Miles, I was able to click on 'Redemption Availability' that only shows a relative graphic with green (good chance), yellow (medium chance) and red (poor chance). Once a member, do I get more specific info (i.e. actual numbers of inventory), and if so, how exactly do I go about doing that as I a) will have a zero balance in Asia Miles and b) didn't see the links in the Asia Miles site to find them?
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Old Jan 14, 11, 11:53 am   #9
  
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The Asia Miles website is a bit cumbersome, but once you learn how to work it, it is a gem. After you enroll, even with a zero miles balance, you will be able to check availability for one date at a time between HKG and JNB and for a week at a time (by using the flexible date function) between the SFO, YVR and LAX and HKG.

After you register, and login, go to:
https://www.asiamiles.com/am/en/redeem/flights/seats

Click on "Cathay Pacific" to bring up their search function. It will not tell you exactly how many mileage seats are left. Rather, you have to ask for two seats and see if it yields a flight with two seats. Similarly, you can ask for four seats and see if it produces a flight. By doing a couple of searches, you can easily determine how many seats are left.

Good Luck!
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Old Jan 14, 11, 12:57 pm   #10
  
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I've booked three First Class awards with Cathay ~ two to Africa and one to Australia.

The odds of getting the exact days you want, especially between North America and Hong Kong, are not good, even booking far out, so flexibility is important! HKG-JNB is usually wide open. Keep in mind that there are three West Coast gateways to choose from - YVR, SFO and LAX.

And if you're curious what to expect of Cathay's First Class to Africa and back, check out my report from March 2010.

Good luck!
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Old Jan 14, 11, 6:06 pm   #11
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxasflyer View Post
DL and AA have inferior products, and while we might consider AF, it's the last resort since they don't appear to offer F.
Have you flown on the 777 to JNB via ATL on DL in J? I'd hardly call that inferior. It might not be the best J configuration for couples that insist on holding their hands but I found the product to be better than BA's product.
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Old Jan 14, 11, 6:17 pm   #12
  
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I wish I had know about the Asia Miles trick when I was trying to book an award ticket LAX-BKK back in August, but I still feel like CX is difficult to obtain award travel with. I was super flexible with my dates, basically anything within the month of October, but I came up empty trying to get J with CX. I ended up having to go with Y on KE which was a good experience, but it was only 15k more miles to get a J award with CX, so I was still disappointed in the value per miles. CX is definitely very enticing for award travel based on the lower amount of miles needed for F/J and their respectable service.
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Old Jan 15, 11, 6:40 pm   #13
  
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Over the last year, twice I was able to book 2 F award tickets from SFO to HKG. These were booked under 3 months before departure.
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Old Jan 22, 11, 3:11 am   #14
  
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I just booked my 2 Cathay first class tickets in December to JNB via HKG stopover of 4 nights. By the way, they are ticketed as Z class, which is award First. And the phone agent was terrific! Availability was not exactly on my preferred dates based on my research on the Cathay site, but it was close enough for this incredible deal.

Also included were the first class AS flights from my home in HNL to the SFO gateway. 140k miles each plus $135 each in taxes. I can barely fly in coach to a neighbor island for that, much less Cathay first class to Africa with a Hong Kong stopover and the connecting Alaska flights from Hawaii! Thanks so much to Gary and Lucky for alerting me to this award. Deal of the century!
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Old Jan 22, 11, 10:51 pm   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dodger 1k View Post
I just booked my 2 Cathay first class tickets in December to JNB via HKG stopover of 4 nights. By the way, they are ticketed as Z class, which is award First. And the phone agent was terrific! Availability was not exactly on my preferred dates based on my research on the Cathay site, but it was close enough for this incredible deal.

Also included were the first class AS flights from my home in HNL to the SFO gateway. 140k miles each plus $135 each in taxes. I can barely fly in coach to a neighbor island for that, much less Cathay first class to Africa with a Hong Kong stopover and the connecting Alaska flights from Hawaii! Thanks so much to Gary and Lucky for alerting me to this award. Deal of the century!
Good to know that we can go from Hawaii
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