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ARCHIVE: AA Awards on Cathay Pacific (2015)

ARCHIVE: AA Awards on Cathay Pacific (2015)

Old Jan 1, 15, 7:23 am
  #1  
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ARCHIVE: AA Awards on Cathay Pacific (2015)

Just returned from HKG-JFK 840 last night....

Not a trip review but just some info:

Scored 2 first + 2 business seats
1 first opened about 4 days before trip
1 first opened 48 before trip
had all 4 of us in business well before flight....say 2 months

Quite an empty flight (new years eve) so plenty of business, seat map showed the "private" business section (between first and business lavs) with 6 seats as full....once on flight 1 was occupied and 5 empty, attendants approved my 2 daughters to move up to this private section to be close to us in first.

First had 4 people in it out of 6.
Up to day before travel Cathay website showed all 6 seats "x" out as not avail on it's seat map. But you could still purchase. ExpertFlier showed one "blocked" and one for premium use.("P")

Didn't try to call to get my girls up to First within the 24 hour mark (Had made enough calls by then!!!) so have no idea what AA showed after I got my second First class seat.

Upon check in at Cathay First class terminal asked lady "Anyway we can get our girls upgraded to first with us?" (16yr + 11yr) and she said: "Sorry we are actually in an oversold situation and nothing is available"....while maybe technically true at some level, clearly not true on many levels.....as 2 First open and tons of business empty.


Took Thai First from MUC-BBK on a 747.....have great feelings about that cabin and its "feeling".

Cathay First was a bucket list goal (along with Thai First) and loved both...both have great "feelings" but different....

Cathay is more "regal" and expensive feeling and quality.....Thai was more intimate and cozy (seats next to each other in a smaller cabin) but Thai is dated a bit....that in itself does not make it less in the "feeling" category.

Just different airlines with a different First class nature.

Hope this helps.

PS I will add....when booking this trip for Dec 31 NEVER even thought about New Years eve....crossing the International Date Line was cool for me but really uneventful for the plane....99% of the plane was dark and asleep. I was only one up in First (and most of business + Econ) one flight attendant came over to me and mentioned 2015 and open ANOTHER bottle of Krug to go with my copious about of prior Krug and Johnnie Walker Blue....

Last edited by JDiver; Feb 1, 17 at 12:18 pm Reason: Insert moderator note
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Old Jan 1, 15, 10:56 am
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I frequently book my trips a year or more out, not for work reasons, but because the trips I'm taking (diving liveaboards) often book one to two years out and are then full. (The boat I'm currently thinking about booking doesn't even become operational until January '16 and is already booked through December '16.) I don't think this creates a huge problem as long as you are flexible. Getting two j seats from some NA gateway to HKG on any given day 331 days out is not difficult. In fact, I would say you have your pick of gateways. (If you'll only accept F, it's a bitter harder, and you'll need much more flexibility.) Some CX connecting flights (DPS for example) can have spotty availability at 331 days, but it's always possible to book into SIN or KUL or BKK and pay for a cheap connection to your preferred destination if it doesn't become availabe on CX. (Yes, you'll have to pay the change fee if you're not EXP, but it's only $175 for two awards coming out of one account.) The toughest "get" are connections from your home city to a CX gateway. Sometimes AA will open those seats for you, sometimes not. But if worse comes to worse, you can always pay for a connection to your gateway.

With all this in mind, I would monitor availability on BA as you're coming up to your preferred departure date so you know what's likely to be available. Hold the best available routing at 331 days. For the next few days, keep checking availability and routing (especially for the domestic connections) and book whatever is best before the 5 day hold expires. Don't worry about the return. There will be long haul availability so as long as you have a little flexibility, you'll be able to book a reasonable return by following the same course.

All of this is much easier for EXPs because you can book anything decent treating it as a placeholder and make multiple changes without penalty. But the approach works for anyone if you just accept that you may have to pay for a change, a connecting flight at either end, or a hotel room for an overnight at your gateway city. If all this costs $500 or $600 to secure two $10,000 passages, it's worth it.
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Old Jan 1, 15, 10:58 am
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That sounds excessive. Look at what you can book now for guidance on what far out availability looks like. Watch what is typically available as the booking window opens and plan accordingly. Hold/book your outbound when it comes available. Hold/Book your return when something acceptable opens up. If you need to, improve it as necessary. A lot of us deal with similar restrictions. Especially if you are not locked into specific dates ahead of time(and even if you are) it should not be a big deal to lock something in well in advance. I do not see the benefit to booking something that you wouldn't be willing to fly, and asking for hold extensions is a foolish game with no guarantee of success. If you want the seats, book the ticket.

The last trip I booked a year out I had literally 2 days of flexibility to book hilton awards pre devaluation and coordinate with work schedules and vacation availability. It was not a problem to get the flights needed, except a slightly suboptimal domestic connection on the return.
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Old Jan 1, 15, 11:01 am
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Another tip for those who have trouble securing DPS/HKG connectors - book DPS-KUL-HKG (or vice versa) on MH and CX instead as MH releases lots of DPS-KUL space and then swap for DPS/HKG on CX when it becomes available.
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Old Jan 1, 15, 11:46 am
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After 5 days hold the seat MAY come back to the inventory but this is not sure.

Booked several CDG-HKG-CDG in J & F and found it easier than US-HKG-US.
However I found that LHR-HKG is harder to secure than CDG (despite CDG has only 2 daily flights and LHR 4 or 5)
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Old Jan 1, 15, 11:48 am
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Originally Posted by murtuza View Post
As anyone seen issue where AA sees one seat less than available for award. For example, I see 1 F seat on both JL and BA for 5th of Jan, 2015 from HKG-LAX but AA agent cannot see it.
This is discussed in the wiki.
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Old Jan 1, 15, 11:50 am
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Originally Posted by tng11 View Post
Another tip for those who have trouble securing DPS/HKG connectors - book DPS-KUL-HKG (or vice versa) on MH and CX instead as MH releases lots of DPS-KUL space and then swap for DPS/HKG on CX when it becomes available.
Thank you for the tips. My family does want me to fly MH
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Old Jan 1, 15, 11:51 am
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Old Jan 1, 15, 11:52 am
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Originally Posted by cedricgerald View Post
Thank you for the tips. My family does want me to fly MH
Why do I *somehow* have the feeling that that sentence was supposed to be:
"My family does not want me to fly MH"
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Old Jan 1, 15, 12:10 pm
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Originally Posted by JonNYC View Post
Why do I *somehow* have the feeling that that sentence was supposed to be:
"My family does not want me to fly MH"
Except for concerns MH may go bankrupt, now is the time to fly MH. I suspect they are being extra careful with safety. And I'll bet there are loads of FF seats.
I would use them to get to CMB but there is no good routing from the US that doesn't involve long layovers at KUL.
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Old Jan 1, 15, 12:13 pm
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Originally Posted by susiesan View Post
Except for concerns MH may go bankrupt, now is the time to fly MH. I suspect they are being extra careful with safety. And I'll bet there are loads of FF seats.
Trust me-- I personally have zero concerns.
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Old Jan 1, 15, 12:20 pm
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Originally Posted by JonNYC View Post
Trust me-- I personally have zero concerns.
Jon, would you book an award trip on MH a year in advance at this time?
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Old Jan 1, 15, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by susiesan View Post
Jon, would you book an award trip on MH a year in advance at this time?
Yes, definitely. If they go bust (and I definitely do not rule out that possibility in the least at this point) protection by AA will be extensive and might even open up award possibilities not otherwise available through a direct booking at this time. So, I wouldn't hesitate in any way.
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Old Jan 1, 15, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by susiesan View Post
Except for concerns MH may go bankrupt, now is the time to fly MH. I suspect they are being extra careful with safety. And I'll bet there are loads of FF seats.
I would use them to get to CMB but there is no good routing from the US that doesn't involve long layovers at KUL.
You'd think tat there would be loads of award space, but there doesn't seem to be, at least not on the flights that I would like there to be. Some are wide open.

If you're looking to get to CMB, EY can work. You may want to terminate the award in MLE. Also do not forget JAL.
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Old Jan 1, 15, 12:34 pm
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Originally Posted by mattsteg View Post
..If you're looking to get to CMB, EY can work. You may want to terminate the award in MLE.
<wink>
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