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AA Award: Cathay Pacific / CX availability, etc. (2018-2022 archive)

Old Nov 19, 2014, 9:27 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: Prospero
Awards: All Cathay Pacific / CX (Including First and Business Class)
Questions, Availability, Discussion


NOTE: Multiple reports starting in June 2021 that CX is allowing only a 24 hour hold and could cancel reservations not being ticketed beyond 24 hours.

Please feel free to use this thread for questions regarding CX Economy, Premium Economy, First and Business Class award redemption using AAdvantage miles, as well as questions regarding award availability, routings and related issues. Please go to the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Forum to discuss or ask about meals, equipment, service, etc. on CX, as there is an existing wealth of information there - and this is the American Airlines AAdvantage Forum .

AA Flight award chart for oneworldģ and partner airlines

Other related threads that may be of interest:

FT Discrepancy between CX Award Search and AA availability: Discrepancy between QF and CX award search and AA availability

FT How , When to Select CX Seats on CX Award: How / when to select seat on a Cathay (CX) award / flight (consolidated)

FT Cathay Pacific Experience - Seats / Interline/ Baggage FAQs: Cathay Pacific Experience / Seats / Interline / Baggage FAQs

Also, for Rules about awards, see AA oneworld and Other Airline Partner Award information, rules (2015 on).

Expert Advice:

Only "MileSAAver" awards apply to oneworld and AA partners.
Premium Economy seats are not available with AAdvantage awards, may be soon as AA sells Premium Economy Feb 2017.

Be aware that what you see on the BA, JL, or QF sites may not be visible to the AA reservations folks. You may want to note the flight on which the F award seat is shown as "available" on those sites and if the AA agent doesn't see any availability suggest that the AA agent check that specific one again. If the AA agent still cannot see it, thank them, hang up, and call back a little later.

Sometimes CX will make flights available for award booking to CX frequent flyers, but not release the seats immediately for other oneworld frequent flyers. Usually though, the seats, if not taken by CX frequent flyers, are released after a while to other OW programs.

Although CX may release seats for award earlier, AA can book them no more than 331 days prior to departure. The awards that CX does release are available as early as 355 days prior to departure for CX and BA frequent fliers, and sometimes that means the awards you want w AA miles will be snatched up prior to the 331 day mark.

*** AA does not have a set schedule to load flights. They can load it anytime after midnight 331 days out. Most of the time it is within a couple to 12 hours of that. Other times, it can be a full day or a day and a half afterwards, especially on the weekends where there's most variability. Unlike JL award space, it is not a specific time of day.

4Keep in mind that when booking eastbound space to North America that it's one day later in HKG so that space usually becomes available 330 days in advance to North America; this is not always true, since CX has already loaded the availability a month prior to AA - it is just up to AA to load and release the seats on SABRE, so it typically ends up being 330 days out, but not necessarily.

Similarly... if you are trying to book westbound, US->HKG->Somewhere then AA may not be able to book the HKG->Somewhere segment 331 days in advance of the US->HKG flight, if it is still 332 days out in HKG. As it is the flights from US->HKG that are hardest to get, if you find a seat US->HKG at the 331 day mark when it is first available for booking through AA but cannot book the continuation, you can just put that US->HKG segment on hold with AA, then call back the next day when connecting flights will be loaded into the system to try to book the onward flight from HKG.

AA does not charge "YQ" surcharges [what they sometimes call "fuel surcharge"] on CX award segments (BA Avios does), thus the taxes and fees on your "free" ticket on CX or KA are almost always significantly less than for the same routing on BA.

There is a Hong Kong Departure Tax (HK) of $120 HKD (approx $15.50 USD) on every segment departing Hong Kong. Exemptions apply. If your ticket includes this tax and you qualify for an exemption, a refund can be applied for either in person at HKIA landside or via post to Civil Aviation Department. AA charges this tax for children under 12 years of age despite the exemption. In order to obtain a cash refund at HKIA, you will need passenger passport, passenger boarding pass, passenger ticket receipt showing the fare calculation line which will show the HK tax being charged. This receipt can be obtained at any AA counter worldwide including HKIA as well as Airport Express in-town check-in (AA check-in). As the AA counter at HKIA operates only during limited hours, Airport Express in-town check-in would be the the convenient option.

Not all CX flights offer First class; CX Business is markedly different on long haul and regionally configured aircraft.

If you're looking for multiple seats in First on a particular flight but can find only some but not all that you're looking for, take what's available in F, then take the rest of the seats you want on J (if available) on the same flight, and check back periodically to see if an F seat has opened up for award. There is no additional charge (in money, although there will be in miles) to change to an award to a higher cabin of service (e.g., J to F, Y to F, Y to J) as long as the award keeps the same origin/destination airports.

Be aware your award must conform to some rules on a) MPM (Maximum Permitted Mileage - your award routing can not exceed 125% of the most direct routing available); a useful tool is Great Circle Mapper.

The Most Significant Carrier (transpacific usually, CX in most of these posts,) must offer a non-"constructed" fare between your origin and destination (you might find an unconstructed fare between DFW and SIN, but might not from Killeen to SIN).

If you can't pick your CX seats online, either due to them being blocked or you just want to call, you need to first get the CX PNR from AAdvantage at 1-800-882-8880. Then call CX at 1-800-233-2742. Some seats that are blocked on CX website are assignable via AA reservations. Close to departure AA can even assign 2A, 2K.

Note: if the Cathay Manage booking tool doesn't appear to recognize your CX PNR, you need to enter your first name AND middle name, separated by a space, in the "First Name" field.

AAward bookings containing CX flights that are put on hold will be restricted to only 24hrs, not the usual 5 days.

Frequently Asked Questions
What are the patterns for west coast routes?
Because LAX has 4 daily flights to HKG, it tends to be the easiest option for blocks of 3 or more J award seats. SFO and YVR only have 2 daily flights and even if 5 award seats were initially released at 355 days prior to departure, some of those may be gone by the time the 331 day mark rolls around. If you need 4 or 5 J award seats on these west coast routes, either use Avios to book at 355 days or consider routing through LAX where there may still be availability at 331 days out.

Can I visit my companion in First Class if I'm in Business Class?
"Up-cabin visits" are not permitted per CX policy, though have been granted under special circumstances. But putting crew in the awkward position of being asked to violate policy is generally frowned upon. Down-cabin visits are permitted ex-USA. However, on flights to the USA, down-cabin visits are not permitted and this rule is vigorously enforced.

Posts made in 2017 may be read in ARCHIVE: 2017 AA Awards in Cathay Pacific / CX, KA...

Posts made in 2016 may be read in ARCHIVE: AA Awards on Cathay Pacific (2016).

Posts made in 2015 may be read in ARCHIVE: AA Awards on Cathay Pacific (2015).

Posts made in 2014 may be read in ARCHIVE: Awards: CX / Cathay Pacific / (inc. F and J) - 2014.

N.B. Older posts have been moved and archived to: Cathay Pacific / CX (inc. First and Business Class) award - ARCHIVED.
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AA Award: Cathay Pacific / CX availability, etc. (2018-2022 archive)

Old Feb 21, 2018, 7:56 am
  #136  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,567
Originally Posted by ATX1989
Are there any data points to support that Cathay Pacific has ever opened up additional F availability between 331 and 14 days out? Iíve got 1 seat in F and 1 seat in J for a HKG to JFK flight and am trying to upgrade the J to an F. Iíve got an alert set on Award Nexus but Iím trying to set expectations with myself if realistically this is going to come down to the last two weeks. Itís my return flight and Iím hoping I donít have to bother with it while I am on my trip.
Iím your datapoint. Three separate F awards JFKHKG between six and four months prior to departure. But flights were F6. If your desired flight is still F6, set up an awardnexus award search and an expertflyer revenue search (to monitor if the flight sells a seat).
SanDiego1K and ATX1989 like this.
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Old Feb 21, 2018, 9:08 am
  #137  
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey
The fact that other routings require more stops generally has no bearing in cases like this.

Indian Subcontinent and Middle East are still treated as one region by AA for the purposes of the 3rd region routing rules. So AA allowing a connection in a 3rd region (or really 2nd region in this case, Asia 2) on what is essentially an award wholly within one region (Indian Sub/ME) is surprising. Especially in this case as flying say DEL-HKG-TLV is backtracking tons and flying almost 3 times the distance of say DEL-DOH-AMM-TLV.

Definitely a weird exception. Even connecting from India-LHR-TLV as you mentioned is shorter distance wise than connecting in HKG.
I see what you mean, although although outside of flying QR/RJ there isnt a way to avoid connecting in a separate region. I talked to two different agents by chance as I lost reception during the first call but do you think this was a one off or simply a clear exemption because of routing options?
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Old Feb 21, 2018, 9:30 am
  #138  
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Originally Posted by BOStonTravels
I see what you mean, although although outside of flying QR/RJ there isnt a way to avoid connecting in a separate region. I talked to two different agents by chance as I lost reception during the first call but do you think this was a one off or simply a clear exemption because of routing options?
Who knows, but typically AA doesn't make routing exceptions just because a given city pair(s) has limited options for awards on partners.

Another interesting byproduct is a possible loophole to save some miles for India-HKG awards. A DEL-HKG award in business by itself is 40k miles, but if DEL-HKG-TLV prices out at 30k, then you could add on the TLV segment to save 10k miles and just get off in HKG.

Nothing like adding on a throwaway 4,800 mi. trip in business class to save a few miles on a booking .
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Old Feb 21, 2018, 3:50 pm
  #139  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 60
I don't know if anyone has encountered this before. I am trying to search for 4 business class on CX from SFO to SIN.

Searching via BA website shows 4 Business Class available on CX via SFO-HKG-SIN
But when I search just SFO-HKG, the same CX flight, same date, it only shows 1 Business Class available.

This also happened when I search for JFK-YVR-HKG (the YVR is just a transit stop), there are 4 Business available. But when I search for YVR-HKG, there is only 1 or 2 available on the same CX flight, same date.

Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Feb 21, 2018, 3:58 pm
  #140  
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Originally Posted by BOStonTravels
AAgent confirmed and easily booked this 30K award using CX from India to Israel in business class.
Has AA actually gone ahead and issued this award ticket for 30,000 miles? Until you have a ticket number, you have nothing.
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Old Feb 21, 2018, 5:04 pm
  #141  
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Originally Posted by frugaltraveller
I don't know if anyone has encountered this before. I am trying to search for 4 business class on CX from SFO to SIN.

Searching via BA website shows 4 Business Class available on CX via SFO-HKG-SIN
But when I search just SFO-HKG, the same CX flight, same date, it only shows 1 Business Class available.

This also happened when I search for JFK-YVR-HKG (the YVR is just a transit stop), there are 4 Business available. But when I search for YVR-HKG, there is only 1 or 2 available on the same CX flight, same date.

Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated!
Yes, this is a well known "glitch" when using the BA site to search. It can show all sorts of wonky results when you search connections, so you need to search segment by segment.

In your first case, there's really only 1 seat available on the SFO-HKG segment.
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Old Feb 21, 2018, 5:06 pm
  #142  
 
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I am seeing very, very little in terms of J award space for mid-March (while late-March looks great). Is there something going on in Asia that might be causing this? I was thinking U.S. sping break, but don't see why that wouldn't be affecting end of March (think the 20th onwards), as those awards are plentiful.
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Old Feb 21, 2018, 5:08 pm
  #143  
 
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Originally Posted by iadisgreat
That's an unusually generous exemption for AA.
WOW I agree, very generous.
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Old Feb 21, 2018, 7:02 pm
  #144  
 
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Originally Posted by guv1976
Has AA actually gone ahead and issued this award ticket for 30,000 miles? Until you have a ticket number, you have nothing.
I agree. Would be nice if OP confirms that their award was ticketed so we know if this truly works or not.
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Old Feb 22, 2018, 11:15 am
  #145  
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With CX now offering flights to CPT beginning in Nov 2018, will this be a new way to get there without using BA?

How does CX calculate their award prices if using AA miles?

I would be flying LAX-HKG-CPT if possible.
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Old Feb 22, 2018, 11:31 am
  #146  
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Originally Posted by 355F1
With CX now offering flights to CPT beginning in Nov 2018, will this be a new way to get there without using BA?

How does CX calculate their award prices if using AA miles?

I would be flying LAX-HKG-CPT if possible.
CX doesn't determine AA miles. CX and AA would have a negotiated $$$ rate. What AA ultimately charges in terms of miles would be up to AA.
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Old Feb 22, 2018, 11:57 am
  #147  
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Originally Posted by seawolf
CX doesn't determine AA miles. CX and AA would have a negotiated $$$ rate. What AA ultimately charges in terms of miles would be up to AA.
Ahh....so if CX is distance-based for their own program it has no effect on what AA will charge?

When will we be able to figure out the cost for an AA Award for this route?
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Old Feb 22, 2018, 11:58 am
  #148  
 
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Originally Posted by 355F1
With CX now offering flights to CPT beginning in Nov 2018, will this be a new way to get there without using BA?

How does CX calculate their award prices if using AA miles?

I would be flying LAX-HKG-CPT if possible.
You'll need two awards to travel that itinerary, as AA doesn't have a third region transit exception for US-Africa travel via Asia 2.
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Old Feb 22, 2018, 12:05 pm
  #149  
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Originally Posted by 355F1
Ahh....so if CX is distance-based for their own program it has no effect on what AA will charge?

When will we be able to figure out the cost for an AA Award for this route?
AA partner award chart here:

https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...ward-chart.jsp

As noted, two awards will be required for each one-way: North America to Asia 2, and Asia 2 to Africa. The upside of this is that you can have a stopover in Asia 2 (and it does not necessarily have to be at HKG) if desired.

Last edited by guv1976; Feb 22, 2018 at 12:37 pm
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Old Feb 22, 2018, 12:21 pm
  #150  
 
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Originally Posted by frugaltraveller
I don't know if anyone has encountered this before. I am trying to search for 4 business class on CX from SFO to SIN.

Searching via BA website shows 4 Business Class available on CX via SFO-HKG-SIN
But when I search just SFO-HKG, the same CX flight, same date, it only shows 1 Business Class available.

This also happened when I search for JFK-YVR-HKG (the YVR is just a transit stop), there are 4 Business available. But when I search for YVR-HKG, there is only 1 or 2 available on the same CX flight, same date.

Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated!

Originally Posted by JJeffrey
Yes, this is a well known "glitch" when using the BA site to search. It can show all sorts of wonky results when you search connections, so you need to search segment by segment.

In your first case, there's really only 1 seat available on the SFO-HKG segment.
​​​​​​​
It's a married segment, not a glitch.
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