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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 oneworld® 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 23, 2018, 1:05 pm
  #166  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 60
Originally Posted by swingaling
Take a look at Asia Miles website and you'll see the same thing. I was able to replicate the issue there for some sample dates next year.

15 Jan 2019
SFO-HKG-SIN /// CX893 / CX739
4 J seats available

15 Jan 2019
SFO-HKG /// CX879
2 J seats available (CX893 is full)

I believe the issue is they block availability on morning arrival flights, saving those seats for connecting passengers. That would mean pax with HKG as final destination would need to grab the evening arrival flight (CX879).
I actually called AA, and the agent couldn't see any availability even when searching SFO-SIN as a married segment. BA shows 4J available as a married segement when searching SFO-SIN. Somehow, the availability AA sees is what is shown in BA's individual segment search (ie. SFO-HKG/ HKG-SIN) even though they enter SFO as origin and SIN as destination.
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Old Feb 23, 2018, 1:21 pm
  #167  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: BOS
Programs: AA EXP, DL PM, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 2,028
Originally Posted by frugaltraveller
I actually called AA, and the agent couldn't see any availability even when searching SFO-SIN as a married segment. BA shows 4J available as a married segement when searching SFO-SIN. Somehow, the availability AA sees is what is shown in BA's individual segment search (ie. SFO-HKG/ HKG-SIN) even though they enter SFO as origin and SIN as destination.
They are not available as married segments and this is a bug on both the BA and AS websites. I promise you. AA IS able to book married segment awards which do pop up quite frequently (especially to PVG, PEK, SIN, etc.), but this is not an example of it. The BA website does not show married segment award space (hint: the JAL website does).
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Old Feb 23, 2018, 1:23 pm
  #168  
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Originally Posted by frugaltraveller
I actually called AA, and the agent couldn't see any availability even when searching SFO-SIN as a married segment. BA shows 4J available as a married segement when searching SFO-SIN. Somehow, the availability AA sees is what is shown in BA's individual segment search (ie. SFO-HKG/ HKG-SIN) even though they enter SFO as origin and SIN as destination.
Originally Posted by callmedtop
They are not available as married segments and this is a bug on both the BA and AS websites. I promise you. AA IS able to book married segment awards which do pop up quite frequently (especially to PVG, PEK, SIN, etc.), but this is not an example of it. The BA website does not show married segment award space (hint: the JAL website does).
Exactly.
JJeffrey is online now  
Old Feb 23, 2018, 8:37 pm
  #169  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Programs: Free agent
Posts: 1,296
Does anyone have recent experience booking Cathay Dragon between HKG and HKT? Expert Flyer shows 9s in every single booking class yet there are no award seats available anytime next week.

Also had an odd experience with Cathay from HKG to DPS. BAEC showed wide open in Economy and 4+ in Business for a few days, I waited to book thinking I had a bit of time and about an hour later all gone for days at a time. There is no way someone booked all those seats.

Same thing happened with HKG-DAD. Wide open then everything disappeared. I've used BAEC and Qantas to check as well as calling American. Prices on these short legs are outrageous, 600-900 for a 2-3 hour flight in economy and loads are very light.
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Old Feb 24, 2018, 2:20 pm
  #170  
was ShootinPutin11
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: San Francisco, CA
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I want to book flights from Mumbai to EWR with CX, but the layover times in HKG aren't great. I specifically want to fly to EWR to take advantage of the A350 vs. the 777 (flights in J).

Both ex-BOM flights land in HKG by mid morning (7am and 9:20am). However, the EWR flight doesn't leave until 6:20pm. A 9 hour layover is a bit too much time to spend at the airport (even in the lounge) but not enough to be compelling to take the train into the city.

I'd love to spend a night in HKG but can't figure out how given the 24h stopover limit.

Does anyone have advice of how to 1) shorten the stopover or 2) increase the stopover without having to book a JFK flight on the 777? On another note, is it even worth the hassle? I've never flown on CX's A350 but I've read they're noticeably more comfortable than the 777-300ER.
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Old Feb 24, 2018, 4:34 pm
  #171  
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I don’t think anybody here can give you any advice on how to get CX to change their schedule to accommodate your desire to fly the A350 vs 77W. Your options are to take the layover, fly the 77W, pay more to make HKG a stopover, or don’t fly CX if the only flights from India results in a long layover in HKG.
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Old Feb 24, 2018, 11:11 pm
  #172  
 
Join Date: May 2007
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Originally Posted by ShootinPutin11
I want to book flights from Mumbai to EWR with CX, but the layover times in HKG aren't great. I specifically want to fly to EWR to take advantage of the A350 vs. the 777 (flights in J).

Both ex-BOM flights land in HKG by mid morning (7am and 9:20am). However, the EWR flight doesn't leave until 6:20pm. A 9 hour layover is a bit too much time to spend at the airport (even in the lounge) but not enough to be compelling to take the train into the city.

I'd love to spend a night in HKG but can't figure out how given the 24h stopover limit.

Does anyone have advice of how to 1) shorten the stopover or 2) increase the stopover without having to book a JFK flight on the 777? On another note, is it even worth the hassle? I've never flown on CX's A350 but I've read they're noticeably more comfortable than the 777-300ER.
With 9 or 11 hours, you have more than enough time to take the train into the city, spend 4-6 hours wandering about, and still have ample lounge time when you return to the airport. If that still doesn't sound compelling to you, I'd aim to take the ex-BOM flight arriving at 7am and connect to CX830 to JFK at around 9:30am. While the 359 J product is superior to the 77W, I don't find the quality gap large enough to warrant a 9-hour layover spent at the airport. Others may disagree, however.
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Old Feb 25, 2018, 12:51 am
  #173  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
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Posts: 933
Originally Posted by seawolf
I don’t think anybody here can give you any advice on how to get CX to change their schedule to accommodate your desire to fly the A350 vs 77W. Your options are to take the layover, fly the 77W, pay more to make HKG a stopover, or don’t fly CX if the only flights from India results in a long layover in HKG.
You can do better than that.
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Old Feb 25, 2018, 12:52 am
  #174  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: So Cal
Posts: 933
Originally Posted by dkc192
With 9 or 11 hours, you have more than enough time to take the train into the city, spend 4-6 hours wandering about, and still have ample lounge time when you return to the airport. If that still doesn't sound compelling to you, I'd aim to take the ex-BOM flight arriving at 7am and connect to CX830 to JFK at around 9:30am. While the 359 J product is superior to the 77W, I don't find the quality gap large enough to warrant a 9-hour layover spent at the airport. Others may disagree, however.
Well thought out answer. Thank you
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Old Feb 25, 2018, 10:31 pm
  #175  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 114
The wiki mentions a post by Driving Rain where every Sunday at 1030pm EST Cathay will release more availability for flights within the next 2 weeks. Is that still accurate?
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Old Feb 26, 2018, 11:51 am
  #176  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 300
Originally Posted by rp88
The wiki mentions a post by Driving Rain where every Sunday at 1030pm EST Cathay will release more availability for flights within the next 2 weeks. Is that still accurate?
Well, judging by my experience searching last week, yesterday morning, and last night after 10:30pm EST, I saw absolutely no material difference in award availability for close-in dates. I also have not seen a single business class award seat available over a range of dates in the next couple weeks from US-HKG. Has CX gone quiet with the award space all of a sudden?
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Old Feb 26, 2018, 1:58 pm
  #177  
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Originally Posted by dublin487
Well, judging by my experience searching last week, yesterday morning, and last night after 10:30pm EST, I saw absolutely no material difference in award availability for close-in dates. I also have not seen a single business class award seat available over a range of dates in the next couple weeks from US-HKG. Has CX gone quiet with the award space all of a sudden?
Yes. unfortunately.

Have been watching the HKG-US flights and finally gave up on a possible itinerary that would be EU-HKG-US. Even the very reliable JFK and LAX are very sportty. Now we are coming home from EU instead.
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Old Feb 26, 2018, 7:46 pm
  #178  
 
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Originally Posted by rp88
The wiki mentions a post by Driving Rain where every Sunday at 1030pm EST Cathay will release more availability for flights within the next 2 weeks. Is that still accurate?
Just in the last 24 hours I received a lovely thank you note PM from a FT member who, after spending quite a lot of time previously, got his F seat just as the 1030 Sunday window opened-- so it appears that the tip is still valid to a certain extent.
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Old Feb 26, 2018, 7:54 pm
  #179  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Originally Posted by Happy
Yes. unfortunately.

Have been watching the HKG-US flights and finally gave up on a possible itinerary that would be EU-HKG-US. Even the very reliable JFK and LAX are very sportty. Now we are coming home from EU instead.
Hoping that this is related to CNY, which technically runs through 3/2, if I am not mistaken. I myself am waiting for 2 J/F seats to open up in mid-March to HKG (I have one F BOS-HKG booked a couple of days ago, but not on ideal date).
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Old Feb 27, 2018, 1:56 am
  #180  
 
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Originally Posted by dublin487
Well, judging by my experience searching last week, yesterday morning, and last night after 10:30pm EST, I saw absolutely no material difference in award availability for close-in dates. I also have not seen a single business class award seat available over a range of dates in the next couple weeks from US-HKG. Has CX gone quiet with the award space all of a sudden?
It's not just the US-HKG, it's their short haul Asia routes as well. I'd take just about anything from HKG-DAD-HKT-REP, etc. and nothing for the next week or two, not even one seat. The US routes are pretty revenue full at the moment with this week showing many J0, 1, 2 but these Asia routes are all 9s and still nothing. Crappy timing for me on this drought.
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