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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 27, 2018, 6:38 am
  #181  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 300
Originally Posted by jmail1
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.
Good point, that's been killing me too. I've resigned myself to flying in Y US-HKG, and availability is decent, but can't find HKG-DPS (or vice versa) for the life of me

Last edited by dublin487; Feb 27, 2018 at 6:54 am
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Old Feb 27, 2018, 3:35 pm
  #182  
was ShootinPutin11
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: San Francisco, CA
Programs: AA-Plat, Hyatt-Globalist, Hilton-Diamond, Marriott-Titanium, UA-Silver, DL-Silver
Posts: 129
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.
Thanks for the very helpful response! I'll keep an eye on CX830 and think through if I'd want to do the 4-6 hour city visit.
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Old Feb 27, 2018, 4:30 pm
  #183  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Programs: Free agent
Posts: 1,296
Originally Posted by dublin487
Good point, that's been killing me too. I've resigned myself to flying in Y US-HKG, and availability is decent, but can't find HKG-DPS (or vice versa) for the life of me
What is particularly frustrating about DPS is that I searched awards a few days ago for travel tomorrow and it was WIDE open for awards in Y and J, showing 4+ on each. Woke up the next morning and no more DPS on any day. Something systematic is happening here.
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Old Feb 27, 2018, 5:40 pm
  #184  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: BOS
Programs: AA EXP, DL PM, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 2,028
Originally Posted by jmail1
What is particularly frustrating about DPS is that I searched awards a few days ago for travel tomorrow and it was WIDE open for awards in Y and J, showing 4+ on each. Woke up the next morning and no more DPS on any day. Something systematic is happening here.
I very much agree that award space across the board is lower than it usually is, but DPS is a route that in personal experience I have found goes from wide open to zero relatively frequently. It's happened the last two times I booked DPS flights over the past few years. Eventually it re-opens up and things go back to normal until the next swing. Perhaps others can confirm.
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Old Mar 1, 2018, 11:10 am
  #185  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 300
By the way, am I missing something, or is the only CX flight from DPS to HKG at a time that arrives around midnight? In other words, is a late night overnight layover at HKG mandatory if trying to fly DPS-US using AA miles?
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Old Mar 1, 2018, 11:16 am
  #186  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Programs: UA 1K, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 5,447
Originally Posted by dublin487
By the way, am I missing something, or is the only CX flight from DPS to HKG at a time that arrives around midnight? In other words, is a late night overnight layover at HKG mandatory if trying to fly DPS-US using AA miles?
The CX DPS-HKG flight arrives in HKG around 9-10pm, leaving sufficient time to connect with the midnight departures to LAX, SFO, and YVR/JFK. There is a later KA flight that arrives around midnight (not sure if this flight runs daily), which might still be in time for those TPAC flights depending on the season (the SFO flight, for example, usually leaves at 1am in the winter and 12:30am in the summer).
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Old Mar 1, 2018, 11:21 am
  #187  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 300
Originally Posted by dkc192
The CX DPS-HKG flight arrives in HKG around 9-10pm, leaving sufficient time to connect with the midnight departures to LAX, SFO, and YVR/JFK. There is a later KA flight that arrives around midnight (not sure if this flight runs daily), which might still be in time for those TPAC flights depending on the season (the SFO flight, for example, usually leaves at 1am in the winter and 12:30am in the summer).
Ah ok, thanks for the reply - I think I was, indeed looking at the KA flight that arrives later. However, I'm also looking for the CX nonstops to NYC, or possibly BOS/ORD, which I believe leave too early in the day to make a connection even at 9 or 10pm. Good to know that those later options exist as a fallback though.

I also had the thought of routing through KUL potentially if those flight times can get me to HKG earlier in the day
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Old Mar 1, 2018, 12:56 pm
  #188  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Programs: UA 1K, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 5,447
Originally Posted by dublin487
Ah ok, thanks for the reply - I think I was, indeed looking at the KA flight that arrives later. However, I'm also looking for the CX nonstops to NYC, or possibly BOS/ORD, which I believe leave too early in the day to make a connection even at 9 or 10pm. Good to know that those later options exist as a fallback though.

I also had the thought of routing through KUL potentially if those flight times can get me to HKG earlier in the day
When are you looking to travel? Based on this week's winter flight schedules, KA361 to CX888 is a 1:25 connection, which is plenty for HKG.

Also based on this week's schedules, the first DPS-KUL flight departs around midday, which, factoring in the flight to HKG, would not get you to HKG in time for the early evening flights to JFK and BOS.
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Old Mar 1, 2018, 7:21 pm
  #189  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 300
Thanks; you know, I hadn't really considered the YVR stopover flight, especially traveling with kids, but I guess that's not too bad of an option (if I can grab it) compared to an overnight layover, or hopping around between DPS/KUL/HKG/possiblyNRT
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Old Mar 1, 2018, 7:42 pm
  #190  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: New York
Programs: AA, CX, Hyatt, Marriott
Posts: 1,484
Originally Posted by dublin487
Thanks; you know, I hadn't really considered the YVR stopover flight, especially traveling with kids, but I guess that's not too bad of an option (if I can grab it) compared to an overnight layover, or hopping around between DPS/KUL/HKG/possiblyNRT
I strongly recommend you reconsidering the YVR option when travelling with kids. I've done this trip couple times and the extended trip exhausted me. The trip will be extended by ~30%, security checks and going back and forth. Again, CX availability is usually good approaching departure. Last time I called AA EXP, I did not even bother to check BA and was able to get a seat in mini cabin. (55 hours before departure)
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Old Mar 1, 2018, 10:16 pm
  #191  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northeast USA
Posts: 300
Originally Posted by andersonCooper
I strongly recommend you reconsidering the YVR option when travelling with kids. I've done this trip couple times and the extended trip exhausted me. The trip will be extended by ~30%, security checks and going back and forth. Again, CX availability is usually good approaching departure. Last time I called AA EXP, I did not even bother to check BA and was able to get a seat in mini cabin. (55 hours before departure)
Yes, certainly not ideal, but it seems like it's the only flight to ORD/BOS/NYC that wouldn't require an overnight stay in Hong Kong, coming from DPS
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Old Mar 5, 2018, 11:46 am
  #192  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 17
Does Expertflyer work well for JAL and Cathay award availability our for JFK? Worth getting for an upcoming flight in June? Im think just to buy the month of.
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Old Mar 5, 2018, 12:15 pm
  #193  
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Originally Posted by dave.brown
Does Expertflyer work well for JAL and Cathay award availability our for JFK? Worth getting for an upcoming flight in June? Im think just to buy the month of.
For award searches, EF doesn't show CX or JL, as far as I know.
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Old Mar 6, 2018, 4:38 am
  #194  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: London
Programs: AA EXP 2 MM
Posts: 2,823
Originally Posted by TabTraveller
I very frequently come across this with AA and it's deeply frustrating.

Checking on BA.com there is often 100% a seat available on CX in F from HKG-LHR. Despite repeated calls, all AA agents say they can't see it. They all feed me the line about different oneworld partners having different allocations of seats, which is a load of horse manure. If it is Z2 then it is Z2, not Z2 for BA and Z0 for AA. Oddly AA never had award seats available when BA doesn't. Strange that.
Same experience at the moment: I have a seat in business HKG-LHR, and now ba.com is showing two(!) flights with a seat in F (on 6 Oct), but AAgents can't see the F space. Does AA get any F availability on CX?
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Old Mar 6, 2018, 6:13 am
  #195  
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Originally Posted by nbevan
Same experience at the moment: I have a seat in business HKG-LHR, and now ba.com is showing two(!) flights with a seat in F (on 6 Oct), but AAgents can't see the F space. Does AA get any F availability on CX?
Which country are you logging in from? It’s been reported BA reports more availability than AA can see depending on point of sale.
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