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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 Mar 19, 2018, 4:11 pm
  #241  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: BOS/MHT/PVD/BDL
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Posts: 880
Saw F availability on both BA and QF and called to book last evening. CSR couldn't see it. Asked her to check by segment, etc, etc. HUCA. Nada. A bit frustrated, I thought I might just need a drink before HUCA #3 . After enjoying a clear, cold martini, I returned to the phone to call again. And that's when I looked at my notes and realized I'd been requesting the right day...in the wrong month...
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Old Mar 19, 2018, 7:47 pm
  #242  
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Posts: 29,807
Originally Posted by bennyshoe
I'm flying CX JFK-TPE on Sunday. When I check in at JFK will the agent ask to see my return ticket back to the USA or just ask the date of when I'll be returning to the USA (I'm a US Citizen). As of now I haven't booked one.
Originally Posted by seawolf
Most likely neither.
I am not too sure about this.

We once flew HKG-TPE one way ticket At HKG several of passengers, including us, were pulled aside when we went thru the scanner - the BPs beeped. It turned out 5 of us were traveling on one-way tickets and we were all asked to produce the return tickets before we were let thru. One passenger had a long term work permit or something like that. He was engaging a talk with the personnel when the rest of us were finally allowed thru after producing the return tickets.

I wish the poster would be able to board without a return ticket. While US citizens do not need a visa to visit TPE, without return proof, it is not technically allowed to board.

Here is another example - this happened at LAX, about 2+ years ago. We were flying F, one-way tickets. I had my HKID and US passport. My husband only had US passport. and the trip's purpose was to check on his HKID status. Just 2 days prior the departure, we got the pdf file of the interview appointment letter from HK Immigration dept, which we had it sent to our local friend's address and authorized her to check the content. The CX check in agent at LAX very politely but also very firmly, told my husband he could not board without a return ticket. My husband said he was going to HKG for an immigration interview. The agent asked to see the letter. ONLY after she saw the letter then his BP was issued.

So I would not say the OP would be able to check in without any hiccup. Our experiences have been, CX agents check documents carefully, and make sure you either have the entitlement to enter, or you have an outbound ticket to leave.
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Old Mar 20, 2018, 1:41 am
  #243  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SJC
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Posts: 6,106
Originally Posted by Happy
I wish the poster would be able to board without a return ticket. While US citizens do not need a visa to visit TPE, without return proof, it is not technically allowed to board.
I would say this is variably enforced. Mrs. Majuki and I flew SFO-LAX-HKG-TPE (on AA + CX) back in fall 2014. I had locked in our return back to the US, but we really didn't know how long we'd stay in Taiwan. As it turned out, we shifted our travel dates a few times while we were there, and our return was on three separate award tickets (travel to Taiwan, travel to HK, and travel to the US). Now, Mrs. Majuki has a Taiwanese passport as well, so that may have made a difference. It's been pretty evenly split on wanting to see a return itinerary when going to Taiwan with an outbound on a separate ticket:

Return itinerary requested:
  • Delta PIT-JFK-NRT-TPE (12/2012)
  • China Airlines HNL-TPE (12/2017)
Return itinerary not requested:
  • AA GRR-DFW-NRT-TPE (6/2011)
  • AA/CX SFO-LAX-HKG-TPE (9/2014)
  • Eva Air GUM-TPE (10/2014)
  • JAL NRT-TPE (12/2017)
In fact, on the outbound ticket TPE-NRT, the check-in agents at TPE were more concerned about my lack of a Taiwan entry stamp in my passport and kept asking for my ARC. (I had enrolled in e-Gate for Global Entry, so I don't get entry stamps.)

Last edited by Majuki; Mar 20, 2018 at 1:56 am
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Old Mar 20, 2018, 1:17 pm
  #244  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 9
Originally Posted by Majuki
I would say this is variably enforced. Mrs. Majuki and I flew SFO-LAX-HKG-TPE (on AA + CX) back in fall 2014. I had locked in our return back to the US, but we really didn't know how long we'd stay in Taiwan. As it turned out, we shifted our travel dates a few times while we were there, and our return was on three separate award tickets (travel to Taiwan, travel to HK, and travel to the US). Now, Mrs. Majuki has a Taiwanese passport as well, so that may have made a difference. It's been pretty evenly split on wanting to see a return itinerary when going to Taiwan with an outbound on a separate ticket:

Return itinerary requested:
  • Delta PIT-JFK-NRT-TPE (12/2012)
  • China Airlines HNL-TPE (12/2017)
Return itinerary not requested:
  • AA GRR-DFW-NRT-TPE (6/2011)
  • AA/CX SFO-LAX-HKG-TPE (9/2014)
  • Eva Air GUM-TPE (10/2014)
  • JAL NRT-TPE (12/2017)
In fact, on the outbound ticket TPE-NRT, the check-in agents at TPE were more concerned about my lack of a Taiwan entry stamp in my passport and kept asking for my ARC. (I had enrolled in e-Gate for Global Entry, so I don't get entry stamps.)
Thank you. Yes last month when I flew to JAX-JFK-TPE, when I checked in Delta in JAX, she asked what day i was leaving TPE. I just told her the date. She didn't ask to see a print out.

Interesting that those other airlines didn't ask for a return itinerary including AA/CX.
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Old Mar 20, 2018, 1:19 pm
  #245  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 9
Originally Posted by Happy

So I would not say the OP would be able to check in without any hiccup. Our experiences have been, CX agents check documents carefully, and make sure you either have the entitlement to enter, or you have an outbound ticket to leave.
Thank you for your reply. I'll have to book a ticket and print out the itinerary just to be safe and cancel before 24 hours.
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Old Mar 20, 2018, 9:31 pm
  #246  
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Originally Posted by Happy
I am not too sure about this.
Flew JFK-YVR, JFK-HKG, HKG-FRA, HKG-BKK multiple times as one-ways with US passport (all in all, about 12 one way itineraries). Was never asked even once about return or duration of stay.

Originally Posted by bennyshoe
Thank you. Yes last month when I flew to JAX-JFK-TPE, when I checked in Delta in JAX, she asked what day i was leaving TPE. I just told her the date. She didn't ask to see a print out.

Interesting that those other airlines didn't ask for a return itinerary including AA/CX.
DL will ask about OW in general. It's built into their online check-in process prompting return date if it is a OW. DL agent will also ask for duration of stay.
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Old Mar 21, 2018, 11:06 am
  #247  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Programs: AA Exec Plt, SPG Platinum
Posts: 355
Just snagged a CX F award seat in July. Had a CX J seat with a more complicated routing. The QF and BA sites showed one CX F seat available....the Exec Plt agent had no problem seeing it. Changed around the ticket and it's in the reticketing queue. So in this instance, the BA and QF sites were dead on.
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Old Mar 21, 2018, 1:47 pm
  #248  
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Originally Posted by seawolf
Flew JFK-YVR, JFK-HKG, HKG-FRA, HKG-BKK multiple times as one-ways with US passport (all in all, about 12 one way itineraries). Was never asked even once about return or duration of stay.
You should NOT be asked for return proof on JFK-YVR, HKG-FRA, HKG-BKK, not sure about JFK-HKG as we were asked at LAX if you read the details of my post. Let me repeat - BP would not be issued until my husband showed the agent the letter from HK Immigration to interview for the HKID issuance. He only had the US passport at that time. Flying F one way LAX-HKG.
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Old Mar 22, 2018, 9:18 am
  #249  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Rotterdam
Programs: AMEX Platinum, BA Gold, Flying Blue Platinum, Marriott Platinum Elite, Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 1,280
I found CX F availiblity on a flight from LHR to HKG. I found it via ba.com search and then called AA. Now I wanted to switch dates, but it seems that seat that I find now on ba.com are not visable to AA. I tried calling several times. I also did this for the first booking (that I have on hold until saturday), but it seems I'm out of luck now.

Anymore data points to check availibility? I also tried using Alaska Mileage Plan, but it seems they even see less then AA reps.
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Old Mar 22, 2018, 10:54 am
  #250  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Originally Posted by kevinflyaway
I found CX F availiblity on a flight from LHR to HKG. I found it via ba.com search and then called AA. Now I wanted to switch dates, but it seems that seat that I find now on ba.com are not visable to AA. I tried calling several times. I also did this for the first booking (that I have on hold until saturday), but it seems I'm out of luck now.

Anymore data points to check availibility? I also tried using Alaska Mileage Plan, but it seems they even see less then AA reps.
Confirm the availability on other OW partners before wasting your time over phantom space.
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Old Mar 22, 2018, 1:04 pm
  #251  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Posts: 1,280
Originally Posted by TalkingPoint
Confirm the availability on other OW partners before wasting your time over phantom space.
Do you have another source? I only know of ba.com. AA doesn't show availability online, same as Alaska.
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Old Mar 22, 2018, 3:29 pm
  #252  
 
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Originally Posted by kevinflyaway
Do you have another source? I only know of ba.com. AA doesn't show availability online, same as Alaska.
Try QF and JL
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Old Mar 23, 2018, 12:55 pm
  #253  
 
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I am looking to get to mainland China and would like to redeem CX. I'd be going JFK-HKG in F. What cities would have the best chance of having openings on the second segment out of HKG? Ideally I'd like to go CSX (because its closest to my eventual destination) but is there a good chance of that HKG-CSX segment opening up close in? Would I be better off focusing on something like JFK-HKG-PVG to increase my chances?
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Old Mar 24, 2018, 2:54 am
  #254  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Posts: 1,280
Well I booked my original booking on hold, since I couldn't find anymore F available. Funny that I first searched for LHR-HKG-SIN and the taxes were around $200. I then added AMS and taxes lowered to only $90 per ticket. In the end booked AMS-LHR-HKG-SIN for 2 px.
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Old Mar 24, 2018, 9:57 am
  #255  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
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Posts: 2,140
Originally Posted by kevinflyaway
Well I booked my original booking on hold, since I couldn't find anymore F available. Funny that I first searched for LHR-HKG-SIN and the taxes were around $200. I then added AMS and taxes lowered to only $90 per ticket. In the end booked AMS-LHR-HKG-SIN for 2 px.
By connecting at LHR instead of originating there you are exempt from the premium class luxury tax - hence the decrease in taxes.
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