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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 oneworldŽ 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 Jan 17, 2018, 3:37 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,057
Originally Posted by callmedtop
Yes, 100%. This has definitely happened on numerous occasions and if the flight is F6 you should without a doubt check daily or set an alert via AwardNexus or similar.
I just want to echo what is being recommended here with personal experience. I have had F1 J3 awards booked at the 330 days and I have set an awardnexus to monitor for more F. And a 2nd F did open up at way more than T-14 days (was something like 6 months if I remember right) such that I was able to get F2 J2. This was a couple years ago now on HKG-JFK in July. Then nothing until T-1 days when I got the other two moved into F. For a honeymoon I would definitely buy the awardnexus "trip pass" and let it monitor. It is a small price to pay for the peace of mind.

DAK
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dkerr is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2018, 4:14 pm
  #32  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: DEN
Programs: DL PM, Hyatt Explorist, Hilton Gold
Posts: 401
Thanks everyone. This awardnexus is new to me. Can someone point me to where I can learn more and possibly sign up?
Youngtraveldude is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2018, 4:18 pm
  #33  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Programs: UA 1K, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 5,639
I've definitely seen CX open up awards down to F3 1-2 months before departure (i.e. inventory was F5 and they made 2 F awards available). This was for HKG-ORD and HKG-BOS midweek, FWIW.
dkc192 is offline  
Old Jan 17, 2018, 4:58 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,057
Originally Posted by Youngtraveldude
Thanks everyone. This awardnexus is new to me. Can someone point me to where I can learn more and possibly sign up?
Google it. When considering purchase be sure to search for the "trip pass" as it is probably the best value for you, its a little hidden as it is the cheapest option but search will find it for you. Before you purchase you can get a certain number of free searches with a "free community membership" and practice, but you cannot automate a daily search for free. You are going to want to set up a search across a couple of sources (like QF and CX(JL)... you'll understand what I mean when you start to play with it). I also recommend only searching for one seat even if ultimately you want two as airlines can release one-at-a-time.

Good luck,
DAK
dkerr is offline  
Old Jan 19, 2018, 4:35 am
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Here today, gone tomorrow
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Posts: 2,493
I'm having difficulty with a Cathay flight in December (CX253 HKG - LHR on 15/12 in business). Both BA and Qantas show 6 seats available but two agents I've tried cannot see any availability. The first one could see availability in economy and premium economy (I didn't ask the second) whilst the second couldn't see availability the previous day, when again BA shows availability, but could see the day prior to that. Any tips other than HUACA or is it really correct that these flights may be available to BA and Qantas but not AA - or I guess that the BA/Qantas websites are wrong?
louie-m is offline  
Old Jan 19, 2018, 6:17 am
  #36  
Original Member
 
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Location: NYC
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Originally Posted by louie-m
I'm having difficulty with a Cathay flight in December (CX253 HKG - LHR on 15/12 in business). Both BA and Qantas show 6 seats available but two agents I've tried cannot see any availability. The first one could see availability in economy and premium economy (I didn't ask the second) whilst the second couldn't see availability the previous day, when again BA shows availability, but could see the day prior to that. Any tips other than HUACA or is it really correct that these flights may be available to BA and Qantas but not AA - or I guess that the BA/Qantas websites are wrong?
Which site are you checking and how are you checking?

I just checked BA.com and it does NOT show any CX flights with J available on 15DEC between HKG and LHR.

BA32 has J
BA28 has J and F
CX253 has PE. No J and no F.

Didn't check economy.
seawolf is offline  
Old Jan 19, 2018, 1:25 pm
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: North Sentinel Island
Programs: UA Gold, BONVOY TIT
Posts: 777
Originally Posted by no1cub17
Alternatively maybe keep in mind that J awards are much more plentiful (in my limited experience) from CGK or SIN. Singapore is a fun place for a day or two if you haven't been.
Seconding this. Jakarta is fun too if you know people. Then just grab a $30 AirAsia flight to Bali.
rdurlabhji is offline  
Old Jan 19, 2018, 4:22 pm
  #38  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Here today, gone tomorrow
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Posts: 2,493
Originally Posted by seawolf
Which site are you checking and how are you checking?

I just checked BA.com and it does NOT show any CX flights with J available on 15DEC between HKG and LHR.

CX253 has PE. No J and no F.
On britishairways.com, logged in. Just checked again and it is still showing 6 seats for me and will let me get as far as the payment page. I'd post a screenshot if I knew how! Also tried to check Qantas but am just getting error messages.

I can see the following availability on BA in business for CX253 on the following dates - 12/12 6, 13/12 0, 14/12 3, 15/12 6, 16/12 0, 17/12 3. What can you see? Do you have any idea why we would see different things?
louie-m is offline  
Old Jan 19, 2018, 4:58 pm
  #39  
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Originally Posted by louie-m
On britishairways.com, logged in. Just checked again and it is still showing 6 seats for me and will let me get as far as the payment page. I'd post a screenshot if I knew how! Also tried to check Qantas but am just getting error messages.

I can see the following availability on BA in business for CX253 on the following dates - 12/12 6, 13/12 0, 14/12 3, 15/12 6, 16/12 0, 17/12 3. What can you see? Do you have any idea why we would see different things?
This is what I see logged into BA redeeming and award. Only 3 flights with awards on 15 DEC between HKG and LHR.
seawolf is offline  
Old Jan 19, 2018, 5:00 pm
  #40  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 736
Originally Posted by louie-m
On britishairways.com, logged in. Just checked again and it is still showing 6 seats for me and will let me get as far as the payment page. I'd post a screenshot if I knew how! Also tried to check Qantas but am just getting error messages.

I can see the following availability on BA in business for CX253 on the following dates - 12/12 6, 13/12 0, 14/12 3, 15/12 6, 16/12 0, 17/12 3. What can you see? Do you have any idea why we would see different things?
No idea what you're seeing, but here's BA:

Willbur is offline  
Old Jan 19, 2018, 6:23 pm
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
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Posts: 2,140
Originally Posted by louie-m
On britishairways.com, logged in. Just checked again and it is still showing 6 seats for me and will let me get as far as the payment page. I'd post a screenshot if I knew how! Also tried to check Qantas but am just getting error messages.

I can see the following availability on BA in business for CX253 on the following dates - 12/12 6, 13/12 0, 14/12 3, 15/12 6, 16/12 0, 17/12 3. What can you see? Do you have any idea why we would see different things?
Are you searching segment by segment or as a connecting itinerary? BA has problems showing connecting itineraries where it shows more availability than there really is.
iadisgreat is offline  
Old Jan 19, 2018, 8:19 pm
  #42  
 
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How do I post a screenshot like those above?
louie-m is offline  
Old Jan 19, 2018, 11:17 pm
  #43  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by louie-m
On britishairways.com, logged in. Just checked again and it is still showing 6 seats for me and will let me get as far as the payment page. I'd post a screenshot if I knew how! Also tried to check Qantas but am just getting error messages.

I can see the following availability on BA in business for CX253 on the following dates - 12/12 6, 13/12 0, 14/12 3, 15/12 6, 16/12 0, 17/12 3. What can you see? Do you have any idea why we would see different things?
I believe AA can only book 331 days in advance. So flights for Dec 15, 2018, are not yet bookable using AA miles.

I also see the same thing as other posters when searching on BA. No business class on CX 253.
flyingeph12 is offline  
Old Jan 19, 2018, 11:37 pm
  #44  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Here today, gone tomorrow
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Posts: 2,493
Originally Posted by flyingeph12
I believe AA can only book 331 days in advance. So flights for Dec 15, 2018, are not yet bookable using AA miles.
Not so. I put on hold yesterday a CX flight TO HKG on 15 Dec and in any case the AAgent told me there was economy and premium economy available on CX253 on 15 Dec.

I also see the same thing as other posters when searching on BA. No business class on CX 253.
Which seems to prove that BA's website is not infallible as is generally thought to be the case on here.

To answer a question above, I was searching point to point. And I'm still seeing 6 business class seats available.
louie-m is offline  
Old Jan 20, 2018, 7:39 am
  #45  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: DTW and ORD
Posts: 667
Booking award travel on CX using AA miles - for Jan 2019

Does anyone have experience trying to book award travel on partner airlines who are making their flights available for sale further out that AA does on their own website?
For example, I am looking to fly on CX in early Jan 2019 and it appears through BA's website that awards are available.

However, AA seems to only be allowing bookings (at least their website) through mid-December 2018.

Do I have to wait until AA's reservation system allows Jan 2019 bookings to try to get a CX award?
DetroitFlyer is offline  

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