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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 Jan 28, 2019, 10:15 am
  #841  
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Originally Posted by chitink
Does CX open up coach seats close in also?
It seems far better chances to get F or J on last minute release than Y - probably there are hardly full fare Y being sold, most who fly Y would try to buy their tickets far in advance on various sales and excursion fares, leaving very few unsold seats which CX do have for "just in case" scenario. While those who buy J or F tend to do so much closer to departure as needs arise.
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Old Jan 28, 2019, 10:24 am
  #842  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Originally Posted by warrendawg
Tried booking JFK-ICN F or J for 12/21 later this year. The agent said there's no availability, when does CX release award space?
CX releases some award space 355 days in advance, when it cannot be booked with AAdvantage miles. By the time AAdvantage bookings open up at the 330-day mark, those awards have been booked by others, especially during the Christmas holidays. Any awards that persist at 330 days are snapped up within hours by AA members. You checked when even the 330-day mark had passed some days ago, so there was never much hope.

There are two additional problems. CX used to reliably release space at the 355-day mark, but these days it doesn't do so every day, only some days. Further, if you have a connection (in this case you are going to ICN) CX might release space for one flight but not the other.

PS It makes no sense to call AA to check space. Check for award availability on BA's or QF's web pages, then call to book.
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Old Jan 28, 2019, 10:47 am
  #843  
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Originally Posted by warrendawg
Tried booking JFK-ICN F or J for 12/21 later this year. The agent said there's no availability, when does CX release award space?
And in addition to the above, I assume you realize JFK-HKG-ICN on CX will require 2 awards (and tons more miles than JFK-TYO-SEL on JL).
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Old Jan 28, 2019, 11:08 am
  #844  
 
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In my experience for upcoming June/July bookings, there were no available CX J award seats to or from HKG via EWR or JFK 330 days out--I had to book BOS-HKG and HKG-ORD.
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Old Jan 31, 2019, 8:46 am
  #845  
 
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It's been a few years since I attempted to book a premium cabin award between the US and HKG and it's crazy how much harder it is this time around! I'm not even at 330 days and all the seats I want are already GONE (I assume booked by Asia Mile members who have earlier access), but I tried all the US entry points and its looking quite sparse. For anyone that traveled around the Christmas/New Year holidays this past year, was it hard getting close-in tickets if I booked less ideal dates and then attempt to change them within 2 weeks of departure?
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Old Jan 31, 2019, 9:29 am
  #846  
 
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Originally Posted by AtomicLush
It's been a few years since I attempted to book a premium cabin award between the US and HKG and it's crazy how much harder it is this time around! I'm not even at 330 days and all the seats I want are already GONE (I assume booked by Asia Mile members who have earlier access), but I tried all the US entry points and its looking quite sparse. For anyone that traveled around the Christmas/New Year holidays this past year, was it hard getting close-in tickets if I booked less ideal dates and then attempt to change them within 2 weeks of departure?
Not much has changed in the last few years with CX award availability. It comes and goes. Sometimes it's wide open, sometimes spotty, sometimes not existent. For example, after the Vietnam fare while people were concerned that there wouldn't be any award availability, there were still plenty award seats available in July in F and in J between HKG and JFK, but not much/any in December.
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Old Jan 31, 2019, 10:04 am
  #847  
 
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Wow, biz award availability returning from Asia to the US in late Dec 2019 or early 2020 was awful this round. I had other currency to use where I could have booked further out than w AA when CX first relases these seats and there was little in the way of multiple J award seats on any of the routes. Ive given up on that for our return and will likely buy one way discounted Biz on AA instead. That said, there is really good availability throughout other parts of 2019, i had no problem getting multiple J awards on CX out of YVR and even SEA in May and again in Nov.
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Old Jan 31, 2019, 1:50 pm
  #848  
 
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@greendx ugh. I forgot about the Vietnam fare and that CX had open availability during the holidays at that time (since CX releases inventory at 360 days, not 330 days on AA). Should have bought those suckers when I had the chance!
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Old Feb 4, 2019, 5:37 pm
  #849  
 
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Any tips looking for 2 Business class DPS-USA in May or June and can find nothing! I would prefer NYC. Are CX business class awards now non-existant?
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Old Feb 4, 2019, 6:37 pm
  #850  
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Originally Posted by ASUDan130
Any tips looking for 2 Business class DPS-USA in May or June and can find nothing! I would prefer NYC. Are CX business class awards now non-existant?
You're looking in peak season at 4-5 months out which is a complete dead zone for award space on a number of carriers, CX included. Generally speaking, with CX longhaul space you need to be looking either way out 10-11 months in advance, or close in within about 2 weeks of the flight. Not likely to find a lot of space outside of those windows.
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Old Feb 4, 2019, 6:42 pm
  #851  
 
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In addition, HKG-DPS and DPS-HKG are particularly difficult segments to snag. They often become available only after all TPAC seats have disappeared. Worth broadening your horizons to include SIN and CGK which have more flights and more availability and are a short--and cheap--hop to DPS.
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Old Feb 5, 2019, 12:04 am
  #852  
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CX availability seen on both BA and QF but not AA

I read the wiki section and learned it may happen, but I am still very amazed and curious how this is the case...

I made an award reservation from MUC all the way to TPE (MUC-DOH-SIN-HKG-TPE) on J.
For my SIN-HKG-TPE legs, I am trying to change flights so as to maximize my stay in both SG and HK.

Fist funny thing is when I searched SIN-HKG on both ba/qantas.com, no CX direct flights showed up.
But when I checked the same departure date but now SIN-HKG-TPE/NRT/ICN or PVG, there are some other CX SIN-HKG flights came up on both system (results on ba.com and qantas.com look very consistent)
This is the first weird thing that befound me. How come a SIN-HKG search shows nothing but SIN-HKG-third cities show availabilities.

Second thing is when I found those flights on ba.com and qantas.com, and called AAdvantage, for at least 5x during the past week, they kept saying no seats available. I asked segment by segment (i.e. SIN-HKG first, then HKG-TPE, sometimes I gave specific flight number), but they all said nothing is not available throughout the date I asked (when ba.com and qantas.com specifically showed at least 2 other flights are still free with J award seats).

Now I am really confused that is it just that AA doesn't get some CX seats BA/QF gets? Or are there other tricks?
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Old Feb 5, 2019, 3:30 am
  #853  
 
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Originally Posted by tya
Second thing is when I found those flights on ba.com and qantas.com, and called AAdvantage, for at least 5x during the past week, they kept saying no seats available. I asked segment by segment (i.e. SIN-HKG first, then HKG-TPE, sometimes I gave specific flight number), but they all said nothing is not available throughout the date I asked (when ba.com and qantas.com specifically showed at least 2 other flights are still free with J award seats).
Have you tried asking for SIN-TPE?
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Old Feb 5, 2019, 9:57 am
  #854  
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Originally Posted by louie-m
Have you tried asking for SIN-TPE?
I confess I havent. So it actually linked to my first question.

when I searched for availabilties on BA and QF (and they showed same options). No CX SIN-HKG, plenty (I think almost available on all flights) CX HKG-TPE, and a selected few combo SIN-TPE via HKG, with short layover.

I didnt ask AA for the SIN-TPE combo I saw because the layover in HKG would be short, but I gave the flight number for the HKG-TPE flight which is also available with the SIN-TPE option on BA and QF, AA agent told me nothing is available throughout the day, so I am confused. Also tried HUCA multiple times and used both English and Chinese numbers but no luck so far.
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Old Feb 5, 2019, 2:45 pm
  #855  
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I noticed inconsistencies between AA//QF/BA last two weeks as well. BA reporting JAL F/J available for two connecting segments, QF and AA reported not available. QF reported CX J availble but BA/AA reported not available.
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