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AA Award: Cathay Pacific / CX availability, etc. (2018-2022 archive)

Old Nov 19, 2014, 10:27 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 23, 2018, 3:02 pm
  #76  
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Originally Posted by frugaltraveller
That's what I thought. But this is what is on AA website now:"Changes to the origin or destination or airline

  • For MileSAAver awards, origin or destination changes to the itinerary will incur a change fee of $150, even when retaining the same award type
  • For awards involving travel on other airlines, origin or destination changes or changes to the airline(s) in the itinerary will incur a change fee of $150, even when retaining the same award type"
I have not read about the carriers change among OW members costs a fee. May be I missed it being reported by FT. I would not put a lot of weight on AA website languages which often are vague and not always accurate.

Changing Origin or Destination ALWAYS is chargeable and is NOT a new rule. Although in some specific situations one can do "drop a segment" to change the origin or destination but that requires the Agent Know How. There are more explanation on that in the AA award rules Wiki, hopefully. Airline changes are chargeable only on all AA to OneWorld members, or AA and partner then change to AA and Oneworld member. The simplest example is, if you have AS in your award then any change of airline would cost you $150 due to AS is not OW member. Ditto for an award involves EY. And vise versa.

What you want to change is neither Origin nor destination, but the routing - instead of flying LAX-HKG-SIN, he would ticket to fly LAX-HKG-KUL-SIN. But if CX eventually opens up the seats on the date he wants, he can change it to LAX-HKG-SIN - both the Origin AND the Destination remain the same as LAX and SIN.

One more option should you could not get the date at the end, he could opt to throw away the KUL-SIN, enjoy KUL for a day or 2, then either take the train or the bus to SIN. Doable, but may not be welcome to you. lol.

Last edited by Happy; Jan 23, 2018 at 3:07 pm
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Old Jan 23, 2018, 3:41 pm
  #77  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 60
Originally Posted by Happy
I have not read about the carriers change among OW members costs a fee. May be I missed it being reported by FT. I would not put a lot of weight on AA website languages which often are vague and not always accurate.

Changing Origin or Destination ALWAYS is chargeable and is NOT a new rule. Although in some specific situations one can do "drop a segment" to change the origin or destination but that requires the Agent Know How. There are more explanation on that in the AA award rules Wiki, hopefully. Airline changes are chargeable only on all AA to OneWorld members, or AA and partner then change to AA and Oneworld member. The simplest example is, if you have AS in your award then any change of airline would cost you $150 due to AS is not OW member. Ditto for an award involves EY. And vise versa.

What you want to change is neither Origin nor destination, but the routing - instead of flying LAX-HKG-SIN, he would ticket to fly LAX-HKG-KUL-SIN. But if CX eventually opens up the seats on the date he wants, he can change it to LAX-HKG-SIN - both the Origin AND the Destination remain the same as LAX and SIN.

One more option should you could not get the date at the end, he could opt to throw away the KUL-SIN, enjoy KUL for a day or 2, then either take the train or the bus to SIN. Doable, but may not be welcome to you. lol.
Thanks so much for pointing this out. I just booked the HKG-KUL, waiting for the KUL-SIN to open up tomorrow. If nothing opens up on CX for HKG-SIN, I will take the HKG-KUL-SIN as booked. If I do that and decide to ditch the KUL-SIN segment, can I just check my luggage to KUL even though there is a connection flight on record?
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Old Jan 23, 2018, 5:08 pm
  #78  
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Originally Posted by frugaltraveller
Thanks so much for pointing this out. I just booked the HKG-KUL, waiting for the KUL-SIN to open up tomorrow. If nothing opens up on CX for HKG-SIN, I will take the HKG-KUL-SIN as booked. If I do that and decide to ditch the KUL-SIN segment, can I just check my luggage to KUL even though there is a connection flight on record?
Ah that I dont think so. You would need to ask this question in both CX and MH forum.
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Old Jan 23, 2018, 5:10 pm
  #79  
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Originally Posted by frugaltraveller
Thanks so much for pointing this out. I just booked the HKG-KUL, waiting for the KUL-SIN to open up tomorrow. If nothing opens up on CX for HKG-SIN, I will take the HKG-KUL-SIN as booked. If I do that and decide to ditch the KUL-SIN segment, can I just check my luggage to KUL even though there is a connection flight on record?
Just call AA to drop KUL-SIN. No change fee.
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Old Jan 23, 2018, 11:37 pm
  #80  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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SFO > HKG > DEL on 12/18/18

Im trying to book 2 J seats on Cathay from SFO > DEL, and seeing 4 award seats available on BA. The agent is only seeing 1 J ticket available, which I put on hold, but would really like to book 2 together. Will the other 3 J tickets ever become available to AA, or should I cut my losses and move on? Have never had trouble booking flights *this* far out with plenty of availability on BA before ...
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Old Jan 24, 2018, 8:53 am
  #81  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 736
Originally Posted by June1234
Im trying to book 2 J seats on Cathay from SFO > DEL, and seeing 4 award seats available on BA. The agent is only seeing 1 J ticket available, which I put on hold, but would really like to book 2 together. Will the other 3 J tickets ever become available to AA, or should I cut my losses and move on? Have never had trouble booking flights *this* far out with plenty of availability on BA before ...
Does the availability show on BA when you search segment by segment? When looking recently I noticed that BA was bumping up quantity available when searching for the entire journey with a connection than it was with segment by segment. For example, might show 1 J seat SFO > HKG and 4 J seat HKG > DEL and then when you search SFO > DEL shows 4 seats in J available.
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Old Jan 24, 2018, 3:57 pm
  #82  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by seawolf

Just call AA to drop KUL-SIN. No change fee.
Wouldn't that be a change in Destination that would cost $150 per passenger?
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Old Jan 24, 2018, 4:11 pm
  #83  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Originally Posted by Willbur
Does the availability show on BA when you search segment by segment? When looking recently I noticed that BA was bumping up quantity available when searching for the entire journey with a connection than it was with segment by segment. For example, might show 1 J seat SFO > HKG and 4 J seat HKG > DEL and then when you search SFO > DEL shows 4 seats in J available.
Good idea - looks like Cathay is only releasing 1 J award per day on the SFO > HKG flight, as you mentioned. What a bummer.

Back to the drawing board, I guess!
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Old Jan 24, 2018, 4:46 pm
  #84  
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Originally Posted by frugaltraveller
Wouldn't that be a change in Destination that would cost $150 per passenger?
Dropping last or first leg of an award ticket - any repercussions? (merged threads)
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Old Jan 24, 2018, 4:47 pm
  #85  
 
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Originally Posted by Happy
Keep calling until someone is willing to go thru the Liason desk to talk to CX. So it is the flight itself being canceled, not your award seat being canceled, right? usually CX would rebook you if it is flight canceled. Surprised this did not happen.

Try other gateways for availability. Both LAX and JFK are good bets due to more daily flights than any other gateways.
Yeah, they cancelled the HKG-ORD flight entirely on the day I was supposed to fly. They rebooked me on the same flight the next day, but the connecting AA segment remained on the original date. I don't know what would have happened if I didn't notice the problem myself.

Anyway, I ended up finding a single F seat on JL through NRT and I was able to grab it. Figured I'd try a new airline, even if it adds a connection. Hopefully a happy ending!
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Old Jan 24, 2018, 8:15 pm
  #86  
 
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Thanks so much! Enlightening!!
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Old Jan 25, 2018, 6:24 pm
  #87  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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I'm looking at booking IAD-HKG-BKK in J with AA miles for late Dec. I'm using ba.com to search for availability. My understanding is that if I don't see availability on ba.com for a date between 332 and 355 days out that means the award spots were already taken by someone with BA or CX miles and calling AA 331 days out will be fruitless. Is that correct, or could AA agents possible see availability that is not on ba.com?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 25, 2018, 7:18 pm
  #88  
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Originally Posted by keith2
I'm looking at booking IAD-HKG-BKK in J with AA miles for late Dec. I'm using ba.com to search for availability. My understanding is that if I don't see availability on ba.com for a date between 332 and 355 days out that means the award spots were already taken by someone with BA or CX miles and calling AA 331 days out will be fruitless. Is that correct, or could AA agents possible see availability that is not on ba.com?
Generally speaking, if you don't see availability on BA.com, then AA won't be able to see it as well. You can always check the QF site as well to make sure everything matches up.
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Old Jan 26, 2018, 7:22 am
  #89  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Originally Posted by JJeffrey
Generally speaking, if you don't see availability on BA.com, then AA won't be able to see it as well. You can always check the QF site as well to make sure everything matches up.
Thanks, you have saved me a lot of time calling AA every day. Unfortunately it doesn't look like there's much coming through to 331 days over the holidays. Maybe I'll have better luck in Jan/Feb.
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Old Jan 29, 2018, 6:02 am
  #90  
 
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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?
Just as a footnote to this - I tried to book this flight (still showing as 6 available on BA to me at least) as part of an Avios multi-carrier award today. BA agent couldn't see it.
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