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AA Award: Cathay Pacific / CX, KA availability, etc. (master thd)

AA Award: Cathay Pacific / CX, KA availability, etc. (master thd)

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Old May 30, 19, 8:03 pm   -   Wikipost
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Awards: All Cathay Pacific / CX (Including First and Business Class)
Questions, Availability, Discussion

NOTE: As of 15 Jan 2017, JFK CX flights have relocated to Terminal 8.

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).

NOTE:

1) Only "MileSAAver" awards apply to oneworld and AA partners.
1a) Premium Economy seats are not available with AAdvantage awards, may be soon as AA sells Premium Economy Feb 2017.

2) Awards on Cathay Pacific and subsidiary KA / DragonAir may be booked through AA.

3) aa.com does not reveal CX awards; you must call AA (1-800-882-8880) to book a CX award (though you may find BA, JL or QF websites may reflect CX award availability). As CX/KA awards can not be booked online on aa.com, you must call (no fee).

3a) 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.

3b) 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.

4) 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.

4a) Keep 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.

4b) 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.

5) CX tends to initially release award seats farther out, and then again closer to the day of departure if there is remaining F or J seat inventory available, so keep checking back with AA up to the last practicable minute. AA will ticket partner awards/changes up to 4 hours prior to departure.

5a) So is there a pattern to how many seats CX releases? They seem to consistently release 5 J award seats and 1-2 F award seats on long hauls to/from North America at 355 days out. For intra-Asia flights, they often release just 4 J seats.

5b) 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.

5c) Pattern for release of close-in (within about 14 days of flight) award seats? Driving Rain reports that using BA.com it appeared that on three consecutive Sunday evenings at exactly 1030pm Eastern Daylight Time inventory would open up for "close-in" CX flights (i.e. flights roughly within 14 days of that Sunday) to and from the US. While there were changes here and there periodically during the week, sweeping changes occurred on Sunday nights at 1030. Driving Rain reports that it seems that on Monday mornings in Hong Kong (i.e. 1030pm EDT on Sunday) someone at CX HQ consistently did a run through the inventory and freed it up. No guarantees, but a person looking for close-in flights might want to plan to check with AA shortly after 1030 PM Eastern Time on Sundays to see if anything has become available.

6) AA does not charge "YQ" surcharges [what they sometimes call "fuel surcharge"] on CX/KA 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.

6a) There is a HKIA Security Surcharge of approx $6 USD on any segment departing HKG. The addition of this surcharge will trigger US Arrival (and possibly Departure) Tax ($17.50 USD each) if the award involves a flight arriving/departing into the US. Effective 01MAY2017, Hong Kong Airport Passenger Security Charge is now captured as a tax (I5) instead of surcharge.


6b) 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.

7) Not all CX flights offer First class; CX Business is markedly different on long haul and regionally configured aircraft.

8) 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.

9) In general, rerouting to different flights after you have redeemed an award will not attract a monetary penalty so long as the originating and destination airports are the same (connection airport can differ without triggering change fee) and you are using oneworld carriers. For this reason, be aware of potential alternate routings and check them, too. For example, CX uses LAX, SFO, ORD, JFK, and BOS as ports of entry to the US from HKG (and also YVR and YYZ in Canada), so if you have one F and one J award seat on a non-stop from HKG to ORD, you might check flights from HKG to LAX for available seats in F, and if they are available, reroute from your HKG-ORD to HKG-LAX on CX, then continue LAX-ORD on AA First.

9a) Note the above rule also applies if you change the dates of flight but retain the same originating city and destination city. If you are flexible in your travel dates be sure to periodically check availability on other dates as well.

10) 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.

11) 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).

12) 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.

13) Up-cabin visits (i.e. J pax joining F companion in F cabin) 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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Old May 31, 19, 3:48 am
  #1021  
 
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Originally Posted by Always Flyin View Post
American seems to be doing a pretty good job of alienating me, yet once again.

Called to book a first class partner award on Cathay from LAX to HKG next year. BA shows 5 seats in F available (which I admit sounds suspect).

I call AA because their deficient web site won't allow me to book it on line. Agent tells me there is nothing available in F that day. "It is zeroed out."

I tell her I am looking at 5 seats available on the BA web site. She doesn't see it.

I hang-up and book it on-line with BA. Booking confirmed.

Last year with American. It's one thing after another.
Whenever you see partner award space at BA, but AA cannot book it for whatever the reason, I find that HUCA works 90% of the time. Sometimes you have to HUCA 2 or 3 times, but you will eventually get an agent that can see it. These days, most basic AA phone agents are downright awful at doing anything other than booking a basic domestic paid ticket from A to B. And many can barely do that.
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Old May 31, 19, 3:57 am
  #1022  
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Originally Posted by Always Flyin View Post
American seems to be doing a pretty good job of alienating me, yet once again.

Called to book a first class partner award on Cathay from LAX to HKG next year. BA shows 5 seats in F available (which I admit sounds suspect).

I call AA because their deficient web site won't allow me to book it on line. Agent tells me there is nothing available in F that day. "It is zeroed out."

I tell her I am looking at 5 seats available on the BA web site. She doesn't see it.

I hang-up and book it on-line with BA. Booking confirmed.

Last year with American. It's one thing after another.
Nice. Always assume that any problem is because AA screwed up.

I don't know what your other experience with AA is; and perhaps it is, indeed, one problem after another. But not necessarily in this instance. I gather that you're unaware that sometimes different partners show different award inventory. That's why, for example, when I'm looking for CX award space (which I purchase with AAdvantage miles) using EF, I always look using both the BA and JL methods. The results are quite often different.
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Old May 31, 19, 4:58 am
  #1023  
 
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You had better make sure you actually have a ticket number with BA because 5 seats in F for a flight next year does not sound real. My guess is that the ticket never actually issued and the space never existed in the first place.
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Old May 31, 19, 9:13 am
  #1024  
 
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Originally Posted by callmedtop View Post
You had better make sure you actually have a ticket number with BA because 5 seats in F for a flight next year does not sound real.
maybe the poster meant five seats across all the LAX flights that day
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Old May 31, 19, 9:25 am
  #1025  
 
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<redacted>

Originally Posted by callmedtop View Post
You had better make sure you actually have a ticket number with BA because 5 seats in F for a flight next year does not sound real. My guess is that the ticket never actually issued and the space never existed in the first place.
I have the ticket number. It had a connecting flight onward to SIN. I assume there were five business class seats from HKG to SIN so it just showed "5" for the entire trip on the BA site.

Originally Posted by rufflesinc View Post
maybe the poster meant five seats across all the LAX flights that day
No, it showed 5 seats available in F from LAX/HKG/SIN (C from HKG to SIN).

I was only trying to book one and did.

Last edited by JDiver; Jun 2, 19 at 12:54 pm
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Old May 31, 19, 5:25 pm
  #1026  
 
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Originally Posted by Always Flyin View Post
No, it showed 5 seats available in F from LAX/HKG/SIN (C from HKG to SIN).

I was only trying to book one and did.
Well known bug on BA when searching connections - there was likely 5 seats in J available HKG-SIN which will show the same on the long haul even when there is actually only 1 in F for that flight.
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Old May 31, 19, 5:41 pm
  #1027  
 
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Originally Posted by Always Flyin View Post
American seems to be doing a pretty good job of alienating me, yet once again.

Called to book a first class partner award on Cathay from LAX to HKG next year. BA shows 5 seats in F available (which I admit sounds suspect).

I call AA because their deficient web site won't allow me to book it on line. Agent tells me there is nothing available in F that day. "It is zeroed out."

I tell her I am looking at 5 seats available on the BA web site. She doesn't see it.

I hang-up and book it on-line with BA. Booking confirmed.

Last year with American. It's one thing after another.
Good story.

One time I needed to book a flight on JL via AS miles and AS insisted there was no space while BA was showing availability. Called AA and booked the same flight using AA miles. Another time I was on the phone with AA day of my flight on JL attempting to change from JFK-SFO-NRT to JFK-HKG-NRT (CX F). At the time I didn't realize that this route required 2 awards, neither did the agent. Agent dropped my JL F segment and then tried to book me on CX but came back saying I'd need another 45K miles. Meanwhile my original JL segment that was dropped disappeared from award inventory. After a long call with the agent, her supervisor and them talking to the partner desk trying to get JL to open up F space and failing, they met me half way and charged me 22.5K extra miles instead of 45K and booked me into JFK-HKG-NRT F on CX. I also lost 10K miles that came via a credit card rebate received in the previous year when I booked the original reservation due to ticket being reissued so in total spent an extra 32.5K miles due to AA agent mistake. AA refused to make things right when I contacted them after I returned from my trip.

I was annoyed with AA and with AS at the time but guess what I will continue to burn their miles on premium partner awards as long as I have miles and they continue to let me.
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Old May 31, 19, 5:58 pm
  #1028  
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Originally Posted by Always Flyin View Post
<redacted >



I have the ticket number. It had a connecting flight onward to SIN. I assume there were five business class seats from HKG to SIN so it just showed "5" for the entire trip on the BA site.

No, it showed 5 seats available in F from LAX/HKG/SIN (C from HKG to SIN).

I was only trying to book one and did.
CX F cabin has only 6 seats and you think it would make 5 avaible for award booking, to the partner even? <redacted>

This is well-known BA bug in its display - showing the availability of J on the connection flight while the TPAC has only 1F and has been like this for the past 24 or more months that CX only release 1F on any flight that has F.

You are seeing 5 because BA displays the 5 HKG-SIN in J but in reality, NO WAY there would be 5 F LAX-HKG ever available for these many months out, not even close in within 10 days of departure - this is from actual experiences booking CX F./J at least a doz or more times the past few years.

Last edited by JDiver; Jun 2, 19 at 10:56 pm
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Old May 31, 19, 7:59 pm
  #1029  
 
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All one needs to do is to search F for 5 passengers and you will see nothing returns which proves 5F is just a pipe dream.
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Old Jun 2, 19, 1:01 pm
  #1030  
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Some post editing and deletion has been done after members reported the posts were becoming dilatory to the topic because of interpersonal and unfriendly chitchat, and carping.

The challenge of the Internet is it’s devoid of body language including gestures and facial clues as well as tone and inflection. Add language and word usage differences, we’re apt to misread other people’s intentions.

Let’s return to cutting each other some slack and respect, and honoring the topic.

Thank you, Moderator
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Old Jun 2, 19, 9:08 pm
  #1031  
 
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Some post editing and deletion has been done after members reported the posts were becoming dilatory to the topic because of interpersonal and unfriendly chitchat, and carping.

The challenge of the Internet is it’s devoid of body language including gestures and facial clues as well as tone and inflection. Add language and word usage differences, we’re apt to misread other people’s intentions.

Let’s return to cutting each other some slack and respect, and honoring the topic.

Thank you, Moderator
Well said.

So is it confirmed now that availability on BA.com does NOT always match what the AAgents can see?
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Old Jun 2, 19, 9:48 pm
  #1032  
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Originally Posted by riced View Post
Well said.

So is it confirmed now that availability on BA.com does NOT always match what the AAgents can see?
It's been like that for a couple of years especially if point of sale is factored in.
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Old Jun 5, 19, 3:29 pm
  #1033  
 
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I'm looking to book JFK-CX-HKG-KA-KHH, departing May 8 and arriving in HKG and connecting on May 10. If I call to book on June 12 (331 days before May 8) only the JFK-HKG flight should be bookable. Can I place the JFK-HKG flight on hold on June 12, and add the HKG-KHH segment 2 days later when it becomes bookable?
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Old Jun 5, 19, 4:02 pm
  #1034  
 
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Originally Posted by Vyvd View Post
I'm looking to book JFK-CX-HKG-KA-KHH, departing May 8 and arriving in HKG and connecting on May 10. If I call to book on June 12 (331 days before May 8) only the JFK-HKG flight should be bookable. Can I place the JFK-HKG flight on hold on June 12, and add the HKG-KHH segment 2 days later when it becomes bookable?
Assuming that there is availability on the flights/date you want, you can put JFK-HKG on hold and call back within the 5-day hold period to add/drop/change flights.
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Old Jun 14, 19, 9:32 pm
  #1035  
 
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Hello all, happy Friday.

I wanted to try and get my ducks in a row for a Southeast Asia honeymoon in June 2020 and give my fiance her first EVER business-class experience flying CX from LAX to Bangkok (hopefully with a nice 12+ hour stop in HKG). After reading a good amount on this thread (great info, by the way), I see that CX releases J availability ~350 days out and you can only book using AA miles ~330 days out.

I have it marked in my calendar, but any recommendations to get alerts/keep track of when the space becomes available on the off chance it's not immediately available? And thoughts if CX F worth it over CX J? Appreciate any guidance!
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