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A Fix for the New "Elevated" Award Booking Engine

A Fix for the New "Elevated" Award Booking Engine

Old Aug 22, 22, 4:14 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Programs: IHG Diamond Ambassador, Accor Plus Platinum, Caesar's Diamond, Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold,
Posts: 59
A Fix for the New "Elevated" Award Booking Engine

As most of you have probably experienced by now, the new "Elevated" Cathay website has literally made award flight searches all but impossible.
I've put together a userscript that basically forces the website to accept the old booking engine parameters, and I've submitted it to greasyfork for anyone that's interested.

The main features are:
  • Search for ANY routes, not just those with direct flights on CX and partners.
  • Bring back support for searching multiple airports in the same city (e.g. TYO, LON)
  • No need to choose the operating airline anymore when you search.
  • Results no longer limited to the cabin class you choose, cabin class can be switched as you please on the results page.
  • Start a new search directly on the results page, without returning to the search facade.
EDIT 2022-08-29: NEW FEATURE! Batch availability search!
Please see further down at post #15 for details.

EDIT 2022-09-01: Bug Fixes
Please upgrade to the latest version 2.3 for a bunch of bug fixes. Among them, the most important one is that economy seats on certain airlines were erroneously counted as premium economy. Also, the availability count was incorrect for connecting flights, as it showed the higher number of seats between the two flights, rather than the lower one. The batch search feature is now no longer hidden by default, and does not require the 9 clicks secret activation gesture.




For desktop, you will need to have the Tampermonkey or Greasemonkey browser extensions installed, then install this script:
https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/44...rch-fixer-2022

Once installed, login to your Cathay account, and go to the new flight award search page at
https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_...ht-awards.html

There will be a new search box at the bottom, where you can enter your origin, destination, dates, and passengers.
The search box will work on both the search facade, and on the results page, which means you can switch route searches without going back and forth.
Hope you'll all find it useful.

P.S. If you want to install this on a mobile device, you'll need to install an app like Hyperweb or Stay 2 - Userscript manager that enables userscript extensions in mobile safari and chrome. It's a bit more complicated to get set up compared to desktop. If enough people are interested in that I'll make a step by step write-up.

Last edited by jaytw; Sep 1, 22 at 3:05 pm
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Old Aug 22, 22, 11:38 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Singapore & Globe trotting
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Thanks for this. It works sometimes but then I also get this error a fair bit (see below). To be fair I also get this error many times, when searching with the new crappy CX interface
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Old Aug 23, 22, 12:26 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by lifeonthego_k View Post
Thanks for this. It works sometimes but then I also get this error a fair bit (see below). To be fair I also get this error many times, when searching with the new crappy CX interface
Most of the time this error means your login session has timed out, which happens in a surprisingly short amount of time. The underlying API call requires that the logged in session be active. Unfortunately I can't see if the session is expired, so the only way to know for sure is when this page is loaded. I'll see if I can add a alert somewhere that reminds you to check your session status.
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Old Aug 23, 22, 12:46 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
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I figured it out - the airport codes are case sensitive! When inputted in caps I don't get the error
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Old Aug 23, 22, 1:10 am
  #5  
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Good catch! I've added a fix that converts to uppercase before calling the API.
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Old Aug 23, 22, 10:15 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
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This is brilliant. Thank you jaytw !

-Dan
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Old Aug 23, 22, 11:26 pm
  #7  
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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Posts: 59
So I've managed to test out a comparatively easy-ish way to use this trick on an iPhone.
There are several tools out there that enable user scripts in Safari, but since userscripts are rather technical in nature, it can be a pretty daunting process for the non-technical crowd.
I've evaluated a few, and these are the most straightforward flows I could find:

Option 1: Completely free
  1. Download "Stay 2 - Userscript manager" from the App Store.
  2. Open the app, and add the script by clicking the + sign on the top right, and choose "Import from GreasyFork"
  3. On GreasyFork, search for the "Cathay Award Search Fixed" script. (Inexplicably there is no search box on the landing page, so you will need to either press the Hamburger icon on the right to find it, or just click their logo to go to the search box on their homepage.)
  4. Once you've found the script, click on "Install this script" and then "Create" on the top right. (If it shows you an alert showing that "you will need to install an extension manager" when you click install, just click "I already have a script manager")
  5. Once installed, open Safari and login to Cathay. You need to do this before you start searching, or the searches will just error out.
  6. Go to the award search page, if you have not been redirected already:
    https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/zh_TW/book-a-trip/redeem-flights/redeem-flight-awards.html
  7. Once on the page, press the "A A " icon on the left of the url bar, and press "Manage Extensions"
  8. Turn on the toggle for "Stay", and press done.
  9. The menu should have a new "Stay" option with its purple icon. Press it.
  10. It should show a sheet at the bottom with a "Cathay Award Search Fixer" item. Press the "Play" button on the right of it.
  11. Now your page should have a new "Unelevated Award Search" box!
I've noticed that Stay 2 is a bit more unreliable with keeping the script active on the page for some reason, especially after a page change to the results page. If the search box is missing, just refresh the page.

Option 2: The most painless, but not free. ($0.99/month)
  1. Download "Gear Browser" from the App Store.
  2. Open the app and search for "greasyfork"
  3. On GreasyFork, search for "cathay", find the "Cathay Award Search Fixer" and press "Install Script".
  4. At this point it will ask you to buy a subscription to "Gear Pro" to enable the userscripts feature. Be aware that this bills monthly, so remember to cancel it if you won't user it anymore.
  5. Go to Cathay, login to your account, and go to the award search page:
    https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/zh_TW/book-a-trip/redeem-flights/redeem-flight-awards.html
And that's it, the search box should be automatically loaded, no need to fiddle with any toggles.

I don't have an Android on hand to test, but greasyfork has a list of options on its homepage for mobile Android:
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Old Aug 24, 22, 4:27 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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You are AWESOME !
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Old Aug 24, 22, 7:33 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
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You are the best!!!
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Old Aug 25, 22, 8:27 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Croydon
Posts: 66
has the new website also come with new award routing rules? I'm trying to book a multi-city JFK-DOH-SYD in Biz & F respectively (on QR) and the cathay website shows availability (cross checked with BA) but it errors out after selecting the multi-city flights. The connection time in DOH is < 24 hours.

So as usual I start a chat with their agents and the agent says she cant see any availability at all! Is this the new normal? or case of HUCA? thanks!

PS: I have booked this same award multiple times in the past and it worked every single time (worked as in - the chat agent was able to book it for me)

Last edited by ricktassie; Aug 25, 22 at 9:17 am
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Old Aug 25, 22, 9:10 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
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still impossibe
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Old Aug 25, 22, 9:31 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by ricktassie View Post
has the new website also come with new award routing rules? I'm trying to book a multi-city JFK-DOH-SYD in Biz & F respectively (on QR) and the cathay website shows availability (cross checked with BA) but it errors out after selecting the multi-city flights. The connection time in DOH is < 24 hours.

So as usual I start a chat with their agents and the agent says she cant see any availability at all! Is this the new normal? or case of HUCA? thanks!

PS: I have booked this same award multiple times in the past and it worked every single time (worked as in - the chat agent was able to book it for me)
Yeah, I’ve noticed the same. It seems in some instances the flights will be available to book separately segment by segment, but not as a single one-way. The system will throw an error saying "Redemption Class Y not valid on this flight" or something to that effect. It did not start with the new search engine though, I think I ran into this as far back as May. The agent sees the same on their end, availability only available separately. The same routing was available to book on some other dates as a transfer, so it does not look like a blanket award routing rule thing. Also, FWIW, it’s not restricted to the CX search engine either, as availability for the same flight would not show up as a transfer in BA either, only segment by segment. It's perplexing because back in the day, it was usually the other way around, where transfer routing was available, but booking separately was not.

I did not HUCA, and just bit the bullet and booked separately, so I can't speak as to whether a different agent may have helped.

For data point purposes, my particular case was a TSA-HND and HND-LHR flight all on JL with a 17 hour overnight connection.
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Old Aug 26, 22, 8:11 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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An easy fix

Just in case CX/ MPO are still monitoring this forum..

The answer to your IT woes is right here, on this thread.

you wont have to invest in a call centre that can handle the complicated, yet correct itineraries the brain trust here will generate. You wont get brickbats from people who know the game. You will just bring efficiency in.

Thank you, jaytw!
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Old Aug 28, 22, 8:13 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Croydon
Posts: 66
After trying multiple phone agents via:
- their HK number and US numbers,
- their WhatsApp chat/agent
- as well as a detailed email (with screenshots from the cathay website & ba website) to their memberservices @ asiamiles dot com customer service center,

and receiving nothing useful except the lame "we don't see the availability" & "the website isn't always realtime), I finally bit the bullet and booked my award via ba dot com avios (QR SYD-DOH-CDG in F). Yes that same exact award was indeed real and not phantom!!

So p1$$ed at the sheer incompetency of these folks at the moment esp since I have a bunch of miles with em and it looks like NOTHING is bookable via partners - not even non-stop awards. (yes I tried the above script)

I wonder if the DOT would have any provision to look into this issue if it may fall into false advertising or a bait and switch situation.

Just devastated at the thought of having so many miles lying unusable.

Last edited by ricktassie; Aug 28, 22 at 8:27 am
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Old Aug 28, 22, 5:47 pm
  #15  
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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Posts: 59
Hey fellow FTers! First of all, thanks to those of you who have bought me coffees, it is very kind of you guys

So, I've made a few updates to the tweak over the weekend, and oh boy, you're gonna like this one.
If you've already installed the script and want to update, go over to the greasyfork page and press the "Update to Version 2.1" button. Then, in Tampermonkey (or whichever user script manager you are using) click on "Update".

2.1 Changes:
  • For starters, since I received feedback from a couple of users that it gets in the way of other UI elements on the page, the search box no longer floats on top of the page. Instead, it has now has its own little space on the page. The drawback is that if Cathay updates their website, the search box may fail to load, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
  • The origin and destination will now automatically switch to uppercase.
  • The input boxes will select its content automatically when you click or tap on it so that you can start typing away immediately.
  • The origin, destination and date, etc. is saved across the home and result pages
However, most importantly, I have snuck in a secret feature that I haven't made public on the greasyfork page.

You can now batch search award availability on multiple consecutive days for all cabins and all airlines AT THE SAME TIME.

To activate the hidden feature, you will need to click on or tap on the "Unelevated Award Search" text Nine (9) Times on the search results page.

A new button labeled "Batch Availability for 20 Days" will appear, as shown below. Once activated, it will stay activated for future launches.




When you click on it, it will start search for award availability on the current route showing on the search page, for 20 days (actually 19) starting from the date entered in the "Date" field. It will show the available flights for every calendar date, with the flight numbers and corresponding availability in F, J, PY and Y. Non-stop flights will have a green background, while those with stops will be grey and show the layover city.



You can click on the dates on the left to load the actual Cathay engine search results for that particular day, e.g. when you are ready to book a flight, or want to see further details of the flights.

Note that you cannot change your origin or destination for the batch search, only the date. It needs to be the same route as the one currently being searched, as the tweak uses checksums on the page to call the Cathay APIs. Each checksum is only valid for 20 API calls, including the one the page initially makes itself, so once they are used up, a further batch search will trigger a page refresh to get a new checksum. If you click on dates on Cathay's own date tabs in the website's original search results further down, you will also use up API calls, so the batch call may not always show 20 days.

Please use this responsibly and do not abuse it, lest Cathay take actions to shut down or further obfuscate those APIs.

If you find any bugs or have any feedback, you can fill in the bug report form here: https://forms.gle/zCUZzrajNscLzpsp8

Enjoy!

Last edited by jaytw; Aug 28, 22 at 7:07 pm
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