Cathay Pacific First Class if my favorite premium product. Who doesn’t love Krug and caviar service? Before today finding and booking award space on Cathay Pacific using AAdvantage miles was quite a process, which I wrote about in detail here. No matter what method you used to find the award space you had to call into the AA call center to book the tickets.
Cathay Pacific Awards Are Now Bookable On AA.com
As of today you can now search for and book Cathay Pacific partner awards on AA.com. When you reach the homepage enter your origin and destination, select one-way or round trip, enter your desired date for your flight and check the “Redeem miles” box. I entered a one-way itinerary from New York John F Kennedy International (“JFK”) to Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam (“SGN”) on April 7, 2020 and clicked “Search.”
As luck would have it there was Economy, Business and First Class availability on my desired date. You can fly from the US to Southeast Asia for 37,500 miles in Economy, 70,000 miles in Business or 110,000 miles in First Class. See the full AA partner award chart here. I selected the purple “First MileSAAver” box, then April 7th on the calendar and clicked continue.
The next page shows the various flight options available. My first option was Cathay 843 from JFK-HKG in First Class connecting to CX 767 from HKG-SGN in business class. Cathay doesn’t fly equipment with First Class to Ho Chi Minh City so this is the best you can get.
If you follow through the next few screens you’ll be brought to a page where you can either pay the nominal fee and book the ticket or place the itinerary on a free 5-day hold. It’s that easy.
Is This “Enhancement” Good or Bad?
It depends on who you ask, but for savvy giraffes who read my blog it’s a net negative. The phone-only booking method was a high barrier to entry. A lot of American Airlines flyers probably didn’t even know they could use their miles on Cathay Pacific. Now that’s all changed and the average user with a lot of miles will be able to easily search and book these awards.
On the other hand if you find an award you want then you can book it right away instead of taking the risk of losing it while stuck on hold with AA. That’s actually happened to me before and it’s incredibly frustrating.
First Class Giraffe Not Impressed
My guess is that Cathay award availability will go down as a result of this “enhancement,” but only time will tell.
Hat tip to Doctor of Credit