My parents and I wanted to spend Christmas and New Years in Australia because hey, it’s summer down there! I thought it would be nice to route through Hong Kong and fly Cathay Pacific in Business because of the great value in Alaska miles and the fact that they actually showed availability during the peak Christmas season! The hardest part was finding a flight with space from Hong Kong to anywhere remotely close to Australia. Thankfully, a flight to Auckland popped up, so we ended up visiting New Zealand for three days!
Cathay Pacific Business and First awards are a GREAT use of Alaska Miles! The nice part is that you can also add a stopover on one-way tickets for free!
The US to Asia is 50,000 miles in Business, 70,000 miles in First. (one way)
The US to Australia is 60,000 miles in Business, 80,000 miles in First. (one way)
Great! Now how to Search For Cathay Pacific Business and First Class Availability?
Unfortunately, you can’t search on the Alaska website, so I use British Airways’ website! You can book for dates 330 days out and you just have to give Alaska Airlines a call. I did a quick search for LAX-HKG and found 4 Business Class Seats and 1 First Class Seat Available on April 9th, 2020. Go snag it! During my searches I didn’t run into problems regarding different availability between British Airways and Alaska inventory for the Cathay Pacific flights.
One caveat… No More Free Changes on Alaska:
Previously, before June of last year, Alaska Airlines had a change policy that allowed for customers to cancel or change their tickets free of charge if the change is made 60 days before departure. Now, there is no 60-day travel waiver. All passengers except MVP Gold and 75K Elites will have to pay $125 to change their ticket.
I used the 60 day free change quite a lot as you’ll see below, prior to June 2018.
My Booking Process:
Around 330 days before departure, I kept checking daily on British Airways for seats. I then found a flight that had 3 Business Class seats, and called Alaska to snag them. No problem! This was just the Los Angeles to Hong Kong leg, so it cost 50,000 Alaska Miles + $5.60 in fees.
Then, a few weeks later, availability popped up from Hong Kong to Auckland with 4 seats in Business on the new A350! I snagged those, and that cost and extra 10,000 Alaska Miles per ticket and an additional $70 in fees per ticket.
So, at this point the grand total was 60,000 Alaska Miles + $75 in taxes and fees per ticket for Los Angeles to Hong Kong, a 4 night stopover and then Hong Kong to Auckland all in Business Class. A total of 26 hours in Business! A great deal to me!
Buttttt, I really didn’t want to stay in Hong Kong that long, so I kept searching for availability, and then a few weeks later I found an earlier Hong Kong to Auckland flight so I’d only have 2 nights in Hong Kong. Called Alaska and did the quick switch!
Upgrading Mom to First!
Cathay historically releases 1 First Class seat at the 330 days before departure mark, and then more starting 14 days before the flight.
I randomly checked availability 12 days before departure, and at 2am Los Angeles time 2 first class seats popped up on my Los Angeles to Hong Kong flight?! Whaaaat!
Talking to Alaska Airlines at 2am while your roommates are asleep is quite the most random thing to happen in college, but hey, it’s Cathay First! I only had enough miles to upgrade one ticket, so after flipping a coin, mom won the upgrade. (Kidding…she was going to get the upgrade regardless).
After a nice call with an Alaska agent, mom was all booked in Cathay First!
I have to point out that all the Alaska agents I dealt with through this whole process were lovely and patient! Kudos to Alaska for their great service!
Alaska miles are a great use for Cathay Pacific Business and First if you can find availability! It may take some searching but it’s there.
Have any of you booked a Cathay Pacific Business Award/First Award with Alaska miles? Or any other redemption tips you would like to share? Comment below!
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