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Booking Cathay Pacific to fly to Asia with Alaska miles is one of the best redemption possibilities out there. The cheap redemption rates along with the flexible routing rules makes for easy and effecient redemptions. The only slight drawback is that you have to find the awards with other programs and then have to call in to book. Here’s a breakdown of how to book Cathay Pacific award flights with Alaska miles.
Amazing redemption rates
The redemption rates on Cathay Pacific when flying to to Asia are outstanding. For example, with the Alaska Award chart on Cathay Pacific you can fly from North America to Asia one-way at the following rates:
These rates are extremely competitive compared to other programs. For example, for a one way first class ticket from NYC to Hong Kong would require the following mileage amounts from other programs:
- 95,000 United
- 100,000 Singapore
- 105,000 Aeroplan
- 110,000 American
The rates are also among the best (if not the best) for flying from other regions to Hong Kong, such as Europe where you can fly a one-way in first class for 70,000 miles and business class for 42,500. Just keep an eye out when booking from other regions because you may not be able to book the same type of stopovers permitted from North America.
Broadly defined Asia region
Alaska defines Asia very broadly and doesn’t break Asia down into sub-regions like most award programs do. This is is terrific for when you’re flying on Cathay Pacific to other destinations in Asia besides Hong Kong. For example, if you wanted to fly to Manilla or Bangkok from LAX you could get there for the same low mileage requirements of 50,000 for business class or 70,000 for first class.
One of the biggest perks of booking with Alaska miles is that you can add stopovers even on one-way awards. So if you wanted to spend a little bit of time in Hong Kong you can stay there for a few nights and then make your way onward to your next destination. Not many other programs allow stopovers on one way awards, so this is a great perk.
Alaska allows you to add repositioning flights (though they need to be on Alaska). So if you’re flying out of LAX or SFO, you could add a positioning flight from Seattle for no additional cost. Cathay Pacific flies to the following destinations in the US so these are cities that you might have to position yourself to:
Searching for Cathay Pacific flights
The drawback to booking Cathay Pacific flights with Alaska miles is that they currently don’t show up when you search for them on Alaska’s website. The good news is that you have plenty of options to search for these flights. You can use Qantas, JAL, or British Airways to search for Cathay Pacific flights.
Qantas has a great monthly calendar view which make can it easier to find open awards.
However, I personally prefer to search via the British Airways website because I’m able to view exactly how many seats are open for each flight. Anytime I search for anything on British Airways’ website (and most others), I always search for flights by each individual segment.
Booking Cathay Pacific Flights with Alaska Miles
Even though you have to call in to book your awards, the process is pretty straight forward. For my bookings I called 1-800-252-7522 which I believe is open more hours than the standard number 1-800-654-5669.
For the most part I’ve found Alaska reps in the international booking department to be pretty knowledgable although at times some have been inexperienced and have tried to book me on “unbookable” flights (premium cabins on Singapore Airlines). Thus, I’d recommend finding the specific flight you want to book and relaying those specifics to the representative on the phone.
Once they find the flight you’ll have to pay your fees. In my experience, the fees associated with the ticket are very reasonable though they depend on your route. When flying first class within Asia, our fees were only about $44 per person.
When you make your booking over the phone Alaska will also charge you a couple of fees including a $15 telephone reservation fee along with a $12.50 partner award ticket fee for each direction (not segment) of travel. I have not ever had success with getting these fees waived so I’m not sure if that’s possible or not.
One thing I do love about Alaska is that changes can be made freely to your booking so long as you make those changes more than 60 days out. If you wait until within 60 days you’ll have to pay $125.
Update: no longer the case.
When it comes to booking partner awards over the phone, the process can be quite painful sometimes. However, this is not the case with booking Cathay Pacific awards with Alaska miles. The ease of booking over the phone along with the incredibly cheap awards and reasonable fees make Cathay Pacific awards one of my top redemption possibilities.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.