Best Ways To Book Cathay Pacific Business Class [Step-by-Step]

Cathay Pacific Business Class Bed

When you look for the best business class products, Cathay Pacific is bound to be high on that list. Their reputation is well-deserved, and their long-haul business class product and service is top notch.

If you’ll be traveling to or through Asia, Cathay Pacific business class deserves your attention! Let’s give this product a look and talk about how you can book this great experience.

A Look Inside Cathay Pacific Business Class

Cathay Pacific A350
Cathay Pacific flies several routes between Hong Kong and the U.S. Image courtesy of cathaypacific.com.

Before we dive into what you’ll get with your business class award ticket, we need to quickly talk about aircraft with this product. Cathay Pacific flies long-haul routes on the Airbus A350 and A330 and the Boeing 777-300ER.

Routes out of the U.S. are currently operated by the Boeing 777-300ER, so we’ll focus on that product.

Both aircraft provide roughly the same business class product with slightly different seat widths, in-flight entertainment screen widths, and a few other slight variations.

The Airbus A350 is the newest aircraft in their fleet, so you’ll see some additions to your business class seat there. Overall, the experience is great on either flight. We expect to see an A350 fly to the U.S. later in 2017.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Seat
With one of the world’s best business class products, you’ll always have a lie-flat seat with direct aisle access. Image courtesy of cathaypacific.com.

All business class seats on Cathay Pacific are lie-flat, so you can get some rest on those long international flights. That’s important when you consider the fact that flights from the U.S. are over 14 hours!

Additionally, their business class cabin is arranged in the famous reverse herringbone layout, so every seat has direct aisle access and is very private.

If you are traveling alone, pick a window seat for maximum privacy. If you are traveling with a companion, pick a middle seat. While you’ll still have privacy, it’s much easier to talk with your companion in these seats.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Dining
You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy a meal or 2 in business class on long flights from the U.S. Image courtesy of cathaypacific.com.

If there’s one area in which Cathay Pacific doesn’t completely knock it out of the park, it’s probably their in-flight dining. This is not to say it isn’t a quality meal for business class, but only that it doesn’t quite live up to what we expect from Cathay Pacific.

Not to worry, you’ll still receive your pre-departure champagne!

If you’re connecting in or departing from Cathay Pacific’s hub in Hong Kong, the fun really starts in the lounge. You will have access to The Wing, The Pier, and The Cabin lounges during your layover.

How To Book Cathay Pacific Business Class

There’s a reason people love to fly Cathay Pacific business class, so let’s dive into how you can book this great experience using miles.

Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific’s own frequent flyer program, Asia Miles, provides an easy way to book online. Additionally, you can book a stopover and an open-jaw to really take your trip to the next level.

To complete a booking online, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Asia Miles
  2. Log in to your account
  3. Scroll over “Redeem Miles”
  4. Select “Flight Awards” from the drop-down menu
  5. Enter your flight details
    • Make sure you select “Cathay Pacific”
  6. Select your desired flight
    • Standard Awards are what you want to find (otherwise you will be overpaying)
  7. Review the mileage cost and the taxes/fees
  8. Complete your business class booking

If you need more miles to complete a booking, Cathay Pacific has several credit card partners including American Express Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Points, or SPG Starpoints.

These partners each transfer to Asia Miles at a 1:1 rate. Citi ThankYou Points generally transfer within 24 hours, while transfers from Membership Rewards generally take 3-7 days. SPG Starpoints will usually transfer within a couple days.

Remember: You can only transfer 79,999 SPG Starpoints to a particular airline per 24 hours. To ensure you receive the 5,000-mile bonus on each transfer of 20,000 SPG Starpoints, do not transfer more than 60,000 SPG Starpoints to one airline per 24-hour period.

Hot Tip: Use our Transfer Partner Calculator tool to quickly find out how many miles you will need to transfer to get to your award.

You have many options for using your Cathay Pacific miles outside of the business class experience, so don’t feel you’re locked in to booking this specific award!

American Airlines AAdvantage

American Airlines Partner Award Chart
Booking Cathay Pacific business class is easy with American Airlines miles.

American Airlines AAdvantage is one of the most commonly used programs for booking Cathay Pacific business class.

It was more popular before they devalued their award chart in in early 2016, but is still very useful if you need to connect to an airport in the U.S. where Cathay Pacific operates.

To book with American miles, you will have to call to complete your booking. Fortunately, it’s an easy process. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Visit British Airways and log in
  2. Select your route, travel dates, and class of service
  3. Note the flight number, date, and time
  4. Call American Airlines (800-882-8880)
  5. Ask them to search for business class award space on Cathay Pacific on the appropriate date
    • You might have to provide the flight number
  6. Provide all necessary info to complete the booking

Transfer SPG Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio if you need some American miles to complete your booking. Transfers take about 2 days, so American’s 5-day hold policy can be really helpful! If possible, you might want to put the flight on hold and then transfer SPG Starpoints.

American Airlines offers many great redemption opportunities outside of Cathay Pacific as well, since it is a Oneworld partner.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Probably the best way to book this trip in most cases is using Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan. This program has good redemption rates, and it allows a stopover on one-way award bookings to really maximize your value.

Like American Airlines, booking with Alaska Airlines requires a phone call. In fact, it’s basically the same process to book, as you’ll see below:

  1. Visit British Airways and log in
  2. Select your route, travel dates, and class of service
  3. Note the flight number, date, and time
  4. Call Alaska Airlines (800-252-7522)
  5. Ask them to search for Cathay Pacific business class award space on the appropriate date
    • You might have to provide the flight number
  6. Provide all necessary info to complete the booking

If you want some other ideas for using Alaska miles, we have many listed in our redemption article!

Other Options For Booking Cathay Pacific

You can also book Cathay Pacific business class through the British Airways Executive Club or Japan Airlines Mileage Bank programs.

Great Cathay Pacific Business Class Redemptions

Each program we have discussed is useful in its own way. Your current miles and points balances, where you live, and the flexibility of your travel dates can help determine which program is best for you.

Alaska Airlines will generally allow you to use the fewest miles to book your flight, while American Airlines makes connecting to your Cathay Pacific flight easier from many parts of the U.S. Cathay Pacific’s own program, Asia Miles, releases more award space to its own members.

Here are a few round-trip bookings to consider if you want to try Cathay Pacific business class:

DepartureDestinationAsia MilesAmerican MilesAlaska Miles
New York (JFK)Hong Kong120K round-trip140K round-trip100K round-trip
Los AngelesHong Kong120K round-trip140K round-trip100K round-trip
New York (JFK)Johannesburg175K round-trip150K round-trip100K round-trip
Los AngelesAuckland120K round-trip160K round-trip120K round-trip

The Los Angeles to Auckland route is particularly interesting, as the miles required with Asia Miles are identical to Alaska Airlines. As Cathay Pacific releases more award space, this gives you a much better chance of finding a spot!

This routing is even better when you consider that Cathay Pacific allows stopovers and open-jaws. You could easily stop in Hong Kong for a few days before heading to New Zealand.

Alaska Airlines also allows stopovers on award tickets – even on one-way bookings! However, you can only fly one partner airline per booking.

This means you can fly from the U.S. to South Africa and stop in Hong Kong for a few days, or even spend a few weeks in Asia before continuing to Johannesburg.

American Airlines does not allow stopovers, so you can only visit one destination on your itinerary if booking through them.

How To Earn Enough Miles for Cathay Pacific Business Class

You can earn both American Airlines AAdvantage miles and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles through the Starwood Preferred Guest program at a 1:1 ratio (plus 5,000 bonus miles per 20,000 SPG Starpoints).

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights.
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Detailed Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Detailed Review

American Express Membership Rewards points are another great points currency that can be transferred to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles at a 1:1 ratio.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Our Review
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 points.
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Our Review
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x). Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Our Review

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
  • Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • 50% more points on business purchases of $5,000 or more and 35% Airline Bonus.
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Our Review
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories.
  • Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Our Review
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Our Review

Finally, Citi ThankYou Points can also be transferred to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles at a 1:1 ratio.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Citi Prestige® Card
  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Our Review
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
  • 2 ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Our Review
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
  • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Travel, including Gas
  • Annual Fee: $95 (Fee waived for the first 12 months)
  • Our Review

When Should You Search for Award Space?

Cathay Pacific often releases business class award space to partners about 331 days before departure. If you don’t see space when you search, there is often award space available within 2 weeks of departure.

Unlike first class, it’s much more common to find business class space throughout the year, so check back regularly.

While this is more of an issue with first class award space, you should also note that the Asia Miles program does have increased access to award space for business class. If you need to travel on a particular day, this can be very useful.

What Do You Get With Cathay Pacific Business Class?

Let’s talk a bit more about what you get from the Cathay Pacific business class experience.

Business Class Lounges

When departing or transiting Cathay Pacific’s hub in Hong Kong, you will have access to several lounges. The Wing, The Pier, The Bridge, and The Cabin are all fantastic business class lounges.

If you have a long layover, give them all a try! For a shorter connection, find the one that is closest to your gate. When departing Hong Kong, you can also just show up early to enjoy the lounges prior to departure.

The Wing Lounge

Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Lounge
Have a drink while you wait for your flight at The Wing. Image courtesy of cathaypacific.com.

The Wing is Cathay Pacific’s flagship lounge, and you’ll see why as soon as you step inside. You can get a great meal at the noodle bar or choose a jolt of caffeine at the coffee bar.

If you need to freshen up before a flight, there are 24 shower suites at your disposal. This could be just what you need while waiting for your connection after a long flight from the U.S.

The Pier Lounge

Cathay Pacific The Pier Noodle Bar
Enjoy a great meal from the noodle bar at The Pier while you wait for your flight.

At The Pier, you’ll also have access to a noodle bar, and you can visit the Tea Lounge instead of a coffee bar. There are ample food and beverage options and tons of seating for you to relax. Don’t forget to use one of the 14 shower rooms to really complete the experience.

The Bridge Lounge

Cathay Pacific The Bridge Business Lounge
Have a drink and do a little plane spotting during your visit to The Bridge. Image courtesy of cathaypacific.com.

The Bridge provides a homey feel and ample space to socialize. If you’re feeling hungry, check out The Bakery in the north wing (yes, this lounge has wings) or The Bistro in the south wing. The Bridge also has a coffee bar for those needing a pick-me-up.

The Cabin Lounge

Cathay Pacific The Cabin Health Bar
Grab some fresh juice or a smoothie from The Health Bar at The Cabin Lounge. Image courtesy of cathaypacific.com.

The Cabin is a simpler lounge than the others, but don’t let that fool you; it’s still a wonderful business class lounge. From made-to-order meals at The Deli to fresh juice and tea at The Health Bar, it’s a great experience all around.

Business Class Seat

Cathay Pacific Business Class
Cathay Pacific’s business class provides a great seat with direct aisle access. Image courtesy of cathaypacific.com.

Once on board, you’ll enjoy a spacious seat with direct aisle access. The seat is lie-flat so you can sleep or just rest easily. Cathay Pacific’s business class seat has long been considered an industry leader, and it’s just what you need to make flying fun.

Final Thoughts

It’s clear why a business class seat on Cathay Pacific is so highly regarded! This is without a doubt one of the best business class options out there.

From the lounge experience to the great in-flight seating, you’re in for a treat! Make sure to consider Cathay Pacific the next time you are flying between the U.S. and Asia.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

FAQ

What is the best way to book Cathay Pacific business class?
Usually, Alaska miles are the cheapest way to book business class, but don’t forget to check out Asia Miles.

The American Airlines AAdvantage program can also be very useful.

What credit cards can help me earn miles to fly Cathay Pacific business class?
If you want to book through Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, or Cathay Pacific, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express can help you earn the necessary miles.

You can also earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles through the American Express Membership Rewards Loyalty Program and the Citi ThankYou Rewards Loyalty Program.

What do I get when flying Cathay Pacific business class?
Business class passengers have access to 4 business class lounges in Cathay Pacific’s hub, Hong Kong. While there, you can enjoy a great meal and a drink.

In-flight, you’ll enjoy one of the best business class seats in the industry with direct aisle access and lie-flat capabilities.