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

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Business Class Window Seat

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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 Credit: Cathay Pacific

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.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 Business Class Bed
Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 Business Class Bed. Image Credit: Greg Stone

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 Airbus A350 Business Class New Breakfast Service
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Business Class New Breakfast Service. Image Credit: Greg Stone

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 (Business), The Pier (Business), 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.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

If you’re looking for a way to use the fewest miles possible, check out Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. You can book one-way awards and include a stopover which makes this program a great choice for booking Cathay Pacific.

Notice: starting February 14, 2018, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan intra-Asia awards on Cathay Pacific must be booked at least 72 hours in advance. Other routing is not affected and can still be booked last minute.

You will need to call Alaska Airlines to complete the booking. The booking process is basically the same as booking with American miles.

  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

One thing to keep in mind is that Alaska Airlines representatives don’t always see the same award space that British Airways shows.

If you want some other ideas, we have put together the best ways to redeem Alaska miles!

American Airlines AAdvantage

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

One of the most popular ways to book Cathay Pacific awards is through the American Advantage program.

Prior to American’s award chart devaluation in early 2016 it was probably the most popular way to book Cathay Pacific flights. That being said, booking with American miles can make connecting within the U.S. to your Cathay Pacific flight much easier.

The booking process isn’t difficult but it does require you to call American Airlines to book.

  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

There are other great award booking opportunities beyond Cathay Pacific thanks to American’s membership in the Oneworld airline alliance.

Asia Miles

Asia Miles, Cathay Pacific’s loyalty program, allows you to book awards online. If you want to book a stopover and/or an open jaw or include other airline partners in the booking, you will need to call Asia Miles.

To complete a booking online, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to Asia Miles
  2. Log into 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

Cathay Pacific partners with American Express Membership Rewards points and Citi ThankYou Points, which can help you earn the necessary miles for your award booking. Also, you can top off your Asia Miles balance with Marriott points.

You can transfer from any of these partners at a 1:1 ratio. You should expect transfers to take up to 24 hours with Citi ThankYou Points. Membership Rewards usually take 3-7 days to transfer.

Also, Marriott transfers at a 3:1 ratio. For transferring 60,000 Marriott points, you will receive 20,000 Asia Miles plus a 5,000 mile bonus to bring your total to 25,000 Asia Miles!

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 into booking this specific award!

If you’re interested in learning about your options from the United States, check out our definitive guide to Cathay’s U.S. routes including plane types and seating/cabin options.

Other Options For Booking Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific business class can also be booked with British Airways Avios or Japan Airlines miles.

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 Kong170K round-trip140K round-trip100K round-trip
Los AngelesHong Kong140K round-trip140K round-trip100K round-trip
New York (JFK)Johannesburg170K round-trip150K round-trip125K round-trip
Los AngelesAuckland170K 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

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be transferred American Express Membership Rewards and Citi Thank You Rewards (both at a rate of 1:1) or from Marriott at a transfer rate of 3:1.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $2,700+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months and a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a HUGE welcome bonus of up to 100,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 after you spend an additional $15,000, on purchases within the first 3 months.

We get ~$5,525+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks.

This is the best business card for lounge access as you'll get into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - probably our favorite Amex business card because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. This means you'll max out at a (whopping) 600,000 points per year. After that, you earn 1x. For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - This is a simple card that earns you 2x points on any business purchase, up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year! The card has no annual fee. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Recommended Citi Cards

Recommended Marriott Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

When Should You Search for Award Space?

Cathay Pacific generally releases award space to partner airlines roughly 331 days before departure while they release space to their own Asia Miles members earlier. Often, they will also release award space 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 (Business), The Pier (Business), 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

The Wing, Business at Hong Kong International Airport noodle bar kitchen
The Wing, Business at Hong Kong International Airport noodle bar kitchen. Image Credit: Stephen Au

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 Lounge Hong Kong - The Pier - Seating
Cathay Pacific Lounge Hong Kong – The Pier – Seating. Image Credit: Stephen Au

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 Lounge
Cathay Pacific Lounge Hong Kong – The Bridge – Bistro Dining. Image Credit: Stephen Au

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 Credit: Cathay Pacific

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 Airbus A330 Business Class Seat
Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 Business Class Seat. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Once onboard, 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.



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?

You can 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.

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).

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