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

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

If you’re traveling to or through Asia, Cathay Pacific business class deserves your attention. Let’s take a look at this product and the different programs you can use to book this bucket-list 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 get with your business class ticket, we need to talk about the different aircraft that feature this product. On most of its long-haul routes, including to the U.S., Cathay Pacific primarily flies 2 aircraft: the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 777-300ER.

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

The Airbus A350 is the newer aircraft in the airline’s fleet, so you get additions to your business class seat there. Overall, the experience is great on either aircraft.

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, which means you can rest on those long international flights. This is important to consider, as flights between the U.S. and Hong Kong (where Cathay Pacific is based) are over 13 hours in duration!

Cathay Pacific’s business class cabins are arranged in a reverse-herringbone layout, so every seat has direct aisle access and provides a private flying experience.

If you’re traveling alone, pick a window seat for maximum privacy. If you’re traveling with a companion, pick a middle seat. That way, while you’ll still have privacy, it’s much easier to talk with your companion.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Business Class New Breakfast Service
Breakfast in business class on board a Cathay Pacific Airbus A350. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Although mostly known for its premium service, Cathay is also famous for having some of the best inflight dining.

If you’re connecting in or departing from Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), the fun begins in the numerous lounges. On a business class ticket, you have access to The Wing, Business; The Pier, Business; and The Cabin lounges before your flight.

How To Book Cathay Pacific Business Class

Historically, the most popular way to redeem Cathay business class awards has been with Oneworld partner airline programs. However, as of late, Cathay has not been releasing award space for partner frequent flyer programs. It’s been incredibly difficult to find partner award space, though not impossible.

For now, it seems the only consistent way to book Cathay Pacific business class is through its own Cathay program. So let’s start with the Cathay loyalty program.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 at Heathrow
Cathay Pacific Asia miles are an excellent way to book Cathay premium cabin awards. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Over the years, the Cathay Pacific frequent flyer program has undergone significant changes. The program used to have a separate elite status program and another program for earning miles. However, the programs have been combined into one program, Cathay.

Cathay Pacific is also a member of the Oneworld alliance, which means that you can both earn and redeem Asia Miles with other members of Oneworld.

One of the best uses of Asia Miles is for redemptions on Cathay Pacific itself. For its own fights, Cathay Pacific uses a zone-based award chart, which utilizes distance to determine pricing. This means that the farther you fly, the more miles you can expect to pay.

There are sweet spots within the program, especially for short-haul flights with high cash prices.

Here is the one-way award pricing for Cathay Pacific awards, based on distance zones. Type 1 short zones are routes that include cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur. Type 2 short zones are routes that include Japan, Nepal, India, and Indonesia.

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Best of all, Cathay Pacific doesn’t levy surcharges on their own award flights.

To complete a booking online, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to the Cathay Pacific site.
  2. Log in to your account.
  3. Scroll over Redeem flights.
  4. Enter your flight details.
  5. Select your desired flight.
    • Standard Awards are what you want to find (otherwise you’ll overpay)
  6. Review the mileage cost and the taxes and fees.
  7. Complete your business class booking.

Earning Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific has transfer relationships with several credit card points programs. These include American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Citi ThankYou Rewards, all of which transfer at a 1:1 ratio.

Hot Tip:

If you’re interested in flying Cathay Pacific from the U.S., check out our definitive guide to Cathay Pacific’s U.S. routes.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska 737 MKE
Alaska Airlines miles are a great way to book Cathay Pacific awards. Image Credit: Miguel Ángel Sanz via Unsplash

Although award space is generally difficult to come by for partner awards, it’s still possible. One loyalty program worth considering is Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Like Cathay Pacific, Alaska Airlines is a member of the Oneworld alliance.

For now, Alaska Airlines has a consolidated award chart for partner awards. However, this is set to change in March, when Alaska completely overhauls its award charts and moves to a distance-based program.

This award chart overhaul will have a huge impact on Cathay awards for flights between the U.S. and Hong Kong, with these flights being some of the longest-distance flights you can take.

Here is the current one-way award chart for partner redemptions with Alaska miles. Note this will become obsolete in March:

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From the Contiguous U.S., Alaska, and Canada to:

Economy From

Premium From

Business Class From

First Class From

Africa

50,000

60,000

70,000

85,000

Asia

30,000

40,000

50,000

70,000

Europe

22,500

42,500

57,500

70,000

Indian Subcontinent

42,500

55,000

65,000

80,000

Middle East

42,500

55,000

65,000

80,000

South America

25,000

45,000

85,000

South Pacific

30,000

45,000

55,000

70,000

One of the best perks of the Alaska Mileage Plan program is that it allows for stopovers, including on one-way awards. Although the program is undergoing those major changes soon, we don’t expect the stopover policy to change.

Hot Tip:

Alaska allows for stopovers, including on one-way awards. For example, you can use Alaska miles to fly Cathay Pacific and have a stopover in Hong Kong before continuing onward.

To book partner awards using Alaska Airlines miles, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Go to the Alaska Airlines’ website.
  2. Search for your desired route (make sure you select Use Miles).
  3. Select your desired flight and Add To Cart.
  4. Log in to your Alaska Mileage Plan account.
  5. Pay the necessary taxes and fees and complete your booking.

Earning Alaska Mileage Plan miles

Alaska Airlines miles are relatively difficult to earn, as the program only has 1 transfer partner: Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio, and you receive 5,000 bonus miles with every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that you transfer.

Alaska Airlines also has co-branded credit cards offered by Bank of America, which is a great way to earn Alaska miles.

American Airlines AAdvantage

Another great program for award redemptions with Cathay Pacific is American Airlines AAdvantage. The program has also undergone major devaluations over the years, but the program is particularly good when it comes to partner redemptions.

For American-operated flights, the program uses dynamic pricing. However, for partner awards, American Airlines has an award chart, so prices are not subject to dynamic pricing.

AA defines South America Region 1 to include Bolivia; Colombia; Ecuador; Guyana; Manaus, Brazil; and Peru. South America Region 2 includes Argentina, Brazil outside of Manaus, Chile, the Falkland Islands, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Asia Region 1 includes Japan and Korea, and Asia Region 2 includes most of the rest of Asia not covered by other categories.

Here is one-way award pricing for partner awards from the contiguous 48 U.S. states and Canada:

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American Airlines can have incredible rates for partner airlines, including Cathay Pacific. American Airlines does not allow stopovers on award tickets.

To book an American Airlines partner award, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the American Airlines website.
  2. Log in using your AA username and password.
  3. In the search box, check off the box that says Redeem Miles.
  4. Enter the departure city, destination city, travel dates, and number of passengers.
  5. Click Search.
  6. Complete the booking by using your miles and a credit card for taxes and fees.

Earning American Airlines AAdvantage miles

There are plenty of ways to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles. The easiest is through the many Citi and Barclays co-branded credit cards.

American AAdvantage is a transfer partner of Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio and take around 2 business days.

Other Ways To Book Cathay Pacific

With Cathay Pacific being a member of the Oneworld alliance, there are numerous other programs you can use for Cathay business class awards, including British Airways Executive Club and Japan Airlines Mileage Bank.

Great Cathay Pacific Business Class Redemptions

Each program we’ve discussed is useful in its own way. Your current miles and points balances, where you live, and how flexible your travel dates are can help you determine which program is best for you.

Alaska Airlines generally allows 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. However, finding award availability with either program is difficult.

On the other hand, Cathay Pacific’s program, Cathay, releases more award space to its members.

How To Earn Enough Miles for Cathay Pacific Business Class

The Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program lets you use several transferable points currencies to earn more miles to book flights. These include American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Citi ThankYou Rewards. All these points program transfers at a 1:1 ratio.

Asia Miles is also a transfer partner of Marriott Bonvoy, which transfers at a rate of 3:1. Plus, you receive 5,000 bonus Asia Miles for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer.

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The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
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The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

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The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
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$1,760
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See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros
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Cons
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  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
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  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
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  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
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American Express Membership Rewards

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American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
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The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

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This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros
  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
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American Express Membership Rewards

There are also several Amex business credit cards for business owners.

Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
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The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.
Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
85,000 points
$595
$250
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, the latest mid-tier offering in the Marriott Bonvoy lineup of cards, offers cardholders automatic elite status and ways to earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on each of their stays and daily purchases.

Pros
  • 6x points per $1 at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
  • 4x points per $1 at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases per calendar year, then 2X points)
  • 2x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • $250 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Free Night Award certificate is not an automatic benefit
  • Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy® points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Earn 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets per calendar year, then 2X points).
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  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.
Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
95,000 bonus points
$665
$650
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.

So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?

Pros
  • 6x points per $1 at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 3x points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines and restaurants worldwide
  • 2x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • $300 Brilliant Dining Credit: Each calendar year, get up to $300 (up to $25 per month) in statement credits for eligible purchases made on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card at restaurants worldwide.
  • With Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, you can receive room upgrades, including enhanced views or suites, when available at select properties and booked with a Qualifying Rate.
  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
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  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
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When Should You Search for Award Space?

Cathay Pacific generally releases award space to partner airlines 331 days before departure but releases space to its own Cathay members earlier. Often, it releases award space within 2 weeks of departure.

It’s much more common to find business class space than first class space throughout the year, so it’s a good idea to check regularly. However, as mentioned above, Cathay Pacific has really decreased partner award availability as of late.

Asia Miles program tends to give members increased access to award space for first class and, to a lesser extent, business class. If you need to travel on a particular day, this can be 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 from or transiting through Cathay Pacific’s hub in Hong Kong, you have access to several lounges. The Wing, Business; The Pier, Business; The Bridge; and The Cabin are all fantastic business class lounges, offering plenty of amenities for business class travelers.

The Wing Lounge

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

The Wing is Cathay Pacific’s flagship lounge, and you 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.

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 can get a meal at the noodle bar and visit the tea lounge or a coffee bar. There are ample food and beverage options and tons of seating. Don’t forget to use one of the 14 shower rooms to 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 place to socialize. The Bakery in the north wing (yes, this lounge has wings) and The Bistro in the south wing both have food. 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 on board, you get a spacious seat with direct aisle access. The seat is lie-flat so you can sleep or 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. Without a doubt, Cathay Pacific offers one of the best business class products today. Unfortunately, award space for partner programs is nearly nonexistent nowadays. Using Cathay Pacific’s Cathay program to book will be your best bet.

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 fly between the U.S. and Asia or wherever else they fly.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to book Cathay Pacific business class?

Nowadays, the Cathay program is the best way to book Cathay Pacific business class awards. Cathay Pacific has limited partner award availability.

What credit cards can help me earn miles to fly Cathay Pacific business class?

Cathay Pacific is a transfer partner of several transferable points currencies including American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards. All transfer at a 1:1 ratio.

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 (HKG). While there, you can enjoy a great meal and a drink.

On the flight, you get one of the best business class seats in the industry, with direct aisle access and lie-flat recline. You can also expect to have some of the best food in the sky, as well as a luxury amenity kit.

What alliance is Cathay Pacific part of?

Cathay Pacific is a member of the Oneworld alliance.

Ehsan Haque's image

About Ehsan Haque

Ehsan is an avid traveler who has traveled to 100 countries, diligently using points and miles to fund his journeys. Currently, he holds 32 active credit cards and earns over a million points and miles annually, primarily using them for luxury hotels and long-haul premium cabins.

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