Cathay Pacific ranks among the top airlines in the world for its first class seats, lounges, inflight catering, lounge dining, and amenities.
Luckily for us, we have several options for using miles and points to book Cathay Pacific first class. Let’s take a look at what you’ll get on this amazing flight and how you can book it!
A Look Inside Cathay Pacific First Class
With only 6 seats in first class, Cathay Pacific provides plenty of space for you to relax on your long-haul flights.
Not only is there a spacious first class cabin, but the seat itself is lie-flat and provides tons of room. Additionally, each seat has direct aisle access (as you’d expect from a first class cabin).
Cathay Pacific also excels with its on-demand dining in first class. This allows you to eat whenever you are hungry during the flight rather than being locked into a specific window of time. Considering flights from the U.S. are over 14 hours to Hong Kong, this is a great perk.
Don’t forget to order a glass of Champagne before takeoff. Cathay Pacific doesn’t skimp on Champagne for first class passengers: you can expect a wonderful glass (or 2) of the amazing Krug Champagne during your flight.
If this weren’t enough, Cathay Pacific really sets itself apart with its first class lounges. At its hub in Hong Kong, you will have access to both first class lounges: The Wing (First) and The Pier.
Each lounge provides an amazing dining experience complemented by a great selection of beverages.
The Wing even has a Champagne bar! Enough said.
Hot Tip: Check out our detailed Cathay Pacific 777 first class review from Hong Kong to San Francisco.
How To Book Cathay Pacific First Class
After that last piece of information, we’ll just assume you’re ready to learn how to book Cathay Pacific first class so you can be on your way!
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Probably the best way to book Cathay Pacific award tickets, the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program has fantastic redemption rates and allows a stopover, even on one-way award flights. Here’s the award chart:
||Alaska Miles Cost (One-Way)
|North America to Asia and the Middle East
|North America to Africa and the Indian Subcontinent
|North America to Australia and New Zealand
|Asia to Europe
Booking with Alaska Airlines requires a phone call, as you’ll see below:
- Visit British Airways and log in.
- Select your route, travel dates, and class of service.
- Note the flight number, date, and time.
- Call Alaska Airlines at 800-252-7522.
- Ask them to search for first class award space on Cathay Pacific for the appropriate date (you might have to provide the flight number).
- Provide all necessary info to complete the booking.
Additional options for booking Alaska awards can be found in our redemption article.
Earning Alaska Airlines Miles
At the moment, Alaska Airlines’ only transfer partner is Marriott Bonvoy.
To be specific, Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a rate of 3:1 to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. If you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to Alaska Airlines in a single transaction, you will earn a bonus of 5,000 Alaska Airlines miles.
Furthermore, Alaska Airlines has co-branded credit cards issued by Bank of America that allow you to earn miles directly.
Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards
Cathay Pacific’s own frequent flyer program, Asia Miles, provides an easy way to book online.
Additionally, you can book a stopover, an open jaw, and/or include other partners in the booking to really take your trip to the next level. However, a call to Asia Miles will be required to book stopovers or an open jaw.
To complete a booking online, follow these simple steps:
- Go to Asia Miles.
- Log into your account.
- Scroll over Redeem Miles.
- Select Flight Awards from the drop-down menu.
- Enter your flight details.
- Make sure you select Cathay Pacific.
- Select your desired flight.
- Standard Awards are what you want to find (otherwise you will be overpaying).
- Review the mileage cost and the taxes/fees.
- Complete your first class booking.
Earning Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles has several transfer partners, including Amex Membership Rewards, Brex Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Amex, Brex, Citi, and Capital One transfer at a 1:1 ratio. Amex and Brex transfer in around 1 business day, while Citi transfers almost instantly. Capital One may take up to 36 hours.
Marriott Bonvoy transfers to Asia Miles at a 3:1 rate. For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer, you’ll receive 20,000 Asia Miles plus a bonus 5,000 miles, bringing your total up to 25,000 Asia Miles! Marriott Bonvoy takes around 5 business days to transfer to Asia Miles.
Hot Tip: Check out our Transfer Partner Tool to easily calculate how many miles you’ll need to transfer for your award.
You can find lots of ideas for redeeming your Asia Miles in our redemption article!
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards points.
American Airlines AAdvantage
American Airlines AAdvantage is one of the most commonly used programs for booking Cathay Pacific first class. It’s especially useful if you need to first connect to an airport on an American Airlines flight where Cathay Pacific operates.
Hot Tip: One of the best benefits of AAdvantage is that the program allows you to book award holds for 5 days, even on online award bookings!
You can book Cathay Pacific first class flights completely online. Here’s what you need to know:
- Visit American Airlines’ website.
- On the homepage, fill in the route, travel dates, and class of service.
- Find suitable flight results.
- Enter the traveler’s information.
- Provide all necessary info to complete the booking or request the award hold. If you’re holding an award flight, you’ll need to call AAdvantage at 800-882-8880 to ticket the reservation.
Earning American Airlines AAdvantage Miles
American Airlines has just 1 transfer partner in Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio to AAdvantage with a bonus of 5,000 miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at once.
Lastly, American Airlines has co-branded credit cards with both Citi and Barclays, enabling you to earn American Airlines miles directly!
British Airways Executive Club
British Airways Executive Club is the last frequent flyer program we’ll discuss. Although its prices are sky-high, BA Executive Club is pretty much the only useful option for booking Cathay Pacific first class using Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
This program uses a distance-based award chart for Cathay Pacific first class flights as follows:
||First Class Avios Cost
||1 to 650
||651 to 1,151
||1,152 to 2,000
||2,001 to 3,000
||3,001 to 4,000
||4,001 to 5,500
||5,501 to 6,500
||6,501 to 7,000
Keep in mind this is the one-way flight price, so a round-trip will simply cost twice as much as the one-way cost.
Here’s how you can book a Cathay Pacific first class ticket using Avios:
- Visit British Airways’ website and log in using your British Airways Executive Club account.
- After logging in, hover over the Book button on the top banner and click Book a flight with Avios under Flights.
- Fill in the search details and choose First as the cabin class.
- Find a suitable Cathay Pacific flight, redeem your Avios, and use a credit card for taxes and fees.
Earning British Airways Avios
British Airways Executive Club is the only frequent flyer program in this guide that is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Chase transfers almost instantly to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio.
Other transfer partners include Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Marriott Bonvoy.
You can transfer from Amex and Capital One at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly, while Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio in 3 business days. You’ll receive a bonus of 5,000 Avios when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to British Airways in a single transaction.
Lastly, you can earn British Airways Avios from the co-branded Chase credit card, as well as transfer Avios from Iberia Plus or Aer Lingus AerClub to British Airways Executive Club.
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points.
Other Options For Booking Cathay Pacific
You can also book Cathay Pacific awards with Japan Airlines Mileage Bank, Qantas Frequent Flyer points, or Finnair Plus miles.
Great Cathay Pacific First 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 will help determine which program is best for you.
Alaska Airlines will allow you to use the fewest miles to book first class. 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. Lastly, British Airways is the best option if you are a Chase Ultimate Rewards loyalist.
Here are a few round-trip bookings to consider if you want to try Cathay Pacific first class:
||Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
||British Airways Avios
||Hong Kong (HKG)
|Los Angeles (LAX)
||Hong Kong (HKG)
|New York (JFK)
||Hong Kong (HKG)
|San Francisco (SFO)
||Hong Kong (HKG)
|Hong Kong (HKG)
|Hong Kong (HKG)
|Hong Kong (HKG)
|Hong Kong (HKG)
|Hong Kong (HKG)
Hot Tip: Don’t miss our deep dive into Cathay’s U.S.-based routes, including plane types and seating/cabin options.
Remember, Alaska Airlines’ award tickets allow stopovers on one-way tickets, but you can only fly 1 partner per itinerary. This limits you to stopovers in Hong Kong when flying Cathay Pacific.
Cathay Pacific allows stopovers on round-trip tickets and does not have the same “1-partner” limitation.
American Airlines does not allow stopovers, so you can only visit the destination on your itinerary.
British Airways allows stopovers, but these are known as multicity awards, which are governed by a more expensive award chart.
Bottom Line: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan boasts the best redemption prices across the board, but Asia Miles is likely the most accessible option in terms of transfer partnerships. British Airways is one of the only Chase transfer partners that can book Cathay Pacific first class tickets.
How To Earn Enough Miles for Cathay Pacific First Class
Cathay Pacific first class is easy to book, provided you find award space.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles has the best access to award availability, and all of its other major partners have the same partner-level availability, regardless of which exact partner you book with.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has the best redemption prices, while Asia Miles is likely the most practical frequent flyer program you’ll be booking with, thanks to an abundance of transfer partners.
Here’s the summary of transfer partnerships corresponding to each frequent flyer program:
- Amex Membership Rewards points transfer to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 ratio in 1 business day and almost instantly, respectively.
- Brex Rewards points transfer to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles at a 1:1 ratio in 1 business day.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 ratio in 1 business day.
- Citi ThankYou Points transfer to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly.
- Capital One miles transfer to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 ratio in 36 hours and almost instantly, respectively.
- Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (4 days), American Airlines AAdvantage (2 days), Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (5 days), and British Airways Executive Club (3 days) at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points in a single transaction.
It’s generally very rare to see transfer bonuses with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, but British Airways Executive Club offers transfer bonuses of up to 40% quite often!
In particular, British Airways transfer bonuses are most common with Amex Membership Rewards, followed by Citi and Chase.
When Should You Search for Award Space?
Cathay Pacific first class is an incredibly easy ticket to book if you’re a solo traveler but incredibly difficult to book for 2 travelers.
You can pretty much forget about booking Cathay Pacific first class for more than 2 passengers on the same flight.
Cathay Pacific often releases 1 first class award ticket to partners around 331 days prior to departure. If you don’t see space when you search, there are often 1 or 2 award seats available within 2 weeks of departure.
While first class award space isn’t always the easiest to find, you can sometimes find a single seat if you check back regularly.
Asia Miles has the distinct advantage of receiving access to award space about 12 months prior to departure. Additionally, Asia Miles has access to more award space, making it much easier to book through this program.
If your travel plans aren’t very flexible, Asia Miles could be your best bet for finding first class award space.
What Do You Get With Cathay Pacific First Class?
Let’s talk a bit more about what you get from the Cathay Pacific first class experience.
First Class Lounges
When flying out of or through Cathay Pacific’s hub in Hong Kong, you will have access to several lounges.
The Wing and The Pier provide exclusive access for first class passengers to make the journey even more fun.
The Wing Lounge
The Wing is Cathay Pacific’s flagship lounge where a section is reserved for first class passengers.
You’ll have access to a noodle bar and a coffee bar during your visit. The Wing even has a Champagne bar where you can choose from several types of Champagne. There’s nothing like Champagne and first-class flying!
The Haven, which is the in-lounge restaurant, provides both buffet and à la carte dining with your choice of wine, beer, or liquor. There are also suggested wine pairings that can help you choose.
If you’re tired or just have a long layover, first class passengers have access to 5 cabanas complete with a shower, bathtub, and bed. There are also 12 showers available if you’d like to refresh between flights.
The Pier Lounge
The Pier is another option if you’re looking for a first class lounge where you can relax.
From the noodle bar to the tea lounge, you’ll have a wonderful time before catching a flight.
There are 8 individual day suites if you’d like even more privacy; they even have views of the tarmac so you can have some fun plane spotting.
If you just need a quick shower to refresh, there are 14 shower rooms at your disposal.
First Class Dining
Whether you’re in the mood for noodles at the noodle bar, an à la carte experience paired with wine, or simply a buffet meal, Cathay Pacific will take care of you from the moment you set foot in the lounge.
Once onboard, you’ll enjoy Krug Champagne, an amuse-bouche, and caviar. Not a bad way to start a flight!
The food has received mixed reviews (this is relative to other first class products, of course), but the inflight breakfast is highly regarded.
On those long flights to and from the U.S., it’s nice to have a great breakfast before landing.
First Class Service
First class service differs from what you might find on other airlines. There is a stark contrast between the service in Singapore Airlines Suites class and what you’ll experience with Cathay Pacific.
Both provide excellent service, but they do so in very different ways. While flight attendants on Singapore Airlines are always moving through the cabin to make sure you have everything you need, Cathay Pacific takes a more hands-off approach.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t fantastic though; you just need to use the call button.
While many of us are not accustomed to using the call button, this is how service works on Cathay Pacific. They stay out of your way and keep the first class cabin quiet, but if you need something, they’ll be there instantly and happy to help.
Cathay Pacific first class has earned its reputation as one of the best products in the sky. From a wonderful lounge experience to the inflight service, you won’t regret flying with the airline.
With several ways to earn the necessary miles and a few different ways to book, you can quickly be on your way to a world-class experience in first class.
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