Amazing Cathay Pacific awards just got easier to search and book

Great news if you want to fly some of the best airline products in the world! American Airlines just added Cathay Pacific award availability to its website. For the first time, you can search and book Cathay Pacific Awards right on AA.com.

Before now, Cathay Pacific award availability was hard to search and book — award availability only appeared on British Airways and Qantas websites, where you’d have to search day-by-day to find and confirm availability. Then, you’d need to call American Airlines AAdvantage — or Alaska’s Mileage Plan — to book these awards. This makes it much easier to book Cathay awards with AAdvantage miles without having to even pick up the phone.

Note that this award availability only is appearing on the old American Airlines award searching tool. So, you’ll want to start your award search here.

With this addition, there are now 17 partners that can be booked through AA.com — with almost all of them having been added in the last two years:

Let’s recap some of the great awards you can book:

Cathay Pacific first class

One of the top first class products in the world is Cathay Pacific first class. The product finished third in the initial TPG Awards rankings with 85 points — behind Emirates (93 points) and Etihad Apartment (88 points), but ahead of Singapore Suites (82) and Lufthansa (80).

Cathay Pacific First Class
Cathay Pacific first class on a 777-300ER. (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy)

You can book Cathay Pacific first class for 110,000 AAdvantage miles between the US and AAdvantage’s Asia Region 2 — which includes Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. You can also fly through Hong Kong to the Indian subcontinent (including the Maldives) for 115,000 American Airlines miles.

Note that there’s a cheaper way to book Cathay Pacific first class awards: Alaska Mileage Plan charges just 70,000 miles one-way between the US and Asia. Plus, you can add a stopover in Hong Kong on your way to your final destination. But with Alaska awards, you do have to call Alaska — you can’t book Cathay awards via Alaska’s website.

Checking Cathay Pacific’s route from New York City to Hong Kong, there are still a ton of dates with award availability — almost a week after we alerted readers to this space:

Cathay Pacific business class

For years, Cathay Pacific business class was regarded as one of the best business class products in the world. While it’s still solid, other airlines — like Qatar — have leapfrogged Cathay Pacific. That said, it’s still one of the best ways to get between the US and Asia.

The Cathay Pacific A350-1000 business class cabin. (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy)
The Cathay Pacific A350-1000 business class cabin. (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy)

You can book Cathay Pacific business class for 70,000 AAdvantage miles between the US and AAdvantage’s Asia Region 2 or the Indian subcontinent. As with Cathay first, you can also book these award flights for cheaper through Alaska Mileage Plan by calling Alaska, with awards costing just 50,000 miles each way — with the option to include a free stopover even on one-way awards.

There’s award availability every single day from mid-April to mid-May between New York City to Hong Kong, which is likely to still be part of the large award space opening last week:

Cathay Pacific economy class

If you don’t have enough miles to fly business or first, Cathay Pacific economy is one of the best international economy products I’ve flown. Although the airline is retrofitting regional Boeing 777s to cram in more seats, there’s still plenty of legroom and seat width on its long-haul aircraft.

You can book Cathay Pacific economy from the US mainland to Asia region 2 for 37,500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles each way, and award availability is wide open:

Unfortunately, American Airlines AAdvantage hasn’t added premium economy partner awards. So, there’s no way to book Cathay Pacific premium economy awards through AA at this time.

Thick seat padding and footrests, but no legrests on the 777.
Cathay Pacific 777-300ER premium economy seats (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy.)

Testing an AAdvantage award booking

It’s already a huge step to have award availability showing on AA.com, but I wanted to test to see if the award availability was actually booking through the website:

Unlike Etihad award availability, the award availability prices out:

Since I have American Airlines Executive Platinum elite status and can cancel awards for free, I went ahead and booked it

And the award ticketed in just a few minutes:

This new easy way of searching and booking Cathay Pacific awards is a mixed blessing. It certainly provides an incredibly easy way of searching months of award availability at a time, reducing wasted time searching British Airways or Qantas website for award availability.

The flip side is that this ease of searching and booking will sharply increase the competition for Cathay Pacific awards. While there’s wide open award availability on the route from New York to Hong Kong now, that’s not always the case. And now it’s going to get even harder for those who were willing to put in the extra effort to find award availability through the old means to find award availability.