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Book American Airlines Awards Like a Pro:
- Part 1 – Introduction
- Part 2 – Types of Awards & Charts
- Part 3 – How Much Will My Award Cost?
- Part 4 – One-way, Openjaws, Stopovers, & North American Gateway Cities
- Part 5 – American Airlines, Alaska Airlines & Hawaiian Airlines for North American awards
- Part 6 – International Award Routes
- Part 7 – Finding British Airways Award Availability
- Part 8 – Finding Cathay Pacific Award Availability using the British Airways website
- Part 8b – Finding Cathay Pacific Award Availability using Japan Airlines’ Website
- Part 9 – Finding Iberia (& European) Award Availability using the Qantas Website
- Part 10 – Finding LAN & South American Award Availability
- Part 11 – Finding Air Tahiti Nui Awards to France & French Polynesia with FlightStats
- Part 11b – Finding Air Tahiti Nui Awards to France & French Polynesia with ExpertFlyer
In yesterday’s post, Gary Leff, who has redeemed more than 100 million miles worth of awards, Phil & Arizona Guy commented that the Japan Airlines website may be easier to use than the British Airways website.
So here’s a post on how to use the Japan Airlines website to find Cathay Pacific award availability. Thanks, Gary, Arizona Guy & Phil!
The easiest free way to check Cathay Pacific award availability is by using the Japan Airlines website to check Cathay Pacific award availability.
You can also check the Cathay Pacific website itself for award availability, but it may show you award seats which cannot be booked by partner airlines such as American Airlines. That’s why I prefer checking the website of a partner airline such as Japan Airlines and then calling American Airlines to make the booking.
However, occasionally the Japan Airlines website will show Cathay Pacific availability which can’t be booked by American Airlines, so double check by using the British Airways website as well.
Cathay Pacific is one of the nicest airlines in the world, and is a great way to spend your American Airlines miles.
Using Cathay Pacific to fly from the US to Hong Kong makes it much easier to get to Asia using American Airline miles because not only can you fly on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong, but you could then connect to other Cathay Pacific flights (including its Dragon Air subsidiary) to get to other destinations in Asia.
You can also fly on American Airlines or Japan Airlines to Japan and then connect on either Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong and from Hong Kong to other Asian destinations.
Japan Airlines Award Website quirks
The Japan Airline is a bit quirky in that the website isn’t easy to navigate for the 1st few times.
You also have to apply for a free Japan Airlines Membership Bank account and then search for award flights.
Cathay Pacific Departure Cities
Cathay Pacific flies to Hong Kong from the following North American cities:
- Los Angeles
- New York
- San Fransisco
Here’s a link to the Cathay Pacific route map.
How to find Cathay Pacific Award availability
Let’s say I want to find 1 seat from Nashville, TN to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on October 16, 2012 in First Class.
I can search on AA.com, but it won’t show Cathay Pacific award availability, and will prompt me to call the reservation department.
So I break up my flight into segments. I’ll first look for award availability from:
- The US to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific using the British Airways website
- Then Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur on Cathay Pacific using the British Airways website
- Finally the award from Nashville to the US departure city of my Cathay Pacific international flight on AA.com
All these segments will cost me a flat-rate of 67,500 miles for a 1-way First Class award, 55,000 miles in business class, and 35,000 miles in economy using American Airlines miles because American Airlines doesn’t charge by segment.
Step 1 – Signing up for a Japan Airlines Membership Bank account
Sign up for a free Japan Airlines Membership Bank account. Be sure to click the “Americas” or region where you live to get to the right form.
Step 2 – Log into your Japan Airlines Membership Bank account
If you stay in the Americas, sign into your Japan Airlines account here with your membership number and PIN.
Step 3 – Finding availability from the US to Hong Kong
Click on “JMB Partner Airlines Award Ticket Reservation” on the left side.
Enter “Cathay Pacific” under the Partner Airline drop down box.
Select your “Class of Service” – First, Business, or Economy.
Select your Departure and Arrival cities and the date of travel.
Your departure cities should be either Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Fransisco, Toronto or Vancouver if you’re searching for a flight to Hong Kong from the US.
Click on “Next”
Step 5 – Viewing the results
We soon see the results and find 1 seat from Los Angeles to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific flight 0883.
So instead of relying on the American Airlines agent to find this flight for you, you can feed this specific flight to the agent to book.
At this point, write down the flight details. For example, I’d write down:
CX 0883 from Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG) departing at 23:50 on October 16 and arriving in Hong Kong on October 18 at 5:40 am in First Class
Segment 2 – Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur
Repeat steps 4 & 5 to find award availability from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur.
Actually, the Japan Airlines website seems to be smart enough to find award flights from Los Angeles to Kulala Lumpur, Malaysia without having to search segment by segment. But I still like to search segment by segment.
I’d write down my flights and then ask the American Airlines agent to book the sequence of flights for me.
Taxes and Fees
Booking a Cathay Pacific award using American Airlines miles is very cheap. For example, it costs only $2.50 in taxes and fees for an award ticket from Los Angeles to Hong Kong in First Class on Cathay Pacific.
And $35.50 for the return flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in First Class.
You’ll have to pay a $25 telephone booking fee, but it is totally worth that fee to get access to partner airlines.
Calling American Airlines to make the booking
I’d then call American Airlines (1-800-433-7300) and ask them to put on hold (for up to 5 days) these specific flights which I found.
Bottom Line: The Japan Airlines website is great for searching for award seats on Cathay Pacific quickly. Write down the flight numbers and information and call American Airlines to book the flight.