An Asian Holiday: Part 4 – By Air and Sea – Cathay First Class to Hong Kong, Ferry to Macau

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Emily:  Daraius and I celebrated Christmas in Macau and Hong Kong with his family for ~8 days.  It was our 1st time to Macau and Hong Kong and we were very excited to visit!

Cathay First Class

Emily and Daraius in Cathay Pacific First Class

An Asian Holiday – Trip Report Index:

An Asian Holiday Part 4 – By Air and Sea – Cathay First Class to Hong Kong, Ferry to Macau

Daraius booked us on Cathay Pacific from Mumbai to Hong Kong.  We treated Daraius’ family to First Class since we don’t see them that often and had extra American Airlines miles.

How You Can Do It Too!

We redeemed 45,000 American Airlines miles for a 1-way flight in First Class (plus $26 in fees and a $25 telephone booking fee, per person) from Mumbai to Hong Kong.  Coach costs ~$350, Business Class costs ~$935, and First Class costs ~$1,665.  So you are getting a lot of value for your points!

How Many Miles You Need:

  • Coach Class: 22,500 American Airlines miles
  • Business Class: 30,000 American Airline miles
  • First Class: 45,000 American Airlines miles

But you can’t find Cathay Pacific award seats on the American Airlines website.  You have to check for award seats on British Airways’ website and then call American Airlines to book your ticket.

How to Get the Miles:

1.   Citi American Airlines Executive Card

You get 100,000 miles when you spend $10,000 within 3 months using the Citi American Airlines Executive card.   So this is the easiest way to get the points to fly First Class on Cathay Pacific.

Here are 40+ Ways to Complete Minimum Spending to help with the high minimum spending requirement.

2.   Citi American Airlines Cards

The Citi American Airlines Personal card and Citi American Airlines Business card each get you 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 within 3 months.

Note: You are allowed 2 Citi Personal cards within 65 days.  But you can NOT get more than 1 Citi card at a time.  Wait 8 days to apply for a 2nd Citi card.

3.   American Express Starwood Hotel Cards

The American Express Starwood Hotel Personal card and the American Express Starwood Hotel Business card each get you 25,000 Starwood points when you spend $5,000 within 6 months.  Starwood points transfer to American Airlines at a 1:1 ratio. And you’ll also get a 5,000 point bonus each time you transfer 20,000 points to American Airlines.

If you earn the bonus on both cards you will have 60,000 Starwood points (50,000 points from the sign-up bonus + 10,000 points from completing the minimum spending).  You can transfer Starwood hotel points to American Airlines.  60,000 Starwood hotel points transfers to 75,000 American Airlines miles (60,000 miles + 15,000 transfer bonus).

That gets you more than enough for a 1-way First Class ticket on Cathay Pacific, 2 Business Class tickets, or 3 coach class tickets!

Pre-Flight: How Was the Mumbai Airport and Lounge?

Emily:  We stayed in Mumbai with family.  We went to the same restaurants and did the same activities as before, so we’re not writing about them again!  We flew from Mumbai to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific.

We went to the Mumbai airport 2 hours before our departure, which was more than enough time to pass through security and spend a few minutes in the British Airways lounge.

Cathay First Class

Checking Out the British Airways Lounge at Mumbai Airport

Cathay Pacific uses the British Airways lounge for flights from Mumbai.  The British Airways lounge had lots of food, but it seemed stale and wasn’t very appealing.

Cathay First Class

There Were a Few Hot Items but They Weren’t Terribly Appetizing

I opted for packaged foods – Lay’s tomato chips and a chocolate biscuit.

Cathay First Class

I Chose Some Snacks Instead

Daraius’ family used the computers while Daraius did some work, and I ate my snacks.

On the way to the gate we realized that the security check did not stamp Daraius’ carry-on bag, which was required, so we went back to security.

Cathay First Class

Oops!  You Can’t Board the Plane Without Having Your Bags Stamped by Security

Luxury Suites: Cathay Pacific First Class

Our seats (suites) were in the nose of the Boeing 747.

Cathay First Class

Cathay Pacific First Class Was Right Up Front

Daraius and I sat directly across from each other…

Cathay First Class

We’re Very Thankful for This Hobby Because It Brings Us Closer as a Couple and a Family

…but couldn’t see one another unless we got out of our seats.

Cathay First Class

The First Class Seats Gave You Lots of Privacy

The seats were the largest I’ve seen.

Cathay First Class

Emily Found the Seats Very Spacious

Each suite had an extra wide seat that could be laid flat.

Cathay First Class

Lots of Room to Spread Out

There was lots of storage for our belongings.

Cathay First Class

Your Own Personal Closet

There weren’t many people in the First Class cabin.

Cathay First Class

(Almost) the Whole Cabin to Ourselves!

The TV screen extended outwards.

Cathay First Class

The 17 Inch TV Was Fully Adjustable But We Were More Interested in Sleeping

The controls were located next to our seat.

Cathay First Class

Almost Like Being in Our Living Room Except Joelle Isn’t Eating the Plants

There were controls to adjust the seat and for the TV.

Cathay First Class

The Controls Were Easy to Use and Conveniently Located

There was more storage space next to the controls.

Cathay First Class

Daraius Enjoyed Listening to Classical Music With the Headphones

There was 1 outlet to charge your electronics.

Cathay First Class

We Could Keep Our Laptops Charged In-Flight

There were reading lights on each side of the seat.

Cathay First Class

Your Own Reading Lamp and a Pocket for Magazines

There were also fresh flowers.

Cathay First Class

The Fresh Orchids Gave the Seats a Welcoming Feel

The flight left Mumbai at 1:45 am, so we slept as much as we could.  We were given pajamas…

Cathay First Class

The Pajamas and Slippers Were Cozy and Comfortable

…and amenity kits for this short 4.5 hour flight.

I received a women’s Trussardi kit.

Cathay First Class

The Trussardi Amenity Kit Was Nice, but Not as Nice as the One on Etihad

And Daraius was given a men’s Ermenegildo Zegna kit.

Cathay First Class

Daraius Didn’t Own Anything From Ermenegildo Zegna Until Now

There were Aesop brand toiletries in the amenity kits.

Cathay First Class

…But the Amenity Kit Is a Zegna Design!

The flight attendant made my bed before we took off, so that it was faster to go to sleep.

Cathay First Class

Daraius Dreaming of Our Next Meal in Hong Kong

The beds were very roomy.

Cathay First Class

Large Lie Flat Seats Made for a Restful Sleep but Daraius Awoke After a Nightmare That He Somehow Lost All Our Points at the Macau Casino!

While the Cathay Pacific flight was nice, I prefer the service and cabin on Etihad.  I could see Daraius throughout the journey, and it felt like we had our entire suite to ourselves.  Also, the amenity kits and pajamas were given before takeoff so that you could save time changing clothes and get more sleep if needed.

The Business Class seats also looked relaxing.

Cathay First Class

Cathay Pacific’s Business Class Seats Looked Comfortable, Too

The seats also lie flat, but are smaller than the First Class seats.

Cathay First Class

I Liked the First Class Seats Better

We did not eat on this flight because the flight left at ~2:00 am Mumbai time.

Cathay First Class

We Arrived in Hong Kong 1st Thing in the Morning

Ferry to Macau

After arriving in Hong Kong, we purchased our tickets for the ferry to Macau (a 1 hour journey).

Cathay First Class

Thankfully There Were No Lines to Buy a Ferry Ticket

Getting to Macau was very easy since the ferry terminal is located in the airport.  All you have to do is take a few escalators down, and you’re there!

Cathay First Class

It Was Easy to Get to the Ferry Terminal

We were able to buy our tickets quickly at the counter.

Cathay First Class

You Can Buy TurboJet Tickets to Macau or Guangzhou (Canton), China

As a big added bonus, they transfer the luggage for you so that you don’t have to worry about lugging heavy bags on and off the ferry.  Just go straight to the ticket counter (do NOT go through immigration in Hong Kong) and give them your bag tags.  They will transfer the bags to the ferry!

The ferry has 3 classes, but we opted for the cheapest economy class.  The TurboJet ferry costs 246 Hong Kong dollars (slightly more on weekends) or ~$32 per person.

Cathay First Class

You Could Choose Economy Class or Super Class

We got our tickets and were on our way!

Cathay First Class

The Tickets Were Much Like Airline Bag Tags

There was food available if you wanted a snack.

Cathay First Class

Food Cost 36 to 50 Hong Kong Dollars (~$5 to ~$7)

We walked past the temperature check

Cathay First Class

Passengers Are Checked for Fever or Other SARS Symptoms

…and on towards the ferry terminal.

Cathay First Class

At the Ferry Terminal, Ready to Go!

We took a shuttle bus over to the ferry and followed the directions on the signs.

Cathay First Class

There Were Different Ferry Companies Departing the Port

The ferry was huge!

Cathay First Class

The Ferry Was a TriCat Catamaran With ~330 Seats

It was only about an hour ride.  There’s no miles redemption for the Macau ferry!  The inside was very spacious and well maintained.

Cathay First Class

Economy Class Was on the Lower Deck

Cathay First Class

Emily Found the Cabin Tidy and Spacious

There was not much legroom.

Cathay First Class

There Wasn’t a Lot of Room to Stretch Your Legs

There are big windows so you can look outside.  The ferry was all enclosed because it was cold outside at 50 degrees.

I fell asleep for almost the entire boat ride.  When we docked, we walked through immigration and to the baggage claim area.  Everything went very smoothly, but the baggage claim area was crowded and chaotic.

Cathay First Class

Patiently Waiting for Bags to be Offloaded

We took a free shuttle bus to our hotel, the Grand Hyatt in Macao.  There are signs everywhere to direct you.

Cathay First Class

It Was Easy to Tell Which Way to Go

We walked just a few minutes to the shuttle bus transfers, and the signs were well marked.

Cathay First Class

There Were Signs for the Hotel Shuttles

However, there was no sign for the Grand Hyatt.  The Grand Hyatt is located within the City of Dreams.  So we got on the City of Dreams bus, and the Grand Hyatt was the 2nd stop.

Cathay First Class

The City of Dreams Shuttle Stops at 3 Luxury Hotels

The driver helped us get all of our luggage on board the small bus.  And sooon we were at the Grand Hyatt, Macau!

How You Can Do It Too!

We redeemed 45,000 American Airlines miles for a 1-way flight in First Class (plus $26 in fees and a $25 telephone booking fee, per person) from Mumbai to Hong Kong.  Coach costs ~$350, Business Class costs ~$935, and First Class costs ~$1,665.  So you are getting a lot of value for your points!

How Many Miles You Need:

  • Coach Class: 22,500 American Airlines miles
  • Business Class: 30,000 American Airline miles
  • First Class: 45,000 American Airlines miles

But you can’t find Cathay Pacific award seats on the American Airlines website.  You have to check for award seats on British Airways’ website and then call American Airlines to book your ticket.

How to Get the Miles:

1.   Citi American Airlines Executive Card

You get 100,000 miles when you spend $10,000 within 3 months using the Citi American Airlines Executive card.   So this is the easiest way to get the points to fly First Class on Cathay Pacific.

Here are 40+ Ways to Complete Minimum Spending to help with the high minimum spending requirement.

2.   Citi American Airlines Cards

The Citi American Airlines Personal card and Citi American Airlines Business card each get you 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 within 3 months.

Note: You are allowed 2 Citi Personal cards within 65 days.  But you can NOT get more than 1 Citi card at a time.  Wait 8 days to apply for a 2nd Citi card.

3.   American Express Starwood Hotel Cards

The American Express Starwood Hotel Personal card and the American Express Starwood Hotel Business card each get you 25,000 Starwood points when you spend $5,000 within 6 months.  Starwood points transfer to American Airlines at a 1:1 ratio. And you’ll also get a 5,000 point bonus each time you transfer 20,000 points to American Airlines.

If you earn the bonus on both cards you will have 60,000 Starwood points (50,000 points from the sign-up bonus + 10,000 points from completing the minimum spending).  You can transfer Starwood hotel points to American Airlines.  60,000 Starwood hotel points transfers to 75,000 American Airlines miles (60,000 miles + 15,000 transfer bonus).

That gets you more than enough for a 1-way First Class ticket on Cathay Pacific, 2 Business Class tickets, or 3 coach class tickets!

Bottom Line

We enjoyed our flight in Cathay Pacific First Class from Mumbai to Hong Kong.

Because the flight left in the middle of the night, we spent most of the flight sleeping.  The lie flat seats were very comfortable.

Getting from the airport to the Macau ferry was easy and fast.  And the ferry trip only took an hour.

We made up for not eating on the flight by eating our way through Macau over the next couple of days!

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25 Responses to An Asian Holiday: Part 4 – By Air and Sea – Cathay First Class to Hong Kong, Ferry to Macau

  1. Pingback: An Asian Holiday: Part 1 - Using Miles and Points to Get to India And Hong Kong | Million Mile Secrets

  2. Pingback: Etihad First Class | Million Mile Secrets

  3. I’m puzzled… why didn’t you rather redeem 37.5k avios for such a short flight in F?

  4. Nice Post. It was interesting to comapre it to Gary’s post at http://boardingarea.com/viewfromthewing/2014/03/23/vietnam-cambodia-macau-hong-kong-trip-report-turbojet-hong-kong-airport-macau-sheraton-macao-hotel/.

    He booked “Super class” on the Macau ferry, but there was no room at the inn for him at the Grand Hyatt.

  5. I appreciate the info regarding the First Class not allowing you to see any of the other people. This is a concern to me, as I’m thinking of booking First Class tix as a romantic gesture. What other airlines have a 1st or Business Class that would make more sense for a couple traveling together?

  6. Is Cathay retiring the 747’s on that route? We’re flying HKG-BOM later this year and it looks like they’re operated with A330’s with the newer Business Class and no First.

  7. Looks like heaven! I flew their business class and loved it, plus you can sit next to your loved one.

  8. Pingback: An Asian Holiday: Part 5 – A Free Stay in a ~$360 Per Night Suite at the Grand Hyatt Macau | Million Mile Secrets

  9. Pingback: An Asian Holiday: Part 6 – Street Entertainment, Surprise Trip to the Panda Pavilion, and a Historic Walking Tour | Million Mile Secrets

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  11. Darius,

    How did you get into the British Airway Lounges? I wanted to do the same when I fly chicago to hong kong

  12. Pingback: What do to in Macau | Million Mile Secrets

  13. I understand that the ‘bed’ is better – but do you think F is worth the 50% increase in miles if you are not going to eat on the flight?
    Is it a mistake that ‘how you can do it too’ shows up twice?
    Thanks for the report!

  14. @Lantean – More taxes and fees.

    @ Ryan – It depend on the specific plane, but Lufthansa’s First Class and Etihad are very nice.

    @ Matt – They may be since they retired them from Hong Kong to London.

    @ Raymond – Cathay Pacific had an arrangement in Bombay to let business and first class passengers into the British Airways lounge.

    @ phxbne – I wouldn’t book first class again, but it was to treat my family.

  15. Darius,

    Any suggestion to get into lounge without flying business class? I am so excited because I will be flying business class from Chicago to Hong Kong and hopefully they allow me to go to their business class

  16. Pingback: An Asian Holiday: Part 10 – Spectacular View of Hong Kong From Victoria Peak & the Amazing Symphony of Lights | Million Mile Secrets

  17. Pingback: An Asian Holiday: Part 8 – African Chicken, Egg Tarts, and Other Delicacies in Macau | Million Mile Secrets

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  19. Pingback: An Asian Holiday: Part 9 – Our Free Stay at the Conrad Hong Kong | Million Mile Secrets

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  21. Pingback: Cathay Pacific First Class Review | Million Mile Secrets

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