An Asian Holiday: Part 15 – Cathay Pacific First Class from Hong Kong to the US

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

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Daraius Can’t Wait to Hang Out in His First Class Cabin Suite

An Asian Holiday – Trip Report Index:

How You Can Do It Too!

We used 135,000 American Airlines miles to fly Cathay Pacific First Class.  The regular price for a 1-wayFirst Class flight from Hong Kong to Chicago can cost ~$16,173, so this is a great use of American Airlines miles!

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 Etihad.

Here are 40+ Ways to Complete Minimum Spending Requirements!

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.  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 bonus points + 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).

Cathay Pacific First Class From Hong Kong to the US

We were the only 2 in First Class and the purser joked that we could have a dining and living room if we wanted!

Daraius and I had assigned seating in First Class, but we moved to the back seats to be farther away from the galley.  And it meant we could sit next to each other instead of in front of or behind each other.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

I Could Get Used to This!

The cabins looked brand new.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

The Leather Seats Were So Soft and Luxurious

Cathay Pacific pays attention to the details.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Every Suite Had Fresh Flowers

Footstools doubled as chairs for partners who want to sit together.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

You Could Spend Intimate Time With Your Loved One

There were different outlets for your electronics.  I liked that I could charge my computer and my phone at the same time.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Onboard Power So You Can Work or Play

The controls were located near the seat.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

There Were 165 Movies All Within an Easy Reach

There was also a storage compartment next to the controls.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Hmm?  What Should I Put in Here?

The seat included an armchair, which was a nice touch!

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Cathay Pacific Has the Largest First Class Armrests of All the Airlines

We also had fresh flowers.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

The Purple Orchids Added a Touch of Elegance

We were given pajamas…

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

The 100% Organic Cotton Pye Sleep Suit Made Sleeping a Dream!

…and amenity kits for this ~15 hour flight.

I received a women’s Trussardi kit.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Even Though Aesop Is an Australian Company, They Provided the Lip and Hand Cream

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

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Acca Kappa, an Italian Fragrance and Body Care Company, Supplied the Toiletries in Daraius’ Kit

The staff was excellent.  We were the only passengers in First Class, so they said to make ourselves comfortable and use more than one suite if we wanted.

They also took lots of pictures of us, trying different angles to get the best photos.  Throughout the flight, they made sure we had enough water, food, and anything else we wanted.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Emily Doing Her Best Goldilocks Impression: “This Suite Was Too Hard.”

The seats were so large that both of us could fit in one.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Suites Were the Perfect Size for Snuggling

After we took off, Daraius and I ordered lunch.  Because we had so much room we ate separately.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Emily Getting Cozy and Comfy for Lunch

The staff set our tables…

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

I Love Being Pampered, Especially While Flying!

We each received handwritten notes from the staff, which was a nice touch!

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

The Crew Took Their Time to Make Our Flights Memorable With Personal Touches

The menus contained a good selection of food.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

There Were So Many Food Options, It Was Hard to Decide

Daraius wanted an all-fish menu, and ordered caviar and Balik salmon.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Daraius Went Fancy and Ordered the Most Expensive Appetizer

He looked so handsome in his Cathay Pacific pajamas!

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Now If I Can Get Him to Wear These Pajamas Around the House

After his 1st course, he had pork soup with carrots and dried pak choi.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Daraius Wasn’t a Fan of the Soup Because of All the Vegetables

For his entree he had steamed cod with preserved mushrooms, greens, and rice.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Good Thing There Was a Big Bowl of Rice Because the Cod was Really Small

Daraius chose the double boiled papaya soup for dessert.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

The Soup Wasn’t as Sweet as Daraius Thought It Would be

I had a delicious beet salad and fettucini with tomato sauce and ripe tomatoes.  The fettucini was made from scratch.  Because of the cooking lesson on our anniversary trip to Italy, I could really taste the difference between packaged and freshly made noodles!

Then the attendants made my bed, complete with 2 pillows and a down comforter big enough to cover me.  The seat was so large I could stretch out and relax.

It was such a nice treat to be in First Class on an airline I had always heard such good things about!  These are the moments in life I’m thankful for, even if they happen once.

After napping for a few hours, I had a fig cake and ice cream snack.  The fig cake was amazing and tasted like it just came out of the oven.  The flight attendant said that it would take ~15 minutes to prepare, so I suspect that it was freshly made.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

Dessert Made to Order – It Doesn’t Get Better Than This

After a few hours, I had Chinese egg tarts and cheese.  The egg tarts were also amazing!!!

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

I Was Very Impressed With How Good the Food Was!

Both were very delicious, but I preferred the egg tarts.  Although, the cheese helped neutralize the sweetness of the tarts and made a good pairing.  I had a pot of Chinese jasmine tea.

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

A Spoon Full of Sugar

Still being in the festive spirit, I watched Home Alone, a movie I hadn’t seen in many years.  It was so fun to watch and brought back happy memories of seeing it as a kid.  The best part of the flight was that Daraius and I were able to sit together and watch the movie!

Cathay Pacific First Class Review

We Decided Not to Watch Reality TV

For my pre-flight snack, I had the bakery basket with a muffin, croissant, and a strawberry pastry.  They were served with honey, jam, and butter.

I loved the muffin, which tasted like jasmine or green tea.  I also ordered a bowl of fruit and a delicious fresh guava smoothie.

Soon, it was time for landing so we packed up our things.  We breezed through Customs and Immigration and went to the American Airlines Lounge.

Being in the American Airlines lounge reminded me how different the service is in US lounges as opposed to foreign airlines lounges!

How You Can Do It Too!

We used 135,000 American Airlines miles to fly Cathay Pacific First Class.  The regular price for a 1-way First Class flight from Hong Kong to Chicago can cost ~$16,173, so this is a great use of American Airlines miles!

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 Etihad.

Here are 40+ Ways to Complete Minimum Spending Requirements!

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.  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 bonus points + 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).

Bottom Line

Cathay Pacific First Class was a wonderful experience.  We had outstanding service and were treated like a king and queen.

It might have helped that we were the only First Class passengers, but I’d like to think they treat everyone royally.   The pajamas were so comfortable I didn’t want to take them off.

The food was Daraius’ favorite part of the flight!  I preferred the large seat.

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These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

36 Responses to An Asian Holiday: Part 15 – Cathay Pacific First Class from Hong Kong to the US

  1. Daraius & Emily,

    Thanks for sharing your experience! In 2012, my husband and I flew from LAX to Hong Kong and Bangkok (and back) on Cathay Pacific in business class. This was my only experience not being in the back of the plane, and it was a wonderful treat! We were so impressed with Cathay Pacific that my husband wants to fly in first or business class all the time, but we have tried to stretch the miles by flying in economy or coach on our other trips. Your pictures remind me of our special trip, and I love reading about your adventures!

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  10. In 2013 we flew from SFO-HKG-BKK and then from BKK-HKG-ORD on Cathay Pacific in First Class (business from HKG-BKK because there was not a 1st class cabin). On our flights we had other First Class passengers around us; however, we were still treated like kings. The flight attendants ensured that we were comfortable and well fed the entire trip. My other favorite perk is that the First Class-only bathroom on the 747 from SFO-HKG had two windows, and that on all the trips anytime a passenger used the lavatory, they immediately went in and cleaned the lavatory for the next passenger (every single time!). It’s been the best traveling experience we’ve ever had.

  11. Lord Advantine

    $124,000? Now that is a real exaggeration on your part.

  12. “The regular price for a 1-way First Class flight from Hong Kong to Chicago can cost ~$124,000, ”

    Am I reading that correctly or was that a typo? $124,000 seems a little exorbitant…

  13. Loved this post! Now I wanna fly Cathay Pacific.

  14. @R. Miller @Seth – We travel in coach within the US so that we can save miles for these type of special trips. Cathay if well worth it!

    @Brandon – That’s a typo and has been fixed. Thanks!

    @Lively – It was a great experience!

  15. D – I’m exactly like you with regards to food. Who the heck has time for rabbit food vegetables when there’s gourmet fish and beef to be had on board!! Besides, you have to save room for all the Krug champagne.

    I flew business class ORD-HKG. Was treated like a king in business, so I can only imagine the level of service in first. Thanks for sharing what looked like a wonderful experience.

  16. Daraius & Emily, glad you guys were able to experience the excellence of CX F. I had the pleasure of CX F in 2010, YYZ-HKG and back. My experience mirrored yours exactly. Few years later I flew CX J transcon, it was great but nothing like F. That extra 25,000 RT is well worth the difference imho. CX F arrival and departure lounges in HKG are amazing as well.

  17. @Daraius I know in the past you’ve gotten a little more out of your travel experience by informing hotels about a special occasion. Who do you try to contact, the general manager or concierge? Also, what sort of time frame do you use, several weeks before arrival or the week before? We’re traveling for our 10th anniversary on June 1st, and I wonder if trying to contact them too early will lead to whatever the hotel had planned getting forgotten. I have status in the hotels we plan to stay in, so I’m really just hoping that mentioning a special occasion will result in an upgrade I normally could get, without having to haggle with the front desk.

  18. About those pajamas – is there any privacy changing in or out of them?

  19. It’s 135,000 miles for a RT award on CX, but you only list the one-way price. What is the RT price? Were you allowed to keep the jammies?

  20. I have a question – We can purchase miles from AA’s website and if i buy 80k miles (with 26k miles bonus) with a cost $2200. Can i use these miles for Cathay Pacific first class too?

  21. @Joe – I usually write to the GM. I usually write as soon as I’ve locked in my dates and then confirm about 2 weeks prior.

    @David – You can change in the bathroom,

    @ Ken – I list the one-way price because that is what we paid. Double the 1-way price to get the round-trip price.

    @Frank – You sure can!

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  27. Hi Daraius, I have really enjoyed your trip report! I have a question I was turned down for the Citi 100,000 mile credit card and am wondering how to handle the reconsideration call. I already have the two Citi Advantage cards (but not this one) and don’t know if that is the problem. My credit score is about 800. It’s been 6 months since my last apps where I applied for 4 cards and was granted all but one with Barclay. What is my best route to take with the call? Thanks

  28. Hi Daraius, it’s always nice seeing you and Emily enjoying these fabulous & free trips! I am planning to apply some citi cards but got a little confused regarding the application windows. As I understand, I could apply one personal card today(say HH), then another personal one (AA exe) around mid May, then wait until early June and apply for a AA buz(would be 65 days away from my initial application), and maybe citi reserve mid July (would be 65 days away from my second application). Would that make sense or too aggressive? By the way, do you think AA buz is still churnable? I applied it last May and just closed it, expecting to reapply after 60 days but are seeing many many failures…thanks in advance!

  29. @Joy – If you were denied for having 2 Citi cards within 65 days, there isn’t much you can do. Otherwise, I’d call and explain why you want the card. And even offer to close an existing card to get approved.

    @ Michelle – That should be fine. I’d apply for the most lucrative card i.e. the Citi Executive card 1st and then the other cards. I’ve heard many folks unable to get another version of the biz, but your experience could be different. Good luck!

  30. Thank you very much for you reply Daraius! The reason that I cannot apply for AA exe now is that I expect to have big spendings after July, which would make it easier to acheive the spending limit. So you think my understanding of citi’s rule is correct, right? Would it sound very risky that I should probably cut one application to make it easier for the rest of the cards?

  31. FYI, I have very good credit score and have not applied any cards since last November. Currently have two citi AA personals and am about to close my buz card. Please feel free to provide any comments!

  32. Hi Daraius,

    Is the CX flight you took from HKG to which US city? Is it a 777 or 747 flight? I will take CX F this summer and I hope I’ll be taking the new F as you did. The leather seat looks great. When I took CX F HKG-SFO in 2012, it wasn’t renovated.

    – Chris

  33. @Chris – It was a 777 to Chicago.

  34. Note – Just booked my wife and I in Cathay first for 160k miles each – that’s all it it takes roundtrip with USAir miles! – PHL-ORD-HKG-DPS and returning DPS-HKG-LAX-PHL. $111 total in taxes. Can’t wait. Love reading about what we’re in for.

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  36. HI Daraius,

    Loved your blog. I am about to book a flight on Cathay too. One questions, when you said you used 135k miles to get the first class, did you mean each person?

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