Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 8b – Finding Cathay Pacific Award Availability using Japan Airlines’ Website

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 8b – Finding Cathay Pacific Award Availability using Japan Airlines’ Website

Million Mile SecretsBook American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 8b – Finding Cathay Pacific Award Availability using Japan Airlines’ WebsiteMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Book American Airlines Awards Like a Pro:

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:

  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • New  York
  • San Fransisco
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

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.

If you stay in Europe/Middle East/Africa, sign into your Japan Airlines account , and if you stay in Asia/Oceania, sign in here.

Step 3 – Finding availability from the US to Hong Kong

Click on “JMB Partner Airlines Award Ticket Reservation” on the left side.

Cathay Pacific Award
Step 3 – Click “JMB Partner Airlines Award Ticket Reservation”

Step 4

Enter “Cathay Pacific” under the Partner Airline drop down box.

Select your “Class of Service” – First, Business, or Economy.

Cathay Pacific Award
Step 4 – Enter in your flight details

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.

Cathay Pacific Award
Bingo!  Award seats are available

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.

Cathay Pacific Award
Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur

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.

 

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

88comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

I am trying to use this. However it appears that the JAL site is down until the spring due to system improvements. Are there any other airlines that allow me to use AA miles to travel on Cathay Pacific? Thanks!

Hi,

I am trying to book a round trip first class/business from ord to hkg using aa miles. I have no luck finding open seats. I called aa hotline and no luck. Any ideas? My dates are open

@Jurnus I was told exactly the same thing last night. I saw a CX 1st award that I wanted to snatch up, it showed on both BA and JAL websites, I call AA and they told me that they don’t have the seat to give out only those airlines do. Makes it all the harder to redeem these trips and I am still trying to find my award flight.

I just found a C Pacific First class ticket from LAX to BKK on the JAL website searching for C Pacific award availability. I found one flight in July, called AA to book and they said that they could not find it and book it for me because they “dont have the same availability as the other airlines” I really dont understand this… why would they tell me that ? Thanks.

Thanks so much for this! We were able to redeem three business class tickets for our upcoming trip to Beijing by following this guide. One question I had, we were going to look into last minute 1st class availability as we’ve read Cathay often releases all but one 24-48 hrs before the flight. However, when I log into the JAL site to search for awards, it doesn’t let me see any flight that’s less than four days away. It also seems BA doesn’t accurately show the current availability. Is there a trick to see if Cathay has released seats? I guess I can just routinely call AA and ask if they see any availability on their end.

Thanks!

Load more