Flight on 2/23/17 from HKG-LAX on CX 898, 10:15 AM-6:40AM
Originally booked as Business class ticket at 70k AAdvantage miles, with the hopes that First class availability eventually opens up in the next week or so. At booking (night of 2/2/17), Google’s pricing the flight on CX at $6967. The math comes out to a whopping 9.95 cpm, far away and above the avg AAdvantage miles value of 1.5 cpm. (And a 10% refund = 63k miles aka 11cpm!)
The highest offer for a $3k minimum spend from AAdvantage credit card offers 60k miles, so that’s nearly all of it right there.
Since you can’t actually book this flight on the AAdvantage website, I had to call in to make the reservation. The process was simply enough, using the automated program to list my Aadvantage number, origin and destination, date(s) desired (seeing as how this is only a one way ticket). I was then connected to an agent who confirmed my details and she offered me the various flights with availability scheduled for that day, from which I chose my desired flight and seat.
As with most Award bookings, you usually have to pay some taxes and fees, which came out to $79.16. Unfortunately, American Airlines also has a Last Minute Travel fee of $75 for flights booked within 21 days, so that’s a minor bummer.
Fees were paid with my CSR, and with the annual $300 travel credit, the $154.16 will be zeroed out, but not before giving me 3x UR points back first. Sweet.
The best way to search for CX availability is to use their partner websites (excluding AA), so I’ve been tracking British Airlines Avios program to see what availabilities there are. The literature online says CX F seats usually open up within a week of departure if still available (and Google flights says it still is), so I’m hoping I can score that. And AA says there’s no additional fee to pay for upgrade besides the points difference.
I’m really looking forward to trying out the various Cathay Pacific lounges in HKG. There’s 4 lounges for Business/First class customers, with an additional 1 for arriving members, and another 1 for their Cathay Dragon (formerly Dragonair) regional airline. They all open at 5:30am, and I’m already wondering/worrying how I’ll make it into the airport and have enough time to sample them all. And eat everything. Oh dear.
[2/12 edit] – I GOT MY CX F RESERVATION! 40k additional AA miles to book (for a total of 110k). Was only offered a middle seat over the phone (2D), and am hoping to be able to manually change that down the road (I want 1A!), as Google Flights is still offering 5 (of the 6) seats for sale.
I’ve been checking religiously on the daily since I made my initial reservation on 2/3, and read that CX usually opens up some more award seats every Sunday 10:30 PM EST (7:30PM PST/11:30am HKG) for up to the next 2 weeks. Lo and behold, Sunday 7:30pm, 2 award seats opened up, and I made the call to get it done.
Yes, that’s a $13.6k flight as listed, and at 110k miles, that’s 12.4cpm! I think 10% AA credit card refund only caps out at 10k, but still, at 100k miles, that’s 13.65 cpm redemption value. Such value.
While the ticketing agent said everything was confirmed over the phone, I still need to wait 24-48 hours for the confirmation emailed, and the status to change from “requested” to “ticketed,” but all of that was pretty smooth and quick when I did the J (U – award) class ticket earlier. (JK – email with ticketed status received about 30 min after phone call. Z-award class).
The biggest problem when booking on American Airlines, is that they use a different booking code (6 digit alpha) than the rest of their OneWorld Alliance carriers (6 digit alphanumeric). I had trouble looking for the booking code to use on CX for my business class seat, and asked the agent this time around to provide me with the CX booking code in advance, and got that squared away.
I’m so stoked right now.
[Edit] Day After. Call a CX’s general US booking hotline at 1-800-233-2742 for assistance with my seat arrangement. In accessing CX’s online “manage my booking” page, the seat assignment option wasn’t available, so my online research said calling in might be able to help me square that away. That phone number doesn’t have an option for Alliance award redemption, so I just ran through the automated options as if I were purchasing a ticket. It took about 15 minutes on hold (during lunchtime) before I got to talk to someone, and after I explained myself, the agent was able to easily switch my seat over to 1A. Yes!
And out of curiosity, I hopped onto Google Flights again, and saw that there were only 4 seats left for sale. Meaning there’s me and someone else booked for first class. Aka I don’t have it all to myself. Aww. Oh well lol. At least I got the seat I wanted. I’ll probably frame this boarding pass or something lol.
For the LAX-HKG leg, it’s also gotta be a one way ticket, since I’ve already booked a reward ticket for HKG-LAX. Amex offered travel credit on their PRG and Platinum cards that I have, but those had to be had in the form of a GC, and American Airlines GC takes 72 hrs to activate, so… prices went up as I waited. -.-
A one way ticket for the 2/16 12:05am-7:40am flight on CX 881 cost $664.40. I had $300 in AA GC credit (you can booked CX flights from AA website since they’re part of the same Oneworld airline alliance), so I paid $340.40. Which isn’t bad, but knowing that I could’ve had it cheaper makes me sad. Ticket was also booked on my CSR, with the remaining travel credit used against this ticket to again lower the price by almost half.
I was hoping to somehow book on American and use Cathay Pacific (Asia miles) to upgrade the ticket, but the ticket purchased was in L class, and that’s not eligible for miles upgrade. Grr. Now I need to see about changing my FF on the ticket back to AA from CX. A simple phone call should do the trick, I’m told.
So heading over will be the usual affair in the cattle class of cramped space, but returning should be a sweet ride. Should be even better if I can get that upgraded to First class!