17 Mar Update – Searching Last Minute Cathay Pacific First Class Award Seats
Over the course of the past year, I have been working to book 2 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan partner awards for my wife and I to fly to Tokyo on Cathay Pacific. I knew I needed premium cabin (either Business Class or First Class) since I my wife has previously made perfectly clear her
preference need for lie-flat seats when traveling to Asia.
At the time of booking, there were 2 Business Class seats available – and I pounced! I was able to construct us a very nice itinerary flying Cathay Pacific Business Class JFK-HKG-NRT, showcasing Alaska Airlines very generous award ticket stopover policy to stopover in Hong Kong.
From what I hear, Cathay Pacific long-haul Business class is great! It features 1-2-1 configured reverse herringbone seats, a solid entertainment offering, and an impressive meal service. And yet, I yearn for something more…
Cathay Pacific First Class!
Ever since I booked those Business Class seats I have been actively searching to hop up to a First Class redemption. I mean Business Class is great and all… but wouldn’t you prefer first class!? I knew my best chance was going to be “close-in” (within a week or so), as it is customary for Cathay Pacific to release open First Class seats to partners for award redemptions.
Each passing day brought me closer and closer to the close-in window, and each morning, noon and night I searched the Qantas site for my desired Cathay First availability. Then, it happened!
First Class Seats Available!
YASSSS!!! Exactly a week out from departure, Cathay Pacific made 2 award seats available to partner airlines for the exact flight I already had reserved in Business Class! PERFECT – Qantas is showing 2 seats available – exactly what I need!
Award Seats Are Available! But, will Alaska have access…
As excited as I was about the availability I found on Qantas site, I have been through this before in my previous “test” search. I knew that Alaska Airlines would probably not have full access to both of the award seats found in the above search. With fingers crossed, I dialed up Alaska Airlines and was quickly connected to a friendly representative.
I provided the agent the JFK-HKG flight and was happy to hold while she completed her search. After a minute or two, the agent returned…
The Mixed News
Of the 2 first class award seats I saw on the Qantas website, just one of them was showing as available to Alaska Airlines. I knew that this was very possible outcome that we may encounter, and luckily cleared the issue with my wife ahead of time. We agreed that in the event only one seat was available, we would separate and pay the additional 20k miles to bump one of the award tickets up to First Class, while keeping the other Business Class award ticket.
Now, as far as who will get to sit in First Class and who will be “stuck” in business class – heavy emphasis on the sarcastic air quotes – that is yet to be determined…
My hard work paid off! I had been searching and monitoring that First Class availability for months now and as soon as that week-out/close-in window opened, I was ready to act! I am super pumped that either my wife or I will get to experience Cathay Pacific First Class for the first time!
It’s a bummer that Alaska Airlines did not have the ability to book both award seats that opened up, but I will keep searching these last few days before flight departure, since as of this writing there are still 2 First Class Seats for sale on this flight…
I won’t keep my hopes up to high that another award seat a) opens up to partner airlines and, b) Alaska Airlines can view the award availability and book the ticket, but I’ll be ready to strike just in case!
Have you ever flown Cathay Pacific First Class? What was your favorite part about it?