Cathay Pacific First Class award availability is scary good in close…

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Using miles for First Class is certainly a challenge for certain airlines ranging from “impossible” to “you still need some luck”.  For example, I spent a good amount of time studying how Lufthansa opens up its First Class seats so that I could land two seats on their A380 from Frankfurt to Japan.


Given the amount of work and the risk I needed to take on to secure those two seats, I found it refreshing to find better results using a similar approach to book Cathay Pacific First Class for my next international trip.  While it is reasonably difficult to find multiple seat award space well in advance, when you look in close to departure availability is scary good!

It appears Cathay Pacific practically opens up the entire First Class cabin when you come within a few days of travel.  Check out tomorrow’s availability. Grab six of your friends and have a First Class party!

Cathay 1st

“Only 6 reward flight seats left!”

Whether searching out of SFO, LAX, ORD, YVR or JFK, I found lots and lots of space on all routes within a few days of travel.

The bottom line

For an airline that is consistently ranked as one of the top First Class experiences, it is refreshing to see so much space available close in.  I would have no problem scheduling my time for a trip without the flights booked and banking on close in space to open up.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at

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  1. When I searched last summer for two first class seats to HKG from the U.S. on CX I found them for nearly all my flexible dates in the first quarter of 2013. But when I decided to add our grown daughter to the itinerary I figured that AA redemptions for three business class seats would be a better way to use my miles. Still, that proved to be no problem and the 330,000 AAdvantage miles netted out only 320,000 with their credit deal. With equal the miles in Delta Skymiles I had first tried for any business class redemption on them or their Asian partners. I checked for over eight months, figuring if I found them I’d redeposit the AA miles. No dice. Not on any dates, any routes or any Skymiles airline. And yes, I used every trick from KVS to partner sites and one of the paid services. Man, I wish I had more AAdvantage miles than my lowly 200K remaining. Of course I can dispose of my remaining 500k+ Skymiles by just using two or three times the standard redemption amount on a European route.

  2. That’s awesome… especially for emergency trips. My grandparents live in Asia and if by chance an emergency trip is needed, I’ll look into CX to use my AA miles. Do you know how long it takes to book a CX award through AA? One day? Two days? If I see availability for CX F tomorrow, can I call AA right now and get that seat that leaves tomorrow?

  3. “Grab six of your friends and have a First Class party!”

    I nearly lost my coffee, thx 🙂

  4. @Benji You can fly Cathay to Colombo (CMB) Sri lanka and fly to Maldvies about $200 roundtrip from there.

    It’s been a little hard finding Cathay availability besides 330 days out or a week out.

  5. Benji- I just did it. Great trip, but its definitely not the quickest routing. The layover in CMB is pretty rough too.

  6. It doesn’t surprise me that seats open up close to departure. The airline obviously is hoping that someone will come up with the $ to buy those seats. A couple of days before departure, they may as well open up the seats that would otherwise go empty, or be filled with airline employees and other non-revenue passengers.

  7. Yes, I noticed this last summer when I was planning a last minute (2-3 week advance notice) trip, and was traveling mid-week; CX suddenly released a lot of F and C inventory a little more than 2 weeks before departure. Unfortunately it makes it hard when you’re planning in advance (after all, HK can’t just be a last minute weekend trip for fun!)

  8. Anyone has experience with hot seasons like Christmas and New Year’s? Cathay First Class award availability good close-in for those dates, or not?

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