It’s funny how I have booked award seats for more than I can count with Cathay Pacific on Business or First Class using miles for other people but never for myself. I always end up flying different airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Asiana or Japan Airlines on routes between Asia and the US.
My upcoming trip to Asia will be with my 2 children and it can be challenge to be able to score 3 award seats on the same flight.
- Seating configuration for reverse herringbone cabin is not exactly convenient when traveling with children because middle seats are separated by a table and low partition which requires you to lean in to check on your kid.
Unfortunately, booking award seats using American Advantage miles to Asia cannot be done online like with flights between US and Europe, however thanks to a dedicated Executive Platinum phone line it has become extremely convenient to book via telephone as you’ll get connected to a customer service agent right away – well technically after prompting your membership number and a few voice commands, but there’s almost always no wait whatsoever.
It’s always helpful to be flexible in your schedule when redeeming miles so I gave the agent a flexibility to find a flight within a 5-day window and preferably an overnight flight, since one leg of the flight to Asia would take at least 11 hours depending on which airline I end up with.
Luckily the agent managed to find 3 seats on a midnight flight with Cathay Pacific. LAX-HKG with Cathay Pacific would be a 15-hour flight non-stop, I can’t imagine flying a day flight with a toddler.
Flying between the US and Asia Region 2 (Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia) would require:
- 37,500 miles in Economy (Main Cabin)
- 70,000 miles in Business Class
- 110,000 miles in First Class
At the end the 3 seats had cost me 210,000 AA miles and USD 163.50 for taxes and fuel surcharges (roughly USD 54.50 per person).
If I were to use Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles for the same seat redemption it would have cost me 145,000 miles per person – double the miles required by AA.
Overall, it pays at the end when you know which frequent flyer program is best for you and understanding the benefits of redeeming with airline partners depending on what type of travel you’d need.