Cathay Pacific Business Class, Bangkok – Hong Kong and Marriott SkyCity Hong Kong: “Burn Avios, Burn” Cathay Pacific First Class and Amazing Conrad Suites

Index:

Having bid our complimentary Bangkok Flight Services escort (thanks, Bangkok Airways!) adieu at the transfer desk, we walked around the corner to the Cathay Pacific “First and Business Class lounge.”

We were originally supposed to be first class passengers on our flight to Hong Kong, but first the aircraft was downgauged and then the flight was later cancelled. We were moved up to an earlier flight, causing a fairly tight connection from our domestic segment on a separate ticket… a flight which itself was delayed. Still, the Bangkok airport is pretty easy and I’ve never seen much backup at transfer security. We had already cleared immigration at Koh Samui. So we’d have been more than fine on our own. The transfer across the tarmac was a nice touch, though!

Once inside the lounge we only had about 20 minutes to wait until boarding. I confirmed that our bags were re-tagged to Chicago the next day and that we wouldn’t have to collect them in Hong Kong. Then we had a seat.

The lounge itself is pretty basic, there are drinks and packaged snacks, some pad thai and dim sum which didn’t look especially appetizing (not bad, and I’d kill for it in a US domestic lounge, but nothing compared to what we’d been eating). And there’s no restroom inside the lounge. I couldn’t manage to connect to the internet, either. The lounge was serviceable but not a place I would want to spend several hours.

Fortunately we weren’t there long, and in no time we headed over to our gate where the flight was already boarding. We squeezed past hordes of folks over to the business class line which had no one waiting, and we had a seat in the regional business class configured cabin, recliner-style seats with decent enough though not terrific pitch.

Flight attendants were scurrying about offering pre-departure beverages, and I must say that for short-haul business class — and as a pre-departure offering, even — Billecart-Salmon is perfectly consumable champagne.

An on-time takeoff, menus were distributed.

    REFRESHMENT

    Starter
    Pomelo with jumbo prawns salad

    Main Courses
    Northern Thai chicken curry with steamed jasmine rice, kalian and carrots

    Roasted barbecue pork neck with egg fried rice, pak choy, carrots and mushroom

    Ice cream

    Tea and coffee

    Pralines

My wife had the chicken:

And I had the pork:

By the way, this is why I don’t write trip reports on my of my travels. Short-haul is usually pretty uneventful, as this flight was. We landed on-time. Nothing especially interesting happened other than that we ate a small meal, the flight was short so I read a little bit and that was the end.

We disembarked and made the long walk towards immigration, line was relatively quick, and once in the arrivals hall we headed towards the hotel desks. It was after 8pm, we had an 11am flight the next day, so I had decided to stay at the Marriott SkyCity just off the airport grounds.

I’m not a Marriott regular, I have no status currently with the chain, I’ve had Gold on a couple of occasions through promos but I’ve never earned more than silver. Still, I do occasionally frequent the Renaissance Boca Raton since it’s the closest hotel to some family. And I always register for promos. Over the summer when I was in Boca, staying at the hotel, I wound up booking my in-laws into a SpringHill Suites while logged into my account. And oddly enough that stay credited to my account. Most importantly, it counted as my second stay in the MegaBonus two stays earns a free night up to category 4 promotion. And the SkyCity Marriott is category 4. So the stay would be free…

We presented ourselves at the Marriott hotel desk, they asked us which Marriott we were staying at, and asked us to have a seat while a car was secured. The Marriott offers a shuttle, but as the only passengers we were taken down to a waiting van which drove just the two of us to the hotel. We were there in a matter of minutes.

I was immediately struck that this must be the second nicest airport hotel I’ve ever been in. (I still believe the best is the Intercontinental O’Hare which I reviewed back in February.)

I was greeted immediately at the check-in desk, I handed over my passport and credit card (the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which I was using for its no foreign currency transaction fees although I didn’t plan to have any charges to the room, drew a gasp and a comment from the woman at the desk “this is a really nice card” — it may not get me dates as it apparently does for Ben, though my wife likely appreciates that!, but it’s not an uncommon reaction).

I was given a room down a very long corridor with a direct view of roadway but golf course and the airport off to one side and with a bit of fog obscuring the water.

The carpet was very blue but otherwise the room was nice — comfortable bed, complimentary internet and bottled water, Aromatherapy Associates bath amenities — oddly enough these were the same amenities that we had found in the spa at the Conrad Koh Samui!

Not having been online since leaving the Conrad nearly about 7.5 hours earlier, I caught up on a bit of work and then went to bed. In the morning after a quick shower it was time to head over to the airport, I figured I might as well have a bit of breakfast in the Wing rather than at the hotel (remember, I have no status with Marriott!).

First explored the hotel a bit, here are a few photos of the lobby.

And then we walked outside for the shuttle back to the airport. Only there was a long line. A VERY long line, way too many people for the minibus waiting by the curb. That first shuttle loaded up and a minute later they pulled around a bus. It took a bit of time to load everyone’s bags underneath, but we got onboard. And we waited. It seemed that in the time it took for the bus to come along and get loaded, people began to trickle down for the next shuttle (supposed to depart every 30 minutes) and those folks wanted to get onto our bus. So one would put their bags underneath and board, by which time another person had appeared hoping to do the same. This happened about four times. Fortunately I had plenty of time to catch my flight, though I had been thinking it would have been simpler to have just caught a cab over to the airport.

The ride itself took just a couple of minutes and we arrived at the terminal.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary ┬╗

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  1. Gary,

    It’s a little late for me to ask this question (already burned my Adios points, and don’t think I can change destinations without paying out the nose with points I don’t have), but:

    The wife and I are also doing the BKK-HKG-xxx-WAS thing next year. When I looked at the flight schedules, if xxx is ORD, you have a forced overnight in HKG. Or, you can pick JFK instead, and force the overnight at JFK. The only difference for us is that we’re heading on to IAD whereas you’re probably heading back to DCA.

    Given the choices of an ORD or JFK routing, which would you pick, and why? We picked JFK because B6 is a pretty decent option to get back to IAD, and fares on UA from ORD are somewhat higher. And, there’s something to be said about just being able to get back to the US in one swoop. The only downside is that JFK hotels all seem to suck.

  2. Oh, should have also added:

    Connecting in ORD on the same day would be two separate tickets, and we’d run the risk of missing our connecting unless we booked a long layover. It made more sense to just split the trip at JFK, as our ultimate destination the first night is the hotel, reducing the chance of a delay causing us to miss our connection.

  3. I am doing BKK-HKG-LAX-IAD on cathay and AA next year, no overnight layovers necessary. Leave BKK at 8 AM, 55 minute layover in HKG, 3.5 hour layover in LAX, land at IAD at 10:40 PM the same day.

  4. “it may not get me dates as it apparently does for Ben” LOL. BTW Marriott SkyCity looks pretty good. Might use it the next time.

  5. @Gary

    By the looks of the Conrad Koh Samui I can’t blame you. My wife and I are going to be spending 5 nights there on our trip. In order to maximize our time there we are spending the last night in Bangkok before catching the 8 AM departure!

    Thanks so much for your trip report. It has gotten us really excited for our trip! Only 250+ days to go!

  6. I booked an award night at the Marriott SkyCity in September and was equally impressed; given I was expecting a somewhat dodgy airport hotel but was pleasantly surprised – highly recommend it (I had/have no status either).

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