Reader Adam asks,
I’m always using AA miles on CX awards to Hong Kong/ SE Asia. What are other options that may not be obvious? Like, are there possible routes through Europe, or HNL?
Using American miles for Cathay Pacific awards is an outstanding use of points.
- Cathay Pacific has a great product
- The awards are relatively cheap at 55,000 miles one-way for business class and 67,500 miles one-way for first.
In fact, I expect that Asia awards are the most likely to become more expensive when AAdvantage next makes changes to their award chart.
Cathay Pacific First Class Seat
Cathay Pacific Business Class Seat
American’s options from the US to Southeast Asia are more or less limited to flying on American, Cathay Pacific, and Japan Airlines. (Once you’re in Asia you can continue your travels on other carriers including Malaysia Airlines and Sri Lankan.)
That’s because American will not let you fly between two regions (North America and Asia 1 or Asia 2) and connect in a third, separate region, unless there’s an explicit exception.
- You can fly between the US and Hong Kong as well as Southeast Asia (Asia 2) and connect in Asia 1 (e.g. Tokyo on American or Japan Airlines)
- But you cannot do the reverse, connecting in Hong Kong (which is Asia 2) enroute to Tokyo (Asia 1).
- You also cannot connect in separate ‘third regions’ like Europe or the Middle East when flying between the US and Asia.
Honolulu routings are generally permissible, and this is something that many people do in order to get award tickets from the Mainland US to Australia as Hawaiian Airlines does fly there (with seats closer to domestic first class than lie flat business).
Here’s the Ultimate Guide to Constructing an Award Ticket Using American Miles where I go into some depth on the routing restrictions and exceptions that apply.