British Airways No Longer Showing Cathay Pacific Award Space Close to Departure, But It’s Still Bookable

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how Cathay Pacific releases first class award space.


Cathay Pacific First Class

As it stands Cathay Pacific first class awards have gotten much harder to secure from the U.S.

  • With only 6 seats and no more 747s (that had 9 seats), there are just fewer seats to go around.
  • They used to frequently offer 2 award seats per flight early on, now they offer just 1
  • If you want a second seat (or more) you’ll expect to see it only if there are seats left within a week of travel.

Like Singapore Airlines A380 Suites, awards are much easier to get between Europe and Asia than between the US and Asia.

There was a discussion yesterday on Flyertalk about Cathay Pacific’s award availability within 6 days of departure. The worry was it was no longer available to partners. And not just first class, business class also.


Cathay Pacific Business Class

It seems to be, however, that British Airways isn’t showing Cathay Pacific awards within 6 days of departure but the space is there.

Here’s award availability searched via Qantas (American doesn’t show Cathay space on its website). There’s plenty of first class award space for at least one passenger over the next few days.

And there’s also flights with business class award availability as well.

It just doesn’t show up at BA.com. Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles can book it. American AAdvantage can book it. And you can still see the space on the Qantas website.

So don’t expect to use British Airways Avios close-in for Cathay Pacific, at least right now. And don’t rely on the British Airways website for Cathay Pacific award searches within 6 days of travel.

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 InsideFlyer.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. You will soon tee the same for Alaska and other airline partners. SIA will follow in the same footsteps in the coming year.

  2. In the past I’ve seen AA do this: meaning only open up one seat, even when the Premium cabin is mostly empty. It doesn’t make sense to me. Most leisure travelers are going to want to travel as at least a pair. If not a SO, then with a friend or relative. They are also the least likely to be willing to pay full fare prices for Premium cabin seats.

    Who is most likely to pay for that seat? A business traveler, who is also the most likely person to only want a single seat, especially for a last minute booking. So by making most of their award availability a single seat at the last minute, instead of a pair of seats available well in advance, they are cannibalizing their best shot at full fares. And at the same time alienating members of their FF program whose brand loyalty on paid fares is significantly influenced by their ability to use awards for leisure travel.

  3. If requesting a need need from a BA agent, would they be able to manually validate space and book using BA miles?

  4. Gary wrote: “With only 6 seats and no more 747s (that had 9 seats), there are just fewer seats to go around.”

    Well that’s obviously not as true as that statement will have you believe. In comparison, there are triple the amount of CX flights available in the US direct to Hong Kong (plus that JFK-YVR-HKG flight) than in the past when it was only SFO, LAX and JFK with much fewer 744s and 363-600s. Add the amount of flights from JFK and LAX now than in the past, ORD, BOS, (and any other hubs that have yet come to mind), clearly there’s much more.

    Oh am I missing F from YYZ? Well the F was discontinued again and again, yep. lol

    What is less are the (non-earning, unauthorized, socialist) flyers weeded out of the system thanks to the consolidation of the airlines and the devaluation of the FF Mile program/s. Good riddance to them.

  5. Gary wrote: “With only 6 seats and no more 747s (that had 9 seats), there are just fewer seats to go around.”

    Well that’s obviously not as true as that statement will have you believe. In comparison, there are triple the amount of CX flights available in the US direct to Hong Kong (plus that JFK-YVR-HKG flight) than in the past when it was only SFO, LAX and JFK with much fewer 744s and 363-600s. Add the amount of flights from JFK and LAX now than in the past, ORD, BOS, (and any other hubs that have yet come to mind), clearly there’s much more.

    Oh am I missing F from YYZ? Well the F was discontinued again and again, yep. lol

    What is less are the (non-earning, unauthorized, socialist) flyers weeded out of the system thanks to the consolidation of the airlines and the devaluation of the FF Mile program/s. Good riddance to them.

  6. “Socialist”… Melissa, we see right thru you. You are as “conservative”(sic) as Stephen Colbert. Writing frothing at the mouth nonsense, trying to make Conservative values seem insane. You’re not fooling anyone. Go troll somewhere else.

  7. @Gib since the space is available, in theory they should be able to, though I haven’t tried with this Cathay space… largely because I don’t want to deal with BA call center roullette looking for such an agent.

  8. I have noticed that recently BA is indeed not showing much close-in F & J availability. Showing heaps of Economy (coach to most of you) and Premium Ec. These are traps for new players and an absolute waste of miles! You can buy these fares almost anytime on sale for less than the $ value of the miles you would otherwise need to spend, and earn more miles into the bargain!

  9. @Gary

    Great intel, as always!

    Question. If I’m already booked in Biz Class and First becomes available (LAX- HK), can I call AA and have them deduct the difference in AA Miles, or do I need to completely rebook with the full First Class amount of AA Miles?

  10. @Howard~You would be wise to cancel the J fare and book the F fare as a separate transaction, right after the cancellation, if you currently have the miles to do so, or nab the F fare then cancel the J fare.
    What do you mean ‘deduct the difference in AA miles”? You are going to need to stump up more, not less!

  11. @glenn t that’s pretty irresponsible advice.

    @Howard yes, you can upgrade from J to F on an AA award without needing to cancel/rebook and without needing to pay the $150 award cancellation and redeposit fee. As long as the departure and destination points remain the same, just call and ask them to upgrade the current booking from J to F– paying the 40k mile difference.

    Don’t cancel your J award before being confirmed on F. There’s a chance that someone can grab that seat while you’re talking to the agent, and (although unlikely) you are also vulnerable to losing your J flight. Not only that, but canceling your J before booking F will likely result in you paying the $150 award redeposit fee.

  12. @Howard they can make the change and reissue the tickets, they will refund the miles from one award and deduct for the new award at the same time.

  13. Garry outlines how the deal SHOULD work! You will need to get the right person, and that’s just the luck of the draw. Be prepared for HUCA! Good luck.

  14. @Gary thanks for your super streamlined explanation.

    @ Justin thanks so much for the below advice!

    @Howard yes, you can upgrade from J to F on an AA award without needing to cancel/rebook and without needing to pay the $150 award cancellation and redeposit fee. As long as the departure and destination points remain the same, just call and ask them to upgrade the current booking from J to F– paying the 40k mile difference.

    Really makes way more sense to me now.

  15. I flew CX from JFK to MNL a couple months ago. Used AA miles back in Feb to book it, but changed the date around June. I was the only one in First Class. Had the cabin to myself.

    China is bankrupt. Cathay is hurting. They need $$$$$

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