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For only 42,500 Alaska Airlines miles one way, you can fly in Cathay Pacific Business Class between Hong Kong and 10 European destinations. These are 13 hour flights in 6’10” long beds on one of the world’s most renowned airlines for just a few miles more than you would expect to pay for economy travel.
Here are some questions this post will answer.
- How do Alaska Airlines miles work and how can you get them?
- Where does Cathay Pacific fly in Europe?
- How good is Cathay Pacific Business Class?
- How can you search for these underpriced awards?
- How can you book these sweet spot awards?
- Which routes have the best award space and what are the award space patterns?
- How are these awards useful for an American?
How Alaska Airlines Miles Work and How to Get Them
Alaska Airlines is not part of any of the three major airline alliances. Instead Alaska Airlines partners with 14 airlines from SkyTeam, oneworld, and outside the three alliances. You can use Alaska miles on any of the following partners:
For each partner, Alaska has a unique award chart for each region. Here is the chart for Cathay Pacific flights booked with Alaska miles between Hong Kong and Europe:
What strikes me is how insanely good of a deal the Business Class awards are on this chart! They are only 12,500 miles more than economy awards on flights that can be as long as 13 hours. For comparison, American charges a bit more in economy and Business Class between Hong Kong (Asia 2) and Europe.
Alaska Airlines miles are extremely easy to get over time.
- The Alaska Airlines personal card earns 25,000 bonus miles upon account opening.
- The Alsaka Airlines business card earns 25,000 bonus miles after first purchase.
Both cards have a $75 annual fee that is NOT waived. You can get both cards over and over every 91+, even without closing previous cards.
You can also transfer SPG Starpoints to Alaska miles at a 1:1 rate with the customary 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.
Where Does Cathay Pacific Fly in Europe?
Cathay Pacific flies or will fly to the following destinations in Europe:
- Moscow (ends June 1, 2015)
- Dusseldorf (begins September 1, 2015)
The westbound flights are slower because they fly into the wind. Several of the destinations in Western Europe are 13 hours or just short of that from Hong Kong.
Cathay Pacific Business Class
Cathay Pacific Business Class is widely considered the nicest or one of the nicest in the world.
The newest iteration of the Business Class looks like it has thought of everything. In addition to “standard” business class offerings, the seat can move forward 11 inches (independent of the recline feature) to make speaking to a companion easier. Your phone can plug into the entertainment system, so you can play your own content over the 15″ TV screen.
But most important are the bed and service.
The 6’10” bed also allows the armrest to be lowered and an extension pops out at arm/hip level to make the bed much wider than most Business Class beds.
Searching These Awards
Cathay Pacific award space is not searchable on alsakaair.com. Search the award space on ba.com; here’s how. Alaska Airlines reps will have access to all the space you find there.
Booking These Awards
Once you find award space on ba.com, note the flight number, date, and cabin and call Alaska Airlines reservations at 800-252-7522 to book the awards. You will pay 42,500 miles per person one way + taxes + $12.50 for booking a partner award + $15 for booking by phone.
The Gimme: Manchester
The best award space I found was to Manchester. There are a lot days with 2 Business Class or 5 Business Class award seats like these four days in early September.
The Moscow route is being cut June 1, presumably for lack of passengers. That usually equates to lots of award space, but I couldn’t find good award space between now and May 31 on the route in Business Class.
Last Minute Award Space
Often Cathay Pacific opens up good award space at the last minute. That varies by route to Europe.
11 Months Out: As usual, the goldmine
The goldmine of Cathay Pacific Business Class award space on most routes (including USA to Asia) is 11 months out. That’s no different between Europe and Hong Kong.
If you want to book these 42,500 mile awards, try to book them 11 months in advance.
Usefulness for Americans
Most readers of the blog live in the United States. Here are some ideas for getting to Hong Kong or Europe as part of a trip that encompasses these cheap awards.
- Since American and Delta eliminated their Round-the-World awards, the most convenient and cheapest way to book RTW trips is as a series of one way awards. These Hong Kong to Europe or Europe to Hong Kong awards for 42,500 miles in one of the world’s nicest Business Classes are unbeatable as part of a RTW award.
- You can fly between Australia or New Zealand and Hong Kong in a fancy First Class for 40,000 United miles one way. You can even get a free hourlong massage as part of the award.
- You can fly between Hong Kong and the United States in Cathay Pacific First Class for 67,500 miles one way. Highly recommended.
- American Airlines charges only 20,000 miles one way between Europe and the United States for seven months out of the year.
Alaska Airlines charges only 42,500 miles one way in Business Class between Europe and Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific Business Class.
Alaska miles are super easy to get.
Award space is excellent 11 months in advance, excellent to Manchester, and excellent on some routes at the last minute.
World travelers will find plenty of uses for these awards as part of larger, perhaps RTW, trips.
Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.