Cathay Pacific’s New A350 Route: Vancouver to Hong Kong (With Lots of Business Class Award Space)

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Cathay Pacific will begin a new route between Vancouver and Hong Kong on March 28, 2017 flying an Airbus A350. The A350 will depart Vancouver and Hong Kong on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays mornings.

These are not Cathay Pacific’s only flights between Vancouver and Hong Kong, but the first on the airline’s new A350 (and the airline’s first A350 flight to North America to boot). The A350 features 38 fully flat bed Business Class, 28 premium economy, and 214 economy seats.

Here is the layout of Business Class. As you can see, every seat has aisle access. The seats have 45 inches of pitch, are 75 inches long in bed mode, and are 20 inches wide.

According to One Mile at a Time, it will be the first plane in Cathay Pacific’s fleet to have wifi.

While the A350’s Business Class is not a huge upgrade, it is better than the standard Business Class on Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777s that fly most of its routes–and that’s already a high quality product.

Cathay Pacific Business on a 777
Cathay Pacific Business on a 777

Reader Steve H. recently took a flight in Business Class on Cathay Pacific’s new A350 between Hong Kong and Bangkok, and was kind enough to share some pictures and insight from his experience.

Business Class seat on the new A350, courtesy of Steve H.
Business Class seat on the new A350, courtesy of Steve H.

He mentioned the seat being slightly nicer than the 777, but said real stand out was the improvement of the in-flight entertainment system.

The new A350 features bigger screens than the 777. Picture courtesy of Steve H.
The new A350 features bigger screens than the 777. Picture courtesy of Steve H.
Entertainment system remote on the new A350, courtesy of Steve H.
Entertainment system remote on the new A350, courtesy of Steve H.

Steve H. told me, “The in flight system is a real upgrade, you can have things on dual screens. You can also do duty free shopping and they just bring it to seat after you order…much faster response.”

Best Miles to Book

Alaska 

The cheapest way to book Cathay Pacific Business Class to Hong Kong is with Alaska miles. It will cost 50,000 miles one way Vancouver to Hong Kong. You can stopover in Hong Kong for free (even on one way awards) and continue on to anywhere that Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon flies from Hong Kong within Southeast Asia without changing the price of the award.

Destinations of Cathay Pacific from HKG airport
Destinations of Cathay Pacific from HKG airport

You can also add a saver level Alaska flight from Seattle or Portland to Vancouver without changing the price of the award.

American Airlines

It costs significantly more American Airlines miles to fly Cathay Pacific Business Class to Southeast Asia from Canada: 70,000. You also don’t get a free stopover like you do with Alaska miles.

From Hong Kong you can connect to anywhere Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Malaysia Airlines, Sri Lanka Airlines, or Jet Airways flies to from Hong Kong within Southeast Asia without changing the price of the award.

Here are those airlines destinations from Hong Kong’s airport.

Destinations of Cathay Pacific + Cathay Dragon from HKG airport

 

 

You can add an American or Alaska Airlines saver level flight from your hometown to Vancouver without changing the price of the award** (American flies between Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Dallas to Vancouver, and Alaska flies to Seattle and Portland).

**If you add a saver level flight from your American city to Vancouver, make sure the agent prices it as one and not two separate awards. It should cost 70k one way since it’s an international award and Vancouver is in North America, not 87,500 (the cost of one economy saver level award between the United States and Canada, 15,000, plus 72,500, the cost of one Business saver level award between Canada and Asia 2). The first American Airlines agent I called to price out the award did this, but the next two I spoke with priced it correctly.

Award Space

You cannot find Cathay Pacific award space on aa.com. Search ba.com instead.

I looked through all the days of November, a good time of year to travel to Hong Kong for temperate weather, on which the new A350 will fly Vancouver to Hong Kong. More than half of them had Business Class seats available for two travelers and the other half for one. 

Here’s a homemade calendar to show you what I found by hand. Days with a blue star have two Business Class seats and a days with a yellow star have one.

November

There’s even more Business Class space flying the 777 to Hong Kong. Tons of it, from what I saw on ba.com–many of the days had flights with up to five Business Class seats open, like this one.

How to Get the Miles

Alaska Miles

SPG points transfer 1:1 to Alaska miles, and both of the Amex SPG cards (personal and business) come with 25k bonuses (for spending $3k and $5k in three months, respectively).

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature cards (personal and business) each come with 30,000 Alaska miles after meeting a $1k spending requirement and paying the $75 annual fee.

You can also buy Alaska miles, sometimes with pretty decent discounts.

American Airlines Miles

For a limited time, the Citi /AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard and the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard are both offering 50k bonus miles for spending $3,000 on each card within three months of opening it. The new Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard is offering 40k bonus American Airlines miles after just one purchase and paying the annual fee of $95. You can sign up for all three in the same nine day period (you can be approved for no more than one Citi card in an eight day period) and earn at least 146k American Airlines miles within three months after meeting the bonus requirements.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

Bottom Line

Cathay Pacific’s new A30 begins a Vancouver <> Hong Kong route at the end of March. It’s a fantastic product and Business Class space is plentiful on all the days I checked in November. Alaska miles are the cheapest way to book Cathay Pacific’s new route.


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