Cathay Pacific First & Business Class Trip – Introduction

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I’ve never had a yearning to fly in First Class, it’s not something that’s ever really interested me. I’ve always been of the opinion that Business Class travel is more than enough for my needs and that the extra miles it would cost to fly in First Class could be put to better use elsewhere. This mantra has been with me for a while but it’s taken a bit of a back seat of late thanks to two completely unrelated events.

The first event was British Airways offering up their First Class cabin at a price I couldn’t refuse (hence the reviews of BA First Class on the 747 and BA First Class on the A380) and the second event was American Airlines ramping up the cost of most, if not all, of the great value First Class awards back in March this year.

Before American announced that it was going to increase the cost of some First Class awards by up to 60% my resolve not to fly in the frontmost cabin was pretty strong…but as soon as it became apparent that some of the more aspirational awards (Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Etihad etc…) were going to cost a lot more than they used to, things changed.

I started to look at my AAdvantage balance with new eyes and I decided that, before American ruined everybody’s fun, I was going to book a few First Class awards just to see what all the fuss is about – this could be my last chance!

Booking Cathay Pacific First Class

Being able to split my time between Europe and the US meant that I didn’t have to wait for Cathay Pacific award availability to materialise on some of the tougher routes (e.g. LA or New York to Hong Kong), I had the whole of Europe from which to choose my starting point…and that worked pretty well for me.

Although I had temporarily decided to ditch my “no First Class” policy I hadn’t gone completely nuts so I had no intention of booking Cathay’s First Class product in both directions – I decided I’d fly it from Europe to Hong Kong as that would give me more daylight hours to enjoy the full Cathay Pacific First Class experience.

For the return journey I decided I wanted to try out something completely new…so I started looking for Business Class awards on Cathay Pacific’s new A350.

Cathy Pacific First Class and Business availability out of Europe is pretty good (as long as you’re not trying to fly into or out of the UK) so it didn’t take me long to find what I was looking for.

I found Cathay Pacific First Class awards on the 777-300ER out of Zurich….

cathay-business-zrh-hkg-23-sep

…and, thanks to the fact that I’ve been paying attention to where Cathay is flying its A350, I knew that Hong Kong – Düsseldorf was the route to books for the inbound flight:

cathay-business-zrh-hkg-23-sep

I knew that the awards would be easier to find out of Europe than out of the US but I was still surprised at just how easy it was to find them (it’s what let me to write the blog on Why UK & European Travelers Should Have An Alaska Mileage Plan Account)…but I wasn’t complaining.

Where To Stay

As you can see from the dates, this trip was booked purely to try out and review Cathay Pacific – I was in Hong Kong for a total of 2 days and 1 night (I spent more nights in the air!) – but I still wanted to make sure I got a good hotel review out of the trip too.

My return flight from Hong Kong didn’t leave until 12:50am Hong Kong time this morning (Monday 26 September) so I knew I was going to have to book a Marriott or Hyatt where my status would guarantee me a 4pm check out – that would limit my time in Hong Kong without a room.

As I’m probably not going to requalify for Hyatt Diamond status for next year I thought I’d make the most of my Hyatt status while I have it….. so that left me with the choice of the Grand Hyatt or the Hyatt Regency (if I wanted to stay central).

I was looking to keep costs down so that ruled out a 100% cash booking….

hkg-main-hyatt-choices

….but the cash + points option at the Hyatt Regency looked good….

hyatt-regency-hkg-cash-and-points-rate

…..so that’s what I booked.

Total Cost Of The Trip

  • Cathay Pacific First Class (Zurich to Hong Kong) – 70,000 AAdvantage Miles & $36.90 in taxes & fees
  • Cathay Pacific Business Class (Hong Kong to Düsseldorf) – 52,500 AAdvantage Miles & $21.40 in taxes & fees
  • British Airways flights (Economy Class) from London to Zurich and from Düsseldorf to London – $140

lhr-zrh-dus-lhr-fare

  • Hyatt Regency Hong Kong (1 night) – 7,500 Hyatt Points & $110.

The total cost of the trip was:

  • 122,500 AAdvantage Miles
  • 7,500 Hyatt Gold Passport Points
  • $310 in cash

The Reviews

The whole point of this trip was to get a few reviews out it so this is what you can expect in the coming days/weeks:

Bottom Line

I had a lot of fun over the weekend and, although I’m very jet lagged and not entirely sure where I am or what my name is, I’m really glad I booked this trip – I finally got to try out Cathay Pacific First Class, I got to fly in the Cathay A350 Business Class cabin and I had a couple of days in Hong Kong….what’s not to like? 🙂

Next Up: Connecting at Zurich Airport – A Quick Look

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