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Over the past year American Airlines has been adding the ability for users of its website to book awards on a number of its partner airlines (like Etihad and Japan Airlines) and now one of oneworld’s more popular carriers can be booked on American’s website too – Cathay Pacific awards are now live on AA.com.
ViewFromTheWing appears to have been the first to break this news and Gary notes that in order to ensure than you can see Cathay pacific award availability you need to first make sure that you’re using American’s old-style search facility (and not the search facility that shows dynamic award pricing).
A Step-By-Step Guide
Open up AA.com via this link and you should see a page that looks like this:
…and they include non-stop flights as well as more indirect routings using American Airlines and other partners like Dragonair and Alaska Airlines:
As you’d expect, the awards are priced off the American Airlines award chart (you’re paying in American Airlines miles) and because Cathay Pacific doesn’t add surcharges to these awards (unlike what British Airways likes to do) these awards have an extremely low cash component.
For most of us this us very good news as it means that we no longer have to search for Cathay Pacific awards on sites like BA.com before calling up American Airlines and waiting on hold for ages before we can book the flights we’ve found.
Also, American Airlines’s award search facility is one of the easiest and one of the most useful to use and, as it can show a whole month of award availability in one go, I expect it to now become the default search engine for anyone looking to book Cathay Pacific awards regardless of what currency they plan to use.
Lastly, it’s now super-easy to place a Cathay Pacific award on hold for up to 5 days (without having to make a call) as this functionality is built into AA.com:
This is particularly useful if you find flights that work well for you but have a few other plans that still need to be firmed up or if you’re hoping that one of American’s frequent mileage sales is announced so you can buy whatever miles you need to make the booking.
No doubt there will be a few AAdvantage members who are annoyed at this news as the easier it is to find awards online (and this has made it very easy to find Cathay pacific awards) the more competition there will be for the few premium cabin seats that the airline releases…but personally I don’t really care.
Overall this is definitely good news and should make a lot of people’s lives easier when it comes to booking award flights to Asia – I’m now off to see what First Class availability I can find as it has been a while since I tried out Cathay’s most premium of products.