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Award Redemption Cathay Pacific - PLEASE HELP!

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by Marc Sedaka, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. Marc Sedaka

    Marc Sedaka New Member

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    Hi Lucky -

    I just finished reading your wonderful post from November 2014 ("Is Cathay Pacific Releasing Less Award Space?") and was hoping you could answer some questions. Here's my story....

    My 20th wedding anniversary is later this month and in celebration my wife and I decided we would use all our miles and splurge on first class tickets from LA to Hong Kong with a side trip to Bali in between. So well over a month ago I waitlisted us on Cathay Pacific figuring that surely by now they would have released the seats, but, as your article can attest, they have not. My departure flight is now a week away and we still haven't booked our hotels or arranged care for our children because everything is still up in the air (figuratively speaking). So here are my questions.....

    - Is there some specific department at CP that I should be calling to make a plea for this? Till now I have only been dealing with the Marco Polo club representatives and, while being quite nice, they are never very forthcoming or helpful. I keep hoping there's that person who can "push a button" but I just don't know who they are.

    - My departing flight is on April 16th, but the waitlist has an expiration date of April 12th. Does this mean they will make a decision by then? Or rather does it mean my "priority waitlist" will expire on April 12th and then I'm just like all the other poor schlubs who are scrambling for last minute tickets?

    - I noticed in your post you made a suggestion to lock in business class award seats and then go for the first class last minute. Is this still something you recommend? Is there any downside to it? Would I ultimately just be paying the difference between the two and not incur any extra mileage charges?

    - Am I naive to think that I will be getting confirmation for ALL my flights, or will I just be getting confirmation on this first leg from LA to Hong Kong (and then hold my breath on each subsequent flight as their departure approaches while I'm 4,000 miles from home)?

    I could ask more, but I'm doubtful you're even still reading. Suffice to say that I would welcome ANY advice you could offer as soon as you could offer it. This trip is really important to me and I kind of feel like I've been trying everything while accomplishing nothing.

    Thanks so much,

    - Marc Sedaka

     
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  2. Tiffany

    Tiffany One Mile At A Time

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    Hi @Marc Sedaka, and welcome!

    To be honest, neither myself nor Ben nor anyone on our team have any experience with waitlists through March Polo Club. We're generally redeeming miles through Alaska or American, which involves a lot of waiting and hoping, so I can't speak as to how the waitlist process will work. I am fairly confident that space will clear segment by segment, at the corresponding window, but again -- I haven't done it.

    In general, there isn't a way to clear an upgrade list manually, or a way to have someone "push a button" that I know of.

    That being said, Cathay is most likely going to release award space within 72 hours of departure, if at all. It might only be six hours before departure.

    I would absolutely lock in business class seats if it's a trip you really want to take -- there's limited downside (worst case, you're still going on your trip, just in business class), and you can always upgrade or cancel. I would never rely on a waitlist with no backup tickets for a trip that was important. You would pay the additional mileage for upgrading from business to first, of course, along with a change fee in most cases.

    Does that help at all?
     
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  3. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

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    What miles are you using?

    If using Cathay's own miles, they sometimes release F seats a day or two before departure. J seats might be released a bit further out. Try and see if you can confirm seats in business. If Cathay makes awards available, I believe they confirm people who have waitlisted first before releasing space to partners. I've confirmed awards using Cathay's program when there was no partner awards available. Just make sure you have miles in the Asia Miles account before confirming - points transfers to Asiamiles take a few days. If First Class space opens up later, you have to call Asiamiles to make the change. You'd pay the difference in award prices and a $125USD change fee.

    Also - dont call Marco Polo. That's Cathay's elite status program and is separate from their award redemption program - Asia Miles. There's also nothing you can do if Cathay doesnt release the space.

    If using American or Alaska miles, theres no way to waitlist for a Cathay award. AA and AS can only book what Cathay releases to partners.
     
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  4. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

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    Cathay's waitlist expiration date is firm - If you dont get an email on or before the 12th to confirm the award, that means no seats have been released and the waitlist expires. You can waitlist for multiple flights though.
     
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  5. Gaurav

    Gaurav Well-Known Member

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    As @Tiffany and @David W have mentioned, book your tickets in J, and then get on hotel and childcare arrangements ASAP. If F opens up, it'll be a great bonus and you can pay the change fees but don't be left with no options if nothing opens.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  6. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

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    Also worth mentioning - AsiaMiles one way awards are not 50% of the round trip rates, its more but I dont remember the exact percentage. I'm also not sure of what exactly what happens when you have a round trip award where the outbound is confirmed and the inbound is on waitlist. I have someone traveling on this type of award and so far, Asia Miles has deducted the ONEWAY saver award price from the Asia Miles account.
     
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  7. Marc Sedaka

    Marc Sedaka New Member

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    Thanks so much for the replies! Please educate me on the difference between F and J seats. I'm not aware.

    In answer to David's question, I moved my 157,000 SPG points into Asia Miles when I waitlisted the flights because I know those take longer. The remaining 283,000 points are in American Express Membership Rewards and I plan on moving those once flights are confirmed.
     
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  8. Gaurav

    Gaurav Well-Known Member

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    @Marc Sedaka

    Here is a F (first class trip report): http://goo.gl/J4KPTH
    and a J (business class report): http://goo.gl/mBg635

    You should be able to gauge the seats by Ben's pictures. There are many other Cathay trip reports as well if you browse the Trip Reports section (at the top of this page below the header graphic).
     
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  9. Marc Sedaka

    Marc Sedaka New Member

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    Oh, thank you! I didn't realize it meant first or business. Very helpful!
     
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  10. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

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    I'd also book refundable hotel rates so you have SOMETHING in place when this comes together. When flights confirm, book cheaper, nonrefundable rates if theyre less expensive. You dont want to be scrambling all over to confirm everything last minute.
     
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  11. Tiffany

    Tiffany One Mile At A Time

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    If you have Amex points, you could look at booking something through another program as well. Aeroplan has decent values for first class still, and you should be able to lock in Asiana, Thai, etc.
     
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  12. PassengerPoldberg

    PassengerPoldberg New Member

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    I've been looking for 2 business class seats on CX from HKG-LAX for the fall of 2016 and can't find anything. They have a couple seats available here and there, but nothing consistent or worthwhile. I'm sure the recent AA devaluation has something to do with this. What does everyone else think?
     
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  13. David W

    David W Well-Known Member

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    Availability has dried up a bit because of the devaluation but you could book seats on a different date and the change it if/when availability opens up.
     
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  14. PassengerPoldberg

    PassengerPoldberg New Member

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    I'd even settle for AA biz class, but aa.com doesn't show any sAAver award space either. I think I'll give it a little time and see how it shakes out.
     
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  15. Gaurav

    Gaurav Well-Known Member

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    @PassengerPoldberg check the availability on CX metal for paid tickets for your dates of travel. CX is relatively consistent about releasing seats closer to the date of travel so keep your eyes out and you should be able to snag something if you have flexibility.
     
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  16. PassengerPoldberg

    PassengerPoldberg New Member

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