Wide Open Business Class Award Space To Asia (4+ Seats) Using American, Alaska Or Citi Points

There’s not a lot of travel to Asia right now, but it’s a reasonable bet you can go a year from now. Indeed, Singapore is looking at opening up and treating the virus as endemic, something to live with. A year from now there will be a lot more immunity from both vaccination and prior infection.

Still, there’s a great deal of uncertainty, and that’s why planning trips with miles makes so much sense. A paid ticket may be changeable but you’re fronting cash. Miles you can usually get back for a fee, or in some cases no fee at all.

Right now is a fantastic time to book Asia travel a year out, because you can lock in business class awards between the U.S. and Asia for May and June 2022 for four passengers on Cathay Pacific.

This is available from New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles and San Francisco (as well as Toronto and Vancouver) as noted by Straight to the Points.

Here I’m only looking at business class availability for four passengers. Availability is better for two passengers, but these award calendars (from AA.com) give you a sense of what redemption currently looks like for Cathay Pacific in June:

New York JFK – Hong Kong

Chicago O’Hare – Hong Kong

San Francisco – Hong Kong

Los Angeles – Hong Kong

The best mileage deal is with Alaska Airlines. They charge just 50,000 miles each way between the U.S. and much of Asia on Cathay Pacific. You can include an Alaska Airlines flight as part of the award if needed, and you can even have a free stopover in Hong Kong.

American AAdvantage charges 70,000 miles each way for business class. That includes a connection to the Cathay Pacific flight, and flights beyond Hong Kong. You can use American or Alaska in the U.S., and you can use other partners beyond Hong Kong as well.

Cathay Pacific’s own Asia Miles program will charge 70,000 miles just for Los Angeles to Hong Kong and 85,000 miles just for East Coast – Hong Kong non-stops. The program is distance-based so awards are potentially more miles based on destination if farther than Hong Kong

When flying to Hong Kong, you’re not facing big fuel surcharges (though American AAdvantage and Alaska Airlines do not charge these at all) though depending on your final destination you might face such fees.

If you don’t have American or Alaska miles, then Cathay Pacific’s own program is your best bet. American Express, Citibank and Capital One all transfer to Cathay. (Using Chase points you’d likely transfer to British Airways to book.)

The best transferable points program play right now is with Citibank, since Citibank points transfer to American AAdvantage through November 13.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary — Sadly, it appears that the vast majority of Asia is unlikely to be open by May/June 2022…

  2. Given what is happening in Hong Kong now with the brutality of the Chinese Government – and I don’t expect things to get better – our days of travel to Hong Kong are behind us,

  3. I agree with CJ except for a couple more transits thru HKG. And next May I’m redoing this month’s truncated RTW with 2 segs (JFK HKG FRA) in Cathay First with just 70K Alaska miles for each 🙂

    But I need to use Cathy miles before Oct so looking at pretty much cashing out with a 2022 Birthday RTW using 125K JFK HKG HNT then somehow get to Abu Dhabi for a First return to IAD on Etihad DreamLiner Could try Turkish A in Business for 79K SingaporeAir miles

  4. I mean you couldn’t pay me $1,000,000 to go there. It’s closed lol. Who gives a crap about award space. You think Asia is opening anytime soon ?

  5. “There’s not a lot of travel to Asia right now, but it’s a reasonable bet you can go a year from now.”

    You should probably search your past columns as I’m pretty sure you wrote the same thing July 2020.

  6. Hong Kong is unlikely to open to tourists Summer 2023. And these award seats have been wide open for a while. Also expect Cathay to cancel many flights. I’d say this is another click bait from Gary.

  7. @doublejade – I’ve covered wide open Cathay space in past months. But you are incorrect, June 2022 award space has not been “open for a while” since June was only bookable in recent days and weeks.

  8. @Pete – I’m specific about examples like travel to Singapore, where you’d connect through Hong Kong, and flag that it might not work out which is why mileage redemptions are great for cancel flexibility.

  9. Remember when Gary wrote people should book a year out in the past? That worked out swell didn’t it? At some point it gets old. How many people jumped the gun for redemptions and are now stuck? We simply have no idea what the future holds or what planes/products may be swapped in the future etc. It simply isn’t reasonable to be booking when many countries have yet to show that they can get a grip on things.

  10. I still take the advise. It took it as well. If I have to cancel tickets, that is no problem anymore. Wife is really wanting to get to Japan to see her sick sister who lives there. I again have business class tickets for her in late November. If she still cannot get in, then I will cancel those business class tickets for 60K each way. No big deal. I also have similar tickets for here alone and her and me as well in April , 2022. If Japan will still not let us in, fine. Cancel the business award seats with no penalty. I have no problem with this. All AA miles.

  11. Better off trying TK to Asia. I’m looking at 57500 miles for ORD to CGK in business. Of course these are available because no one is going. Everything is and will likely rmeian closed. But I have to get home.

    EVA is also available but Taiwan doesn’t allow transfer passengers. Go figure! So if this is booked I can’t go?

  12. I don’t think transit makes much sense in Covid times- what about availability on non-stops to-from major destinations in Asia? Just scanning through the SQ site, I could not find any availability on the NY or LAX flights, though better searchers or ExpertFlyers might do better…

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