Double Duty Daddy

My $11,000 First Class Seat

You may recall last year I booked Japan Airlines in first class from the U.S. to Tokyo for 62,500 AA miles and $5.60. The experience was memorable and I was thrilled to experience my first long-haul premium first class flight. I’ve traveled in first class many times domestically but nothing compares to the ‘over-the-top’ seats that some international airline carriers like Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Emirates have on their aircrafts.

Flew JAL First Class to Tokyo Last Year

One of my travel bucket list items is to fly first class on Cathay Pacific’s 777 from the U.S. to Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific ranks among the top airlines in the world for their first class seats, lounges, in-flight catering, lounge dining, and amenities. Their beloved first class seat has been dubbed by many luxury travel enthusiasts as “sitting on a throne” because of its comfort and massive size and when in lay-flat position, it’s said to be the most comfortable ‘bed’ in the sky.

Cathay Pacific First Class Suite 777-300er

Seat turns to an over-sized comfortable bed

Caviar wishes and Champagne dreams on Cathay Pacific First Class

The American Airlines AAdvantage program is one of the most commonly used programs for booking Cathay Pacific first class. Since both are Oneworld partners, AA miles can be used to book Cathay Pacific flights. Despite the fact that Alaska Airlines only charges 70,000 miles to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific and AA charges 110,000 miles, I wanted to use my AA miles since I had a healthy balance and have had trouble finding ways to redeem them.

Here’s the process I took to book Cathay Pacific with American Airlines miles:

  1. Logged into the British Airways website (BA’s site shows Cathay Pacific space unlike AA’s)
  2. Selected my route, travel dates, and class of service (Cathay Pacific only has a first class cabin on flights to/from SFO, LAX, JFK, BOS and ORD).
  3. Note the flight number, date, and time
  4. Call American Airlines (800-882-8880)
  5. Ask them to search first class award space on Cathay Pacific for the appropriate date
  6. Provide all necessary info to complete the booking

I noticed there was ONE seat open in first class and ONE in business class (woohoo!) for our preferred route from Chicago to Hong Kong, so I immediately phoned American Airlines and did steps 3-6 for both DD Mommy and myself.

My reaction after securing J and F award space on Cathay Pacific

Because Cathay Pacific award space in premium cabins have ENORMOUS demand, people book them with miles up to 11 months in advance when the calendar opens 330 days out. I felt very fortunate to find award space for the both of us.

The cost for my ONE first class ticket on Cathay Pacific was 110,000 AA miles and $5.60! FIVE DOLLARS AND SIXTY CENTS was my out of pocket expense! What would this ticket have cost me in cash? Let’s see……

$11,365 for my one-way flight in Cathay Pacific First Class ORD-HKG

I’m asked quite often “how do I get good value from my points/miles?” Let’s take a quick look at my example above: I booked a ticket for 11o,000 AA miles which would have cost $11,365 in cash. I am getting about ten cents per mile (110,000/$11,000), an extraordinary value. There’s an almost scientific method to getting a good ROI from your points and miles but it’s YOUR rewards and you can do whatever you want with them so “good value” is relative based on a person’s needs/wants.

I’m not sure which option was better (insert sarcasm), paying cash or using miles but I’m really glad I was able to find award space and use AA miles to fly in one of the most comfortable first class products and visit Hong Kong, a city I’ve long been eyeing.


Do you have a memorable award redemption that you felt amazing about? Please share in the comments, would love to hear all about it.











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