One of my favorite redemptions is using Alaska Mileage Plan miles to fly Cathay Pacific from the US to South Africa in first class. Sure, you can use 70,000 Alaska miles (one-way) to fly to Asia in first class but why not tack on a business class flight from Hong Kong to South Africa for no extra miles?
Currently, Cathay Pacific only operates a flight from Hong Kong to Johannesburg but, according to the South China Morning Post, it plans to add a flight to Cape Town in 2018. Considering how popular Cape Town is, this is great news for travelers as it would be the only non-stop flight from Asia to Cape Town.
We don't know yet whether Cathay Pacific will operate a three-class plane (economy, premium economy, business class) or four-class plane (economy, premium economy, business, first class) on this route, but I wouldn't be surprised if they utilize one of their three-class Boeing 777s as they do on the flight to Johannesburg. If they're going to use a three-class plane, it would be even better if they chose to use one of their new Airbus A350s.
Personally, I'm just a little disappointed this flight wasn't available in November 2017 when I flew Cathay Pacific to Johannesburg on my way to Cape Town. The experience was fantastic but it would have been even better to ditch the Johannesburg to Cape Town segment (and the extra layover time).
What makes this booking option really fantastic is that Alaska Mileage Plan allows you to book a stopover on one-way award tickets. This means you can stop in Hong Kong for several days or even a couple weeks before continuing to South Africa. If you want, you could use Hong Kong as a jumping off point to see other countries in Asia before flying to South Africa.
Nonetheless, I'll be keeping an eye out for the launch of this new route as 2018 seems to be a year of expansion for Cathay Pacific.
How To Book Cathay Pacific With Alaska Miles
Once this route is available—or if you want to book other award flights on a Cathay Pacific with Alaska Mileage Plan, here's what you need to do:
- Create a British Airways Executive Club account
- Search for award space on British Airways
- Write down the flight numbers, dates, and times when you find award space
- Call Alaska Airlines at 1-800-252-7522
- Tell the Alaska phone rep that you would like to book an award ticket on Cathay Pacific
- Provide the flight info (you should have this in your notes)
- Have your passport and credit card info ready to complete the booking
One word of caution about booking with Alaska miles. British Airways is a Oneworld alliance partner of Cathay Pacific and, at times, has access to more award space on Cathay Pacific than Alaska Airlines. Don't be surprised if the Alaska phone rep doesn't see the same space. For this reason, flexible travel dates can be very useful.
Need Alaska Miles? No Problem
If you need Alaska miles to book this, you have several options. You can use one of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards from American Express—there's a personal and business version—which generally come with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 SPG Starpoints. Occasionally, the sign-up bonus will be bumped up to 30,000 Starpoints.
These SPG points can be transferred to your Alaska Mileage Plan account at a 1:1 ratio. Additionally, when you transfer blocks of 20,000 SPG Starpoints, you'll receive a bonus of 5,000 miles so 20,000 points can become 25,000 Alaska miles. This is why earning SPG points are one of my favorite ways to earn Alaska miles for flights on Cathay Pacific.
Another easy way to grab some Alaska miles is the Bank of America Alaska Airlines credit cards. You also have the choice of a personal and/or business version of this card as well. The standard sign-up bonus for each of these cards is 30,000 Alaska miles.
Cathay Pacific first class is truly excellent and their business class experience is quite nice as well. I enjoyed amazing service on both flights and many others have as well. With the addition of a flight to Cape Town, the whole travel experience will be just that little bit nicer (and quicker).
So, who's thinking about trying Cathay Pacific's new flight to Cape Town?