Best Ways to Book Cathay Pacific First Class (CF X): Step-by-Step Guide
Note: Some of the offers/products mentioned below are no longer available.
Cathay Pacific has one of the most coveted first class products in the world. In this, post we’ll walk through how to book the flight with points.
As a disclaimer, we lucked out and snagged the once in a lifetime New Year’s super sale for ~$700 round trip. Before the sale, we were saving points to redeem in the near future.
What is Cathay Pacific First Class?
The Cathay Pacific First Class experience starts when you arrive at the airport. Some people arrive in the morning for a same-day night flight to take full advantage of the first class lounge privileges.
Our Cathay Pacific first class flight departed from Hong Kong Airport which has two exclusive first class lounges: The Pier and The Wing. Check out the videos below to watch our reviews.
The Wing First Class Lounge
The Pier First Class Lounge
For the flight, the seats are spacious and can easily fit two people. Highlights include premium alcohol like Blue Label and luxury food selection that includes a tin of caviar.
The retail price for a Cathay Pacific first class flight is usually ~$8,700 one-way and $14,500 round trip.
How to Book Cathay Pacific First Class (CX F)
There are 3 popular point currencies to book Cathay Pacific first class:
The primary benefit of accumulating Asia Miles is that its run by Cathay Pacific, so finding award availability might be easier.
You have access to their award booking calendar 12 months from the departure date.
If you use other point currencies like Alaska miles and AA miles, you have access to the award calendar 331 days from departure. The award dates you want might be taken by people who are using Asia Miles.
Regardless of the point currency you’re using, if you can’t find availability 11-12 months from your desired departure date, try looking again 2 weeks out. The more flexible your schedule, the more likely you are to find availability.
For first class, you’ll need to use 70,000 Alaska miles each way. One benefit of Alaska miles is that the point redemption rate is the same regardless of where you depart from the U.S.
For example, regardless if you leave from JFK or SFO to Asia, the first class award ticket will still be 70,000 miles each way. When you use Asia Miles, your Award redemption rate may vary based on Distance Zones.
The fastest way to accumulate Alaska miles is to earn a welcome offer from one of their credit cards or transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Alaska.
Award redemption is based on regions in Asia, and in our example, Hong Kong is in Asia Region 2.
Looking at the award chart, you’ll need 110,000 American Airlines miles to fly first class to Hong Kong, each way.
The fastest way to accumulate American Airline miles is through welcome bonuses earned through their credit cards. Before you apply for a Citi credit card, be sure to brush up on Citi rules to see if you qualify for the bonus.
If you’re someone who has a travel experience bucket list, you should consider Cathay Pacific first class.
My redemption strategy was to accumulate Alaska Air miles for the Cathay Pacific flight since it requires the least amount of points, and I would get the personal and business credit cards.
There are multiple ways to book Cathay Pacific first class; it mainly depends on the points ecosystem you’re in and how you plan to redeem the points.
Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) Review
Cathay Pacific’s The Pier First Class Lounge at Hong Kong Airport is one of my favorite lounges. The posh design reminds me of a five star hotel than an airport lounge.
Where to find The Pier, First and Who Can Access the Lounge
The Pier, First is located in Hong Kong International Airport on Level 6, Terminal 1, near Gate 63.
Take the escalators down to find the lounge entrance.
Who can access the lounge:
Cathay Pacific / Cathay Dragon (F fare)
OneWorld airline (F fare)
OneWorld Emerald (any class) - also available if you have AA Executive Platinum or Concierge Key
Once you enter the lounge, there’s a long tranquil hallway that leads to The Retreat, the Dining Room, and all the other areas.
Find daily periodicals here along with various lounge seating options.
There’s also a full service bar and plenty of seats.
If you’re looking to unwind and relax before your flight, head straight to The Retreat. Here you’ll find showers, day suites, and massages. All of the services are complimentary and on a first come, first serve basis. The wait list for the massage was 2.5 hours long when we visited.
Watch the video below to learn more about The Retreat.
The Dining Room
The Dining Room is a full service restaurant to enjoy a drink or a meal before your flight.
Below are pictures of the food and drink menus. Items worth trying on the food menu:
Spicy chicken wings
Double boiled pork and corn soup
Wagyu beef cheese burger
Beyond meat vegetarian burger
Dan dan mien
Chilled sago with mango and pomelo
Overall, I prefer The Pier is my favorite Cathay Pacific First Class lounge in HKG since it was less crowded, the food menu and quality was better, and the customer service was amazing. Can’t wait to visit again!
Hong Kong International Airport Plaza Premium Lounges (T1)
Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok International Airport (HKG) has two lounges in Terminal 1 and one in Terminal 2 in Arrivals. This post will cover the two Plaza Premium Lounges in Terminal 1.
Where to find the Plaza Premium Lounges
There are two Plaza Premium Lounges that are located airside past security:
Plaza Premium Lounge 1 - Ride the airport tram to Gate 40, take the escalator up to Level 7, and you’ll see the lounge signs
Plaza Premium Lounge 2- East Hall, Level 6, near Gate 1
Who can access the lounge
The Plaza Premium lounges are in the Priority Pass network.
Most premium travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card from American Express come with Priority Pass Select. Depending on your credit card benefits, you may be allowed to take yourself and two guests into the lounge for free.
Other cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card give you access to 10 Priority Pass tickets per year (when you enroll in the benefit).
Always check your card benefits guide if you are unsure.
Watch the video below for a tour of both lounges.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) Amex Centurion Lounge Review
The American Express Centurion Lounge at HKG features a locally-inspired menu, dedicated work areas, and a reserved area for Centurion card holders.
Where to find the Amex Centurion Lounge at HKG
The lounge is located in Terminal 1 near Gate 60. Once you see the signs for the Amex Centurion Lounge, take the escalators up.
Who can access the lounge
Complimentary lounge access, along with two guests, is available to Amex Platinum and Amex Centurion cardholders.
Fresh seasonal fare
The food at HKG features locally-inspired cuisine which included Chinese chicken soup, steamed dumplings, and asian desserts.
The Chinese radish and chicken soup was flavorful, but the rest of the food offerings were disappointing. The main entrees were dry and bland. Most airport lounges in Asia have excellent food, so it's hard to compete.
If I were to compare the food to the U.S. Centurion Lounges, the U.S. wins because of the quality.
The steamed shrimp dumplings were okay, and I was hoping they would feature more varieties of dim sum.
I was pleasantly surprised to find osmanthus wolfberry jelly at the dessert station — a must try! The mini cheesecake and raspberry mousse cake were also delicious.
The premium bar is complimentary and features signature cocktails created by Jim Meehan from PDT at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. The wines were handpicked by renowned wine authority Anthony Giglio.
Centurion Member-Only Area
As of writing this post, the HKG Centurion Lounge is the only one to have an exclusive area reserved for Centurion Members.
Centurion Members gain access to an exclusive lounge area and tasting menu by Michelin-star chef Lau Yiu Fai of Yan Toh Heen at the InterContinental Hong Kong. Check out The Point's Guy review here.
On a side note, if any subscribers are a Centurion Member and would like to invite us to check out the exclusive area, we will gladly take you up on the offer. :)
Plaza Premium Arrival Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) via Priority Pass
One of my favorite airport lounges is the “secret” arrival lounge at Hong Kong International Airport. I say secret because even though it’s listed in the Priority Pass app, most people are unaware of where the arrival lounge is.
Where to find the Premium Plaza Arrival Lounge
The arrival lounge is located in the basement of T2.
Go through immigration, pick up your luggage, and exit to the arrival hall. Head towards Terminal 2 (landside) and follow the signs to public transportation and the lounge. Take the escalators down, and the Plaza Premium Lounge will be on your left.
Who can access the lounge
Anyone with a Priority Pass card can access the lounge. Priority Pass Select is a complimentary benefit that comes with most premium travel credit cards. You must have the physical Priority Pass card with you; the credit card will not grant you access.
Be sure to check your credit card benefit guide to see if the card you hold charges an entrance fee and if you have a guest allowance.
The lounge features a wide range of food including salads, hot entrees, desserts, and a noodle bar.
Most Plaza Premium lounges in Asia feature a noodle bar, and the ones in Hong Kong have fish ball noodle soup.
Various salad and hot food items are also available.
Complimentary sandwiches, desserts, soft drinks, tea, and water can be found the fridge.
The lounge itself is small compared to the air side Plaza Premium lounges. Seating is limited, and it can get packed.
Computers are available to use on a first come, first serve basis.
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