Sunday, February 26, 2023

The LAAst HurAAh – Cathay Pacific First and Singapore Air Suites Class

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All good deals must come to an end eventually.  67,500 American Airline miles to Asia in First Class one-way has to be one of the best values using airline miles.  It seems like a lot of miles to use on one flight, but the Citibank constantly has 50,000 AA miles as a sign up bonus and the SPG card right now has a 35,000 SPG point bonus.  You can transfer 40K SPG points to another 50K AA miles.  Unfortunately as of March 22, 2016, this flight has gone up to 110,000 AA miles one-way.  This deal has been around for probably more than 5 years and I’ve never had a chance to take advantage of it until now.  I’m off on a trip to Hong Kong and Japan for a wedding, using a big chunk of my miles I’ve accumulated for 5 years.  I would say that 110,000 AA miles for a one-way flight is a lot of miles used, so 67,500 doesn’t seem too bad.  On the way back, I’m taking Singapore Suites from NRT-LAX :).  Since this is the first and last time I’ll be using AA miles on Cathay Pacific First, I’m calling this trip the LAAst HurAAh.

I booked this trip about 9 months ago and originally booked 1 business class ticket and 1 first class ticket.  Since Cathay Pacific releases F seats last minute, I was willing to take a gamble to upgrade one of the tickets.  Four days prior to departure, I was able to change that business class ticket to a first class ticket.  I booked the Singapore Suites flight far in advance too and was lucky to get 2 Suites tickets using ~75,000 SQ miles per ticket.  That seems like a lot too, but I was able to get a good 150K Citi TY points from the Citi TY Premier, Citi TY Prestige, and CitiGold checking account.  I was also able to book a Hong Kong to Osaka flight on business class with Avios, 20K per ticket.  The final itinerary looks like this:

Although booking Cathay Pacific First Class is quite expensive mileage wise, business class at 70,000 AA miles to Asia or 60,000 AA miles to Japan are quite good deals still.  United is currently charging 80,000 United miles for business class to Asia, so AA is still cheaper.  All being said, I still think flying economy is quite practical and not too bad, especially when it’s international economy.

My total cost in flights are as follows:

  • 135,000 AA miles for two Cathay Pacific First Class tickets LAX-HKG. Taxes of $5.60 per ticket = $11.20
  • 40,000 Avios for two CX Business class tickets HKG-KIX. Taxes of $40 per ticket = $80. 
  • 150,000 SQ miles for two Singapore Suites tickets NRT-LAX. Taxes of $150 per ticket = $300

I’m spending about $400 in taxes, but I got reimbursed by my Citi Prestige credit card’s $250 airline credit.  I’ve saved almost $40,000 off the retail price because a one-way ticket is over $9K!  

Credit Cards used from HOT DEALS page: (offers may be different as of today, wait for better offers if low at the moment)

  • 2x Citi TY Premier Credit Card 50K sign up bonus (transferred to Singapore)
  • 2x Citi TY Prestige 50K sign up bonus (transferred to Singapore)
  • 2x Citi AA Platinum 50K sign up bonus and misc spending, Citi Business card 50K right now
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred 55K sign up bonus and Chase British Airways 100k sign up bonus

Signing up for lots of credit cards seems like a crazy thing to do, so do so at your own judgment.  I’ve written several times about always paying in full and on time and your credit score will actually improve over time.  Also, there is a new Chase 5/24 rule where you cannot get any Chase cards if you’ve applied for 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months.  That’s why I always recommend applying for Chase credit cards first.  Read more about this rule at Doctor of Credit’s site or Reddit.  

I’ll share more details about this trip once it’s completed and give some insight on what to do, eat, and where to stay in Hong Kong, Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo.  In the meantime, any recommendations on each place are always welcomed because I’m open to all suggestions, so what should I do in these cities? 

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