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Cathay Pacific Business Class Review: JNB – HKG – HND
So we needed to get back to the states from Johannesburg after our incredible safari and adventure around southern Africa. There were essentially 3 ways: Go north and route through Europe, Go west and route through South America, or Go east and continue on around the world. We could go back through the middle east, but been there done that. We had to assess the points sitch and we were flush with American and Avios. That pretty much eliminated the South American option as most routes required Star Alliance options. So then it was Go North – here’s the problem – when you route through the UK you get hit with unreal taxes, and the only avail we were finding was on British Airways. And when I say unreal…we’re talking close to a grand one way. A Grand one way!!!! This is in addition to a bevy of points. Sooooo I started looking East. What was the result gave me my Cathay Pacific Business Class Review: JNB – HKG – HND.
I used the ITA Matrix to find an absolutely incredible deal on a flight from JNB-HND through Hong Kong. We paid about $1100 for a business class ticket. We also had the option of using 50k AA miles to do this as well, but in reality ( factoring opportunity cost) this would be over 60k miles – as we would be earning over 10k redeemable miles on the flight itself – over 20k if you were platinum or exec plat. It just wasn’t worth that to me when the price of the ticket, especially considering the distance traveled, was priced so competitively. At this point in time we were both lowly non-elites and only earned 1 mile per mile flown. So we decided to buy the flight from Joberg to Tokyo and then use Avios from Tokyo back to the states.
This is part of the Around the World 2015 Mega Trip
- Etihad Business and First Class Lounge Washington DC
- Etihad Business Studio – IAD to AUH
- Review: Etihad Arrivals lounge and Etihad Chauffeur experience
- Grand Hyatt Dubai
- Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
- Etihad Business and First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi, AUH
- Etihad Pearl Business Class – AUH to JNB
- Intercontinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers
- Blue Train Johannesburg to Cape Town
- Queen Victoria Cape Town
- Chitwa Chitwa Sabi Sands Luxury Game Reserve Kruger National Park
- Royal Chundu Zambezi River Lodge – Victoria Falls
- Intercontinental Johannesburg Airport
- Review: S(h)ongololo Lounge JNB
- Cathay Pacific Business Class – JNB to HKG to HND
- Ritz Carlton Tokyo
- Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo, NRT
- American Air Flagship First Class – NRT to LAX
This was the first leg, an over 12 hour flight, that was my first introduction to Cathay Pacific Business Class. A product I’ve read a lot about, was supremely excited to experience, and ultimately…was left scratching my head.
- When: July 5th, 2015
- Route: JNB-HKG
- Duration: 12h ( 11:47)
- Flight: CX748
- Plane: 777-300 3 class
- Class: Business
- Seat: 21G
- Price: ~$1100
A little sidenote…Apparently there is a theft problem in Joberg, so we were advised to get our bags wrapped.
The Hard product was great
The Cathay hard product is awesome. Reverse herringbone ( head out, feet in), spacious, ample storage, good electronics, nice sized tv, but honestly compared to the Etihad Business Studio….it even falls short. Don’t get me wrong – it’s dope. But Etihad has created a new paradigm.
I’d read SOOOOOOO much about how incredible the soft product is; the service, the service, the service!!!
For everyone who is unfamiliar with these terms: hard product refers to the aircraft and things associated: seat, electronics, bathroom, etc… – the soft: the food, service, actual programming of electronics. Hard would be the screen…soft would be the movies offered in the screen.
It was the apathy of the staff that left me bewildered.
I mean…for an airline that is revered and often considered an aspirational experience…I quite honestly preferred the staff and service offered on the NRT-LAX AA flagship first product. That’s crazy folks…cause the product on the AA flight wasn’t just tired…it was exhausted, but the service could not have been more attentive or polite – even if the food and drink was crap.
There was just a feeling from a couple specific flight attendants that I was almost doing them a favor by choosing their airline. Hey, I got a sick deal at a little over a grand for roughly 16/17 hours of luxurious business class, but I could have also just flown on Qatar through Doha to Japan. However, I wanted to fly Cathay because of the reputation, but now…eh – I’d try the middle eastern option. The premium paid for business or first extends beyond just the seat – it’s the service. Typically business food is ok, but if someone is smiling, attentive, and makes a point to make you feel special, the premium feels justified. I just felt like I was on a conveyor belt and couldn’t be dealt with fast enough. On to the good stuff though =)
Dave was rockin’ the biz fo shiz 😉
A little Champers to start!
A port in the storm…sorry that was cheesy hahahahaha
And then my fave…Johnnie Walker Gold. A great scotch and an ok honey pistachio cake.
Then it was time to pass out and try to snooze.
The bed is nice, comfy, and goes completely flat. Thank goodness. It’s also plenty long.
After a few hours sleep…it was time for breakfast
I have to say this was my favorite food on the flight. It doesn’t look that great in the photo – sorry low lighting…but it was all very fresh and tasty.
We made it!!!
The flight flew by, heh heh heh. Seriously it was a wonderful flight. The hard product, the entertainment, food, and drink were all very enjoyable. I’d definitely fly Cathay again…a little hint – the flight from HKG to HND was outstanding. The service was impeccable and lived up to the hype. It was just annoying that we didn’t have that service experience on the long flight, but instead the shorter one. Oh well…I’m looking forward to flying Cathay again in the future, but given the opportunity to fly the competition…I wouldn’t be as quick to choose Cathay.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.