Review: Cathay Dragon First Class A330 Shanghai to Hong Kong

a stuffed animal on a seat

We may receive a commission when you use our links. Monkey Miles is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com and CardRatings. This relationship may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Monkey Miles is also a Senior Advisor to Bilt Rewards. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Shanghai to Hong Kong in style.

When we originally booked our weekendwarrior trip to Shanghai and Hong Kong, Dave and I were planning on flying an inferior Cathay business class from Shanghai to Hong Kong. Here’s the thing…Cathay Dragon, formally known as Dragonair, is a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific and operates within Asia. While Cathay Dragon can be booked using One World partner miles, it can’t be accessed using Alaska Miles for you a redemption. Since I was redeeming my portion of the trip with Alaska miles we were restricted to flights operated on Cathay metal. Luckily, when we checked in at the airport, we were lucky enough to swap flights, arrive earlier into Hong Kong, and fly in Cathay Dragon First. Here’s what it was like.

Click the link above if you wanna read about how I negotiated us into First and Cathay Dragon, otherwise…continue on to the Cathay Pacific/Dragonair lounge.

The Deets:

  • When: November 21, 2017
  • Where: Shanghai to Hong Kong
  • Points used: 70k Alaska ( part of PVG-HKG-ORD)
  • Seat: 2G
  • Flight: KA803
  • Aircraft: A330
  • Duration: 2H 50mins

The Cathay Dragon A330 is broken into 3 cabins:

The biggest reason I wanted to swap from Cathay Pacific’s 772 into the Cathay Dragon A330 is the difference in cabin. It’s only a 3 hour flight, but being able to lie flat, have better IFE, and sit in a more exclusive cabin is always a nicer experience. Plus, we both paid a first class fare…usually they will accommodate you if that’s the case. Additionally, this flight arrived a few hours ahead of our original flight, which gave us more time to hang out in Hong Kong.

The cabin is two rows – 1-2-1 configuration. Very Similar to Cathay Pacific Long Haul business class. Zodiac Cirrus to be exact.

As you can see, the middle seats don’t have overhead storage which makes them feel much more open. They’re great if you’re traveling together. When we boarded the plane we were escorted through business class and shown to our seats, and asked which drink we would prefer. A very nice touch.

The window seats are more private and ideal if you’re traveling on your own.

One big difference between the first row and 2nd is the foot well storage space. Notice the pic with Miles…nowhere to put your things whereas as the pic on the left ( row 1 ) has room.

We started with some bubbly.

This was served promptly after boarding…we had barely gotten settled before we had a little sippy sip 🙂 These were served with some warm macadamia nuts.

two glasses of champagne on a table


The Food:

Neither of us were particularly hungry, but decided to tempt the sweet tooth a bit. I had a brownie with ice cream.  It was quite good, heh, heh, heh.

a brownie with ice cream and mint on a plate


While the flight is very short, I did take advantage of the fully lie flat seats.

a stuffed animal on a bed


I’ve read reports that Cathay Dragon offers a caviar service onboard, but we weren’t offered one. The cabin was completely empty when I looked the morning of the flight. The cabin ended up half full. In fact, I’m pretty sure they weren’t expecting many people in First Class as we kind of snuck in at the last minute, but the service was still fantastic.

Speaking of the service. The lady that ended up sitting in front of me was wearing a dark skirt. The blanket ( seen above ) had rubbed off onto her skirt and left a ton of lint. The amazing thing? They had lint rollers, and by the time we landed she had been de-linted. Pretty impressive amenity.

a plane with windows and a screen

See more of #WeekendWarrior Shanghai

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

a blue credit card with blue lines and white text

Learn More

Affiliate LInk

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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 including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 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℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • $95 Annual Fee

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

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. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

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.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.