We may receive a commission when you use our links. Monkey Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Monkey Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Monkey Miles is also a Senior Advisor to Bilt Rewards Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
When to look for Cathay Pacific award space
The pattern used to be very predictable…Cathay would release 2 seats far in advance, more roughly 2 weeks out, and then a wave within a couple days of departure at Saaver rates ( Standard Awards if you’re searching on Cathay). That pattern hasn’t been reliable for roughly 18 months. Cathay now releases only 1 award in advance and then it’s become far more unpredictable what they will do close-in. To make matters worse, British Airways now blocks all Cathay Pacific award space roughly 6 days from departure. However, I’ve been fastidiously searching Cathay Pacific award space from Boston to Hong Kong. It’s the first Long Haul on my mom’s surprise 75th birthday trip. So when’s the best time to look for Cathay Pacific Award Space.
Months in Advance you’ll see 1 seat available. You can search for this on British Airways, Qantas, or Cathay Pacific.
It was roughly 9 months ago when first locked down flights. Originally my mom was in First Class and my Dad and I were business. The chart looked similar to this
First Class remained sold out…until exactly 10 days in advance of our flight ( as in 240 hours ). Then, all of a sudden, 1 seat popped up for the 8th of April. I moved my dad into that seat. You can still see this on BA, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific
When this seat pealed off the cabin had 4 seats open. I was able to get my dad upgraded through Alaska for just 20k points and the cabin was half full.
I’d been tracking flights on both the 7th and the 8th…Last night, at 01:45 EST, exactly 48 hours before the flight… space opened up for the 7th. Under 6 days I use Cathay. You can also see space via Qantas. BA blocks Cathay award space under 6 days.
What’s interesting about this day is 4 seats are open in First Class and Business Class is wide open. Suddenly, last night, 1 seat opened up in First Class. You can’t search for this space on BA because it’s blocked, but on Cathay you can see it.
Can this be relied upon?
Zach Honig at The Points Guy experienced a similar pattern when he booked tickets in 2015: Far out, 10 days, 2 days. It doesn’t look as though it holds up as consistently because Derek from AccountingYourPoints noticed space pop up exactly 2 weeks out, except they weren’t available to Alaska. What seems to be consistent is seats are pealed off within 2 weeks. If at the 14 day mark nothing has moved, check the 10 day mark. I found that 10 days showed seats pealing off with more regularity.
This seems to work on flights that have >1 seat for sale.
We were booked on the flight for the 8th; however, the cabin is completely sold except for 1 seat. The example I used for the 7th had 4 open seats. The last seat on our flight never released which I think plays into the >1 availability.
It used to be that all but 1 seat would open up to award seats. It doesn’t look like this is the absolute trend now, but that more seats do open up within a couple days of departure.
What has your experience been?
Affiliate link via Card Ratings
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.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
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
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.
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.