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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?