I wanted to make our honeymoon my first true around the world flight. I've always wanted to do a circumnavigation of the globe, and have been tempted, on occasion, to blow some UA miles and make it happen. Other things came up, (like the UA 747 Farewell) and I never ultimately pulled the trigger on doing a round-the-world trip. However, my fiance and I are getting married in Brussels, Belgium, and when we decided to do our honeymoon in Vietnam an around-the-world trip suddenly made a lot more sense.
I wanted this trip to be special for us, and I've been saving up miles for years to finally blow them on a trip. (In my head, I've always been saving miles for my honeymoon, now it'll be fun to use miles as quickly as I earn them) At this point in our planning process, I'd already booked Singapore Suites from Paris to Hanoi, I've booked some intra-Vietnam flights on Vietnam Airways. When I started thinking about how to fly home, Cathay Pacific immediately jumped to mind. I did some searching using BA's reward search and found some space on a HKG - ORD leg on the dates we would be completing our honeymoon.
I knew I wanted to redeem Alaska points for our honeymoon, I had about 30k Alaska points I had earned via the Alaska Airlines credit card. Next I transferred about 10k Diners Club points I had earned via my corporate card with my company. For the 100k balance I transferred 80,000 SPG points to my Alaska accounts (which included a 25% bonus on every 20k transferred). The SPG transfer took about 4-days and the Diners Club transfer took about 3-days. I can be pretty impatient, and waiting for the points to transfer was difficult. Alas, the points transferred and I called Alaska Airlines partner desk to book my reward travel. (Can I just take a second to say that the AS reward desk is super helpful) I spoke with an agent named Rose and got myself booked in J, and my fiance in F.
I know that Cathay Pacific doesn't typically open up any additional first class saver award seats to partners until 2-ish weeks out (as evidenced here, here, and here) but waiting for an opening has been a test of patience. Utilizing AwardNexus, I check my route daily but space has yet to open. This week Alaska Airlines released a restriction on booking/changing international rewards on Cathay and on JAL within 72-hours. I wasn't super worried about this de-valuation, but it did cut into my ability to upgrade my ticket IF another F seat opens up within that time-period. AS quickly changed their restriction to being on just intra-Asian travel, which is a much more reasonable restriction, although I'm certain some people will still be unhappy.
I hope Emily and I both are flying first class back to the USA from Hong Kong, I know I'm utilizing the right strategy, but do you guys have any additional advice on grabbing some Cathay first class space?