In Part I of this series, I discussed how I got three nights at a luxury hotel in Singapore for $275 in total. In this post, I’ll talk about how I got our business class tickets to Asia from the U.S. on Cathay Pacific.
What and Where:
I booked us on flights from our home airport, connecting through Chicago, Hong Kong, and on to Singapore on Cathay Pacific in business class, round trip.
How to Collect the Miles:
- American Airlines miles can be used on Cathay Pacific routes, at the AA mileage cost, so my focus was on collecting AAadvantage® miles. At the time of booking, I needed a total of 280,000 miles for roundtrip business class tickets.
- At the time, the Citi®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® WorldElite™ Mastercard® sign-up bonus was 60,000 miles for spending $3,000 (the link provided is not an affiliate link, is just for reference, and is only for 50,000 miles, there may be more lucrative deals out there). With two people applying, that nets out to 126,000 miles after meeting spend thresholds.
- We earned approximately 30,000 miles through flying (whether for business or otherwise).
- A now-defunct credit card from Barclay’s offered 40,000 miles for signing up. The replacement card is available here (non-affiliate link) with a $95 annual fee. Through sheer luck, one of us was able to have the $95 annual fee waived.
- Combination of offers for meeting certain spend requirements (like 5x miles for $1000 of purchases) and other minor promotions.
How to Find the Tickets:
- Travel Codex provides an excellent overview for searching for American Airlines tickets, so I’ll refer you there for that information. Long story short, I typically use the British Airways search engine as the American Airlines one does not show availability for certain carriers like Cathay Pacific.
- Search far and wide, EARLY AND OFTEN! I looked for our honeymoon tickets within 1-2 days of tickets becoming available (approximately eleven months in advance).
- Look at different routes and try to be flexible. Search for individual legs of the trip, and try to combine them yourself rather than relying on the often janky search engine. Look at many different connecting airports.
Total Value: Business class tickets cost around $4,500 to Singapore, so the total value here was ~$9,000.
Total Cost: $76.80 for inbound flights and $98.76 for outbound flights, totaling $175.56 plus one $95 annual fee. Grand total cash cost for two roundtrip tickets was $270.56 .