The Best First Class Experience – Ever.

I’ve flown basically ever first class product out there (barring Garuda, Swiss, and Air France). I love international first class, though not as much as I used to. Is that me getting jaded? Probably.

My last flight in First Class was LAX-HKG on Cathay Pacific. I’ve flown CX multiple times in the past few years, so I know exactly what to expect. Cathay Pacific is great. Their seat is fantastic, the service is consistent, and their catering is decent, with Krug champagne and caviar service.

Cathay Pacific First Class

Cathay Pacific First Class

How to Easily Redeem for Cathay Pacific First Class

If you haven’t flown Cathay Pacific First Class, try it. It’s out of the best products out there and here’s the thing – anyone can fly it essentially for free. All you need to do is get a few credit cards. With enough luck, you can get the cabin to yourself too – or you can just book out the cabin on refundable paid fares 😉

First, sign up for the MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard. You get 25,000 miles with your first purchase. It’s my go to card for everyday purchases you can’t pay with an American Express card.

Next, pick up the the Starwood American Express as well as the Starwood Business AMEX. They each have a signup bonus of 20,000 SPG miles after completing minimum spend – so both cards will get you 40,000. This converts at a 1:1.25 ratio to 50,000 Alaska Airline Miles.

A Cathay Pacific First Class redemption is only 70,000 miles with Alaska MileagePlan. This is the cheapest possible way to redeem for it, and includes both the Trans-Pacific segment as well as an intra-Asia First Class segment if that is offered. That’s a fantastic deal for flights that retail at over $10,000.

However, this flight simply over the top. What made it different?

Being the only one in First Class

My flight started with a visit to the Qantas First Lounge. I’ve been there so many times quite a few of the staff recognize me. It’s one thing to be in a first class lounge but another to feel at home seeing a familiar face.

Taken when there were too many people in the lounge

Taken when there were too many people in the lounge

Then, once on board, I found out the cabin load was 1/6. Being the only person in the cabin definitely has it’s perks.

Things you can do while the only person in first class:

  • Control the cabin temperature
  • Drink all the champagne
  • Have multiple servings of caviar
  • Occupy two seats (or more)
I forgot which serving of caviar this was

I forgot which serving of caviar this was

This literally is the best possible way you can fly from North American to Asia, since unless you have a 747 and/or huge tons of money, a private jet can’t fly for fifteen hours. So this literally is the best way to fly.

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  1. Just experience it 2days ago, seat 1A with full capacity. It was great except the trip from LA to Hkg felt forever. How many times can you really keep pressing the button for assistance.?

  2. What is your strategy for finding Cathay first class availability? What sites do you use? Are certain routes better than others as far as availability is concerned?

  3. Yeah I think I prefer Cathay First over Singapore Suites. Six seats vs twelve seats is a huge sell, as it feels more private and intimate, and the service is quicker. May not have doors on the seats, but you really can’t see into another’s person seats. I did think service for Singapore Suites was slower, plus the PJs for Cathay are much better…

    • @Dale, I agree. CX seats appear to be in better/newer condition too.

      I also experienced having the whole F cabin to myself. Though usually I have family taking up 3+ seats so we often have at least one side to ourselves. In either case, it’s even better without closing doors.

    • Yes it can but I think LAX-HKG is 140,000 avios so not as good value but I guess it depends if you are swimming in avios or not.

  4. They let you have multiple servings of caviar?
    I was one of 3 last time. The other two were a Chinese couple that didn’t drink..
    I did start making mimosas in the morning with the Krug, but I didn’t get the extra caviar 🙁

  5. Nice trip report.

    Am I the only one that finds Alaska does not see much of the Cathay Pacific availability. Recently I was trying to book a flight, but the Alaska agents said there was no space. I ended up booking using my American miles, so I know it just wasn’t the phantom space that the British Airways sometimes displays.

    Also, finding F space pretty spotty on most Cathay routes to HKG, especially out of Vancouver. There is a little more (just not on the dates I want this spring) out of LAX. And a few dates out of JFK. But SFO, YVR, ORD look hard to find any decent space. I guess the trick is to book 2 weeks out?? Any tips?

  6. Could not agree more! I just flew LAX-HKG over Chinese New Year with the F cabin to myself and only 71 (71!!) people on the entire 777. Needless to say service was phenomenal. 16 hours was plenty of time to enjoy the caviar and Krug!

  7. did you really book the entire first cabin in refundable tickets and canceled everything a short time before the flight to have the cabin for yourself or force Cathay to open F availability ?

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