Nutmeg Avios

Excellent Cathay reward availability and minimal tax – Dusseldorf to Hong Kong

I was originally going to discuss this as part of my Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf review yesterday, but I thought it deserved a wider audience.

Few people know that Cathay Pacific flies from Dusseldorf to Hong Kong.

You may wonder why you need to know this!  The answer is:

availability is amazing

taxes are minimal

I picked a random set of dates in January.  For the outbound, I can see EIGHT business class seats and TWO first class seats available for Avios redemption.

For the return, I can see SEVEN business class seats and TWO first class seats.

Looking at other dates in early 2015, 8 business class seats and 2 first class seats appears to be the standard release.

With a 12.35 departure time from Dusseldorf, you do not even need to stay over the night before as long as you get a very early flight from the UK.

When it comes to tax, you are only paying £92 return in business class.  This compares to well over £500 for a British Airways redemption in Club World – and Cathay Pacific has a substantially better reputation.

Cathay business class

The snag ….

The only downside is that you cannot use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher on Cathay Pacific.

ALL partner rewards are now treated as peak dates with BA.

This means that Dusseldorf to Hong Kong prices at 180,000 Avios + £92 return in Business Class.  (Cathay also flies from Amsterdam and Manchester, for completeness.)

On British Airways, it would be either 150,000 Avios or 180,000 Avios + £503 depending on whether it was a peak or off-peak day.   Cathay is still a better deal on this basis if you do not have a 2-4-1 voucher.

With a 2-4-1, you would be paying between 150,000 and 180,000 Avios + £1,006 on British Airways compared to 360,000 Avios + £184 with Cathay Pacific, for two people.

Of course, if you can’t get BA availability then it is a mute comparison – although you can usually get something into Chengdu or Kuala Lumpur and pay or redeem on Cathay for a connection to Hong Kong.

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  1. Actually, CX doesn’t fly (yet) to Dusseldorf! The service launches 1 September.

  2. Also, just be careful booking too far in advance if you want F seats. DUS is widely rumoured to become one of the first existing routes to go three-class no-First A350 once the A350s are route proven and start being deployed on long haul routes. Rumour is that will happen from about mid-2015 onwards.

  3. CX flies from AMS/CDG/FCO/FRA/MXP and is launching DUS/ZRH.

    When you say “On British Airways, it would be either 150,000 Avios or 180,000 Avios + £503” is that a DUS-HKG-LHR with the outbound on CX and returning on BA? If it’s off-peak both ways then a BA return would still be 120000, and obviously award flights can be booked as one-ways if you can’t find availability – in which case many *A airlines do reasonably priced one-ways in J from UK-HK

  4. And what about cancellation policy? I may be interested,though i may burn some AA for that

    • JoshBosh says:

      I’ve changed CX avios bookings before with the standard phone fee. Waved after i explained that i could not cancel the booking online in the first place.
      Be very cautious using the non-UK call centres though, although Malaysia was extremely helpful, they could only queue ticket issuing with BA. I had to call BA England 26 hours before take off to force the ticket to be issued….

  5. I’ve redeemed on CX ex MXP several times. Good availability and the charges are cheaper than they will be from DUS. I’ll probably stick with that.

  6. Not exactly on topic, but as a London based regular BAEC Silver card holder, with maybe 7-8 BA business (CE) trips and a similar amount of holidays (mostly short haul economy), is BAEC still the best OW FFP to belong to for status and miles collection? Assume qualifying flights might become a problem with the others.


    • The BA silver makes a difference, without this the earning rate is pretty on some economy fares when compared to (say) crediting flights to AA.

      It also depends if you travel alone or with a group since the HH account with BA allows pooling of miles whereas others don’t; and of course not forgetting the BA2f1 vouchers via BAPP.

    • There is no simple answer. There is no stand-out scheme in oneworld for easy status and there are good reasons to have your miles in BA – those 9,000 Avios + £35 tax European redemptions and the ability to top-up with a BA Amex and Tesco.

    • RIccati says:

      BAEC does not serve you for long haul anymore because of the humongous amount of Avios required.

      Silver bonus of 50% is not the same as Gold bonus of 100% (of base miles) to catch up with devaluation. (If you already primarily taking CE flights, then Silver status not useful. Long-haul seat selection is a plus).

      In terms of FFP, there are better things to have with AA and Alaska (also people mention LAN/TAM) — if you can achieve OW Sapphire status there, THEN SWITCH.

      Yes, AA devaluation is coming but now maybe next year (why disrupt holiday travel patterns for Nov-Dec seasons?). Could it be as bad as 50% price increase across all zones, I doubt it very much. It is more likely to be selective.

      Get those Avios for European redemptions from Tesco vouchers/credit card. Does not make sense to get AMEX BA Plat for 25K bonus to start accumulating 180K for a return flight to Hong Kong… only for some European redemption.

    • RIccati says:

      Cathay’s Asia Miles deals inside East Asia region are reportedly as good as Avios here in Europe if that’s is the area where you travel.

      Short-notice prices between SE Asian cities, like SIN-HKG or HKG-DPS can be expensive on cash, while redemption taxes are minimal.

  7. Ronster says:

    Wish amex would launch a credit card, with a 2-4-1 oneworld flight voucher.

    Now that would be interesting?!


  8. Londonbus says:

    The other snag is that being a partner airline you don’t get access to off-peak pricing.

    • Exactly. Although …

      a) BA availability to HK is rubbish anyway
      b) the gap is only 30,000 Avios which is more than made up for with the tax saving, even after factoring in the connection

      The bigger issue is that you can’t use an Amex 241.

  9. James67 says:

    Best value on CX is Alaska MP; 85k rtn J between HKG and any destination in Europe. LHR usually even easy enough to find decent availability.

    • Waribai says:

      Ok, but how to get Alaska miles apart from flying on them obviously!

      • Credit BA flights for a start! They have loads of partners – do a search in the HFP search box and you’ll find an article I wrote.

      • James67 says:

        And the other easy options are SPG, or MR via SPG. However, given the conversion rate of MR to SPG is 2:1 it doesn’t make sense to generate mjority of Alaska miles from MR, but always an option if you just need a few thousand extra miles to reach a target.

  10. Effectively this values 120,000 at £824 (assuming you have a 2f1 voucher); given the opportunity cost of the 2f1 voucher it realy does devalue it … I have one unused last year that will be expiring in Feb, and 2 more due to expire soon…..