Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to book low tax Cathay Pacific Avios seats from Dublin to Hong Kong

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Last June, the Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific launched a 4-weekly service to Dublin.

I haven’t looked at Cathay Pacific redemptions since this service launched, so I thought it was worth another look at how you can make substantial tax savings when flying to Hong Kong on Cathay.

From Dublin, a return Avios ticket in Business Class incurs just £160 of taxes and charges.  This makes it the cheapest starting point of any of Cathay’s European destinations.

Cathay Pacific Avios

Remember that you can’t use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher on Cathay Pacific so this strategy is better for the solo traveller or someone who has already used their annual voucher.

Cathay Pacific is a fellow member of the oneworld alliance, alongside BA, so you can redeem your Avios for their flights. Availablity is generally good outside London but note that only some routes have First Class.  Availability seems better 2-3 months before departure than further out. The new Dublin route is a three-class service with Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class.

Let’s look at British Airways redemptions first

When booking redemptions to Hong Kong on BA there is one vital fact to remember. Until recently, by law, there were NO surcharges allowed on flights originating in Hong Kong.   This did not apply to return legs of flights starting outside Hong Kong.

My understanding is that this rule has now been dropped, but BA has still to implement the change and you can still benefit for lower surcharges.

What this means is that you MUST book Hong Kong BA redemptions as 2 x one-way flights if you want to save money. If you do this, there will be no surcharge on the inbound flight. If you book it as a return flight you will pay a surcharge on the inbound flight.

The snag, of course, is that by booking 2 x one-ways you cannot use your British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher ….

The impact of booking 2 x one-way redemptions on British Airways:

British Airways business class RETURN flight, London to Hong Kong – 180,000 Avios + £582

Or when booked separately:

BA outbound – 90,000 Avios + £383

BA inbound – 90,000 Avios + £34

Total – 180,000 + £417, saving £165

These numbers are based on peak day redemptions.

Save a little tax when you fly Cathay Pacific from London

If you choose to fly Cathay Pacific instead of British Airways from London, you will make a further saving:

Cathay Pacific business class (London to Hong Kong): 180,000 Avios + £353

This is £64 cheaper than redeeming on British Airways, based on a peak day redemption, and for a superior business class product.

Cathay A350 business class

Ex-Europe is even more interesting

Cathay also flies to Hong Kong from various other European starting points.  Dublin is the newest route, but there are plenty of other options.

Cathay Pacific also flies directly from Manchester which, whilst not offering a huge saving on taxes, will be more convenient than Heathrow or Gatwick for many readers.

The tax numbers are very good, as low as £160 return.

Amsterdam to Hong Kong: 180,000 Avios + £171

Brussels to Hong Kong:  180,000 Avios + £177

Dublin to Hong Kong:  180,000 Avios + £160

Frankfurt to Hong Kong: 180,000 Avios + £225

Madrid to Hong Kong: 210,000 Avios + £173

Manchester to Hong Kong: 180,000 Avios + £320

Milan to Hong Kong: 180,000 Avios + £175

Paris to Hong Kong: 180,000 Avios + £233

Rome to Hong Kong: 180,000 Avios + £188

Zurich to Hong Kong: 180,000 Avios + £177

There is no saving if you book Cathay Pacific tickets as 2 x one-ways or as a return.  If there is a risk of cancelling, booking a return will save you money on cancellation charges as there will only be one £35 fee to pay.

As you can see, there are some big savings to be made here compared to the British Airways surcharges of £417. You need to factor in the cost of getting to and from your departure airport, of course.

The snag …. off-peak pricing

There is one thing which may make you think twice about Cathay Pacific.

If you book on a peak day there is no difference in the Avios required whether you fly BA or Cathay – it is 180,000 Avios return, apart from Madrid (30,000 additional Avios).

Fly on a British Airways off-peak day and the Avios required falls to 150,000 per person, return, in Business Class. This offsets the saving in taxes and charges.

There are other factors to consider as well.  You will obviously need to get to your starting point which will incur additional costs.  Depending on the flight times, you may also need an overnight stay.  The Dublin flight currently departs at 11am, changing to 11.55am in the Summer, which is pushing it if you want to connect from the UK on the same day whilst building in a big enough buffer in case your first flight is delayed.

Cathay Pacific, of course, has arguably a far superior product as a look at online reviews will show.  If you are looking to travel off-peak you need to focus on the better overall experience rather than any cash or Avios saving.

This Head for Points article shows you in greater detail how to redeem Avios points for low-tax flight redemptions on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong and beyond.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (100)

  • Graeme says:

    Flew CX Man to HKG in business on the new A350-1000 before Christmas and it was brilliant.

  • Mass says:

    OT avios related
    Any risk for asking my friend who never registered BA account to use my home address so he can join my household account?

  • Declan says:

    I’m from Ireland and have been looking to redeem Avios for DUB-HKG but I can’t find any availability on CX. Any search I do on BAEC only ever shows me BA flights connecting through LHR.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      All classes available next Thursday (31st) as of 0838 on the BA app, so it is available. Are you searching for a large number of seats at once or something?

    • Rob says:

      Rubbish. 6th Feb, first date I tried, is showing 9+ Business Class seats AND 9+ seats in Premium Economy for Avios. You only struggle trying to book a long way ahead.

      • Callum says:

        Well maybe they are looking for a “long way ahead” then? Most people don’t book long haul trips two weeks before departure….

      • Declan says:

        That is exactly what I was trying to do – I was searching for dates pretty much 10-11 months in advance. But if I’m planning a big trip to Asia I’m not going to be trying to book my flights just a few weeks out, as Callum says.

      • Declan says:

        You’re right Rob – I changed my searches to March/April/May and I can find availability. I need to change my planning holidays months and months in advance habits!

        • Polly says:

          Declan,
          Out of interest for my family, who want to earn avios in Ireland. How do you earn them, from cards or flying, shopping? It’s just so difficult to get into avios collecting in Ireland.
          Know we discussed it at length here recently when AerClub launched their new not so good miles earning credit card. Any tips very welcome..

  • N says:

    Any another points based HKG sweet spots worth investigating?

    • Anton L. says:

      As always, any short-haul destinations booked using Avios. 4,500 Avios gets you to Taiwan and North Vietnam. Also some Mainland China destinations (but you need a visa).

    • Cat says:

      It depends what you’re looking for. I highly recommend attempting to fly in First (or failing the Business) to Hong Kong, spending a few days exploring the city, then heading onwards to Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines or Indonesia. My list may not be everyone’s cup of tea though!

  • Gerry says:

    Dublin remains a great place to start long haul having used Swiss and Etihad in the past. I’ve saved £1000’s compared to flying from UK with £13 flight and £50 hotel stay only addition for connection. Etihad lounge in Dublin v.good too.
    From HfP experience, which of the airports in Europe have decent lounges for Cathay – if not using LHR – for the full experience?

    • Rob says:

      Paris is OK – that is the lounge BA uses if flying to London. Not been to any others.

  • Mikeact says:

    It would be interesting to have a list of other long haul ‘sweet spots’, without ploughing through all the OW timetables.

    • Russ says:

      Unfortunately that ploughing is the labor intensive bit and I’d imagine those who have done the work won’t be keen on giving it you for free. Spreadsheet, coffee, something to nibble and Google flights is your friend.

      • Nick M says:

        Is there a way to use Google Flights to check redemption options?

        • Russ says:

          Not that I’ve found for redemption. But if you create a bank of OW routes with fees then your personal sweet spots appear. You can then monitor those few and be ready to pounce.

  • Anton L. says:

    Yes, the hard product on CX is vastly superior to BA but the departure time is inferior. I have personally found it hard to get sleep on a flight that arrives around what your biological clock considers bedtime.

  • Degsy says:

    Any ideas for a hotel for one night stay in Hong Kong to make the most of our time there. Looking at the Intercontinental but don’t know if it’s worth it for 1 night?

    • John says:

      What time are you arriving and leaving?

    • occasional ranter says:

      Hotel Icon has consistently been good for us. Compare direct rates with booking.com. The latter is sometimes cheaper, at least as a “Genius”. Not cheap, but cheaper than big names for the same or better service

    • Spurs Debs says:

      I stayed at the Cordis hotel great club lounge rooftop swimming pool the views were amazing. Right next to the train station and easy to get around.

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