If a psychiatrist asked me what makes me content, happy and satisfied … I’d probably say an Alaska Airlines award ticket on Cathay Pacific with a stopover. Why? Because it’s an incredible value and I’m a sucker for deals.
As you know Alaska Airlines award tickets permits one free stopover on an one way ticket and two free stopovers on a roundtrip. What’s more amazing is for some Alaska partner carriers like JAL, stopovers are allowed even on a ticket within a continent.
In comparison, Aeroplan does not allow stopovers on one way tickets and permits two free stopovers on a roundtrip ticket that crosses continents. With that said, Alaska’s stopover rules are generally better and Aeroplan’s policies are already extremely generous.
Too good to be true?
Yeah a little bit. The knock on Alaska is that they are not part of a global alliance and they only allow you to redeem an award ticket with one partner per one way. Although you can still add positioning flights on Alaska Airlines, you wont be able to add a flight on JAL to a flight on Cathay Pacific as you would be accustomed to doing on an oneworld award ticket.
Being unable to mix partner carriers will absolutely limit your selection of cities to place a stopover at. This means if you are redeeming Alaska miles on Japan Airlines and are looking for a stopover in Asia, you are limited to stopping somewhere in Japan where you can continue your journey onward on another Japan Airlines flight.
Sometimes your international stopover option is limited to just one city on carriers that only have a single hub. Redeeming Alaska miles on Icelandair means your only international stopover is Reykjavik. And when Alaska introduces award redemptions on Finnair, the only stopover there is Helsinki.
I thought this was also true for Cathay Pacific with a single hub in Hong Kong … until I remembered Cathay operates several flights between cities outside of Hong Kong which would open up more stopover cities, including one close to home.
Outside of Hong Kong, here are the other 5 stopover cities for Alaska awards on Cathay Pacific you may have not known about.
1. Vancouver, Canada
Stop on by my friends. Vancouver (YVR) is a stopover city as Cathay Pacific operates flight CX888/889 between Vancouver to New York. This means that on an Alaska award from Hong Kong to New York, you can choose to fly direct or fly Hong Kong to Vancouver to New York and place your stopover in Vancouver.
For those living in Vancouver, a stopover at YVR is the way to build a stopover at home and get a free one way flight from YVR-JFK.
The route is operated by their 777 four class configuration which means international First Class is available on this flight.
2. Bangkok, Thailand
Not that you need another reason to visit Bangkok (BKK). Make it your stopover city on route to Singapore (SIN) on Cathay Pacific flight 711. As much as I love making a pit stop in Hong Kong, if I was travelling to Singapore, a stopover in Bangkok seems like the better choice. The tandem of cities would satisfy both the resort and city traveler in you.
3. Brisbane, Australia
If you’ve never visited Australia, you can visit two cities on one award ticket with a stopover in Brisbane (BNE) and then fly CX146 to Cairns (CNS).
The route is operated by a A330 with reverse herringbone seats for business class.
4. Dubai, UAE
Probably not the most popular stopover city on an Alaska award but you can stopover in Dubai (DXB) and fly onward to Bahrain (BAH) on Cathay Pacific flight 745. Not expecting you to take the flight but this 1 hour 15 minute hopper is no doubt a trivia worthy fact for PointsU 😊
5. Taipei, Taiwan
Stop it. This is crazy. Cathay Pacific has FOUR flights from Taipei (TPE) that fly onward to Seoul (ICN), Osaka (KIX), Nagoya (NGO), and Tokyo (NRT). As someone with family living in Taipei a stopover here is much preferred than Hong Kong on a trip from North America to South Korea/Japan.
Remember you get two free stopovers on a roundtrip so you can mix and match your stopover cities. For example you could fly YYZ-HKG-BKK-SIN with a stopover in BKK and return SIN-HKG-YYZ with a stopover in HKG.
If you want to visit even more destinations, Alaska’s intra-Asia award redemptions on JAL allow a stopover starting at 15,000 in economy and 25,000 in business. A future post on that. Unfortunately stopovers are not permitted on intra-Asia awards on Cathay Pacific. H/T Allan for the correction.
If you’re short of Alaska miles, remember to check out our MBNA Alaska Mastercard review. Have fun planning your next stopover-filled trip!