Cathay Pacific Airways is a Hong Kong based airline and which is also a founding member of the OneWorld Alliance. Since American Airlines is also a member of the OneWorld Alliance you can actually earn AAdvantage miles while flying on Cathay Pacific anywhere in the world. Even more appealing, you can also accrue AAdvantage Elite Qualifying Activity while traveling on Cathay. Here’s how it works.
Crediting Cathay Pacific Flights To The American Airlines AAdvantage Program
Crediting Cathay Pacific flights to the AAdvantage program (or any other OneWorld member) is relatively easy. There is really only one important step to remember if you wish to credit your flight to another airlines’ frequent flyer program.
That is, when booking, you need to make sure to add your desired airlines’ frequent flyer number to your Cathay Pacific reservation. Luckily, Cathay Pacific makes doing this incredibly easy. When filling out your personal information when booking a flight through Cathay Pacific there is a Frequent Flyer Program box which is optional.
All you need to do is select the AAdvantage program and then enter your frequent flyer account in the field next to the drop down. The only thing you need to remember is then when doing this your name on the reservation must match your name on the Frequent Flyer account. If your names don’t match between your account and the reservation you could be denied mileage accrual for your flight.
AAdvantage Earning Rates When Flying With Cathay Pacific
When traveling with Cathay Pacific you earn AAdvantage Elite Credit and redeemable miles based on the fare purchased and the distance flown. Below is the current Cathay Pacific mileage accrual chart from American.
As you can see when purchasing discount economy class flights on Cathay you will earn no miles of any kind. If you end up booking one of these fare codes make sure to credit your flight to another partner airline.
However, if you book a fare code that earn AAdvantage miles then you’ll earn mileage based on the above chart. For example, if you fly Chicago to Hong Kong in First Class you’ll cover a distance of approximately 15,500 miles total. If you book a full fare “Y” economy ticket you’ll earn 15,000 redeemable miles. You’ll also earn 15,500 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) and $3,100 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD).
It’s very important to know what fare code you’re booking if you plan on crediting these flights to AAdvantage. If you plan on purchasing a non-qualifying fare code you could try booking flights with AA flight numbers so that you can still earn AAdvantage mileage.
If you book Cathay Pacific flights with AA flight numbers you’ll earn AAdvantage miles as you normally would. That’s a topic for a later date.
How Long Do Cathay Pacific Flights Take To Post To AAdvantage?
Now, for the reason you likely found this page. Assuming you did all of the above correctly you can expect your Cathay Pacific flights to post to your AAdvantage account within 30 days of completing travel. We’ll that’s the official language from American Airlines.
From my experience the wait is actually a bit shorter. In the past all of my Cathay Pacific flights have posted to the AAdvantage program about a week after the final flight of my trip.
If it’s been longer than a week, or two weeks, don’t worry, your mileage accrual isn’t lost forever. If this is the case it’s best to call American and provide them with your Cathay Pacific E-Ticket Number. When providing this number I’ve found that the miles typically show up within a week of the call.
Waiting for miles to post is one of my least favorite activities. In the days while you wait you have plenty of time to second guess yourself. I usually begin to wonder if I booked the right fare codes or if the specific flight number I purchased is somehow ineligible. There are several ways that I could have messed up, but generally I’m confident I did the right thing.
From my experience nearly all of my flights on any airline have posted within about a week of travel. Only flights where I have failed to provide my FF number haven’t shown up. Luckily, again, you can give an AA rep your E-Ticket number to have that sorted out as well. Keep in mind if your miles don’t show up you have up to a year to make a mileage accrual request. Hopefully this helps calm your nerves as you wait for miles to show up in your AAdvantage account.