Trip Report: Australia (part 6) Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class HKG-KUL

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Introduction
British Airways First Class Lounge O’Hare
Cathay Pacific First Class ORD-HKG
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui
Cathay Pacific’s The Wing First Class Lounge HKG
Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class HKG-KUL
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Around Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class KUL-MEL
Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne
Australia Open Day One (2nd round of tourney)
Around Melbourne
Great Ocean Road Excursion
Australian Open Day Two (4th round of tourney)
Park Hyatt Sydney
Sydney Opera House Tour
Bondi Beach
Qantas Domestic Business Lounge SYD
Qantas Domestic Business Class SYD-BNE
Qantas Business Class BNE-LAX
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Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class HKG-KUL

Well after lounging a bit to long in the lounge we got to the gate just in time as the board was showing “Last Call”! For that reason we were some of the very last to board in business class arriving to a full cabin. ( In turn, I don’t have many pictures of the cabin but please see our prior Cathay Pacific regional business class flight last year for better pictures.)

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Gate 31 at HKG

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Cathay Pacific regional business class

We were immediately offered a welcome drink.  I had a water and my wife continued with the Oriental Breeze beverage from our prior flight.  We finished our beverages and the captain came on to let us know about our flight time, routing and weather in Kuala Lumpur noting that they expect a decent amount of turbulence. Continue reading

Trip Report: Australia (part 5) Cathay Pacific’s ‘The Wing’ First Class Lounge

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Introduction
British Airways First Class Lounge O’Hare
Cathay Pacific First Class ORD-HKG
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui
Cathay Pacific’s The Wing First Class Lounge HKG
Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class HKG-KUL
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Around Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class KUL-MEL
Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne
Australia Open Day One (2nd round of tourney)
Around Melbourne
Great Ocean Road Excursion
Australian Open Day Two (4th round of tourney)
Park Hyatt Sydney
Sydney Opera House Tour
Bondi Beach
Qantas Domestic Business Lounge SYD
Qantas Domestic Business Class SYD-BNE
Qantas Business Class BNE-LAX
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Cathay Pacific’s The Wing First Class Lounge Hong Kong

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Cathay Pacific’s The Wing lounge entrance

We stopped at Cathay Pacific’s largest lounge, The Wing, before our flight to Kuala Lumpur.  We visited this lounge in 2013 as well before our flight to Bali.  We figured we would grab some breakfast and relax just a bit to start our day.  We entered downstairs and they checked our boarding passes and confirmed we had access to the upstairs first class lounge. Continue reading

Trip Report: Australia (part 3) Cathay Pacific First Class ORD-HKG

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Introduction
British Airways First Class Lounge O’Hare
Cathay Pacific First Class ORD-HKG
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific’sThe Wing First Class Lounge HKG
Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class HKG-KUL
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Around Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class KUL-MEL
Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne
Australia Open Day One (2nd round of tourney)
Around Melbourne
Great Ocean Road Excursion
Australian Open Day Two (4th round of tourney)
Park Hyatt Sydney
Sydney Opera House Tour
Bondi Beach
Qantas Domestic Business Lounge SYD
Qantas Domestic Business Class SYD-BNE
Qantas Business Class BNE-LAX
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Cathay Pacific (CX) First Class ORD-HKG

This would be our 2nd time flying Cathay Pacific in first class but the level of excitement was still sky high.  We flew them originally in June of 2013 on our trip to Bali so we knew what to expect and we were looking forward to it! You earn miles for moments like these, period!

When it was time to board First Class passengers, several passengers started to board and there are only six seats.  So either they also called for One World Emerald passengers to board as well or some people were just trying to board early.  I got bumped on my right arm as a man rushed ahead of me to board only to get told, “we are boarding First Class passengers only at this time.” Which I admit gave me a little smile since he decided to bump into me without apologizing or looking back at all. JERK.

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Check in counter for our flight, CX807

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Our Boeing 777-300 to HKG

Anyhow once onboard we knew where to go and where greeted by the Purser and directed to our seats. I was able to secure seats 1A and 2A by calling Cathay Pacific’s US customer service line two days ahead of the flight. I tried to call them exactly six months prior to our flight but they would not assign seat 2A ahead of time due to that being a “bassinet seat” allowing for babies/infants. When I checked CX’s website and “managed my booking” I noticed that seats were assigned and they were 2A surprisingly and 2D. I didnt’ want 2D as we would be separated by a “wall” in the cabin. So when I called two days prior to the flight they were indeed able to switch my wife to 1A.  In my opinion this is the most ideal set up for a couple traveling together as you are more secluded and each have window access.  Luckily there ended up only being four passengers in first class for our flight leaving the middle D row seats empty, giving all four passengers the windows and allowing for the most privacy.

DSC09433My suite on Cathay Pacific, 2A Continue reading

Trip Report: Australia (part 2) British Airways First Class Lounge O’Hare

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Introduction
British Airways First Class Lounge O’Hare
Cathay Pacific First Class ORD-HKG
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific’sThe Wing First Class Lounge HKG
Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class HKG-KUL
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Around Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class KUL-MEL
Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens Melbourne
Australia Open Day One (2nd round of tourney)
Around Melbourne
Great Ocean Road Excursion
Australian Open Day Two (4th round of tourney)
Park Hyatt Sydney
Sydney Opera House Tour
Bondi Beach
Qantas Domestic Business Lounge SYD
Qantas Domestic Business Class SYD-BNE
Qantas Business Class BNE-LAX
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British Airways First Class Lounge O’Hare

We arrived to O’Hare like most other trips-on a CoachUSA bus from Milwaukee.  It drops us off right at the entrance to terminal 5 (O’Hare’s International terminal).  We walked right up to the Cathay Pacific First Class line and were checked in in just a few moments.  We  checked one bag and each had a carryon for this trip. We were given our boarding passes and told we had access to the British Airways First Lounge and we were on our way, partially escorted through security by our Cathay Pacific checkin agent.  After clearing security the British Airways First Lounge is not a far walk.

The agent in the lounge checked us in and we took our first looks at the lounge. I found it on the small side but not overcrowded initially and the furnishings and aesthetics fairly stylish.  The lounge was pretty peaceful for the most part and didn’t even have a TV.

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British Airways First Class Lounge in ORD

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British Airways First Class Lounge checkin desk

I walked over to the beverage selections and figured to get the trip started with a Continue reading

Trip Report: Thailand (part 21) Cathay Pacific Business Class Bangkok (BKK) to Hong Kong (HKG)

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Introduction
United Airlines 747 First Class Chicago (ORD) to Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt (FRA)
Thai Airways A380 First Class Frankfurt (FRA) to Bangkok (BKK)
Thai Airways 737 Business Class Bangkok (BKK) to Koh Samui (USM)
Conrad Koh Samui
Mae Koh National Park Boat trip and Chaweng Beach
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Koh Samui (USM) to Phuket (HKT)
Naka Island a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa
James Bond Island and Little Island Boat trip
Phi Phi Island Boat trip
Patong Beach and Bangla Road
Air Asia Economy Class Phuket (HKT) to Chiang Mai (CNX)
Four Seasons Chiang Mai
ELE (Elephant Life Experience) Elephant Camp
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple
Bangkok Airways Economy Class Chiang Mai (CNX) to Bangkok (BKK)
St. Regis Bangkok
Dinner at Vertigo at Banyan Tree Rooftop
Chatuchak Weekend Market and Wat Pho Temple
Cathay Pacific Business Class Bangkok (BKK) to Hong Kong (HKG)
American Airlines First Class Hong Kong (HKG) to Dallas (DFW)
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Cathay Pacific Business Class Bangkok (BKK) to Hong Kong (HKG)

Well it was time to say goodbye to Bangkok and end our two week vacation in Thailand.  We took a cab to the airport and the check in counter had no line so we walked right up. We were checked in quickly and given our lounge passes.

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Cathay Pacific checkin signs at BKK

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Cathay Pacific lounge entrance

We cleared security and made it to Continue reading

Trip Report: Bali and Hong Kong (part 10) Cathay Pacific Business Class HKG-ORD

The way home.

We were sad to see our trip come to an end but at the same time we were ready to come back home. It was just the right amount of time away from home/work.  We took a cab to the MTR station and took the train back to the airport. We checked in and made our way back to the lounge.  We were traveling home on Cathay Pacific business class.   I had a quick lunch at The Wing lounge before boarding.

DSC02512Lunch in the lounge.

CX806  /seats 18D and 18G/  Departing 11:55am

DSC02514Boarding begins!

DSC02518Forward shot of the cabin.

 

DSC02515Rear shot of the cabin.

DSC02517Our seats

DSC02516Window seat

DSC02523 Seat controls

DSC02526 Pre-departure beverage

DSC02527 Headphone storage

DSC02528Menu

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DSC02531 DSC02530

DSC02534The smoked creole salmon was tasty!

DSC02535The chicken breast.

DSC02536Lemon meringue pie!

DSC02537Fell asleep without putting my seat in bed mode! hehehe

The flight was very smooth and we were well taken care of.  I am now a big fan of Cathay Pacific! This was a very comfortable way to travel and not possible for us without the AA miles we earned from our credit card sign up bonuses. Before you knew it we deplaned, zoomed through pre-check in less than 2 minutes and grabbed our bags. We had about a 30 minute wait outside for our shuttle bus back home and another 2 hour ride home!

DSC02540Back to reality!

PointsPinnacle Breakdown

So we were able to use our AAdvantage miles earned from the Citi cards I spoke about earlier (see here again for best offers). The flights cost 55,000 miles per person.

AA

 

Our email confirmation above.

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Ticketed receipt. Only $116 total cash outlay!

It was such a great journey and adventure for us both. Just 2 years ago I never thought a trip like this was in our cards or even possible.  Just imagine what miles and points can do for you and all the amazing places on earth you may have only dreamed of visiting. We feel very blessed and we are very appreciative of this amazing time!

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed the photos and commentary!! Let me know if you have any questions or if you have any feedback in the comments!! Thanks!!

-pointspinnacle

Trip Report: Bali and Hong Kong (part 6) Cathay Pacific Business Class DPS-HKG

 

Journey to Hong Kong

CX 784 DPS-HKG
June 24 2013
Departure: 4:45pm
Seat 88k

We were sad to leave Bali but at the same time excited to experience Hong Kong.  We were driven from Sayan to the airport in a new BMW X5.  The driver removed our bags and we were on our way. The day before this flight I checked BA.com to see if there were any available business class seats as I had originally booked economy seats with Avios originally.  Sure enough, due to an equipment swap to a 747 a bunch of business class seats opened up. I had to pay to upgrade and I debated for a minute and asked my wife what she preferred (she didnt care). I figured to get to fly in the upper deck and and get the better service and product it was worth it.

The line for checkin was huge for economy class and that right there made my decision to upgrade a good one.  We were given our boarding passes and lounge passes.  We stopped in the lounge for a bit to grab a snack and check it out.

DSC02223Lounge food

DSC02224Part of the lounge

DSC02227747 business class upper deck. Straight ahead is the flight deck.   Continue reading

Trip Report: Bali and Hong Kong (part 2) The Wing First Class Lounge and Cathay Pacific Business Class HKG-DPS

 

HONG KONG

We cleared customs in Hong Kong, which didn’t take more than 15 minutes and fumbled through the airport looking for the airport express.  We found it and went to the service/ticket counter to buy our tickets.  I believe it was $16 for 2 people one way or right around there.  We took the train into the Kowloon stop and once again fumbled around until we found the shuttle buses that take you to all the major hotels for free.  For this one night layover I chose the Sheraton Hong Kong not only for the location but the price was good at around $250 and it would help me get to SPG platinum status this year!  The drive to the Sheraton was only a few moments and there were only 2-3 other people on the shuttle. I will warn that the seats are tiny for a bigger guy (6-1 215lbs)!! It didn’t help that the shuttle drive was Dale Earnhardt reincarnated as he took the corners at what felt like 75 MPH and the luggage went flying all over the luggage rack!

DSC01486Shuttle bus

SHERATON Hong Kong

We walked into the Sheraton to check in and had a smooth check in at the front desk.  The hotel common spaces are certainly nice but nothing to write home about.  As a SPG gold member we were upgraded to a harbor view room!  Nice I thought until she says it is a smoking room!  We will pass. I asked if we could get a non-smoking harbor view room instead and of course those are all full.  So I just said any non-smoking room will be fine as it was getting late and we had to get up early for our flight to Bali.  We were given room 955, which was your standard Sheraton room. Nothing fancy, no frills but was clean and got the job done.  I am not a fan of the showers with only half glass covering the tub as it almost unavoidable to get water all over the bathroom floor!

We did stop to get a bite to eat at a Chinese restaurant within the hotel. Why not get Chinese food for our first meal in China.  Little did we know that this place was somewhat fancy and wow was it pricey!!!   We got there right before the 11pm closing time and the service was very good, lets just say too good with 2 people standing right over us the entire time!  It was insane and the wife and I had a chuckle and we were thinking they might as well sit at the table with us!  We had some scallops, shrimp fried rice and one or two other items that slip my mind.

 

overpriced dinner at a restaurant at the Sheraton

First meal in Hong Kong

The food was good but not $125 good!!!!! I couldn’t believe the price and hadn’t taken the time to do the USD->HKD conversion while looking at the menu!!!The next day we got up fairly early for our 10:20am flight to Bali.  We checked out and went outside and around the corner to the shuttle bus stop.  Within about 30 minutes from being picked up we were back at the airport.   You can actually check in for your flight right there at the airport express station, which is nice so you don’t have to take all your bags with you on the train. We checked in and were given our boarding passes and lounge passes. Since our flight to Bali was on a 2-class plane we flew business class. Our lounge passes also only granted us business class entry when we presented them. I found that strange and after sitting down for 5 minutes went back to the desk to let them know I was arriving on a first class flight and my connecting plane doesn’t have 3 cabins. They looked up my flight info and granted me access to first class right away.   It’s funny because at first the 1st class section of the lounge seemed smaller than the business class area.  It wasn’t until I walked further down and realized it was HUGE!!  I discovered the Champaign bar and had a few morning glasses of Vuvue Cliqot.  I also checked out the super nice private cabanas in the lounge where you can shower up or take a bath in style and offers a nice vanity area or you could even set up your laptop and get some work done or video chat in private if need be.

DSC01496Just a small part of the lounge   Continue reading

Trip Report: Bali and Hong Kong (part 1) Preface, Cathay Pacific First Class ORD-HKG

 

June 15-30 2013 Bali, Indonesia and Hong Kong, China

DSC01666Bali

DSC02415Hong Kong

Preface

After first discovering Flyertalk in December of 2011 and subsequently having my mind blown by the information and material it was time to put the learned knowledge to work!!

We had previously planned and executed a much easier trip back in Sep 2012 using United miles, Starwood points and UR points to have a 10-day Kauai trip.  I wanted to plan an even more adventurous and exotic trip.  My wife loves beach and tropical destinations as do I but I love a city adventure as well.  We both never have traveled outside of North America and well we had about 300,000 AA miles thanks to Citi.

So one thing you will see a lot and hear a lot of around the flyertalk forums is Cathay Pacific!  After seeing numerous reports and pics that is what I wanted to do.

On Halloween 2012 the trip was “born” so to speak.  I tried to book this trip around Memorial Day weekend to save a vacation day however I could not find any availability online nor on the phone thus it got pushed back to June.  I asked the phone agent what was available ORD-DPS and HKG-ORD with in 2 weeks.  June 15 was available on the outbound and June 30 was available on the inbound CX first class on the way there and Biz class on the way back- “DEAL”!

I then needed to find a connecting flight from DPS to HKG since I don’t get a stopover in DPS.  Thus I knew Avios would be the best bet!  Everyday I checked DPS to HKG sometime in the middle of the trip. After about 2 weeks Monday June 24 opened in economy for 12,500 Avios opened and was booked! So that gives us 8 days and seven nights in Bali and 7 days and 6 nights in Hong Kong.

With the flights locked down, up next were the hotel accommodations!  Bali has such a vast selection of resorts and hotels its mind blowing! We love a luxury accommodation and have become somewhat hotel snobs to a small degree. My first reaction was to stick to Starwood and do some nights at the W Seminyak and some at St Regis Nua Dusa.  After many months of research and looking at rates and availability the Starwood options didn’t seem appealing compared to the competition.  In the end, we chose Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay for 4 nights using the buy 3 nights get one night “free” and then Four Seasons Sayan for 3 nights using the buy 2 nights get on night “free”.

Lastly the Hong Kong portion was somewhat easier with the Hilton devaluation. I had just got my Hilton Reserve card in Jan 2013 and was looking forward to staying with Hilton as a backup to Starwood until the devaluation; I was even planning on spending the $40k to acquire diamond status.  We ended up using the 2 night certificates from the Hilton Reserve card at the Conrad and using the 50k points for one night and using cash and points 25k points a night plus $125 for the 4th night.  Also and this decision hurt but I dumped 40k Starwood points for 2 nights at the W Hong Kong with rates at one point of $274 a night I should have jumped on them but of course they went up to $330 a night and I just didn’t want to use any more cash for this trip so there goes 40k spg points!

Lets get to the trip and the pics so we can share the experience!

CX First Class CX807: ORD-HKG

June 15th 2013
Scheduled Departure: 330pm
Actual Departure: 445pm
Seats 1A and 2A

We took the Coach USA bus from Milwaukee MKE airport to ORD international terminal 5. It is about a 1.5-hour drive with a few quick stops and costs about $50 per person round-trip.

Entering the Terminal the CX counter was pretty much right in front of you slightly to your left.  We walk towards the ticketing line and a CX personal asks, “business class sir” I say no “First Class”.  He says, “oh sir please step over to this line and we will get you situated right away”.  I think it appeared to him I was walking into the biz class line.

We handed over our passports and I asked if our bags would be checked in all the way to DPS since we had a 13-hour overnight layover and she said yes.  I also asked if we could sit in First Class on the connecting flight from HKG to DPS since my booking showed we were slated for biz class on the connecting flight.  I figured maybe an equipment change to the 747 or 777 and we could sit up front however they were showing an Airbus plane and thus remained in the 2 class plane for that connection. The gentleman CX rep asked,  “would we like to be escorted to security as the line at this time is long.’  “Sure” I replied thus missing the chance to get a picture of the check-in scene.

The line for the economy passengers was LONG.  He escorted us past everyone right up to the separate line for 1st class security line and wished us a pleasant flight.  I felt kind of strange and we got a lot of stares. We cleared security and started to walk to the lounge.  We were issued passes to the SAS lounge and we had 3 plus hours to wait with the delay for the plane.

LOUNGE

Lounge was about 1/3 full but as we got closer to departure the lounge was nearly 100% full and I was very surprised! It got to a point were my wife and I took turns leaving the lounge to walk the terminal and see if the gate area was any better. The gate area was worse than the Milwaukee county zoo on a summer Sunday!!! Wow people sitting all over the floor as there was an Air France flight to Paris in the shared gate area, one gate over.

IMG_0322Lounge seating

 

IMG_0323More lounge seating

DSC01407Food for Cathay Pacific passengers only!

DSC01408Lounge offerings   Continue reading