- Strong six cents per point value
- It's not chic but you'll enjoy it
- Seats are spacious, private but firm after eight hours of travel time.
After a busy week of business in South East Asia, I was on my way back to the East Coast of Australia via Hong Kong. There's plenty of flights but I struggled to find seat availability to Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane. After multiple searches, I found that Hong Kong to Perth on Cathay Pacific was available so I took the chance to try the Hong Kong (HKG) and Perth (PER) route on an Airbus A330-300. This is my in-depth flight review of my Cathay flight and what you can expect if you fly this route.
- Airline: Cathay Pacific
- Route: Hong Kong (HKG) – Perth (PER)
- Cabin: Business Class
- When: July 2017
- Cost: 65,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points plus about $160 in taxes for a one way trip
- Aircraft: Airbus A330-300 (twin-jet)
- Seat number: 16A
- Overnight flight: Yes
- Meal included: Yes
- Amenity kit provided: Yes
- Pyjamas provided: No
- In-flight Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is provided but I didn't have any use for it
- Duration: 7 hours 50 minutes
- Baggage: Carry on
- How to get points? Sign up for a new frequent flyer credit card.
Having arrived on a First Class Cathay Pacific flight from Singapore earlier in the day we were able to lounge it up in Cathay Pacific’s First Class Pier Lounge until this next flight. The Pier airport lounge is truly “next level”. But more on that in the minute.
Booking this flight
I booked this flight as a straight up Business Class points award seat for 65,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points and paid for the $160 in taxes and surcharges. If I had paid for this flight in cash, it would have cost me around AU$3,777. This can be a very expensive route and I've spotted one-way HKG - PER tickets go for AU$10-20k.
By using Qantas Points to make a classic reward booking, I was able to get a strong value of approximately six cents per point for this redemption flight booking. Using my Amex Qantas Charge Card to pay the taxes I managed to earn 160 Qantas Points.
If you were to transfer Amex Membership Rewards across to the Asia Miles program then the same seat on the same flight would have cost only 45,000 Asia Miles making for an even better points value.
Getting into The Pier Lounge
Because I was flying onto Perth on CX133 I was eligible to waltz straight on into The Pier business lounge. Andrew, my brother and co-founder, was flying back to the UK on an Emirates flight which is not a member of the One World alliance. This initially meant that we wouldn't get into that lounge. But we could both get access to the First Class Pier Lounge because we had arrived on a first class CX690 flight from Singapore.
Hands down, The Pier is most classy, most luxe airport lounge either of us has been into anywhere. Not only is this airport lounge vast, but it's also well planned out. It's the sort of place you could easily spend a long time between flights. Private bathroom and showers, lounging areas, restaurants, bar and quiet sleeping areas. The deeper you walk into the CX business lounge the quieter and darker it gets. All welcome relief for weary travellers.
I don't like to say this, but, Qantas Business Lounges and Qantas Club lounges in Australia feel serious, "businessy" plain, and at times crowded by comparison to Cathay Pacific's Pier business lounges.
Once boarded, I found my seat 16A was in the main Business cabin, far enough away from the gally areas to remain quiet for the whole flight.
Cathay Business is a solid experience but the overall decor lacks excitement. The very "businessy", stark look of the cabin is a big step down from the airport lounge. What can you say? It must be much cheaper to renovate your flagship airport lounges than retrofit your entire Business Class fleet.
The angled Herringbone configuration and seat design will be familiar to people who have flown American Airlines international routes such as AA72 SYD to LAX.
Your high-sided seat gives you a lot of privacy and plenty of space in the footwell too. It is roomy yet compact once you fill it with all your stuff. Direct access to the aisle means you don't need to clamber over other passengers to get out. Couples travelling together are best to select the middle two seats.
The delayed take-off pushed departure back by about an hour but we left Honkers late into the night. No problem for most people. Probably not a good time for the day for families travelling with small children. Too late for little ones.
Be careful when you take pictures in planes. I had my camera mounted on a gooseneck tripod to the side of my seat. Some airlines don't mind. Sometimes like on Emirates they positively encourage it. One of the cabin crew on this flight came by and politely asked me to not set my camera up there where it was pointing across the cabin! Once again, my apologies.
Didn't she realise that I was trying to get the perfect shot of the cabin?
If you book this flight you'll be served a late night dinner food and an early morning breakfast before the descent into Perth. Cathay gets low scores by other travellers for the quality of the food served. Honestly, it's perfectly fine. Salads are fresh, curry and rice were tasty and there's plenty of drinks to choose from on the menu. Anyways, you didn't fly for the food. It's all about sleep.
The seat lays fully flat into a bed but I wouldn't call it "well padded". It sounds like a minor thing but having a comfortable well-padded bed actually makes the 7 hour overnight flight a much more restful experience!
Unlike other airlines such as Qantas, an extra padding seat topper is not provided to convert the seat into a more comfortable bed for a few hours of shut-eye.
In the end
Hong Kong is one of my favourite airports. The Cathay Lounges are super stylish, very luxurious yet they feel more like very upmarket homes than a glamorous shopping mall.
The onboard experience on this Cathay Pacific flight to Perth was adequate. Sure I got told to put my camera away but the air stewardess was just doing her job. The food is fine for an overnight flight. The 180-degree reclining seats are, let's face it, as "firm" as a park bench which makes for a short night of broken sleep.
All being said, I really enjoy flying Cathay and this flight will likely give you a high-value rate of points redemption.