Cathay Pacific will operate a one-off return charter flight between Hong Kong and Osaka in August and September, respectively, available exclusively for members of its Asia Miles rewards programme.
This is the first time the carrier will operate a charter flight that will only be available by redeeming miles, with seats unable to be purchased using cash.
The initial flight out of Hong Kong (CX8538) will take place on August 30, departing at 0935 and arriving in Osaka in the afternoon at 1425. The return flight (CX8541) will then leave Osaka four days later on September 3 at 1700, landing back in Hong Kong at 2000.
The airline’s Airbus A330 aircraft will operate both flights, with economy class tickets costing 10,000 Asia Miles each way and business class tickets requiring 25,000 Asia Miles.
This is the same as the standard award rates, so Asia Miles members won’t find these to be any cheaper than redeeming a seat on a scheduled service. They could prove to be easier to redeem, however, as seats won’t be taken up by passengers who’ve paid for their seats using cash.
Passengers don’t have to book flights on both flights either, and can instead choose to redeem just one of the flights while completing the other portion of their journey on one of Cathay Pacific’s other scheduled services.
“Japan always tops the list of favourite travel destinations for Hong Kong people, so we’re pleased to launch the first-ever chartered flights and give our members an exclusive redemption opportunity,” said Paul Smitton, Asia Miles’ CEO.
“We wanted to give our members a new way to access flight awards to top destinations and hope our members enjoy a rewarding getaway with their loved ones.”
It’s not immediately clear which of Cathay Pacific’s A330s will be making the journey, though. Cathay Pacific has three configurations for the aircraft, though its premium economy-equipped 33K cabin layout can be discounted seeing as there isn’t premium economy seating available for redemption.
Of the remaining two configurations, one of these has the airline’s regional business class seat product that is laid out 2-2-2 rather than the fully flat herringbone seats that are configured 1-2-1.
The 2-2-2 cabin aircraft also has fewer business class seats with just 24, compared with the 39 seats in the 1-2-1 configured aircraft.
Business Traveller recently reviewed Cathay Pacific’s regional business class seat as configured on its Boeing 777-300 aircraft.
Asia Miles underwent a significant overhaul last month with revisions to how its earning and redemption rates were calculated.
These changes notably meant that passengers earn more Asia Miles flying on about 80 per cent of flights operated by Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon compared what they used to earn, while also making premium seats – particularly on long haul routes – more expensive to redeem.