Sam Huang an is a Travel Blogger who made headlines back in October for discovering a loophole that let him snag an epic $60,000 first class flight for $300. He regularly documents his experiences on his website TopMiles.com.
Well folks, he’s at it again! This time, he shows us a cool trick he used to get a $10,000 first class ticket from Cathay Pacific for $130 plus a $75 late booking fee. This trick involves applying for a specific credit card.
“One of the best award redemption on American Airlines currently is flying Cathay Pacific First Class for only 67,500 miles.” Huang told NextShark. “Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a road warrior or spend six figures on my credit card annually. With the current sign up bonuses offered by various banks, flying first class on Cathay Pacific is actually quite easily attainable with just two credit card sign up bonuses. You can read my step-by-step guide here.
However, American AIrlines has sharply increased of miles needed coming in March 2016, so if your planning on flying on one of Asia’s top airlines, you should start soon.”
Check out Huang’s personal account and pictures of his epic flight from Chicago to Hong Kong below.
I arrived at the check in counter with only a little bit of an hour to spare, having vastly underestimated the time it would take me from my hotel to the airport. Upon clearing security, I was surprised when the agent who checked me in earlier was there waiting for me. She noticed I was walking gingerly and immediately helped me with my carry on and escorted me to the first class lounge, which was greatly appreciated!
I quickly settled into the rather plain British Airways first class lounge, which consisted of a bunch of sofas and a few potted plants.
The agent who escorted me in asked me what I wanted to drink. Knowing the amazing food and Dom waiting for me on board, I decided to just get a bottle of water. Shortly, it was time to board for my 15 hour flight to Hong Kong.
Still noticing my limp, the check in agent personally took my carryon and escorted me from the lounge to the plane.
There was only one bridge way from the gate to the plane, which meant the agent and I waited with everyone else as the boarded the plane. I felt like George Clooney from Up in the air, as everyone around us sneak a peek to see who the heck I was.
We boarded and turned left to my seat of 1A. My first impression of the seat was just how ridiculously big it is. Cathay pacific only has three seats per row, making them one of the widest airline seats in the air today. The first class suite doesn’t have sliding doors, with Cathay preferring to have an open layout.
However, it is more than made up by the fact there are only six seats in the entire cabin, making it one of the smallest and most exclusive first cabins in the sky. All together, there were two flight attendants serving three paying passengers and a Cathay Pacific pilot. I knew then this would be a fun ride!
I got settled into my seat and my two first class flight attendants and the purser introduced themselves. Unlike Emirates, the vast majority of crew members come from Hong Kong. In fact, the head flight attendant has been working there for over 20 years!
A young gentleman then asked me what I would like to drink. I asked for a glass of champagne and he quickly brought over a glass of Krug along with a small bite sized snack that consisted of primarily of salmon caviar.
It was a by far the best pre-departure flight snack I had yet, with the balls of salmon caviar popping in my mouth, finished with a refreshing glass of Krug.
Soon after, the aircraft doors were closed and we began our taxi to the runway. Chicago was hit by a blizzard just a couple days earlier, but you wouldn’t have even known as the horizon was sky blue as we began our take off.
The engines roared to life as we took off for our 15 hour flight to Hong Kong. Unlike the A380, certain versions of the 777 have a wing cam that shows you the view beneath the plane.
Although the resolution is a bit low, I think its still gives a you a really unique vantage point not usually seen.
As we flew above the clouds, a very unique rainbow appeared. I was half temped to shout “It’s a double rainbow!” but reminded myself that I was in first class.
After we took off, the flight attendant came to refill my empty glass with even more Krug and served some warm nuts. He then took my lunch order.
I first ordered the caviar, which came with a bread basket and way too many glasses. I was very impressed by the detailed plating. Instead of just scooping the caviar from the can, Cathay decided to bring out the can itself.
Not only that they even provided a mother of pearl spoon, which apparently is used by the 1% so the caviar taste is not spoiled by the touch of metal. I’m not going to lie, the fancy spoon made a huge difference in taste and my mouth was in heaven as the caviars balls burst into flavor.
This was followed by a delicious tomato basil soup. The flight attendant even came by with a pepper grinder and asked me how much pepper I would like on top!
Next up was the main appetizer, Jumbo Prawns on a grapefruit salad. These were prawns were enormous and probably one of the biggest shrimp I’ve ever eaten in my life.
The shrimp was extremely juicy and you could taste the freshness. The grapefruit salad was also perfect, with just the right amount of vinaigrette.
I then proceeded to order the US prime beef fillet. I’ve had a couple steaks on other airlines and each time it has been extremely dry. This time around I ordered my steak completely rare.
All my doubts were wiped away with one bite I let out a big grin and was in food heaven. The steak was moist, tender, and the sauce was just right.
After polishing off steak I ordered the warm baked apple and raspberry filo pastry with dolce de leche.
To finish things off I had a bowl of red bean soup, a typical sweet soup that the Chinese drink to finish a meal off.
Overall, this was probably the best meal I’ve ever had on a plane. The service was impeccable, the food delicious, especially the prime fillet.
I was stuffed and I had a glass of Johnny Blue to help me digest, along with some pralines.
Soon I was starting to fall into a food coma, and I went to the bathroom to change into my pajamas. Compared to the ones given by Emirates, these were designed clearly with the business traveler in mind, sporting a collar and shaped more like a dress shirt than pajamas.
The bathroom was spotless, and featured a porcelain sink. Pretty neat feature, clearly no detail was left unturned.
After I changed, I asked for my bed to be made. Luckily, there the seat next to me was empty, and the flight attendant suggested that I have my own separate bed there. Who can say no to that?
Emirates may have the enclosed suite, but the extra width and open design made my seat feel like a real bed that I could stretch out in. The bed lining was perfect and I had probably the biggest pillow I’ve slept on so far on a plane.
I then fell asleep like a baby for the next few hours.
I woke up while we were flying over Russia. The view was absolutely stunning as we flew over rivers of ice.
I decided to order a few in flight snacks. No, these are not pretzels and salty crackers you find on US airlines. Cathay pacific offers a variety of hot dishes. I ordered the famous noodle soup with dumplings.
While the dumplings were delicious, the soup was a little bit bland even with a healthy dose of Chile paste.
I asked the flight attendant to take my dish away, and seeing my dish half empty, he immediately asked if I wanted another item on the menu. I ordered the prime beef burger. It was absolutely delicious and juicy. Once again, Cathay delivered a perfect beef entree.
Afterwards, I ordered some more Krug and settled in and enjoyed the view. The sun was still low on the horizon as we continued to race the sun to Hong Kong.
I proceeded to go on a House of Cards marathon. I usually don’t watch much TV, but I was hooked and spent the next couple of hours watching a few episodes.
Before I knew it, it was time for dinner prior to our arrival. I started with a plate of fruit.
Then I had the shrimp with stir-fried pak choy. The shrimp was again, delicious, although a bit oily. That’s Chinese food for you though!
Finally, I finished the meal with a raspberry tart
We then began our descent into Hong Kong as nightfall and landed shortly. The flight crew, having seen me walking with a limp asked if I wanted to be escorted by wheelchair. I kindly declined, and thanked the crew for their amazing service.
I passed through immigration and headed to the Arrivals lounge. That’s right, Cathay Pacific has a lounge for just for first class arrival passengers! As expected, the layout was refined and well designed, with a huge omega clock on the wall.
I quickly took a shower which was extremely refreshing after my long 15 hour flight.
After taking a shower, a lounge attendant asked if wanted to have something to eat. Even though I wasn’t really hungry, I decided to take one for the team and order a bento box. To be honest, I probably would have ordered another dish as the noodles were quite dry.
I then finally left paradise and took public transport into Hong Kong.
Determined to continue my slight buzz, I explored the Hong Kong nightlife with a friend.
Finally, I got back to hotel right as the sun began to rise, and promptly fell asleep, capping off another crazy 24 hours flying high in the sky.
Overall, Cathay Pacific’s first class lives up the hype. Although their seats are not the most groundbreaking, what stands out is the level of sophistication and elegance at every turn. The service was top notch and you can easily tell they paid attention to the minor details.
However, one of the highlights of my trip was soon to come as I headed back to Hong Kong and got the experience one of the most jaw dropping lounges in the world.