Cathay Pacific Eliminates Award Waitlisting

Cathay Pacific Eliminates Award Waitlisting

13

This is a disappointing change, which gets rid of one of the major incentives to book award tickets through Cathay Pacific’s frequent flyer program.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles ends award waitlisting

As of October 22, 2021, Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles frequent flyer program will no longer allow standard award tickets to be waitlisted.

For context, in the past the Asia Miles program allowed award tickets on Cathay Pacific “metal” in all four classes to be waitlisted. This meant that if a flight didn’t have award space, you could waitlist yourself, meaning that if an award seat opened up, you’d automatically receive it.

This was a fantastic feature for situations where you couldn’t immediately confirm an award seat. Rather than having to check back every day (or multiple times a day, depending on how persistent you are), you could just trust that the system would work, and that you’d be informed when the award seat opens up.

Cathay Pacific describes this change as being part of an overall plan of simplifying award offerings.

Cathay Pacific no longer allows award waitlisting

Is this a big deal?

To me this change eliminates one of the primary reasons to book a Cathay Pacific award ticket through the Asia Miles program, rather than through a partner frequent flyer program. With award availability often being hard to come by (especially in first class), the ability to waitlist an award is one huge competitive advantage of booking through a carrier’s own frequent flyer program, rather than through a partner program.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is transfer partners with several major transferable points currencies, but for the most part award pricing isn’t all that competitive compared to Alaska Mileage Plan or American AAdvantage.

Historically the advantage of booking through Asia Miles has been that:

  • The program sometimes has access to more award seats than partner programs
  • For situations where there aren’t more award seats, you could waitlist an award

This change eliminates one of those two advantages, so that’s pretty disappointing. For that matter, I’m not sure what exactly Cathay Pacific’s motivation is for this change? Giving people the ability to waitlist seems like a feature that costs almost nothing, but that many members will appreciate.

Is the airline worried that the ability to waitlist made it too easy to book awards, and possibly cannibalized revenue ticket sales, or…?

This eliminates an advantage of booking through Asia Miles

Bottom line

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles no longer allows waitlisting of award tickets in situations where there’s not immediately confirmable upgrade space. It’s always a nice feature when programs allow waitlisting, since it makes it easier to confirm award space.

It’s a shame to see this feature being eliminated at Cathay Pacific, and if anything it just makes me more likely to book Cathay Pacific awards through Alaska Mileage Plan or American AAdvantage.

What do you make of Cathay Pacific eliminating award waitlisting?

Conversations (13)
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  1. Sam Guest

    Just as an FYI...I used to head up revenue management for a major airline in the region and we always though the CX proposition was value destructive for the airline. Allowing waitlist stops passengers from booking commercial seats which are more valuable than points redemptions. Also, we used to give preferential/early inventory access to members of our own loyalty program than members of partner programs...

    Just sharing some insights from the inside

  2. Zaf Khan Guest

    CX frequent flyer has been slowly going down the tubes since before the pandemic. I was Diamond for years, but slowly the benefits and privileges got whittled away. I got out and moved to another FF program.
    CX seems to forget what loyalty actually means. They simply don't care. They will go under and not before time. Its sad. CX for the longest time was one of the best airlines around.

  3. glenn t Diamond

    Storm in a teacup surely?
    Most 1st awards are booked via partner airlines IMO.
    If anything it levels up the field for all players; or is that something you don't care for?

  4. Liquidate Now rather than slowly burn Guest

    This is one of the most destructive illogical changes made by the current CX manage team . I have been a loyal member abc supporter for 40 years that will now cease immediately. The waitlist function was an excellent tool to keep member retention over the competitors . My purchase of revenue tickets with this airline was based upon the customer focus via Asiamiles and The Marco Polo club . This now destroyed like many...

    This is one of the most destructive illogical changes made by the current CX manage team . I have been a loyal member abc supporter for 40 years that will now cease immediately. The waitlist function was an excellent tool to keep member retention over the competitors . My purchase of revenue tickets with this airline was based upon the customer focus via Asiamiles and The Marco Polo club . This now destroyed like many other issues the airline is imposing through exorbitant fares , no redemption seats on any flights apart from those offered by other Oneworld carriers such as JL BA QR AY and QF. The airline is attacking its loyal base with gusto , irrelevance and disdain.
    I see no future for this airline long term .
    The Asiamiles program is now officially subservient with no credibility.

  5. Another Lump Guest

    I've had a bunch of wait-list award bookings sitting there with no movement the last few months. I've seen zero F or J availability on CX, only wait-listing, which makes me think they are simply aren't making any seats available in F or J. During the same time I've even seen availability for partner awards on JL J and on Q suites, but still no CX J or F.

    So I think they are...

    I've had a bunch of wait-list award bookings sitting there with no movement the last few months. I've seen zero F or J availability on CX, only wait-listing, which makes me think they are simply aren't making any seats available in F or J. During the same time I've even seen availability for partner awards on JL J and on Q suites, but still no CX J or F.

    So I think they are getting rid of wait-list just so customers will stop calling and asking if their booking will clear, because it won't.

  6. Amadou Guest

    Sad
    Was able to book a one way business class award flight from YVR - to - AKL via HK. I paid 85,000 Asia miles + a fuel tax of $ 319 Canadian dollar.

  7. Eskimo Guest

    Maybe some activist kid who couldn't protest about extradition anymore got bored, wanted to travel and never clear the waitlist started to protest CX for the waitlist transparency.

  8. Andrew Guest

    Ugh… this sucks. So there is no way to book two reward F seats again on a transpacific flight.

  9. Omar Guest

    My guess is that it adds complication and disappointment when it doesn't work out for the person. Better to just avoid it all together.

  10. Bgriff Guest

    Shouldn't it be "Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is transfer partners with several major transferable points currencies, **but** for the most part award pricing isn’t all that competitive compared to Alaska Mileage Plan or American AAdvantage"? Considering that AA and AS aren't partners with as many transferrable currencies, that's still a big advantage for Asia Miles IMO, especially for those of us that don't have a lot of AA and AS miles organically.

  11. E Steven Guest

    Perhaps they are thinking about achieving dollar revenue at the last minute - I know I’ve been sent emails from Qatar asking if I’d like to upgrade a paid ticket a few days out of departure.

    1. DCA Will Always Be "National" Guest

      This was my thought, too. I can't imagine how a waitlisted award seat would "cannabilize" a revenue fare any more than non-waitlisted award seats since the airline determines when/if to make award seats available. Full stop. With airlines starting to climb out of the Covid Revenue Canyon, they may be looking at additional revenue methods.

    2. Another Lump Guest

      With 30% or less load factors, I doubt holding back award availability will do anything to maximize revenue.

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Sam Guest

Just as an FYI...I used to head up revenue management for a major airline in the region and we always though the CX proposition was value destructive for the airline. Allowing waitlist stops passengers from booking commercial seats which are more valuable than points redemptions. Also, we used to give preferential/early inventory access to members of our own loyalty program than members of partner programs... Just sharing some insights from the inside

0
Zaf Khan Guest

CX frequent flyer has been slowly going down the tubes since before the pandemic. I was Diamond for years, but slowly the benefits and privileges got whittled away. I got out and moved to another FF program. CX seems to forget what loyalty actually means. They simply don't care. They will go under and not before time. Its sad. CX for the longest time was one of the best airlines around.

0
glenn t Diamond

Storm in a teacup surely? Most 1st awards are booked via partner airlines IMO. If anything it levels up the field for all players; or is that something you don't care for?

0
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