Cheap Deal Alert: Cathay Pacific Business Class From Shanghai to Newark for ~HKD17000

I have to get from home to school a lot now that I board in Hightstown, so I constantly see myself trying to get onto Newark-bound flights. While United flies between Hong Kong and Newark, elite status keeps me on Cathay Pacific, and I’ve flown the Hong Kong to Newark route in all available cabin classes (I’ve reviewed the flight in business and economy, so check out my remarkably similar flight from New York JFK to Hong Kong if you want to read a review of premium economy on the route).

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

Being the savvy passenger I am, I decided to explore different routings to get to Newark in business class.

I went to Cathay Pacific’s website and headed to the “Book a Trip” section on their main page, and plugged in my routing, travel dates and preferred travel class.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 11.08.41 PM.png

Then, I selected my preferred flights.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 11.10.22 PM.png

The total fare for Cathay Pacific for roundtrip Business Class tickets from Shanghai to Newark ended up as CNY15,780 (~HK$17,803). In the process, you would be earning 250 Marco Polo Club Points which would straight off the bat requalify you for Marco Polo Green status and leave you around 50 points from Silver status. Additionally, you’d also earn 22078 Asia Miles which is enough for a one-way upgrade from Premium Economy to Business on a flight from Hong Kong to London.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 11.11.29 PM.png

Seriously. Just as a point of comparison, here are rates on Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy cabin from Hong Kong to Newark on the exact same dates. Heck, this isn’t even for a non-stop flight to Newark – but rather for a flight to San Francisco – and then on to a Virgin America flight to Newark.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 11.16.38 PM.png

So, for HKD4797 less than a ticket from Hong Kong to San Francisco to Newark in Premium Economy and Economy on each respective segment, you could fly from Shanghai to Hong Kong to Newark in Business Class.

I seriously don’t know what is going on. Did someone forget to add a zero at the end of that number? Or is this the actual fare that Cathay is publishing – because this is actually ridiculous. Does management want to find out why they’re losing money? Look no further than how they price their tickets.

IMG_6356.jpgCathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

This doesn’t seem to be a one-off. Cathay seems to price many connecting fares (for example, from Seoul to Hong Kong to Bangkok) at similar prices to fares originating from Hong Kong.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 11.50.21 PM.pngFare for Hong Kong to Bangkok Flights 

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 11.50.50 PM.pngFare for Seoul to Hong Kong to Bangkok Flights (~HK$3220) 

Without even factoring in the additional club points that one would earn flying Seoul -Hong Kong – Bangkok, you’re essentially paying an extra HKD70 for the Seoul to Hong Kong and Hong Kong to Seoul legs – which typically goes would go for around HKD4000 roundtrip.

Seriously. This is actually ridiculous. Cathay Pacific is currently losing more Hong Kong-based passengers than before because of their astronomically expensive fares. Yet, Cathay’s management turns a blind eye on all of that, instead focussing on connecting passengers by offering bargain low prices that could probably trump anything that Hong Kong Airlines can put up.

Bottom Line

Need I say more about why Cathay is losing money?


  1. Those fares are supposed to attract people in those locations to fly CX. Flying CX to somewhere else are usually not direct flight and involves transit at HKG. The total travel time is increased because of this and CX needs to lower the those fares a bit as a “compensation” of longer travel time. When the flight involves transit, airlines usually charge lower price. That’s why you would find those ME3 airlines charge less than CX for those locations that have direct flights.

    But you don’t need to worry the profitability of CX. At the end, they should still make money out of those “seemingly” cheap flights as the underlying costs are far more low than you expect. (Check out CX secret page and you see the frequent salary complaints from airline staff.) After all, CX is kind of “punishing” HK people for flying directly to their desired locations at a higher cost, when the competition is thin.

    If you know the tricks of the routing rules/fares, you can make use of them to fly cheaper, or at least getting more (like miles or elite status) out of the same amount money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I think Cathay should absolutely be competitive by discounting connecting tickets and compensating for the extra time required to transit through Hong Kong. However, the fares that they are currently offering are ridiculously cheap. By offering these fares – although Cathay is ultimately still making money, they’re making less money than their competitors on these routes which – in the grand scheme of things – could heavily impact their share price given the fact that they’re taking in less money than their competitors.


  2. If you book PVG-JFK roundtrip, but skip the last leg so you stay in Hong Kong, would Cathay charge you?


    1. No-show fee? Not sure…. on the other hand, you may lose your Asia miles if you don’t finish the whole trip.


      1. I’m not aware of any Cathay Pacific regulations that punish those who used hidden-city ticketing. However, they could revoke your frequent flyer miles/account, charge you the fare difference between the routeing you flew and the routeing you booked, or even ban you from flying Cathay.

        If you want to play it safe, you could pay an RMB1,000 (~HKD1128) rebooking fee to change your routeing to remove the last sector from your itinerary.


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