October 31, 2016

Review: Cathay Pacific First Class - Hong Kong to Chicago

Note: Long and photo-heavy post :-)

We are finally on the homestretch. After almost two months of traveling and vacationing (mostly with family in the Philippines), it was finally time to head home to Chicago.

Although I was already able to fly this product (for the first time) on the Manila to Hong Kong leg the day before, it was only for an hour and a half. This time, I will be able to try out the seat and the service extensively on a roughly 14-hour flight.

Flight#/Route: CX806/HKG-ORD
Date: April 5, 2016
Depart: 11:55am
Arrive: 1:55pm
Duration: 15h 0m
Seat: 2A
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Website: www.cathaypacific.com

So after spending a night in the city, I was back in Hong Kong's amazing international airport...



Since I was already issued my boarding pass in Manila, I could've gone straight to security and to immigration. But since I wanted "the full Cathay Pacific First Class experience", I decided to pass by the dedicated First Class check-in area and see if anything "special" is done there...


So I feigned ignorance and approached the check-in staff to ask if there is anything else for me to do even if I already have my boarding pass. The staff just looked at it, confirmed that I was good to go, and motioned for me to head to security...


No "special" security line, any frou-frous, nothing. nada.

Good thing that security and immigration was quick and that gave me almost four hours to explore the Cathay Pacific lounges in HKIA.

Here's a photo of the Day Suites at the Pier First Class lounge...


...and of the Cabanas at The Wing First Class lounge...


You can read my review of the lounges by clicking on the following links/names: The Wing First, The Wing Business, The Cabin, The Bridge, and The Pier First.

Anyway, I just want to share that when I was going through the different lounges, I saw these Disney bags displayed at the entrance of the Disney Hong Kong store which had the following sign...


So, basically, each sealed bag contains different "old season/past movie" Disney items that total more than HKD600 but are being sold for only HKD150 -- which I thought was an amazing deal. You can pretty much tell what items are in the bag just by touching and comparing the shapes to the current items in the store. Of course, what you won't know would be the character or film that's on that particular item. So I ended up choosing one that I knew included a watch and just rolled the dice regarding the other items. I got a total of four different not-so-outdated items (Inside Out) that I have been able to use as gifts when I needed one.

But I digress.

For the 11:55am flight, we boarded pretty early and I was already in my seat thirty minutes before our scheduled departure...

October 28, 2016

Review: Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge - Hong Kong International Airport

The last stop on my "tour" of Cathay Pacific's lounges in HKIA was the airline's less-than-a-year old First Class lounge located near gate 63, The Pier First Class Lounge...


The moment you enter the space, you can already tell that this lounge would be different...


Past the reception is a long hallway that connects all of the different sections of the lounge...

October 26, 2016

Review: Cathay Pacific The Bridge Business Class Lounge - Hong Kong International Airport

This was my first time visiting the Bridge lounge as it wasn't open yet when I decided that I will not fly Cathay Pacific anymore :-)

The lounge is located on level 5 near gate 35...



The lounge is divided into two sides. One side has the following:


A nice "living room" seating set up greets you at the entrance to this side of the lounge...

October 25, 2016

Review: Cathay Pacific The Cabin Business Class Lounge - Hong Kong International Airport

After visiting the Wing Business Class lounge, I worked my way into the terminal to visit the rest of Cathay Pacific's lounges in the airport -- with the Cabin lounge coming up next...


I'll just breeze through this review as I've already visited this lounge before (and you can read that review here) and it is still exactly the same as before.

The lounge has two sides. One side is a small section with a few seats and computer terminals -- which they dub as the IT Zone...

October 24, 2016

Review: Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Class Lounge - Hong Kong International Airport

After visiting the First Class "wing" of the Wing, I decided to check out the Business Class side of the lounge.

The last time I visited this lounge, the departures level was still being renovated and the balcony level still sported the "old" look. It was interesting to see the differences in the lounge between that visit and this one -- and, again, you can check out that post of my previous visit in this lounge here.

Anyway, the shared main entrance to the lounge is located closer to gates 3 and 4...




When you have to take the elevator or take the stairs to get to the First Class side of the lounge, you can start on this level for the Business Class side -- starting with a big seating area that had a food and drink spread on one end...

October 21, 2016

Review: Cathay Pacific The Wing First Class Lounge - Hong Kong International Airport

Aside from my First Class flights, this was one of the things I was looking forward to most on this trip -- Cathay Pacific's First Class lounges in HKIA.

We start off with The Wing First Class Lounge as it is right off immigration...




Not knowing whether The Cabanas get full and at what time, I decided to head there first...


Ummm.....no words...

October 20, 2016

Shangri-La Hotels Partners Up With Singapore Airlines For Infinite Journeys

Shangri-La Hotels (which, unfortunately, is still not in the US, after 3 failed attempts), one of Asia's leading luxury hotel brands, is teaming up with Singapore Airlines in a program called Infinite Journeys -- a partnership between the hotel brand's Golden Circle loyalty program and the airline's KrisFlyer program...

Image from Shangri-La Hotels/Singapore Airlines
...that will offer new and enhanced benefits to members of both programs:

Image from Shangri-La Hotels/Singapore Airlines
 Status Match...

Image from Shangri-La Hotels/Singapore Airlines
This, by itself, is an amazing benefit of the program. If you are a Golden Circle Jade (20 nights or 10 stays) or Diamond (50 nights or 25 stays) member, you automatically qualify for KrisFlyer Elite Silver membership -- which gives you 25% bonus KrisFlyer miles on actual miles flown, waived or reduced fees, and priority waitlist and standby. You will also get an accelerated upgrade to KrisFlyer Elite Gold status when you complete three (for Jade) or one (for Diamond) eligible flight/s on Singapore Airlines or SilkAir within four months of registration -- which gives you lounge access when you fly Singapore Airlines, SilkAir or any Star Alliance airline, extra check-in baggage allowance, and priority boarding/check-in/baggage handling.

For KrisFlyer Elite Gold members, you can fast track to Golden Circle Jade after one qualifying night at any Shangri-La hotel brand. Benefits of a Golden Circle Jade membership include: 25% bonus GC award points, priority check-in/out. 11am early check-in/4pm late check-out, guaranteed room availability if reservation made 72 hours prior to stay, a choice of three welcome amenities, and complimentary breakfast for you and one other person staying in the same room, priority upgrade, free local calls, and a few others.

The status match is good only for one year and you would have to requalify based on each programs' rules.

Earn both Golden Circle Award points and KrisFlyer miles on stays...

Image from Shangri-La Hotels/Singapore Airlines
On top of earning the standard Golden Circle Award points, you automatically earn 500 KrisFlyer miles on every eligible stay. 

 Convert between Golden Circle Award points and KrisFlyer miles...

Image from Shangri-La Hotels/Singapore Airlines
1 Golden Circle Award point = 1.25 KrisFlyer miles (25% more than their standard conversion); minimum of 2,500 points required for each conversion

12 KrisFlyer miles = 1 Golden Circle Award point; a minimum of 20,000 miles is required for each conversion and a maximum of 180,000 miles per year.

I am not sure if either one is the best use of each program's currency but, at least, you have this option.

That's it. All you have to do is link your accounts and you're good to go. You can read more about the program and the instructions on how to link your accounts here.

Although the benefits of the program skew more towards the elite members of each program, earning an extra 500 KrisFlyer miles on a Shangri-La hotel stay that you will be going on anyway is not a bad deal.

I love both Shangri-La Hotels (and I hope they finally are able to open a property in the US) and Singapore Airlines and think that this is a great partnership between two leading brands in Asia.
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