A Stopover in Vibrant Hong Kong: Part 1 – Introduction & Planning

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Daraius and I took my parents on an around-the-world trip to the Maldives, India, and Hong Kong.  My step-dad, Mark, had never been outside the US, and my mom had only been to India.

We had a free stopover in Hong Kong with our Cathay Pacific flight back to the US.

Daraius and I thought it would be a great experience for them to see Hong Kong because it’s such a dynamic city!  It’s also very different from both India and the Maldives.

Miles Points To Hong Kong

My Parents Were Looking Forward to Exploring Hong Kong!

We only spent a few days in Hong Kong during this trip.  So if you want more details about sights, shopping, and restaurants, check out the trip report from our longer stay in Hong Kong in December 2013.

A Stopover in Vibrant Hong Kong Index:

Introduction & Planning

We paid $1,343 per person for 1-way Business Class tickets on Cathay Pacific from Male to the US (with a stop in Hong Kong).  This was a fare sale that’s no longer available.

But folks who want to stretch their points for a trip to Hong Kong could use 70,000 American Airlines miles for round-trip coach seats on American Airlines.  Or 80,000 United Airlines miles for round-trip coach flights on United Airlines.

Miles Points To Hong Kong

The Beginning of Another Family Adventure

Without hotel points and a cheap flight, we would have paid ~$10,001 for this trip.  But instead we paid just $2,686!  I’ll explain how you can do it too!

 Retail CostOur Cash CostMiles & Points UsedSources of Miles & Points
Two Business Class 1-way tickets from Male to Chicago (with a stopover in Hong Kong)~$4,474 per person ($8,948 for two)$1,343 per person ($2,686 for two)None--this was a fare saleNone
3 nights at the InterContinental Hong Kong~$351 per night (~$1,053 for 3 nights)$050,000 IHG points per night (1 free night certificate and 100,000 IHG points for 3 nights)Chase IHG Rewards card
TOTAL ~$5,001 per person ($10,001 for two)$1,343 per person ($2,686 for two)50,000 IHG points per night (150,000 IHG points for 3 nights)

We found Frommer’s Hong Kong very helpful in planning our trip.  This guidebook has a lot of details on the sights in Hong Kong.  However, it may not be the best for food recommendations.

InterContinental Hong Kong

We booked 3 nights at the InterContinental Hong Kong.  This hotels costs 50,000 IHG points per night.  We used a free night certificate and 100,000 IHG points which we earned with the Chase IHG Rewards card.

Miles Points To Hong Kong

The Pool Looked Tempting, but It Was a Bit Chilly

The InterContinental Hong Kong had an excellent central location, and a gorgeous outdoor pool.

Here are a few other hotels you can book with points in Hong Kong:

Or use Hotel Hustle (also shows availability) or Award Mapper to find hotels in Hong Kong where you can book award nights.

Activities in Hong Kong

While we were in Hong Kong, we took the Star Ferry to the other side of Victoria Harbour and back.

Miles Points To Hong Kong

The Star Ferry Is a Quick and Affordable Way to View Many Popular Attractions Around Victoria Harbour

We went shopping in the street markets…

Miles Points To Hong Kong

The Streets of Hong Kong Are Filled With Neon Signs

and ate authentic Chinese food.  My parents even learned how attempted to use chopsticks.

Miles Points To Hong Kong

“Okay, Where’d You Hide the Forks?”

How You Can Do It, Too!

You can also get to Hong Kong for a fraction of the price.

Award Flights to Hong Kong

We purchased our tickets from Male to the US with a stopover in Hong Kong during a fare sale.  Check out my post on how to find mistake and low fares for tips on how to find deals on paid flights.

But if you want to use miles to get to Hong Kong for free, here’s a look at how you can make it happen!

 Alaska Airlines MilesAmerican Airlines MilesUnited Airlines Miles
Ways to Get From the US to Hong Kong• American Airlines
• Cathay Pacific
• Delta Airlines
• Emirates
• Korean Air
• American Airlines
• Cathay Pacific
• Japan Airlines
• United Airlines
• Air Canada
• Air China
• ANA
• Asiana Airlines
• EVA Air
• Lufthansa
• Swiss Air
• Singapore Airlines
• Thai Airways
• Turkish Airlines
Miles NeededAmerican Airlines
• 35,000 miles 1-way in coach
• 55,000 miles 1-way in Business Class
• 67,500 miles 1-way in First Class

Cathay Pacific
• 30,000 miles 1-way in coach
• 50,000 miles 1-way in Business Class
• 70,000 miles 1-way in First Class

Delta Airlines
• 80,000 miles round-trip in coach
• 140,000 miles round-trip in Business Class

Emirates
• 52,500 miles 1-way in coach
• 75,000 miles 1-way in Business Class
• 100,000 miles 1-way in First Class

Korean Air
• 85,000 miles round-trip in coach
• 120,000 miles round-trip in Business Class
American Airlines
• 35,000 miles 1-way in coach
• 55,000 miles 1-way in Business Class
• 67,500 miles 1-way in First Class

Partner Awards
• 35,000 miles 1-way in coach
• 55,000 miles 1-way in Business Class
• 67,500 miles 1-way in First Class
United Airlines
• 40,000 miles 1-way in coach

• 70,000 miles 1-way in Business Class

• 80,000 miles 1-way in First Class

Partner Awards
• 40,000 miles 1-way in coach

• 80,000 miles 1-way in Business Class

• 130,000 miles 1-way in First Class
Award Booking Tips10 ways to use Alaska Airlines miles


• You can book most partner award flights on the Alaska Airlines website

• You'll have to call Alaska Airlines to book award flights on Cathay Pacific
American Airlines Award Booking Guide

• How to Find Cathay Pacific Award Seats on the British Airways website and the Japan Airlines website

• You can find Japan Airlines Award Seats on the British Airways website

• When you find partner award flights that will work for you, call American Airlines to book
United Airlines Award Booking Guide
How to Earn the MilesBank of America Alaska Airlines Personal

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Business

• You may be able to get the Alaska Airlines cards multiple times
• All the ways to earn American Airlines miles• All the ways to earn United Airlines miles

Award Nights in Hong Kong

We stayed at the InterContinental Hong Kong.  But there are also lots of other great hotels where you can book award nights, like the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui.

Miles Points To Hong Kong

The InterContinental Hong Kong and Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui Are Both Located in Kowloon

Here’s how you can earn free nights at a few hotels in Hong Kong.

HotelsPoints NeededWays to Earn Points
InterContinental Hong Kong• 50,000 IHG Rewards points per night Chase IHG Rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred - Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to IHG, but you can get a better value by transferring to partners like United and Hyatt

Chase Ink Plus - Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to IHG, but you can get a better value by transferring to partners like United and Hyatt

• Buy IHG Reward points for cheap with the Cash & Points trick
Conrad Hong Kong• 70,000 to 80,000 Hilton points per night• All the ways to earn Hilton points
Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui• 15,000 Hyatt points per night• All the ways to Hyatt points
Starwood Hong Kong Hotel & Towers• 12,000 to 16,000 Starwood points per nightAmerican Express Starwood Preferred Guest Personal

AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest Business

AMEX Membership Rewards points transfer to Starwood, but it's typically not a great deal

Bottom Line

Hong Kong made an excellent stopover.  My family tried some delicious Chinese food and went shopping in the street markets.  I’m glad they were able to experience Hong Kong’s dynamic culture!

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3 responses to “A Stopover in Vibrant Hong Kong: Part 1 – Introduction & Planning

  1. Thank you for this great comprehensive report on Hong Kong!!
    Like the charts on Hotels and Airfare.

  2. The J.W. Marriott in Hong Kong is fantastic; I was there for Chinese New Year this past February, and was treated wonderfully in every way, including a cute little stuffed animal of a Goat to commemorate the beginning of the Year of the Goat. The Club Lounge level(s) had amazing harbor views and excellent breakfast choices as well as evening snacks and so on. It’s right next door to the Conrad, and very easy to reach by (IIRC) the #1 bus from Hong Kong Station (which in turn is supremely easy to reach by way of the express trains to/from the airport). It was a cat. 8 property then (40,000/nt.) but appears to be a cat. 9 now (50,000/nt., although there is still a pricing level of 40,000/nt. for “point saver” stays when available). If you have Gold or higher status, I highly recommend it; they go all out for elites, and I’m sure it’s also very nice even without status.

  3. Loved reading about this. My DH and I are planning a trip to Taiwan in the fall, using American Points. Does this mean I can use the same number of points and add in a multi-day stop in Hong Kong? Thanks!