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Top 3 Ways to Get Flights to Hong Kong With Miles and Points

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Top 3 Ways to Get Flights to Hong Kong With Miles and Points

Jason StaufferTop 3 Ways to Get Flights to Hong Kong With Miles and PointsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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INSIDER SECRET: For short-term visits to Hong Kong US citizens don’t need to apply for a visa beforehand. But if you want to cross the border into China, you’ll need to obtain a visa through a Chinese Consulate or Embassy at least a month before arrival.

Hong Kong is a dream destination for miles and points collectors. Not only are there great deals for business and first-class flights to Hong Kong when you have some of the best travel credit cards, but there are also plenty of excellent hotels to use your points at once you get there.

And it’s a useful city for connecting to just about anywhere else in the world. Plus, with certain types of travel rewards, you could even add in a stopover on your way to Hong Kong, or through it, for free!

Once you’ve got your flights to Hong Kong booked, I recommend staying at the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui. The club lounge is glorious and as you can see from this view, it’s got a good location.

How to Get Flights to Hong Kong With Miles and Points

Hong Kong is a great city to visit to dip your toes into Chinese culture. It has all the hustle and bustle of larger Chinese cities, but as a former British colony, it’s easy to get around speaking English and I’ve heard that the driving culture in Hong Kong is better than elsewhere in mainland China.

The city is worth a trip just to visit, but it’s also a great connecting point to the rest of Asia. You can get there with most of the various types of miles and points, but there are few options that are better than the rest.

Cathay Pacific is the best airline for booking award flights to Hong Kong. They fly nonstop from the US to Hong Kong from these cities:

  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Seattle (SEA)
  • Washington, DC (IAD)

However, Cathay Pacific has a distance-based award chart, so their miles aren’t always the best to use for book their award seats. That said, there are lots of good options for using miles to book Cathay Pacific awards for less by booking with their airline partners.

1. Alaska Airlines Miles

Alaska Airlines miles are some of the most valuable miles you can earn. They are my personal favorite to use because they partner with great airlines, like Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Here are Alaska Airlines’ partner award prices to Hong Kong with:

Cathay Pacific

Japan Airlines

American Airlines

Being able to book Cathay Pacific business-class seats for only 50,000 miles one-way is a steal. And there are plenty of good options for economy flights from 30,000 to 35,000 miles one-way. These prices apply to flights from anywhere in the continental US and Alaska. So you could fly from New York, Chicago or Los Angeles to Hong Kong and the award ticket will cost the same.

What makes Alaska Airlines so valuable is their generous routing rules.  You can book one-way or round-trip flights and you’re allowed to add free stopovers on award flights. You’re allowed one stopover on a one-way flight and two on a round-trip award ticket. The stopover must occur in a hub city for the airline you’re flying on, although sometimes you can call in to book non-hub stopovers. But there’s no guarantee that will work.

Also on each award ticket, you can fly on one partner airline in addition to Alaska Airlines. So on one award ticket you could fly on Alaska Airlines to, say, San Francisco, and then fly Cathay Pacific from San Francisco to Hong Kong.

However, you are allowed to book two separate one-way flights and each ticket can include a different partner. I’ve used this trick to fly to Japan on Japan Airlines with a stopover in San Francisco, and then back to the US on Cathay Pacific with a stopover in Hong Kong. Just be aware that if you do this and need to make changes you’re essentially doubling the fees you’ll pay because it’s considered two separate reservations.

Cathay Pacific’s business-class seats will leave you with plenty of room to strike a pose.

Also, you can’t search for Cathay Pacific award flights on the Alaska Airlines website. I typically search for Cathay Pacific awards on the British Airways or Qantas site and then call Alaska Airlines to book the award.

The biggest drawback to Alaska Airlines miles is that they aren’t easy to earn. Marriott points are the only one of the major flexible points programs that transfer to Alaska Airlines.

The only credit cards that earn Alaska Airlines miles are the:

2.  ANA

ANA is part of the Star Alliance, so they don’t partner with Cathay Pacific. But they do have access to lots of options for getting to Hong Kong in addition to their own flights, you can also book awards with the likes of United Airlines and Air Canada. ANA doesn’t fly nonstop from the US to Hong Kong. So if you don’t want to route through Japan, you’ll have to use ANA miles to book awards with their partners.

United Airlines flies nonstop to Hong Kong from:

  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • San Francisco (SFO)

And Air Canada flies nonstop to Hong Kong from:

  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Vancouver (YVR)

Singapore Airlines also has a flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong, and they are Star Alliance partners with ANA. But Singapore only lets their partners book coach award seats. So you can’t use ANA miles to book business-class or first-class Singapore Airlines award seats to Hong Kong.

ANA also has generous routing rules – you can add a free stopover and an open jaw, or two open jaws per round-trip award flight. An open jaw is departing or returning to a different airport. So you could fly to Hong Kong from city A and return to city B.

ANA only allows round-trip award bookings, but their prices are great:

  • Economy – 60,000 miles
  • Business class – 95,000 miles
  • First class – 180,000 miles

You can transfer Marriott points to ANA, but the easiest way to earn ANA miles is by transferring them from AMEX Membership Rewards:

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15,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
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The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card and Amex EveryDay Credit Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

You can search for and book awards on ANA’s website. But I prefer first searching with the United Airlines website because I just find it easier to use and it’s more reliable.

3.  American Airlines Miles

American Airlines miles aren’t the best for getting to Hong Kong if you’re looking to use the fewest points possible, but they are easy to earn. They charge the following for one-way flights from the US to Hong Kong on partner airlines:

  • Economy – 37,500 miles
  • Business class – 70,000 miles
  • First class – 110,000 miles

But if you’re flying on an American Airlines plane, you’ll pay slightly less for some one-way Saver Awards:

  • Economy – 35,000 miles (peak), 32,500 miles (off-peak)
  • Premium Economy – 50,000 miles
  • Business class – 70,000 miles
  • First class – 110,000 miles

American Airlines flies nonstop to Hong Kong from:

  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)

The good thing about American Airlines miles is they are very easy to earn, because both Citi and Barclays issue American Airlines credit cards:

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

It’s not hard to earn the miles you’d need to get to Hong Kong by opening one or two cards and earning the intro bonus. You can also transfer Marriott points to American Airlines.

Perhaps the biggest reason to use American Airlines miles for your Hong Kong trip is that they don’t add fuel surcharges to award tickets with most of their partner airlines (British Airways and Iberia are the exceptions). So you can book a round-trip flight in any class and you’ll typically only pay ~$70 in taxes.

Using miles to book Cathay Pacific business class will get you access to their lounges in Hong Kong, like the massive Pier business-class lounge.

American Airlines awards are also easy to book online, although, for two of their best partners for getting to Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific & Japan Airlines), you’ll need to call in to book.

If you’re looking for other miles to use to avoid excessive fuel surcharges, United Airlines is a good option. They charge as little as 35,000 miles one-way in economy, 70,000 miles one-way in business class, 80,000 miles one-way for a partner business-class award, and 120,000 miles one-way for a partner first-class award. But this fall United is eliminating its award chart in favor of dynamic pricing, so those prices could vary a lot.

Honorable Mention – Delta

Delta doesn’t have an award chart, so the prices will fluctuate widely depending on when you travel. But Delta does have regular award sales and I’ve seen round-trip coach tickets from the US to Hong Kong for only 30,000 miles. That’s half the price of even the cheapest economy awards with other airlines.

Bottom Line

These are far from the only options you have for using miles & points to get to Hong Kong. The choice that’s best for you depends on what available award seats you can find and what miles or points you’ve already earned.

But if you’re starting from scratch and planning a trip to Hong Kong, these three options can save you tons on your flights.

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All photos by the author unless noted otherwise.

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Re: ANA. You missed the Virgin Atlantic hack for ANA RT to Japan for 120,000 miles. Then add on the Hong Kong segment

I used this with a 1.3 bonus transfer of AmEx to VA so RT for 93,000

While the service was great, ANA 1st boxes aren’t my fav

i’m trying to do iad to bkk.. maybe i can use this ana stopover thing.