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Hong Kong is a dream destination for miles & points collectors. Not only are there great deals for Business and First Class seats to Hong Kong, 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!
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How to Get to Hong Kong With Miles & 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 & 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 non-stop from the US to Hong Kong from these cities:
- Los Angeles
- New York (JFK)
- San Francisco
- Seattle (starting March 31, 2019)
- Washington, DC (Dulles)
However, Cathay 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 awards for less by using miles from airlines that are partners with Cathay Pacific.
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:
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. And 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.
In addition, 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.
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. The only flexible points program that partners with Alaska Airlines is Marriott.
The only credit cards that earn Alaska Airlines miles are the Alaska Airlines business and personal cards issued by Bank of America.
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 non-stop 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 non-stop to Hong Kong from:
- San Francisco
And Air Canada flies non-stop to Hong Kong from:
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 awards seats to Hong Kong.
They also have 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
The easiest way to earn ANA miles is by transferring them from AMEX Membership Rewards:
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- American Express® Gold Card
- Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
- The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
- Business Green Rewards Card from American Express
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. 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 non-stop to Hong Kong from Dallas and Los Angeles.
The good thing about American Airlines miles is they are very easy to earn, because both Citi and Barclays issue American Airlines credit cards:
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
- American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Business Mastercard®
It’s not hard to earn the miles you’d need to get to Hong Kong by opening 1 or 2 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!
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, 80,000 miles one-way for a partner Business Class award, and 120,000 miles one-way for a partner First Class award.
Honorable Mention – Delta
Delta doesn’t have an award chart, so the prices will vary 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!
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These are far from the only options you have for using miles & points to get to Hong Kong. And at the end of the day, 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 3 options can save you tons on your flights.
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