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Emily Jablon: Daraius and I celebrated Christmas with his family in Macau and Hong Kong for ~8 days. It was our 1st time to Macau and Hong Kong and we were very excited to visit!
An Asian Holiday – Trip Report Index:
- Part 1 – Using Miles and Points to Get to India And Hong Kong
- Part 2 – Etihad Lounge in Washington, DC
- Part 3 – Using Miles for Two $8,000 First Class Seats to Mumbai, India
- Part 4 – By Air and Sea – Cathay First Class to Hong Kong, Ferry to Macau
- Part 5 – A Free Stay in a ~$360 Per Night Suite at the Grand Hyatt Macau
- Part 6 – A Surprise Trip to the Panda Pavilion, Street Entertainment, and a Historic Walking Tour
- Part 7 – Historic Sites, Street Food & a Show in Macau
- Part 8 – Egg Tarts & Other Delicacies in Macau
- Part 9 – Our Free Stay at the Conrad Hong Kong
- Part 10 – Spectacular View of Hong Kong From Victoria Peak & the Amazing Symphony of Lights
- Part 11 – Hong Kong Walking Tour of Shops, Flowers, and More
- Part 12 – The Best Gnocchi Emily’s Had in Her Entire Life and Other Meals in Hong Kong
- Part 13 – From Fine Dining to Food Stalls, Eating in Hong Kong
- Part 14 – Sipping Champagne in the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge, Hong Kong
- Part 15 – Cathay Pacific First Class from Hong Kong to the US
- Part 16 – Conclusion and Blog Giveaway
We get a lot of wonderful tips from Frommer’s, but I could not find the newest version of Frommer’s Hong Kong. Maybe they are in between versions?
Here are some other guidebooks (our Amazon links):
Keep in mind that the chart below covers only the cost for ferries, hotels, and airfare, and not for dining, activities, and other travel expenses.
Retail Cost Our Cash Cost Miles and Points Used Sources of Miles & Points
Two 1-way tickets from Austin to Washington, DC ~$185 a person ($370 total) $5 per person ($10 total) 21,000 Southwest Points (21,000 Southwest Points Total) Southwest Companion Pass earned from 2 Southwest credit card applications + 10,000 points
Two 1-way tickets from Washington, DC to Bombay ~$8,000 a person ($16,000 total) $5 taxes and fees per person + $25 telephone booking fee per person ($60 total) 90,000 American Airlines Miles (180,000 American Airlines Miles Total) - American Airlines Credit Cards
- Transferring Starwood hotel points
Two 1-way tickets from Bombay to Hong Kong ~$1,676 a person ($3,352 total) $26 taxes and fees per person + $25 telephone booking fee per person ($102 total) 45,000 American Airlines Miles (90,000 American Airlines Miles Total) - American Airlines Credit Cards
- Transferring Starwood hotel points
Two TurboJet Ferry tickets from Hong Kong to Macau ~$32 a person (~$64 total) ~$21 a person ($42 total) None None
3 nights at the Grand Hyatt Macau (Grand Executive Suite) ~$360 (~$1,080 total) None 15,000 Hyatt Points (45,000 Hyatt Points Total) - Transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards
Two TurboJet Ferry tickets from Macau to Hong Kong ~$19 a person (~$38 total) ~$19 a person (~$38) total None None
4 nights at the Conrad Hong Kong (Executive Lounge Room) ~$644 ($2,120 total) None 170,000 Hilton Points Total (old Hilton AXON rate) - Transfers from Hawaiian Airlines & Virgin Atlantic
Two 1-way tickets from Hong Kong to Chicago ~$16,173 a person ($32,346 Total) $36 taxes and fees per person + $25 telephone booking fee per person ($122 total) 67,500 American Airlines Miles (135,000 American Airlines Miles Total) - American Airlines Credit Cards
- Transferring Starwood hotel points
Total $55,395 $374 21,000 Southwest Points, 405,000 American Airlines Miles, 45,000 Hyatt Points, 170,000 Hilton Points
Southwest – Austin to Washington, DC
We spent ~21,000 Southwest points to fly from Austin to Washington, DC. Because Emily and I have the Southwest Companion pass, Emily flew for free. This was a contingency booking because Dallas, our original connection point with American Airlines, was experiencing a winter storm which cancelled flights for ~5 days.
We had originally booked 2 First Class tickets using American Airlines miles from Austin to Washington, DC. We were supposed to fly from Austin to Dallas to Washington, DC on American Airlines. And on Etihad from Washington, DC to Mumbai, India.
But there were weather issues in Dallas, so Daraius cancelled the Austin to Dallas & Dallas to Washington, DC flights and we flew to Washington, DC on Southwest with our Companion Pass.
This was good because our flights were eventually cancelled from Austin to Dallas and Dallas to Washington, DC!
Etihad – Washington, DC to Bombay, India
We took an Etihad flight from Washington, DC, to Abu Dhabi where we had a ~5 hour layover. We then flew to Bombay, India which was a short ~5 hour flight.
We redeemed 180,000 American Airlines miles for 2 one-way tickets in First Class, and $60 in fees. This is a much cheaper way to redeem American Airlines miles for flights to India. That’s because you don’t pay high fuel surcharges (~$400 per segment) like you do when you redeem American Airlines miles for British Airway flights to India.
Each 1-way First Class ticket costs ~$8,000!
Business Class costs 67,500 American Airlines miles for each ticket and coach costs 45,000 American Airlines miles each.
We loved the Etihad flight! The service and cabins were fantastic & the flight attendants were friendly and attentive.
Cathay Flight – India to Hong Kong
To get from India to Hong Kong, we redeemed 90,000 American Airlines miles and $102 in fees for 2 one-way flights in First Class on Cathay Pacific. See this post on how to find Cathay Pacific award flights with your American Airlines miles.
Business Class costs 30,000 American Airlines miles each and Coach costs 22,500 American Airlines miles each.
We could have used 75,000 British Airways Avios points instead of 90,000 American Airlines miles. But we would have paid over $300 in fees. I preferred saving cash, but it was a close call.
The Cathay Pacific flight rivaled Etihad in terms of service and experience. It would be hard choosing which airline I liked better.
TurboJet Ferry from Hong Kong to Macau
From Hong Kong airport, we took a ferry to Macau.
The TurboJet ferry costs 246 Hong Kong dollars (~$32) per person. It costs slightly more on weekends. The ferry took 1 hour to reach Macau.
Riding the ferry to Macau was very easy because the port is located in the airport. All you have to do is take a few escalators and an internal train and you’re at the ferry terminal!
As a big added bonus, TurboJet transfers the luggage. So you don’t have to worry about lugging heavy bags on and off the ferry. That alone is worth the price of the ferry ticket!
Grand Hyatt Macau
We redeemed 15,000 Hyatt points a night for 1 room in the Grand Hyatt, Macau. The Grand Hyatt, Macau is a category 4 hotel and still costs 15,000 Hyatt points after the recent devaluation. The Grand Hyatt is located within the City of Dreams complex. This was a great hotel with impeccable service.
The regular rooms are Grand Suite King rooms which cost ~1,988+ Hong Kong dollars or ~$256+ a night
We were upgraded to Executive Suites because of Daraius’ Hyatt Diamond status . These sell for 2,788+ Hong Kong dollars or ~$360+ a night.
TurboJet Ferry from Macau to Hong Kong
We took the free shuttle bus from the Grand Hyatt, Macau to the ferry terminal. The shuttle to TurboJet ride was ~15 minutes so we arrived at 11:45 am for our 12:15 pm ferry.
We took the elevators upstairs and checked-in our bags. The ferry terminal is a lot like an airport and I appreciated how smoothly everything went!
The TurboJet ferry costs 148 Hong Kong dollars (~$19) per person. On weekends the price is a little higher. It took 1 hour to reach Hong Kong.
Conrad Hong Kong
Hong Kong is known for its rich mix of Chinese heritage. It was ruled by the British. Today it calls itself “Asia’s world city.” Daraius and I loved the mix of the urban and natural landscapes as well as the vibrancy of life there. The efficient subway, bus and ferry system made getting around very easy.
We spent 4 nights at the Conrad Hong Kong. And booked the entry level King Bed Superior Rooms which cost ~80,000 Hilton points per night. The rooms regularly cost ~$400 to ~$600 per night. So our points saved us a lot of money!
But we used 170,000 Hilton points before the big Hilton devaluation for 4 nights (old Hilton AXON award level). You could also use your 2 free weekend nights from the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card. But we had already used our free weekend stay for our 2nd anniversary trip to Italy.
You also get free Hilton Gold status with the Citi Hilton Reserve card which means free breakfast and internet!
We were upgraded from our basic room to a King Executive Peak View Room which sells for about ~5,000 Hong Kong Dollars or ~$644 per night on the Executive Lounge floor. But it was still a small room!
Cathay Pacific Flight from Hong Kong to Chicago
Daraius and I took a Cathay Pacific flight back to the US. We used 135,000 American Airlines miles and paid $122 in fees for 2 one-way First Class tickets.
These tickets sell for ~$16,173 EACH or $32,346 for TWO tickets. We were happy with the price we paid!
Business Class is 55,000 American Airlines miles each and coach is 35,000 American Airlines miles a ticket.
The flight was excellent. I loved the food and being the only 2 people in First Class! The purser joked that we had our own living room, dinging room, and bedrooms!
The cabins and service rivaled Etihad.
American Airlines Flight Home – Chicago to Austin
Our connecting flight home was on American Airlines. This was included in our Hong Kong to Chicago flight so we didn’t have to book a separate flight.
Daraius says when searching for award flights, be sure to search each flight individually to get the best results. Then put in your flights 1 by 1 online or to the agent who can book them for you.
Miles and points have helped bring our family together. We visited India with my mom, San Francisco with my dad, and I went to spend time with my grandma in Tampa who passed away last year. And now we’ve gone to Macau and Hong Kong for Christmas with Daraius’ family.
Whether you take domestic or international trips, fly in First Class or coach, is up to you. The important thing is to make memories with friends, family, and loved ones. We are not promised tomorrow, so we try to make the best of today.