~$35,000 Worth of Travel for JUST $184: Two Round-Trip Cathay Pacific First Class Flights & a Free Stay at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong (My Best Redemption Ever!)

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

~$35,000 Worth of Travel for JUST $184: Two Round-Trip Cathay Pacific First Class Flights & a Free Stay at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong (My Best Redemption Ever!)

Keith~$35,000 Worth of Travel for JUST $184: Two Round-Trip Cathay Pacific First Class Flights & a Free Stay at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong (My Best Redemption Ever!)Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

When friends and family ask why I’m so obsessed with earning miles & points with top travel credit cards, I tell them about trips like the one my wife and I just took to celebrate my 30th birthday.

We used airline miles to fly First Class on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong in, which is known to be one of the most luxurious ways to fly across the Pacific Ocean.  Paying cash for a round-trip ticket on our itinerary would set you back $16,000+ per person!  And there are only 6 seats in the First Class cabin, which makes it an exclusive flying experience!

Once in Hong Kong, we used Marriott points to stay free at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, which is by far the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in.  For just 60,000 points per night, this award booking was an AMAZING deal!  And thanks to my Marriott Platinum status, we were upgraded to a corner room which had unbelievable views of the Hong Kong skyline and Victoria Harbour.  Plus, we got complimentary access to the Club Lounge, which was like a fine dining experience!  We could enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktails!

Our Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong Was Spectacular. Even More Impressive Was the Incredible Hospitality and Amazing Food & Service in the Club Lounge!

Hong Kong consistently ranks #1 for top tourism cities.  And despite being there for only 48 hours, I can see why!  I’ll write more about our trip to Hong Kong in future posts.  But first, here are highlights of the award booking!

How I Booked 2 Round-Trip Cathay Pacific First Class Flights

You can use points from any of the 4 major transferable points programs to book Cathay Pacific First Class award flights.  This includes AMEX Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Marriott points.  And once Capital One airline transfer partners go live, you’ll also be able to use Capital One miles to book award tickets on Cathay Pacific.

Stay tuned on the blog because we’re going to have a guide to using miles & points to book Cathay Pacific award flights.

Another way to book Cathay Pacific award flights is using Alaska Airlines miles, which is a phenomenal deal.  My wife and I each have the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card, so earning sign-up bonus on this card helped make the award booking possible.  We each used 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles and paid ~$18 in taxes & fees for our outbound flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong.  And we each used 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles and paid ~$74 in taxes & fees for a return flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles.

In total, we used 280,000 Alaska Airlines miles and paid ~$184 in taxes & fees to book the round-trip Cathay Pacific First Class flights.  From checking Google Flights, a similar round-trip ticket sells for more than $16,000!  And while I would never consider paying that amount, there were other passengers sitting beside us in First Class who definitely did.  It’s time these folks sign-up for our newsletter!

Anything Is Possible Using Miles & Points, Even Booking a First Class Seat That Sells for More Than $16,000!

Finding 2 Cathay Pacific First Class award seats is not impossible, but definitely requires some flexibility.  You can typically find one First Class award seat ~12 months prior to your departure date.  And 1 or 2 additional award seats can open up a week before departure.

I booked our outbound flight 4 days prior to departure when I saw 2 award seats become available.  To check availability, I used the Qantas search tool.  Cathay Pacific and Qantas are both part of the oneworld alliance, and I like the calendar view shown on Qantas.  You can also search Asia Miles (award program for Cathay Pacific) or British Airways, which is another oneworld airline partner.

Once You Make a Qantas Account, Using Their Award Search System Is Very Straightforward

I ended up finding 2 available First Class award seats for our return flight the day after booking the outbound flight.  Once I confirmed the seats were available, I simply called Alaska Airlines to use miles to book the flights.

I’ll have a full review of flying Cathay Pacific First Class out soon.  But overall, I thought it was a worthwhile use of my Alaska Airlines miles.  Flying 15 hours to Hong Kong in a comfortable lie-flat bed and enjoying the First Class lounge was a fantastic experience!

Once You Experience the Comforts of Flying in a Lie-Flat Bed on a 15-Hour International Flight, You’ll Wonder Why You Didn’t Start Collecting Miles & Points Sooner!

Book a Category 7 Marriott Hotel Stay Before December 31, 2018, for Only 60,000 Points per Night!

The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong has the designation of being the “highest hotel in the world.”  It’s located on the 102nd to 118th floors of the International Commerce Center.  I can’t wait to share my full review of our stay because it was by far the best hotel I’ve ever visited.

The Ritz-Carlton Is Located on the 102nd to 118th Floors of the International Commerce Center, Which Makes It the Highest Hotel in the World!

I booked a completely free stay at this hotel using Marriott points.  You can currently book an award night at this Category 7 Marriott hotel for 60,000 points per night.  And if you’re able to book 5 consecutive nights, you’ll get the 5th night free!

Keep in mind, as of January 1, 2019, the hotel will move up to Category 8.  A standard award night will then cost 85,000 points per night.  And you could end up paying 100,000 points per night if you book a peak night award.  So be sure to check out our post of other Category 7 hotels moving up to Category 8 to see if you should book your award stay now!

I have Marriott Platinum status, so the hotel upgraded us to a room that typically sells for $1,200+ per night.  And Club Lounge access is worth another $150 per person per day.  So using points and having elite status for this award stay got us ~$3,000 worth of travel!

If you have any questions on my award booking, feel free to leave a comment below!  I’d love to answer them in future posts about our trip!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

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! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

31comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

When I stayed at Ritz-Carlton in Istanbul as a Marriott Platinum member, I wasn’t given lounge acees and free breakfast. The Marriott platinum rewards membership is not acknowledged by Ritz Carlton as shown on Terms and Conditions.

Author

Hi Joe – apologies for any confusion. Marriott Platinum status got me the room upgrade. But we also got complimentary Club Lounge access (unrelated to having Platinum status). We arrived at 6:00 am local time and our room wasn’t available (I wasn’t expecting it to be). However, the hotel offered us lounge access and entry to the spa while we waited. The lounge access carried over for the duration of our stay. It was a genius move because I’ll have no problem paying for access during future Ritz-Carlton stays now that I know what’s included. And The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong just goes above and beyond in terms of hospitality.

The executive lounge does not automatically come with your stay at the Ritz Carlton. I have platinum status due to my platinum RITZ carlton card and they give me four free passes per year which I can use when I have a paid stay at the Ritz Carlton, not a stay with points. It’s one or the other not both. IntercoNtinental is similar. The only rewards program for a major hotel brand that does provide access to their lounges if you have premier status is Hilton. With the diamond status you can access their equally nice lounges. Also for their Conrad and Waldorf Astoria Brands. If you have the aspire card

This is great! I’m headed to HKG as part of a China/Japan/Korea trip next year. Excited to fly CX F HKG-HND (though the main journey RT Lax-nrt will be ANA F). May just have to book the Ritz in HKG. Hmmm.

Author

Amazing! I’d definitely recommend The Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong, especially if you’re using points! Thank you for commenting.

How did you get upgraded to club lounge at the Ritz? I have been platinum forever and never get a free upgrade to club lounge access.

See my response.

Author

Hi Julius – we arrived at 6:00 am local time and our room wasn’t available (I wasn’t expecting it to be). However, the hotel offered us lounge access and entry to the spa while we waited. The lounge access carried over for the duration of our stay. It was a genius move because I’ll have no problem paying for access during future Ritz-Carlton stays now that I know what’s included. And The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong just goes above and beyond in terms of hospitality.

FYI: Access to lounges which, I agree, are a high quality add-on For breakfast, happy hour hors d’oeuvres and cocktails and desserts in the evening, as well as what is typically a very nice view Of your host city, involves booking a more expensive room then your entry level room, and the room that you get is pretty much the entry level room and just to get access to the lounge. You can even select a suite and the lounge doesn’t necessarily come with it. I have platinum status with my RITZ carlton platinum card but I don’t get access to the lounge automatically. What I do get our for a lounge passes per year which give me access but I cannot use points during that stay in get to be able to use the certificate as well! It’s one of the other but you’re going to pay to get both that’s pretty much the bottom line. Notably, if you have diamond status with Hilton you get access to their lounges automatically which are also very nice. Intercontinental? Same as the Ritz. Pony up the dollars he’ll get the lounge. Platinum or whatever status, the lounge is exclusive.

That’s awesome and yes, the club lounges are phenomenal domestic and abroad at Ritz Carlton’s. Thanks for the quick response.

Author

Good to know! Appreciate you commenting!

I used my Marriott free night to stay at that hotel too for one night. They currently have the highest swimming pool in the world towering at 118 floor. So, of course, I had to swim in it. Unfortunately, due to family drama, we didn’t get to spend much time at this hotel and my swimming lasted only about 10 minutes. Nevertheless, it was a great experience, even just for the pool.

Author

Ah — sorry to hear about the drama, but at least you got to jump in the pool! I went for a swim as well.

Load more