Help Me Plan My Award Flights to Hong Kong or Elsewhere

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I booked a one way trip to Hong Kong on Asiana First on a whim before the United devaluation hit.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I’m having trouble deciding on how to fly back and if I should visit another country on the way back.  Maybe some of you guys can help me plan my award flights to Hong Kong or elsewhere.

My time is limited on this trip and can either be 3-5 nights.  My current routing is:

LAX-ICN-HKG on Asiana First

Should I just stick with Hong Kong for 4 nights?  I’ve been to HK before, but haven’t really ventured outside of the city.  Some of the beaches and hiking look great and the weather is decent next month.  However, I’m still debating on whether to book Korea Air first class back and stop in Korea or wait until Cathay Pacific opens up business or first class.  The problem is that Cathay Pacific has been extremely stingy with their business or first class flights.  They seem to only release seats way in advance or one week prior.  That and also business class seats on Cathay Pacific have been selling to people on paid fares.

Korean Air is available now… but not sure if it’s even worth it to spend 1 day in Seoul because getting in and out of the city can be tedious.

Cathay Pacific is not available for the time frame I want.  It seems like they are releasing business and first class seats just 3 days before departure or on Tuesdays.  I need to fly back on either a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  I need two seats and many times they only release 1 seat from HKG-LAX.  I could wait and do HKG-SFO-LAX, but I don’t really want to connect.

To sum it up my options are as follows:

1. Book Korean Air first class now and spend 1 or 2 nights in Seoul and cut Hong Kong to 2-3 nights.

2. Wait until Cathay Pacific opens business or first class and fly directly HKG-LAX or HKG-SFO-LAX.

I’m leaning towards flying directly home from HKG-LAX on business class or first if I can get it. My rationale is to get back as soon as possible in a comfortable way.  I don’t mind taking economy class if that’s the last option.  I could put an economy award on hold HKG-LAX as a backup when it opens.  Should I keep waiting for Cathay?  I want to secure something before I leave at least.

Not My Favorite Message

Not My Favorite Message

As of this posting, British Airways website is not showing Cathay Pacific availability.  Hopefully it is only a temporary bug.  I’ve been using the JAL site to look for tickets.  Anybody having luck with last minute Cathay availability?  What else can I do to plan my award flight back home?

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17 comments for “Help Me Plan My Award Flights to Hong Kong or Elsewhere

  1. choi
    February 21, 2014 at 9:13 am

    why dont you delay the trip til late summer when Asiana upgrades to the new A380 F, I think its worth the wait as I also book on the whim right before the devalue for early Jan-15. that was my soul purpose was to try the new A380 F, but as with you, I dont have a return plan as of now.

    • February 21, 2014 at 9:47 am

      I would like to… but this is the only period of time I can travel.

  2. EY
    February 21, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Hi! I’m a new subscriber to your blog :) I’ve been a cashback person for many years and am just starting to try to learn about the miles game now, so your blog has been really helpful. I also just got into the Bluebird game this month and was really happy when I was able to buy 5 Vanilla Reloads today at CVS (Bay Area) and am almost done maxing out my Citi Dividend 5% cashback at drugstores! :D I’ve been trying for 2 weeks and today there were like 50 cards on the shelf!

    The only thing I can suggest regarding this post is that I personally love visiting Korea and would recommend staying there 1 or 2 nights. I also prefer staying in Seoul since that is where most of the fun and excitement and cool/crazy/wacky things are. Even if you’ve been to Seoul before, there’s probably still so much you didn’t get to see. Also, if you’re going at the end of March…that should be about when the cherry blossoms bloom!

    Are any other countries possible? Japan? Taiwan? Singapore? Australia? :)

    By the way, I HATE British Airways award booking. I can never find flights on reasonable dates, and when there are, there’s almost always a connection (I hate connections), and oftentimes they picked different airports when I wanted a specific airport! >_<

    • Scott
      February 22, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Any hints on the bay area cvs? Im not looking for specifics. Just east, west, north, south. Im out here from tje land of no cvs, and haven’t had any luck withoit driving 60 miles.

      • EY
        February 23, 2014 at 1:59 pm

        You have no CVS’s where you are? :( The Bay Area is littered with them! I’ve had the most success with East Bay & South Bay for CVS. Sonoma Valley area did not work for me, it said “use alternate tender” or something…manager came over and said “cash only” but I suspect it was just that my credit card declined since I had a Citi fraud alert triggered due to being farther away from where I usually travel. I haven’t tried SF but I heard through the grapevine that it’s all cash only there??? I don’t like going into SF anyways. I really wish Office Depot would accept credit card again…totally missed that boat last year and I owned a Chase Ink Bold too. :(

        Good luck! My experience in the Bay Area is that they fly off the shelves FAST so make sure you go in the morning. Doesn’t have to be right when they open, but before noon would be advisable. I’ve gone before and after work and usually after work there’s nothing left whereas there had been at least 10 in the morning.

        • Scott
          February 26, 2014 at 6:35 pm

          Lol, I’ve looked around east bay and found either no cards or cash only. Unfortunately, there are no CVS in Colorado, where I live. I’ve had good luck in California outside the bay.

  3. Jerry Mandel
    February 21, 2014 at 11:36 am

    You didn’t say WHEN your trip will be. On June 21, AA starts nonstop HKG and PVD to/from DFW. Now, AA via ORD.

    • February 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      It will be next month.

  4. February 21, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Our team loves the QF site. Who needs BA?! What are you doing for your clients?

    • February 21, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Qantas has a lot of phantom seats. I use it too and JAL.

      • February 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm

        That settles that! Haha. Phantom is a problem everywhere. I don’t find many issues with QF though. I love it!

        Enjoy the trip :-)

  5. Peter
    February 21, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    cathay is far from stingy… they still release 2 first and 5 business seats on virtually every transpac flight. it’s just that these seats are taken quickly by award travelers, so unless you plan far in advance, you’re waiting for last minute releases – which do happen, but has become harder to get since cathay is able to sell their seats. i suggest checking flight loads for the specific flights you want. anyhow, if i were in your shoes, i would just depart without a return ticket and book either CX or KE last minute – both should have last minute availability.

    • February 23, 2014 at 8:22 am

      That’s the plan! I’ll put something on hold just in case before I leave.

  6. February 21, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    I would suggest flying to Guilin (KWL) from HKG and visiting the Yangshuo area. I booked EWR-DFW-HKG on an MR on the new AA 777-300ER route and am planning on doing that.

    http://travel.cnn.com/shanghai/life/40-beautiful-places-visit-china-943929

    • February 23, 2014 at 8:23 am

      Looks nice, but I won’t have time to visit Mainland unfortunately.

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