I recently took a last minute trip and traveled to Hong Kong on a whim. Have you ever spontaneously gone on a trip overseas? The circumstances were just right and all the lights were green so I just went for it. I probably would have regretted not going given that my friend had been racking up points and miles like crazy from his business, but had yet to use any of his points. I let him know that United would be devaluing its award program, making premium travel almost two times the amount of miles. This would be the last time to fly first class for a reasonable amount of points.
My friend wanted to go to Tokyo, but I had just been there. I booted up United’s search engine and starting searching for awards to Asia. After a few days of searching here and there, I found first class award availability from LAX-ICN (Seoul). However, my friend had already been to Seoul so I looked for connecting cities. I found that Hong Kong was a brief 1.5 hour connection and brought up that idea. My friend gave me the green light and we booked the one-way tickets! 70,000 United miles and $11 per person for first class on Asiana Airlines!
For the return, I decided to take a gamble and wait for Cathay Pacific business or first class seats to open up. Our dates were not too flexible so worse case scenario was to take economy class, which is easily obtainable. I ended up failing to find anything other than economy class, so we sucked it up and took it! Can’t complain too much because it was mostly free.
Our flight would arrived 3/4 at night and we would stay a total for four nights. We decided to stick to just one country instead of trying to do 24 hour stopovers (i.e. stop in Seoul for 20 hours and continue onto Hong Kong) because it would be more relaxing of a trip. We also stuck with one hotel and decided that 4 nights at Hyatt Tsim Sha Tsui was a good choice. I picked this hotel because it is right on top of the Tsim Sha Tsui subway MTR station, which can get you almost everywhere you want to go easily. I also chose this hotel because 15,000 Hyatt points per night was quite reasonable for a city like Hong Kong. We weren’t planning to spend a whole lot of time in Hong Kong so location was important. The last big reason why I chose this hotel is because I was able to start the Hyatt Diamond Trial for the 2nd time!
It sounds crazy to find a good deal and just go for it. Hong Kong on a whim might have been the craziest thing I’ve done with my points and miles. This was my first time planning a trip somewhat spontaneously (1 month before). Here was our expense tally for just flights and hotels:
- 70,000 United miles per person and $11.70 for one-way Asiana First Class from LAX-ICN-HKG
- 35,000 AA miles per person and $40 in taxes plus $75 close-in booking fee for Cathay Pacific economy HKG-LAX
- 60,000 Hyatt points for 4 nights at Hyatt Tsim Sha Tsui
We did not regret our decision and I’ll tell you why in this trip report. Have you ever gone on a big trip just because it was a good deal?