New Year’s Trip to “Xin” City: Introduction

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After returning from our honeymoon last month, the combination of the grueling 40+ hour return journey and over a week of brutal jet lag recovery made us cringe at the thought of taking another trip in the near future. But after getting back to the mundane routine of going to work instead of eating caviar, we started to get that traveling itch once again. We were still on the fence about actually going somewhere even through Christmas, but since we still had no plans for New Years we decided that we should just go for it.

For me, this is truly where the beauty of points and miles really comes into play. As I started looking around at various options, I actually was thinking of a domestic trip (Vegas, Hawaii, Cancun) but the retail prices for flights and hotels around New Years was a complete non-starter for a last-minute booking to any of those locations. My wife must have been keeping an eye on my Awardwallet account, since that’s when she turned to me and said, “hey don’t you have a ton of miles and points sitting around, we could just go…anywhere.” I guess that I’ve trained her well!

So I began the fun task of planning a trip to wherever the award availability gods would allow. Given the short amount of time we were planning to go for I focused in direct-as-possible routings and narrowed down the whole world to a short-list of destinations which included FRA, KIX, HKG and ICN. And yes, it’s no coincidence that the choice of those destinations was directly related to my desire to try a new F product on LH, LH (via FRA), CX, or OZ, respectively.

But alas, even with total flexibility the LH award gods were not smiling upon me and I couldn’t find anything that would work. So the next best option turned out to be on CX to Hong Kong which had great last-minute availability. Since I had lived in Hong Kong for a couple years and we had visited just last year, we decided to break up our trip with a side trip to Macau.

The funny part about all this that as I was briefly exploring options such as Vegas, going to Hong Kong economically just made more sense as the total cost of transport and lodging was just $71, which was less than a one-way ticket for one person from SFO-LAS (and of course just looking at cash outlay and ignoring the value of the miles/points used):

AA redemptions for CX F x 2 = 135,000 miles + $5 in taxes
UA redemptions for UA F x 2 = 140,000 miles + $66 in taxes
Conrad Hong Kong x 1 night = 80,000 Hilton points
Conrad Macao x 2 nights = 80,000 Hilton points
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong x 1 night = 27,000 Hyatt points (only club room available)

[Update: the day before leaving changed my return flight from United to CX using 210,000 Avios for 2 tickets. A bit painful, but after the letdown from our BA flight last month decided to just cancel my BA F redemption SFO-LHR for next summer and use the miles elsewhere]

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