Hong Kong to Sapporo/Hokkaido/Niseko, finding award flights
I know a lot of Hong Kong people like to go skiing. Most of the time people think of going to Hokkaido Japan, or more specifically Niseko. The closest major airport is Sapporo Chitose CTS. But cost is usually a huge factor deterring skiers from going. I suggest saving up your award miles for this expensive route.
If using Asia Miles, it costs 30,000 miles roundtrip between HKG and CTS. (Please note you cannot do a one-way with JL on Asia Miles.) It’s also 30,000 through United Airlines for example through the Star Alliance network.
The non-stop flights on Cathay Pacific are prohibitively expensive, usually over $7,000+ HKD roundtrip for the nonstop. Cathay Pacific almost always blocks out all dates during the winter-time from award redemption so you can’t really go that route neither. Flights with connections usually total over $5,000+ HKD.
I recommend looking into award redemptions flying the route via Tokyo. I booked a trip for late December HKG – HND – CTS, and flight availability from HKG to Tokyo NRT or HND was widely available on Cathay Pacific. The domestic leg on Japan Airlines also has wide availability with flights from Tokyo Haneda to Sapporo more than once an hour.
There’s two flights daily on CX and one flight daily on JL to Haneda. If you fly via Narita, your choice of connections to Sapporo is severely limited, and you will more than likely have a longer connection vs Haneda.
If the Tokyo routing is not working, you can try flying via Nagoya, Fukuoka, or Osaka which CX serves from HKG as well and then catch the domestic leg to Sapporo CTS from those cities.
For redemptions on another alliance such as Star Alliance, most logically ANA would be your best choice using the same routing as above. Additionally, Thai Airways also started flying to Sapporo from Bangkok a few days a week, so you can fly HKG – BKK – CTS using a Star Alliance redemption. The flight time is actually overnight so you don’t waste a whole day traveling during the day time as long as you don’t mind flying south first to fly north. The TG flight departs 8:45pm HK time and arrives at 8:00am Japan time with only a 1hr 15min connection in BKK. With this option you can be on the slopes around lunchtime!
So next time you decide not to go to Hokkaido due to the cost, see if you can scrounge up enough award miles for the redemption. It’s a great value and the one stop connection really isn’t very bad.