United Airlines Mileage Plus award chart recently had a devaluation, so most destinations to/from Asia and the rest of the world increased in price. You can see the new chart for Star Alliance partners here. FYI Hong Kong is located in the South Asia region. For example, New York to Hong Kong which was previously 65,000 miles roundtrip, is now a whopping 80,000 miles using UA award miles.
One good redemption which remains is South Asia to Australia/New Zealand for only 17,500 miles one way. If you book a roundtrip ticket using 35,000 miles, you can get a stopover and an open-jaw, making this a fabulous redemption to go down under. This is by far the best redemption opportunity I see from Hong Kong or anywhere in the South Asia region.
South Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
For example, I can book a ticket on the outbound…Hong Kong HKG – Auckland AKL (stopover) – Sydney SYD then a return…Melbourne MEL – Hong Kong HKG
Total roundtrip including Auckland stopover and return from Melbourne for only 35,000 miles. I only need to find my way from Sydney to Melbourne which isn’t too difficult or expensive. You can book a multi-city trip on the United.com site, but keep in mind the website a bit finicky so you’ll want to keep the destinations pretty straightforward. If you see an error page, either the routing is invalid or there are no award seats open on that date. If it gives you too much trouble or you have some custom stopovers/layovers/connections, try calling the customer service line and do it over the phone.
If I wanted to check out a few more places and don’t mind layovers under 24 hours, I could theoretically do…
- Hong Kong HKG – Auckland AKL (connection) – Christchurch CHC (stopover)
- CHC – AKL (connection) – Sydney SYD
- Melbourne MEL – HKG
The combinations are wide and you can put the stopover on the outbound or return leg as well. Any connection less than 24 hours is considered a transit connection, not a stopover, so you can see a few places for less than 24 hours and move onto the next destination. In this example, I could stop in Auckland for less than 24 hours on the first and second legs and not have to redeem additional award miles.
You can book your stopovers for pretty much as many days as you want, you just need to complete the return within a year, otherwise the ticket is no good. Goodluck and let me know if you booked any interesting itineraries for this fantastic redemption amount.