Reader Question: “I’m Stuck in Hong Kong & Need Your Help!”

Virgin A350-1000

This morning I received an email from a 1TP subscriber that, at first, may seem very complex but also highlights the benefits have having miles and points.

The message read:

I’m new to the miles and points landscape so some of these questions may sound very silly but can you still use miles/points outside the US on non-US airlines? For example, I’m from the US but I’ve been traveling around SE Asia for the past few weeks. I started my trip pre-coronavirus but, as you may have guessed, my itinerary has changed dramatically. Currently, I am in Hong Kong and I just need to get to London to be with my extended family. The dollar prices that the airlines are charging border on ‘crazy’ for a one-way ticket. I have a bit over 74,000 Chase points because of the Chase card that you recommended a few months ago. I don’t want to spend an insane amount of money but I also don’t know anyone else to reach out to that knows miles and points like you do. I’m stuck in Hong Kong and need your help. Please give me good news!

There is A LOT of good news so let’s address all the concerns step-by-step…

With a simple search on Google Flights, you can easily confirm that the one-way flight cost hundred of dollars (and $600 if you prefer the direct flight).

Additionally, everyone is a “newbie” to the miles and points game. This hobby changes every day so if you’re not learning anything new, you may, in fact, be falling behind. To that end, there are no silly questions.

Yes, you can use miles/points on various airlines even if they are not based in the USA or even touching USA soil. For example, you can use miles/points to book a flight from Hong Kong to London despite it never touching USA soil (more on this below). And although your situation may feel bleak, and your search results for a one-way ticket are producing tickets that cost hundreds of dollars, you are in the perfect city for a “sweet spot” that I’ve used several times.

At the moment, Virgin Atlantic operates a 5x weekly flight between Hong Kong and London and when redeeming miles, it costs 12,500 miles + HK$330 (~$42 USD) for a one-way economy seat. That is a phenomenal redemption for a non-stop, 12.5-hour flight that was going to otherwise cost you $600USD.

Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner of Chase and your points transfer instantly to your Virgin account. And according to my search results, Virgin Atlantic has availability as early as tomorrow. Does it get much better than that? 😉

Although we have not dipped our toes into the award “sweet spots” around the globe, this is definitely one of them, so you may want to bookmark this blog.

For comparison, most USA-based airlines charge ~12,000 miles to fly between two cities in the US. Even if you fly from coast to coast for 12,000 miles, the flight is only 5 hours. The flight from HKG-LHR is 12.5 hours for the same price. Excellent value!

Again, if you (or anyone you know) have questions, do not hesitate to drop me a blog comment or email. Award travel is fun and can be even more rewarding when you know WHERE to look for rewards.

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