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TPG reader William emailed me to ask:
“I’m planning a trip to Hong Kong from the U.S. this summer; I’d like to fly from ATL, JFK or ORD, preferably in first class. I could fly to other cities in Asia if doing so would make things easier. What are the best options for this trip using miles?”
Without a doubt, flying Cathy Pacific First class non-stop is the way to go. Cathay has a wonderful first class product, and pretty good award availability so long as you’re flexible. You can use British Airways Avios to book these tickets, or you can use US Airways miles (it’s about 120,000 round-trip in first class, with no huge fuel surcharges).
Right now the US Airways Premier World MasterCard is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles (after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee), so getting that card and maybe buying some US Airways miles when they’re available at a discount (like during this recent sale) could be a great strategy for getting you to Asia at a fraction of the normal cost. Cathay Pacific could easily charge $10,000 round-trip for a first class, round-trip ticket from the U.S. to Hong Kong.
In the second quarter of 2015 (the precise date hasn’t been revealed), US Airways Dividend Miles will fully merge with American Airlines AAdvantage, and the number of miles needed for this ticket will increase. So booking the ticket soon will not only offer you greater availability, but also save you a lot of miles. On the flip side, if combining your Dividend Miles and AAdvantage accounts will give you a lot more miles to work with, than it might be best to wait until after the programs merge.
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