This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

My experience on Hong Kong Airlines was neither amazing nor awful, but pretty par for the course. The Pros: Decent enough service and food to get me through this three-hour hop. The Cons: I wish there were US frequent flyer partners.

After experiencing American Airlines Flagship First from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, I needed to get to Koh Samui, where I’d be spending the weekend with friends. My layover was in Bangkok so I decided to test out business class on Hong Kong Airlines before flying Bangkok Airways the rest of the way to the Thai island.

In This Post

Booking

Since there wasn’t any award availability on Cathay Pacific and I had changed my flight at the last minute, I bought a $1,069 business-class ticket, which is pretty expensive considering this was just going to be a 2.5-hour flight from Hong Kong (HKG) to Bangkok (BKK). I paid with my Platinum Card from American Express, which let me earn 5x points since I’d purchased it directly through the airline’s website. I ended up earning 5,345 Membership Rewards points, worth about $102 according to our most recent valuations. Another good option to book this with is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, which would have given me 3,207 Ultimate Reward points since it can earn 3x points on travel, worth $71.

If you want to book with points and miles, the main way would be to transfer Starpoints to Hainan’s Fortune Wings Club mileage program. Remember that when transferring SPG points, you’ll get a 5,000-point bonus for every 20,000 transferred to an airline mileage program. It’s 30,000 miles one-way in business class or 48,000 miles round-trip through the Fortune Wings Club. Had I transferred 25,000 SPG points — which takes about 11 days to go through, by the way, so plan ahead — I would have received 30,000 miles, enough for me to book my one-way ticket in business class. If you’re in need of some more SPG points, you can sign up for the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express, which gives you 25,000 Starpoints after you spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening your account.

The Lounge

I thought I would have access to the Cathay Pacific lounge since I have OneWorld Emerald status (from being an AA Executive Platinum) and would be arriving on an American Airlines first-class ticket, but as it turns out, you only get access if you are flying onward via Cathay Pacific. Since I was going to be flying on Hong Kong Airlines, which is not part of the OneWorld alliance (or a partner at all with AA), I was denied access somewhat embarrassingly.

Club Bauhinia, the official Hong Kong Airlines lounge, is located in Terminal 1 and was seriously nice; recently renovated, it even had a shower room. And the shower passed the TPG shower test, so it gets high marks from me.

hong kong airlines lounge

There’s also a small rest area in the back where you could lie down.

DSC01434

The lounge offered a buffet spread with an à la carte noodles station.

DSC01431

Alcoholic beverages were also self-serve and the staff seemed to replace the food items often.

DSC01426

Inside the lounge was a business area with several computers set apart in cubicles.

DSC01435 (1)

The location turned out to be a great place for plane spotting. I had an amazing view of some of the boarding gates — I saw a beautiful China Airlines 747, for instance. For a three-hour layover, I thought this lounge did the trick, and it was never too crowded.

DSC01447

Cabin and Seat

The Hong Kong Airlines plane I was flying on was an A330-200. According to AirFleets.net, this aircraft was delivered to the carrier back in 2010 and is actually on lease from Hainan Airlines, which owns a stake in Hong Kong Airlines. The livery is also similar to that of Hainan Airlines.

I thought the cabin was going to be in a 1-2-1 configuration with lie-flat seats, but it actually ended up being a 2-2-2 old-school cabin with angle-flat seats. It was okay for this three-hour hop, but I wouldn’t want to be in these seats if I were on a longer flight. The seat itself was a little narrow.

There’s not much room between the two seats with only two small arm rests separating you from the passenger next to you.

I was seated in the bulkhead, which gave me plenty of space to stretch out. It also meant I’d be one of the first people off the plane.

Food and Beverage

The menu wasn’t huge, but it worked for the short flight. There was a Gonet-Medeville Cru Brut, which goes for around $50-$60 on the ground. Here’s a peek at some of the dining options:

Hong Kong Airlines Menu

There was a prawn appetizer with avocado.

I got the beef with mushrooms and potatoes as my main dish. It was perfectly fine.

Overall Impression

The flight was only supposed to be 2.5-hours long but ended up taking a little over three hours. Here’s a look at our flight path from Hong Kong to Bangkok.

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 12.33.17 PM

Overall, I thought this Hong Kong Airlines flight was unexceptional. It wasn’t an amazing experience but the lounge was decent and the service was okay. Was it better than flying in Cathay Pacific’s business class? No, but when no other options exist, it gets the job done.

Have you ever flown in business class aboard Hong Kong Airlines’ A330? Tell us about your experience, below.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.