My wife and I just got back from an amazing trip to Hong Kong, Phuket, and Singapore, and I’m going to review it. Ok ok, my title is somewhat in jest, because I’m not going to review the WHOLE trip, but I flew some amazing airline products and stayed in some awesome hotels, so I figured I’d go over those.
I initially booked this trip back before US Airways devalued back in the early Spring, also back when they were still in Star Alliance. At that time, they still had business class redemptions to North Asia for 90k miles, which in my opinion was one of the greatest historical redemption options.
The other great aspect of US Airways award redemptions was, and remains, their “flexible” routing options. They are often geographically challenged, and you can redeem some “creative” routes depending on how you feed it to the agents.
For instance, Hong Kong is considered North Asia, whereas Singapore is considered SE Asia. The old US Airways chart had 90k miles in biz to N. Asia, whereas it’d be 120k in biz to SE Asia. The trip is supposed to be based on where the farthest destination is, irrespective of the stopover, so our trip should’ve priced at 240k for both of us. However, you can shape the conversation at US Airways, and this is still true.
First, I looked up available legs on the United website (since US Airways is now in Oneworld, you can do it now on aa.com or ba.com). When I called in, instead of just saying where I wanted to go, I said, “I want to fly roundtrip from JFK to Hong Kong, with a stopover in Singapore”. Technically, despite my wishes, it should’ve officially been roundtrip to Singapore with a stopover in Hong Kong. However, the very nice agent said “OK great”, then I mentioned that I’d already researched the legs and offered to give them to her. It saved her a lot of work, so she went for it.
After feeding her the legs, I asked, “so that’s 180k total miles right?”, and she confirmed that it was. Bam! After devaluing their miles this spring, US Airways charges 110k roundtrip in business to North Asia, but also only 120k in first class. With awesome Oneworld carriers such as Cathay Pacific, it almost doesn’t make sense to take business when first class is only 10k more per roundtrip.
They are still “flexible” in their routings, for instance allowing a stopover in Europe en route to Asia, and you can even go onwards transpacifically back to the US, in essence creating an around-the-world trip. You just have to work with the phone agents, and if you encounter a recalcitrant one, be polite, hang up, and call again (HUCA).
Anyways, I’ve got a bunch of reviews coming up over the next few days, as below:
Review: United Business Class 757-200 JFK to San Francisco
Review: United Business Class 747 San Francisco to Hong Kong
Review: Singapore Business Class 777-200 Hong Kong to Singapore
Review: EVA Royal Laurel (Business) Class 777-300ER Singapore to Taipei to JFK
Review: Intercontinental Hong Kong Deluxe Junior Suite
Review: Westin Singapore Seaview Suite
Review: Intercontinental Singapore
I’m not going to be able to post every day, as I have a full-time job, but will do my best. Thanks to all our readers!