Introduction: HKG Over MLK

Introduction: HKG Over MLK


On Black Friday 2017 I booked a trip to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific. The trip I booked was in Premium Economy on Cathay Pacific from Chicago to Hong Kong to Los Angeles and then back to Chicago on American. Typically Premium Economy fares on Cathay cost upwards of $2,000, but I was able to purchase this trip for just over $1,000.

Although $1,000 is a lot of money, for this trip I’d earn over $3,000 EQD and approximately 25,000 EQM. In a single trip I’d earn enough EQD and EQM to qualify for AAdvantage Gold elite status so for me paying for this trip was well worth it.

While I had no problem justifying the cost of the trip, when booking I ran into another issue. Going into 2018 I’m already running low on vacation days from my day job! I have a huge family vacation coming up later in the year for nearly two weeks. That trip alone means I only have a few days which are still unspoken for. As a result, I don’t want to use any PTO days before my family trip. So, when booking my trip to Hong Kong I needed to plan it over a long weekend. In the end I booked this trip over the long Martin Luther King Jr. weekend which meant I could complete the journey without taking a single day off from work.

Planning The 3 Day Trip To Hong Kong

When searching for flights in Premium Economy on Cathay Pacific I had a few options. I could obviously fly nonstop both directions, but where is the fun in that. I ended up booking a nonstop flight from Chicago to Hong Kong which left Friday afternoon and a flight back to Chicago with a stop in Los Angeles which put me back in my home Monday night. In total the entire trip would take just 80 hours. With that I’d have a little over 40 hours to explore Hong Kong, for the first time.

Once I had my flights figured out I needed to decide on accommodations for the two nights I’d ultimately spend in Hong Kong. After a few days of trying to decide on a hotel I finally decided on the incredible Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. The nightly rate for the hotel is 70,000 Marriott Rewards points (which is a ton), but I figured it would be worth it in the end.

After selecting my first night at the Ritz-Carlton I still needed a hotel for my second night. Again, I searched for a few days before finally narrowing it down to The Mira Hong Kong near Kowloon Park. I chose this hotel because it offered one of the lowest nightly room rates. The hotel is also conveniently located near the more touristy areas of Hong Kong.

Planning The Various Trip Report Reviews During My Hong Kong Trip

Obviously that is an extremely tight schedule, but time became even a larger concern when I began planning my trip and subsequent trip reports. For starters, in Chicago, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles there were several lounges I wanted to review. So during my journey I visited the following lounges thanks to my current OneWorld Emerald elite status:

  • British Airways Club / First Lounge Chicago (ORD)
  • Cathay Pacific Lounges Hong Kong (HKG)
    • The Arrival
    • The Pier First Class Lounge
    • The Wing Business Class Lounge
    • The Wing First Class Lounge
  • Qantas First Class Lounge Los Angeles International (LAX)
  • American Airlines Flagship Lounge Lost Angeles International (LAX)

In addition to the various lounges I wanted to review, wanted to review the two hotels I stayed in during my trip:

  • The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
  • The Mira Hong Kong a Design Hotel

And lastly, I of course wanted to review each of my transpacific flights:

  • Cathay Pacific 777-300ER Premium Economy Chicago To Hong Kong
  • Cathay Pacific 777-300ER Premium Economy Hong Kong To Los Angeles

The End Result

This trip to Hong Kong was among my favorites thus far. While I obviously loved my Qatar Airways Mileage Run from late last year, I found it a bit boring toward the end. On that trip I ended up taking the same exact flights between Doha and Ho Chi Minh a total of 4 times. By the fourth flight on the Qatar A330 I was ready to never see that interior again. Likewise, I spent two nights of my life in the incredible Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class lounge.

This trip was totally different because not only did I get to spend about 40 hours either on planes or at the airport, but I also was able to spend 40 hours exploring Hong Kong! On top of all that, the weather in Hong Kong was 60 degrees fahrenheit and clear skies during my visit. It was a near perfect day which meant I could walk for as long as I wanted without getting too hot or tired. In the end it was a truly fantastic trip.

Final Thoughts

While the trip to/from Hong Kong was incredible, it violated a primary rule of Mileage Running. Generally the rule of Mileage Running is to not spend any money on hotels if possible. The goal is to be moving as much as possible. Spending two nights in a mileage run destination doesn’t really fall into the traditional model of Mileage Running.

For that reason, I’d like to coin a new name for this style of mileage running. Going forward I want to call a trip like this a Relaxed Mileage Run. I want to call these relaxed mileage runs because they don’t fit into the traditional mileage run model, but I also wouldn’t take these trips if it weren’t for the mileage earning potential. We’ll see if the name sticks (stop trying to make Fetch happen), but for now I’m sticking to it.