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How I baked in a free stopover in Hong Kong flying back from Australia

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Australia is one of those dream destinations that many of us have on our bucket lists. The biggest obstacle many of us face is time and cost. So when the opportunity presents itself to seize the moment and take the trip…you want to maximize every last minute, and every last point you use. Enter Alaska Airlines. Alaska presents a very attractive option as its award routing rules allow for one stopover, and you can utilize this stopover in a number of different ways. I made use of it when planning our journey BACK from Australia on Cathay Pacific and baked in a free stopover in Hong Kong.

When configuring the routing, you can either connect straight through Hong Kong, or as I planned, stop for a few days, and then hop back on a plane for the same exact price. In fact, as I’ll explain in another post, I was able to massage the flights enough to fly their A350 to Hong Kong in business, and continue onward from Hong Kong to LA in First Class…all for 80k points. That means we will have flown to Australia in Qantas First Class, up to Hong Kong in Cathay Business, and back to the states in Cathay First for 150k miles. Helluva deal if you ask me.

A free stopover…

You can add in a free stopover as long as…

  • You fly the same airline before and after the stopover.
    • You can also add on an Alaska Airlines leg

What this means is You CAN

  • Fly from Sydney to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, and then Cathay Pacific to Los Angeles. Stopover. And then fly Alaska from LA to New York months later.
  • Or you could fly Cathay to Hong Kong, stopover, and fly Cathay on back to the States

You Can’t

  • fly from Sydney to Hong Kong on Cathay. Stopover. Fly Cathay to Tokyo and then Japan Airlines from Tokyo to LA. You can’t mix partners of Alaska.

Get the idea?

a screenshot of a computer screen

Adding in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities in the world, and a place that offers incredible option for redeeming points. It offers amazing shopping, dining, nightlife, and hospitality. It’s vibrant and a city I really wanted to show my girlfriend.

I’d long dreamt of the perfect routing on an Australia trip, and we nailed it. Qantas First over from the States. Cathay business up to Hong Kong, and then the grande finale…Cathay First back from Hong Kong.

a seat in an airplane

Stay tuned…I’m planning another post where I show you how I used the patterns of Cathay award availability to access the best seats and routing, all the while hedging our ride back in business class as a worse case scenario.


Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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