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United and Cathay Pacific add $759 NYC fares to Hong Kong, here’s how to take advantage

September 17, 2013

After 2+ years off the web, Tech, Travel and Tuna is back! Let’s kick off the celebration with a fare sale to HKG.


Last month, Cathay Pacific introduced a new route to the US. With three four existing daily flights to JFK, Newark seemed a somewhat unlikely selection, but EWR is indeed the official pick — service kicks off on March 1st (and I’ll tentatively be on the inaugural!). Now, to celebrate the new trans-Pacific route, Cathay is offering $759 roundtrip fares from EWR to HKG for March and April (booked by 9/23), and United has matched the sale, including JFK as an optional departure city (via LAX or SFO). It’s that Star Alliance carrier that interests me most, and with 16,000 premier qualifying up for grabs, it’s not a bad deal for a mileage run. Sure, it’s no $0 fare, but HKG was never on the docket for United’s costly human error last week. You can also route through San Francisco, bringing the grand total to 19,000 PQMs, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous (and have some time to kill), you can add on layovers in Hawaii, Tokyo, or a handful of other cities, too.

I opted for a SFO routing, booking the outbound flight in W class so we could upgrade on the longer leg, with K class for the return. The total was $1,147 … a bit pricier than the aforementioned $759, but you need to spend more to get more. In this case, the higher fare enabled Business seats on the new p.s. to SFO and BusinessFirst on the upper deck of a 747 to HKG, courtesy of one of the six Global Premier Upgrades I get as a 1K. Then, on the way back, we’re flying coach to SFO and Business to JFK, with that last leg boosted with a Regional Premier Upgrade.

The Wandering Aramean is turning the trek into quite the adventure, however, routing with United’s famed “island hopper” route that jumps from Honolulu through Majuro, Kwajalein, Pohnpei, and Truk in the South Pacific on the way to Guam a few days each week. The complete routing looks like JFK-LAX-HNL-MAJ-KWA-PNI-TKK-GUM-HKG, and it’ll take a good day and a half to complete, operating that entire distance with narrow-body (single-aisle) planes. The one advantage, however, is that every segment is upgradable using a regional upgrade (if you can get an agent to split them up), which means you can book it all in K and save a bit of cash (and a GPU). Don’t expect a significant jump in mileage over the SFO routing, however — this one’s just for “fun.”

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2013 6:37 pm

    I’ll see you in HKG! …Shit, I am booked that weekend.

    • zachhonig permalink*
      September 17, 2013 6:39 pm

      If you make it work I have a GPU with your name on it!

  2. sarahsilbert permalink
    September 17, 2013 8:39 pm

    i’m sure we can find a wedding in HK for you to shoot!

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