Old Aug 20, 16, 6:32 pm
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Somewhere around Europe...
Programs: BA Gold; MR Ti; HH Diamond; IHG Spire; RR Gold
Posts: 489
Heading to HKG, the wrong way - BA J, AA J, CX F

Been looking forward to this trip for some time, figured it might make a good candidate for my first TR. I’ll be posting near-live updates as I go, hope you all enjoy!

Months in the planning…

Planning for this started back in November, with a view to capitalising on the CPH fare sale. At the time I didn’t have any idea where I wanted to go, apart from a desire to tick off flying on the 787-9. After several late nights crunching various options in ITA Matrix, I came up with the following, all J, routing:


Image Credit: Great Circle Mapper ©Karl L. Swartz

This fits in my desired 789 sector, in the form of BA’s LHR-AUS service, along with a healthy bit of mileage running AUS-JFK… and some good Texan BBQ!

A few weeks I came up with the bright idea to cash in some AA miles for a CX redemption between JFK and HKG… preferably in F, and on the JFK-HKG route so I could maximise my time in CX F and make best value of my miles. No mean feat, given CX’s stingy award availability.

Indeed the best routing available at the time was AA/CX J via either ORD or LAX. I settled on routing via ORD and sent it off for ticketing. Not one to be so easily defeated, I then slightly abused my wandr.me membership by setting up ~40 flight alerts for every CX F route between North America and Hong Kong on/around my chosen dates.

It wasn’t until the new year that I finally got a hit: CX opened up F award seats on their ORD-HKG service, and AA even had availability JFK-CLT-ORD. Result! I called the AA Plat desk as fast as my fingers would dial, and locked it in. I would get my CX F experience after all!

Two small problems remained however… I was “stuck” in CX J on the return leg and the availability was for the day after I’d booked to leave JFK. I figured there wasn’t any harm in continuing to monitor the routes (since BA only wanted €300 to change my inbound flights). Thankfully AA & BA’s systems don’t communicate all that well, or AA probably would’ve cancelled my ticket on the basis it was impossible to achieve…

With the AAdvantage devaluation looming I was becoming more and more concerned with locking in an F award for the return. I didn’t have to wait too long, and a few weeks before there was a sudden flurry of availability. It seemed that alternates were opening up every couple of days, and over a fortnight I must have made at least 6 changes as I refined my routing. If anyone from the AA Plat desk is reading this, sorry… I admit it got a little out of hand!

However by the end of it I’d got what I had set out to achieve … CX F, BOS-HKG-BOS, with AA connections to suit… still on the wrong dates, but hey I’d got my F awards in a week before the devaluation. Three weeks later, I improved it yet further… CX opened a seat on their flagship JFK-HKG route!

Fast forward to June, some seven months after I’d started, and I finally had the alert I’d been waiting for. A seat in CX F, HKG-JFK, on the right day! I finally had the itinerary I wanted, after what must’ve been at least a dozen changes. Add a couple of positioning sectors, and I was done. Here’s what I ended up with:


Image Credit: Great Circle Mapper ©Karl L. Swartz

So all told... a sector on the BA 789, 32hrs in CX F, AA’s new 772 J… along with 3 days to explore HKG, 18 hours in AUS and 2 days in NYC. I just had to work out what I actually wanted to do… the easy bit, compared to the dramas of getting there!
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