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Hong Kong or Tokyo as a hub to fly around Asia with Avios

Hong Kong or Tokyo as a hub to fly around Asia with Avios

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Old Apr 3, 19, 4:09 pm
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Hong Kong or Tokyo as a hub to fly around Asia with Avios

I'm currently in the middle of making plans for a large trip around Asia. I haven't settled down on a timeframe yet. I intend to spend mostly Avios to travel Around Asia. I have approximately 705,000 Avios at the moment. My problem is that I tend to find more award space on JL flying to Tokyo than with CX flying to HK. Not sure if it's because demand for CX award space is higher or not. Anyways, I know redeeming Avios for flights with CX are great options to travel around Asia. Seems like a lot of the guides cover redemption out of HKG and not TYO. Personally, I do prefer HKG not because I don't like TYO, but because I've been to HKG many times in my life. I know how to get around and there seems to be greater hotel options to match my budget than TYO. I've been to Tokyo only once in my life and the last time I went (many years ago), it felt intimidating. I am multilingual, but unfortunately I don't know any Japanese. Regardless of where my base will be for approximately 3-4 weeks, I do intend to spend some time in both Hong Kong and Tokyo. This forum might not be the best place, but since it's about Avios, I decided to post it here. So what would you guys do if you're in my shoes?
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Old Apr 3, 19, 4:55 pm
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I suppose it depends on where you want to go and where you are most likely to find availability. I agree that HK is easier to navigate (though I love Tokyo) but given that you are looking to maximise opportunities for spend your Avios then availability and options for Avios redemptions should be your only criterion.
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Old Apr 3, 19, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by South London Bon Viveur View Post
I suppose it depends on where you want to go and where you are most likely to find availability. I agree that HK is easier to navigate (though I love Tokyo) but given that you are looking to maximise opportunities for spend your Avios then availability and options for Avios redemptions should be your only criterion.
The problem is that I find BA's website to be a bit too slow and basic to search for availability. From my experience, I find that it's easier to find availability for CX award fights within Asia than long haul flights. I'm thinking of flying around Southeast Asia and China. If I use Tokyo as my base, I'm not even sure I want to go do domestic flights considering how much more convenient to take the bullet train. Maybe for something like Tokyo to Sapporo or Fukuoka or even Okinawa, I would fly, but Tokyo to Kyoto should be on the train.

Anyone else here comments on this? I guess I can always fly to HKG on the cheap, but that doesn't help me burn up some Avios. I would really want to fly to HKG with CX on J. That would be a very good flight to burn up some Avios.
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Old Apr 3, 19, 6:00 pm
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Whilst not addressing the Avios availability aspects, I would have thought if you want to fly around South East Asia and China but to take the Shinkansen within Japan, it would be better to base oneself in Hong Kong, indeed if you base yourself in TYO, you are very limited in terms of flights compared to HKG. Looking at the destinations that are available from each city it shows that CX combined with MH (from KUL) for flights around the region may be best, thus basing yourself in Hong Kong would be easiest to my mind.



Oneworld routes out of HKG


Oneworld routes out of TYO


Oneworld routes out of KUL
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Last edited by wilsnunn; Apr 3, 19 at 6:05 pm Reason: Typos
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Old Apr 3, 19, 8:52 pm
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Really depends where you’re going. HKG and TYO are 4+ hours apart by air. If you’ll be in SE Asia doesn’t make much sense to base yourself in TYO.
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Old Apr 3, 19, 9:52 pm
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agree that HKG is probably better if you want to use Avios - cost also probably cheaper (shorter distances given its more central if you are visiting SE Asia etc)

the issue you may run into is after the CX AM devaluation, partner award is quite limited so may be harder to redeem (but i think if you are flexible on timings it gets better).

tokyo will be good for north asia (China / Japan / Korea) but to the main cities. HKG is prob equi-distance to North Asia and SE Asia so will be a better base. And KA flies to 2nd tier ports so you could get to see other parts of China if that is what you wish.
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Old Apr 3, 19, 9:54 pm
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The biggest issue you may have is likely CX closing of availability for Avios from about one week out. It can often be solved by calling Exec Club. Also CX closing whole routes out to Avios for long blocks - in all classes. There is a thread dedicated to CX Avios availability issues.
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Old Apr 3, 19, 10:24 pm
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As others said, it depends on where in Asia you want to go and what's available to book. In regards to Tokyo, I find navigating has become much easier in the last few years. I've been to Tokyo several times since 2003. All train ticket machines now have English as an option and once you got the gist of paying which fare and how the network has different train operators, it's not so bad and inexpensive. More people seem to speak a little English now. If you stay near Hamamatsucho station, you can easily catch the monorail to Haneda for about 500 yen. Narita is far away from central Tokyo, it's a lovely little town, with reasonable hotels, but there isn't much to do there once you've seen the shrine.
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Old Apr 4, 19, 1:10 am
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If you really want to do a lot of travel in South East Asia, then Tokyo is very far off and even Hong Kong is not great.

Before you spend a lot of Avios have a look at the offerings of the Asian low cost carriers - there is a lot of competition in the South East Asian market and you may get better value just buying cash tickets. Obviously doesn't apply if you intend to travel premium cabins...
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Old Apr 4, 19, 1:46 am
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Originally Posted by LCY8737 View Post
If you really want to do a lot of travel in South East Asia, then Tokyo is very far off and even Hong Kong is not great.

Before you spend a lot of Avios have a look at the offerings of the Asian low cost carriers - there is a lot of competition in the South East Asian market and you may get better value just buying cash tickets. Obviously doesn't apply if you intend to travel premium cabins...
Wise advise. Figure out where you want to go and then find the best routing. Air Asia are perfectly pleasant to fly and often very sharp on pricing. Even the legacy carriers can offer some decent fares and it faces constantly routing via a hub to get from one place to another.
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Old Apr 4, 19, 1:58 am
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Don't forget KUL.

Malaysia Airlines is far more convenient and costs fewer Avios for flights around SE Asia.

KL also happens to have far cheaper hotels for those overnights in between flights. (if you are truly basing yourself somewhere and doing hub-and-spoke instead of just flying direct on Air Asia and other low cost carriers)
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Old Apr 4, 19, 2:15 am
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KUL is much further from the city centre than HKG airport though, KUL airport also lacks good airport hotels whereas HKG has the Regal, Marriott, and Novotel.
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Old Apr 4, 19, 2:20 am
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Originally Posted by Isochronous View Post
KUL is much further from the city centre than HKG airport though, KUL airport also lacks good airport hotels whereas HKG has the Regal, Marriott, and Novotel.
Is there an airport express linking KUL to central KL now? HKG is very convenient because of the airport express. It also have nice lounges. It runs frequently and the price is perfectly acceptable to me. Seems like Tokyo is a good option too. At this point in time, I don't know how much time I want to spend in SE Asia. I figure I would want to spend at least 2 weeks exploring Japan and HK and the rest in SE Asia. What's important for me is whether I can easily get to the airport in a timely manner and then award availability.
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Old Apr 4, 19, 2:22 am
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I would say HKG but I'm biased. I just snagged a one-way HND-HKG in CX F for 40k avios + 45 quid

Wide open in J (20k avios), a little tougher to find in F.
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Last edited by thebigben; Apr 4, 19 at 2:31 am
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Old Apr 4, 19, 2:29 am
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Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
Is there an airport express linking KUL to central KL now? HKG is very convenient because of the airport express. It also have nice lounges. It runs frequently and the price is perfectly acceptable to me. Seems like Tokyo is a good option too. At this point in time, I don't know how much time I want to spend in SE Asia. I figure I would want to spend at least 2 weeks exploring Japan and HK and the rest in SE Asia. What's important for me is whether I can easily get to the airport in a timely manner and then award availability.
It does and as a system it is probably the airport train that is closest to HKG in terms of quality and setup, the frequency just isn't quite as good. Fantastic if you stay in one of the hotels connected to KL Sentral station (Le Meridien or Hilton)
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