Chinese New Year on milesPosted: December 17, 2011
Chinese New Year comes early this time around and this year I can actually join my bunch of wayward, America-dwelling family members on their New Year trek back to the motherland. Roundtrip coach tickets from the East Coast to East Asia can start at around $1200 but even the promise of red envelopes can make buying a ticket pretty daunting. 16 hours straight in coach on say, Continental (as opposed to Cathay), makes the prospect of the trip even more terrifying. Especially if you’re like me and spend the entire trip simultaneously trying to thwart motion sickness and dreading the obligatory criticism received upon arrival such as: “Aiya! You got fat! Are you pregnant? You look pregnant.”
I am not pregnant.
(Incidentally, I will also get yelled at whenever I fail to eat to the point of exhaustion. My family is seriously, seriously into food. And the more endangered, the better.)
I digress. So I’m headed back to Hong Kong for Chinese New Year. (The frequency at which I am headed back somewhere causes me great anxiety. This is what happens when you’ve lived in too many places.) I applied for a British Airways visa back in April when they were offering a whopping 100,000 Executive club miles as a sign-up bonus. Hell. Yes.
The annual fee of $95 dollars was not waived the first year, but it was still totally worth it. I received 50,000 miles after my first purchase and another 50,000 after spending $2500 in the first three months (made possible in part by charging me and my boyfriend’s summer airfare to Athens, which of course I was promptly reimbursed for by our respective travel grants). Also the card has no foreign transaction fees, so I’ve used it everywhere. As mentioned in the last post, 28,000 miles went towards a trip to Hawaii, but that left me with over 75,000 miles (over because I also receive 1.25 miles per dollar spent).
Knowing that on Nov. 16, British Airways was switching its Executive Club program into a program with a new distance-based awards chart, as opposed to the region-based one, I knew I wanted to burn those Executive Club miles. (The new program is called Avios, which many have referred to as Adios, as in Adios to awesome redemptions, which is not ENTIRELY true, but more on that later.)
That is how I am flying to Hong Kong on Cathay Business class. (!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 and I never use emoticons!!!! I think they’re dumb!!!!! 🙂 :-)). BA is partners with Cathay, my favorite airline. JFK-HKG cost me 50,000 Executive Club miles and $148 in fees. Looking up a similar itinerary for March on the BA website, I’m seeing it costing 120,000 Avios miles and $268.91 in fees. As a further point of comparison,the Cathay site is showing my exact one-way itinerary in business class at $4,352.50. I believe when I was booking in early November, I snatched up one of the last award tickets in January.
Nian gao, lai see and panda dumplings, here I come! (Just kidding, we don’t eat panda.)