2022-3 Round the World : Hong Kong - Tel Aviv - London - Toronto - Hong Kong

Although Hong Kong has dropped its designated hotel quarantine requirement since I last flew during the summer, the road to recovery for our aviation sector is still in its infancy. Airline schedules are nowhere near pre-pandemic levels, compared to Europe and North America where normal seems within reach. Hence, getting a round-the-world itinerary would either come with a huge price tag or an impossible redemption.

I set my eyes on getting to the UK and Canada on this trip for Christmas and New Year. However, flights to London and Toronto remain elusive. Cathay has restarted more than a single daily flight to Heathrow, while Virgin has given up and BA only resumed flying in early December. Transpacific would be much more difficult, with Air Canada only flying to Vancouver and Cathay flying to Toronto a few times a week, as opposed to twice daily back in the good old days.

With many miles tucked in storage across a number of programs, I wasn't sure whether this would enhance my flexibility, given the lack of flights. After Air Canada's devaluation, they're not an affordable choice to redeem, with their Economy going rate more expensive than Cathay's Premium Economy.

Given the round-the-world ambition, I can't rely on last minute redemptions anymore as I could get stuck somewhere along the way. By late October, I knew I needed to act to get my early Christmas vacation going. Cathay wasn't releasing their Heathrow flights for redemption, and finding another European port of entry for a 1-stop wasn't successful either. The only place where I saw availability was Tel Aviv, which fell into a cheaper distance band than Europe. From there, BA had 2 daily flights and an easy and cheap redemption to go the rest of the way.

The transatlantic leg was fairly easy, with BA also offering a very cheap redemption across the pond, with almost double the flight time for a cheap 13,000 Avios.

The most difficult part would be getting back to Hong Kong. With a 17 hour flight time due to avoiding Russian airspace, I needed a bit more comfort and space and had enough Asia Miles to redeem Premium Economy. However, Cathay has always been stingy in releasing seats for redemption, and in past years I've done very last minute itineraries because of this. Without this last building block in place, I may have to end up paying a fortune to redeem using Aeroplan.

Luckily, after a few days of continuously refreshing my search, the Toronto-HK flight opened up with a few redemption seats over the Chinese New Year period. I was now all set to book everything, albeit backwards. This was late October.

I had a sprinkle of mileage across a number of oneworld programs. It's not enough to redeem everything under a single program, so I had to plan very carefully to get these 4 flights ticketed. The best value of points was 60k for leg 4, Toronto-HK, in Premium Economy, which pretty much clears out my Asia Miles account. The BA flights for legs 2 and 3 were easily redeemed using Avios.

So while Asia Miles had the cheapest redemption to Tel Aviv for only 30k in Premium Economy, I had to use AA and top up a little since BA didn't show inventory on that flight. Interestingly, AA had fewer surcharges than Asia Miles even though I was flying on Cathay metal.

Flight Reports Main Page

To re-use these photos or notify of errors, please email me. Thank you.