As of a few weeks ago, you can redeem American Airlines Miles to the Indian subcontinent via Hong Kong!
Why is this exciting news?
Before, you could only connect in Europe or the Middle East on the way to the Indian Subcontinent, and more routing options means more award space. It’s especially good news for those who live on the West Coast, for whom routing via Hong Kong is faster than routing via Europe or the Middle East.
The routing must be done through Hong Kong–not Tokyo for instance–and it is only allowed to the Indian subcontinent, despite the fact that the Middle East is part of the same region as the Indian subcontinent as defined by American Airlines.
Then What is the Indian Subcontinent?
The Points Guy has confirmed with an AAgent that the following countries are considered to be the Indian Subcontinent:
- Sri Lanka
Airlines You Can Fly with the New Routing
These are the destinations they fly direct to and from in the United States:
- Cathay Pacific
- Los Angeles
- New York City (JFK)
- San Francisco
- American Airlines
- Dallas/Fort Worth
- Los Angeles (beginning September 8, 2016)
Flying either airline to the Indian subcontinent costs 40,000 American Airlines miles in economy, 70,000 American Airlines miles in Business Class and 115,000 American Airlines miles in First Class, and no fuel surcharges, just the standard taxes that apply to every award.
Premium Cabin Award Space from US to Hong Kong
Now that the possibility is there to book American Airlines awards to the Indian subcontinent via Asia, let’s see if the space is actually there to do it.
I just recently wrote about availability patterns for Cathay Pacific premium cabin awards. In that post I discuss booking Cathay Pacific awards with Alaska miles, but as it is a truism of miles that airlines release Saver award space equally to all partners, the same space I found on britishairways.com to book with Alaska miles is also bookable with American Airlines miles.
Cathay Pacific premium cabin award space is most prevalent within a week of departure, with one to nine seats available in Business Class and one to two seats available in First Class. It’s the only time you can book two people in First Class. If you can’t afford to wait until the last minute, then the next best time is 11 months out, when you’ll find up to five Business Class seats and one First Class Seat per flight.
Below are routes from the US to Hong Kong with some of the most premium cabin award space 11 months from now.
Los Angeles to Hong Kong
Boston to Hong Kong
San Francisco to Hong Kong
New York City to Hong Kong
There is basically no award space in Business or First Class from Dallas to Hong Kong, and I checked every month through the latest possible date you can book on aa.com right now. I saw one day available in Business Class in each of January and February 2017, and that was it.
Dallas to Hong Kong
The blue color represents Saver level Business Class.
The Los Angeles to Hong Kong route had absolutely no Business or First Class award space.
Bottom Line on Space to/from Hong Kong
If you want to route your American Airlines award through Hong Kong on the way to the Indian Subcontinent, you can do so flying Cathay Pacific. You’ll need to book either 11 months out, or if you miss that time window (or want to fly as a party of two in First Class) than within a week of departure. The American Airlines flights to Hong Kong have virtually no award space on them on that moment, but I would rather fly Cathay Pacific’s premium cabins than American Airlines’ anyways as they are much superior products–read my trip report when I flew Cathay Pacific First Class from New York to Hong Kong.
Options from Hong Kong to the Indian Subcontinent
From Hong Kong, you can connect to all of these locations in the Indian subcontinent with oneworld alliance members Cathay Pacific and subsidiary Dragonair, or Jet Airways:
- New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata in India
- Kathmandu in Nepal
None of the airlines that fly these routes’ award space can be searched on aa.com– you’ll need to look on ba.com.
Premium Cabin Award Space from Hong Kong to India
Hong Kong to New Delhi
There is tons of Cathay Pacific Business Class seats (there is no First Class on these flights)– about two seats a day on two different flights nearly every day I checked 11 months out, six months out, and three months out. Within a week of departure that increases to up to nine Business Class seats per flight.
Below is the award space 11 months out from now:
There is also plenty of Dragonair Business Class space to Bangalore (First Class isn’t operated on this flight either)– four seats a day on one flight 11 months out and six months out. It starts to thin out a bit by three months out from the travel date, but there’s still two to three seats in Business Class almost every day. Within a week of departure that number jumps to nine.
Below is the award space 11 months out from now:
Steps for Booking Through Hong Kong to the Indian Subcontinent
1. Search ba.com for Cathay Pacific award space to Hong Kong from one of the six American cities the airline flies to. If you don’t live in one of them, you can add MileSAAver award space on American Airlines flights from your hometown for no extra miles as long as it’s in the same (or a lower) cabin as the legs to Hong Kong and the Indian subcontinent. Note your desired travel dates, cabin and flight numbers that you find.
2. Search ba.com again for the connecting leg on to the Indian subcontinent. Note your desired travel dates, cabin and flight numbers that you find.
3. Call AAdvantage to book (800-882-8880) and feed the agent the dates, cabins and flight numbers you want to make up your award. They should waive the phone since none of the airlines you would use to get to the Indian subcontinent via Hong Kong are bookable online.
Getting American Airlines Miles
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months and Admirals Club lounge membership.
If you are trying to get to the region defined as the Indian subcontinent by American Airlines with American Airlines miles, you can now route your award through Hong Kong to get there.
There is plenty of premium cabin award space at the moment flying Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong either 11 months out or within a week of departure, but pretty much none flying American Airlines to Hong Kong.
Onward from Hong Kong you can fly to nine different destinations in the Indian subcontinent. For example, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair have tons of Business Class award space to New Delhi and Bangalore pretty much all the time.