Combine Alaska Awards on Hainan & Two Hilton Card Offers For (Almost Free) Trip to Asia

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Hainan Airlines partnered with Alaska Airlines earlier this year, and their flights are now bookable on alaskaair.com. Their award chart is dirt cheap.

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That’s right, 50,000 miles one way in a flat bed for over 13 hours, with connections all over Asia. The only other deal that can compare is using Alaska miles to book Cathay Pacific flights for the same amount of miles and a little less out of pocket expenses (Hainan charges mild fuel surcharges– about $140 per one way). But award space on Cathay Pacific can be scarce unless it’s eleven months out or a week before, and Hainan award space is wide open at the moment.  If you wanna see the scope of what you can book for that price, look for the countries in Asia on Hainan Airlines destinations wikipedia page.

So there’s that.

For a limited time the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card  offers 75,000 bonus HHonors points after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months. Also for a limited time (through November 30, 2016) the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express comes with 100,000 bonus Hilton points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.  From spending 5,000 to earn both sign up bonuses (plus the points you earn for that spend), you will accrue at least 188,000 Hilton HHonors points.

And there’s that.

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Combine those two deals and you get a very cheap award to Asia (potentially in Business Class with a flat bed), and free accommodation while you’re there.

How to get to Asia in a flat bed for 50,000 miles and stay for free while you’re there…

  • Step 1: Research where you want to go in Asia where Hainan flies and there are Hilton Hotels
  • Step 2: Get the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card and the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express
  • Step 3: Meet the minimum spending requirements for both cards
  • Step 4: Accumulate Alaska Airlines miles by opening the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card as well as the Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card
  • Step 5: Book your Alaska Airlines award flying Hainan
  • Step 6: Book your Hilton hotels

Step 1: Research the city in Asia you want to visit that Hainan flies to that also has Hiltons.

I did some of the research for you assuming you have 188,000 Hilton HHonors points to work with. The price in Hilton points is listed for each Category, but also consider that the fifth night is free for those with Hilton elite status, which you get from either of the Hilton cards suggested in this post.

Here are some of the best deals I’ve found in cities where Hainan flies in Asia. There are probably more. Please let us know in the comments section if you find any.

Category 2 hotels – 10,000 points a night

Category 3 hotels – 20,000 points a night

Double Tree by Hilton Beijing
Double Tree by Hilton Beijing
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Hilton Chongqing
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Hilton Haikou Meilan
  • Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Sukhumvit in Bangkok, Thailand
  • While you might not want to stay out at the Narita airport in Tokyo for five nights, the Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport hotel is a Category 3 hotel and costs 20,000 points a night. It could be useful for an overnight after a flight or before a flight out of Tokyo Narita.

Category 5 hotel – 30,000 points per night.

  • The Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa is pricey, but it could be used for a few nights of a trip compounded with other cheaper hotels. It’s a beautiful property.
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Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa

Step 2: Get the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card and the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express

Step 3: Meet the Minimum Spending Requirements for both cards.

Spend $2,000 within three months of opening the Citi Hilton card and you’ll get 75,000 bonus points. As you get at least two points per dollar on everyday spending (three points for every dollar spent at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations, and six points for every dollar spent at a Hilton) you’ll accrue at least another 4,000 points just from meeting the minimum spending requirement. That leaves you with 79,000 Hilton points.

Spend $3,000 within three months of opening the Amex Hilton Surpass card and you’ll get 100,000 bonus points. As you get at least three points per dollar on everyday spending (six points for ever dollar spent at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations, and 12 points for every dollar spent at a Hilton) you’ll accrue at least another 9,000 points just from meeting the minimum spending requirement. That leaves you with another 109,000 Hilton points, making for a total of at least 188,000.

That’s enough points to book 21 free nights in Category 2 Hiltons, or 10 free nights in Category 3 Hiltons.

Step 4: Accumulate Alaska Airlines miles by opening the Alaska Airlines Cards.

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card earns 30,000 miles for spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account.

The Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card also earns 30,000 miles for spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account.

You would earn 62,000 Alaska miles for signing up for both, which is enough for a roundtrip for one person in economy to everywhere Hainan flies in Asia. Or you could use 50,000 miles to fly one way in flat bed Business Class and use another type of miles to get home (like 80,000 Korean miles in Korean Airlines First Class).

Starpoints also transfer 1:1 to Alaska miles with 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 points transferred.

Step 5: Book your Alaska Airlines Award flying Hainan.

Hainan’s award space is excellent for two passengers on many flights, but it’s still better to book airline awards before hotel awards since hotel awards aren’t as restrictive with availability. Airline awards are capacity controlled while hotel loyalty programs will you give you the last room available.

Read this post on booking Hainan flights with Alaska miles.

Step 6: Book your Hilton hotels with your HHonors Points.

And pat yourself on the back for being truly resourceful.

Bottom Line

Hainan is a redeemable partner of Alaska Airlines, whose miles are easy to collect since the cards that earn them have low minimum spending requirements (and are still churnable). You can fly from the United States to all over Asia for 60,000 Alaska Airlines miles roundtrip in Economy or 100,000 Alaska Airlines miles roundtrip in Business Class, with a flat bed. Opening both Alaska cards will get you enough miles for a roundtrip in economy or one way in Business Class.

If you open the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card and the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express you will garner yourself at least 188,000 points from earning the sign-up bonuses, plenty of Hilton points for a fantastic Asian vacation.


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8 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Scott,

    I’m trying to find YYZ-PEK-HKG on any date from now until December for 1 person and nothing shows up. is this routing allowed?

    • Nope. Hainan doesn’t fly from PEK to HKG, and you can’t fly two partners on one Alaska award (only Alaska, or Alaska + 1 Partner). To see where Hainan flies from PEK, look at PEK’s wikipedia page and scroll down to Hainan airlines in the airlines & destinations chart.

      • Thanks for replying Sarah. Hainan does fly PEK-HKG, so it is still on one airline. Do you have any other insight on why this is still not bookable?

  2. Why do you keep writing $140 surcharge for Hainan. Every combo I’ve put in for 50,000 biz class is $264.80 per person REGARDLESS. Did they up it or are you only referring to a couple combinations? I find none.

  3. I have searched so many combinations and every single one way (50,000 Alaska pts) Hainan airlines one way is always $265 per person in taxes. You keep mentioning it’s $140. On which flights is this the case???

    • All my searches on alaskaair.com (I tried Chicago, Seattle, & Boston to Beijing) quoted 50k biz class and $177 in total out of pocket expenses (fuel surcharges + taxes + fees). About $140 of that is fuel surcharges, the other $37 is departure taxes and the fee for booking an award with a partner. You can see the breakdown of those out of pocket expenses if you add the flight to your cart and then click Taxes, fees and charges on the checkout page.

  4. How do you find the connections on Hainan once you get to Changsha? None of them are showing up on the Alaska search. And the Hainan website freezes every time I run a search.

    • Are you looking up that segment individually? If not I would do so (on alaskaair.com), then call Alaska Mileage Plan and feed the agent the flight info of all the segments you found with award space you want to connect as one award. If they try to charge you a phone booking fee let them know you couldn’t book it online and they should waive it.

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