With all of the reviews from my Christmas and New Year’s trip to Europe published, it is finally time to work on articles about an excellent trip to (mostly) New York and Hong Kong that I took earlier this month thanks to an insane Qatar Airways’ business class fare.
Before diving into the actual detailed articles, though, here is the usual “trip preview” to give you an overview of what routing I took, what articles you can expect coming in the following weeks, and so on.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
The Trip Comes to Life: Qatar Airways’ Crazy Fare
At the end of last July, Qatar Airways published what some religiously called a valid promotional fare (among other reasons because of the tweet below) and others an error fare. While I tend to lean towards option number two, whatever it was, it was unbelievable.
Vietnam to the United States for less than $700 in business class.
After about one second of “hesitation” (remember, you will never regret ultra low fares you did book, only the ones you did not), and several minutes of searching (remember, you have to be quick with these fares as you never know when they will disappear), I settled on my final itinerary.
There were flights available to many US cities including Miami, New York, and Philadelphia. I decided to choose New York not only because it is a great city to visit, but also because when I was booking the flights, it was supposed to become the second Qatar Airways’ destination to feature its latest QSuites business class.
And so, the final itinerary of the Qatar Airways portion of the trip was as follows:
- Hanoi to Doha (via Bangkok) onboard a 777-300ER featuring “old” business class seats
- Doha to New York onboard a 777-300ER featuring QSuites
- New York to Doha onboard an A350-900 featuring reverse herringbone seats
- Doha to Hanoi (via Bangkok) onboard a 777-300ER featuring “old” business class seats
Besides giving me a chance to try three of Qatar Airways’ business class hard products, the itinerary would also earn me enough tier points to get a status with British Airways.
Furthermore, because of the long transfer times in both directions, I would also have more than enough time to:
- Explore the Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge at Doha airport
- See what Qatar Airways’ business class arrival and departure experience is like at its hub
- Take advantage of the Discover Qatar promotion to get a free room at a hotel in the city
For the last of those, I went with a “night” in The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa during my 20-hour layover on the way back.
Booking the Positioning Flights to Hanoi
While I started checking fares between Tokyo and Hanoi right after booking the Qatar Airways ticket above, it wasn’t until mid-January that I finally purchased the positioning flights.
For about $500, I booked an economy class ticket with Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon. Since the ticket also allowed stopovers, I spent a couple of days in Hong Kong with my girlfriend (who took a Cathay Pacific flight from Narita arriving there at the same time as my flight from Hanoi) on my way back to Tokyo.
The Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon part of the itinerary looked as follows:
- Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong onboard a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER
- Hong Kong to Hanoi onboard a Cathay Dragon A320
- Hanoi to Hong Kong onboard a Cathay Dragon A330-300
- Hong Kong to Tokyo onboard a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER
Finalizing the Trip: Booking Accommodations
With the flights above booked, I needed accommodations in Hanoi (1 night), New York (4 nights), and Hong Kong (3 nights). Separately from that, I would be spending one night in the Al Mourjan Lounge, one “night” at the Westin in Doha, and a couple more onboard aircraft.
Since I was arriving at Hanoi at night and then departing the following evening, I decided to book a hotel in the city center so that I could do a bit of sightseeing before heading to the airport to catch my flight.
The hotel of choice was Hanoi Emerald Waters Hotel & Spa located just a couple of minutes walk from Hoam Kiem Lake.
In New York, I initially booked The Hotel at Times Square for $118 per night through Booking.com. Later, however, I cancelled it and went with Courtyard New York Downtown Manhattan/World Trade Center for about $100 per night.
And, given that I booked it through Hotels.com, I was also able to earn nights in the Hotels.com Rewards program which essentially results in a 10% discount.
Finally, in Hong Kong, we decided to book Hotel Jen by Shangri-La near Hong Kong University metro station which was one of the few reasonably priced options given that we were visiting during the Chinese New Year.
Over the next weeks, I will be posting individual articles about this trip including the flight and lounge reviews, as well as some plane spotting reports and even brief articles about my visits to Hanoi, New York, and Hong Kong.
As usual, I will be adding the links to those articles here, so stay tuned!
List of Articles Related to This Trip
- Flight Review: Cathay Pacific 777-300 Economy Class from Tokyo Narita to Hong Kong
- Flight Review: Cathay Dragon A320 Economy Class from Hong Kong to Hanoi
- Getting from Hanoi Noi Bai Airport to the City and Enjoying a Morning Around Hoam Kiem Lake
- Spotting Report & Guide: Photographing Aircraft from Hanoi Noi Bai Airport Terminal
- Lounge Review: ACV (NIA) Business Lounge at Hanoi Noi Bai
- Flight Review: Qatar Airways 777-300ER Business Class from Hanoi to Doha via Bangkok
- Lounge Review: Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge at Doha Hamad International
- Flight Review: Qatar Airways 777-300ER QSuites Business Class from Doha to New York JFK
- New York, New York: Enjoying the Non-Aviation Side of the City for a Couple of Days
- Spotting Report: A Sunny Afternoon at New York John F. Kennedy Airport
- Lounge Review: British Airways Galleries Club Lounge at New York JFK
- Flight Review: Qatar Airways A350-900 Business Class from New York JFK to Doha
- Lounge Review: Qatar Airways First and Business Class Immigration Facility and Arrivals Lounge at Doha
- Taking Advantage of the PlusQatar Program to Get a Free Night at The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa
- Flight Review: Qatar Airways 777-300ER Business Class from Doha to Hanoi via Bangkok
- Flight Review: Cathay Dragon A330-300 Economy Class from Hanoi to Hong Kong