We have been showing how an open jaw itinerary can save you money if you intend to visit multiple cities. We are going to layer another technique with open jaw to save even more. As a basis for comparison, Seoul by itself is $801 from San Francisco and Hong Kong by itself from San Francisco is $949. Both of those prices are with United. So this represent a savings over both.
What you need to take advantage of this deal:
- American Airlines AAdvantage Miles (15,000 Miles) + about $25 in taxes + $25 booking fee or
- United Airlines MileagePlus Miles (15,000 Miles) + $24.10 in taxes or
- If you don’t have miles, China Southern has an one way flight for $270 via Beijing.
And this is why we recommend you collect miles. United Airlines miles can also be transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards at 1:1 ratio.
You need to start in Seoul first then make your way to Hong Kong to return back to the US.
1. Use ITA Multi-City to Search
The most important thing you should take away from the above is on the return flight from Hong Kong, we are ending in Seattle. You are probably going what? I don’t want to go to Seattle. Seattle to Hong Kong has been on sale $717 for awhile. The fare routes on both directions via either Tokyo – Narita or San Francisco. Using that piece of information, notice that on the advance routing code for flight 2, we enter “sfo” to tell that we only want to route via San Francisco. This is call hidden city ticketing. Since it is an international flight, you have to clear immigration and customs at the first point of entry. In this instance, it is San Francisco. You can just pick up your luggage and go home and not take the San Francisco – Seattle segment.
There are a few caveats with hidden city ticketing:
- If there’s irregular operations (e.g., the Hong Kong to San Francisco segment being cancelled), United has every right to route you in whatever means possible to get you to Seattle. Remember you are ticketed to Seattle and not San Francisco
- Use hidden city ticketing too often and United will close your frequent flyer account and take away all your miles.
With that, here are the flights:
- Flight 1: San Francisco – Seoul (ICN)
- Flight 2: Hong Kong (ICN) – Seattle via San Francisco
Pretty simple. We found okay availability at the $717 level. If you don’t care for Seoul and just want to visit Hong Kong, do SFO -> Hong Kong, then do Hong Kong to Seattle via San Francisco will price out at $858. That’s a $90 saving from the $949 fare.
2. Search for Award Availability from Seoul to Hong Kong.
We are going to use award miles to travel from Beijing to Tokyo. We are going to use United’s search since it shows availability and you can book online. For American, you have to call them to book since their partner Cathay Pacific is not searchable on AA.com yet. Award availability with United is very good for the travel period:
For about $740 and 15,000 miles, you can visit both Seoul and Hong Kong!
Sample Travel Date:
- October 1st: San Francisco – Seoul
- Sometime in between: Seoul – Hong Kong (on American or United Miles)
- October 8th: Hong Kong – Seattle via San Francisco
- Valid for travel from late September – November 30th for Monday through Thursday departures. There is no availability from mid-October – mid-November at this price level. Use ITA Software Matrix Airfare Search and multi-city search — enable advanced routing codes and enter “ua+” on both the outbound and enter “sfo” return fields to search for this fare. Must purchase by July 8th.
- Beginner’s Guide on How to Use Matrix by ITA Software
- How to Read Airfare Rules and Use It to Your Advantage
- SFO – ICN (Seoul) // HKG (Hong Kong) – SFO (San Francisco) – SEA (Seattle).
- 12,578 miles or 5.7 cents per mile. If you actually fly the Seattle segment, the mileage is 13,256 miles or 5.4 cents per mile.
How to Book:
- Use dates found on ITA Software Matrix Airfare Search and book on United.com using Multi-City.
- United’s risk free cancellation policy here
- Visa: US Citizens – Not required. Other nationals, check the TIMATIC Visa Database
- Currency: South Korean Won (KRW). $1USD = 1,119 KRW
- Visa: US Citizens – not required. Other nationals, check the TIMATIC Visa Database
- Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) $1USD = 7.8HKD
Tips for saving when using credit cards at international destinations:
- No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards to save on international purchases
- Don’t get hit with Dynamic Currency Conversion
- Get your taxes refunded when shopping
- How to Avoid International Data Roaming Charges
For more of the latest cheap San Francisco / Bay Area Flight Deals:
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