The good news across Asia keeps on rolling.
Following hot on the heels of Japan’s announcement of a broad reopening to tourism, Hong Kong will official reopen to international travellers without quarantine for the first time in 2.5 years.
As of September 26, 2022, Hong Kong will remove its three-day designated quarantine policy – although stringent testing requirements remain in place for any travellers headed to the special administrative region.
Hong Kong Travel Restrictions
As of September 26, 2022, independent tourists will be able to enter Hong Kong for the purpose of tourism once again with no designated quarantine.
There will be a mandatory rapid antigen test that must be taken within 24 hours prior to boarding, a three-day health monitoring period following your arrival, and testing requirements throughout your first week in Hong Kong.
However, these are still fairly minimal requirements compared to the heavy-handed hotel quarantine policies that Hong Kong had employed prior to now.
Citizens of visa-free countries, such as Canada, will be allowed to enter Hong Kong with ease once again. Canadians can stay in Hong Kong for up to 90 days for the purpose of tourism.
How Can Canadians Enter Hong Kong?
In order to avoid mandatory quarantine, Canadians are required to provide proof of vaccination with at least two doses, as well as proof of a negative rapid antigen test taken no more than 24 hours before departure.
Your Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination will suffice, and the antigen test must be have identifying details (i.e., at home rapid antigen tests do not count).
Testing & Quarantine Upon Arrival
Upon arriving in Hong Kong, travellers will undergo a PCR test at the airport, but can continue onwards on their journey without waiting for the result.
There will be a three-day monitoring period following a traveller’s arrival, during which an amber colour will be assigned to the traveller’s Vaccine Pass (more on this below).
Alongside the three-day monitoring period, arriving passengers are required to take daily rapid antigen tests for the first seven days following their arrival, as well as PCR tests at licensed testing facilities or at Hong Kong International Airport on Days 2, 4, and 6 following their arrival.
In the event of a positive test, travellers will be allowed to self-isolate at home, a hotel, or a community quarantine facility until they are able to exit quarantine with negative rapid antigen tests on two consecutive days.
Current Health Requirements in Hong Kong
The most important health requirement to note is the Hong Kong Vaccine Pass. It follows a “traffic light” system, whereby each person is assigned either a red, amber, or blue colour depending on their COVID-19 testing and entry status.
Travellers entering Hong Kong must download the app called “LeaveHomeSafe” to obtain a provisional Vaccine Pass for visitors.
Upon entering the country, passengers will be assigned the amber colour, which means you cannot visit bars, restaurants, or gyms, but are allowed to use public transportation, as well as enter shopping malls and markets.
Masks are required in terminals, subways, and other public transportation, as well as indoor and outdoor public spaces.
Other than the Vaccine Pass and mask requirements, Hong Kong is largely back to normal, with no capacity or physical distancing requirements across dining, retail, and entertainment venues.
How to Get to Hong Kong
To fly to East Asia on points, Aeroplan naturally comes to mind with its fantastic rate of 75,000 points one-way in business class from the West Coast (or any itinerary of under 7,500 miles in distance flown) and 87,500 points from the East Coast (or any itinerary of 7,500+ miles in distance flown).
Air Canada flights to Hong Kong can still be priced exorbitantly under dynamic pricing, so using your eUpgrades with the “Latitude Attitude” strategy is the optimal way to upgrade into a business class seat.
With Alaska Mileage Plan, you can also fly direct on Cathay Pacific for 50,000 Alaska miles in business class and 70,000 Alaska miles in First Class, which could be another excellent sweet spot to aim for on your first visit to Hong Kong in the post-pandemic era.
The tricky part is that Cathay Pacific award space is essentially non-existent at the moment. Let’s hope this situation improves the near future following Hong Kong’s reopening and Cathay Pacific’s rapid realignment of flight schedules.
Cathay Pacific’s own loyalty program, Asia Miles, is another option to consider, as there can often be better award availability on Cathay Pacific flights. As a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and RBC Avion, Asia Miles are relatively easy to come by.
If you can find space, you can expect to pay either 70,000 or 85,000 Asia Miles for a one-way flight in business class between North America and Hong Kong, depending on the airport you’re flying to.
Beginning September 26, 2022, Canadians and other international travellers will be able to enter Hong Kong without quarantine.
“Without quarantine” doesn’t mean “without restrictions”, though, as new arrivals are still required to take a rapid antigen test prior to their flight, complete PCR tests on Days 0, 2, 4, and 6, and complete daily rapid antigen tests through Day 7.
Furthermore, with an amber health code, travellers will not be permitted inside restaurants or bars during the first three days following their arrival.
Still, if you can navigate the testing requirements, then the end of Hong Kong’s hotel quarantine policy will be very welcome news for anyone who’s been eager to return to this part of the world.