Following hot on the heels of Mainland China’s announcement of eliminating quarantine for international travellers, Hong Kong is set to scrap nearly all of its remaining pandemic-related travel restrictions as of December 29, 2022.
Hong Kong Eases Travel Restrictions
Since September 26, 2022, independent tourists have been able to enter Hong Kong for the purpose of tourism with no designated quarantine. The caveat was that inbound travellers were subject to a myriad of tests before and after their flights to Hong Kong, as well as a three-day health monitoring period upon arrival.
While these requirements were very light in comparison to previous heavy-handed rules, they still added some stress for anyone planning a trip to Hong Kong.
As of December 29, 2022, travellers will no longer be subjected to coronavirus testing after their arrival in Hong Kong. This removes another barrier for anyone who might otherwise be contemplating a trip to Hong Kong, but didn’t want to be subjected to so many tests after arrival.
Furthermore, Hong Kong’s vaccine pass, which provided access to many establishments, will also no longer be required. Similarly, social distancing requirements and mandatory quarantine with a positive test are both set to disappear, too.
Note that inbound passengers over the age of three are still required to take a pre-departure test, which can either be a rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours or a PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure. Passengers over the age of 12 are also still required to show proof of vaccination.
The only other remaining COVID-19 restriction is that everyone must wear face masks in public spaces, except for when exercising.
This marks yet another shift in Hong Kong’s approach to the pandemic, which had some of the most restrictions in the world until recently.
How to Get to Hong Kong
With this announcement, there is surely going to be a barrage of travellers who wish to visit Hong Kong once again.
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 Airlines 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 very scarce at the moment. There are some pockets of availability in business class from North America to Hong Kong throughout 2023.
There’s also some First Class availability from London, Paris, and Tokyo to Hong Kong throughout 2023.
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 December 29, 2022, Canadians and other international travellers will be able to enter Hong Kong without any quarantine, arrival testing requirements, or a vaccine pass. Travellers are still required to show proof of vaccination and obtain a negative test result prior to departure, and masks are still required in public spaces except for when exercising.
This announcement is nearly a return to normal, and marks another step towards travelling in the post-pandemic era.
Travel to Hong Kong will surely be a hot-ticket item, so be sure to snag a seat sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.