In late 2022, Hong Kong eliminated on-arrival COVID-19 testing requirements for inbound passengers. However, passengers bound for Hong Kong were still subject to pre-departure testing and mandatory proof of vaccination.
As of April 1, 2023, Hong Kong has removed all remaining pandemic-related restrictions for inbound travellers, which marks the final step toward reopening to the world in earnest.
Hong Kong Eliminates All Testing Requirements
Hong Kong’s journey to reopening has been through a series of gradual steps which began in Fall 2022.
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.
Then, as of December 29, 2022, travellers were no longer subjected to coronavirus testing after their arrival in Hong Kong. While passengers were still required to take a pre-departure test, this removed another barrier for anyone who might have otherwise been contemplating a trip to Hong Kong, but didn’t want to be subjected to so many tests after arrival.
At this stage of reopening, Hong Kong’s vaccine pass, which provided access to many establishments, was also no longer required. Similarly, social distancing rules and mandatory quarantine with a positive test disappeared, too.
On February 6, 2023, Hong Kong removed the requirement for inbound passengers to show proof of vaccination upon entry. This was also the date upon which the land border with China fully reopened.
On March 1, 2023, the requirement to wear face masks in public was removed, and things were essentially back to normal in Hong Kong.
The final step for Hong Kong was to remove the pre-departure testing requirement for inbound passengers.
As of April 1, 2023, all pre-departure and post-arrival quarantine and testing requirements have been removed, which means that Hong Kong is finally fully reopen to the world without restrictions.
How to Get to Hong Kong
With this latest 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 around 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. If you’re unable to find eUpgrade availability, consider booking in premium economy so you’ll at least be at the top of the waitlist for an upgrade to business class.
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 very scarce at the moment; however, 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.
Keep in mind that Alaska Mileage Plan recently devalued awards with Japan Airlines without warning. While there haven’t been any changes to Cathay Pacific flights yet, there’s no indication that one won’t take place, so you may want to redeem your Alaska miles sooner than later to avoid disappointment.
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. You might also luck out and find a seat in First Class for 110,000 miles!
As of April 1, 2023, Hong Kong has eliminated all pre-departure testing requirements for inbound travellers. This marks the final step towards Hong Kong fully reopening to the world.
Indeed, restrictions have been gradually lifting since Fall 2022, and for all intents and purposes, Hong Kong has resumed normalcy in regard to pandemic-era restrictions.
Travel to Hong Kong is surely a hot-ticket item, so be sure to snag a seat sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.