Hong Kong and Macau—Las Vegas of the Far East

Hong Kong and Macau—Las Vegas of the Far East

Hong Kong is a fascinating and wonderful destination all on its own, but nearby Macau is an added bonus when visiting this part of the world. It’s become a gaming paradise for tourists and has many historic places of interest, duty-free shopping, and shows like the House of Dancing Water—an amazing, extravagant, and bigger-than-life performance that’s definitely worth the side trip.

Fly into Hong Kong International Airport

You can fly to Macau without going through Hong Kong, but that doesn’t mean you should. Hong Kong offers many more airline choices, which increases your available booking dates. And there are a couple of airlines that fly there non-stop from the U.S., if you want the shortest travel time.

United Airlines and Star Alliance (70,000 miles roundtrip):

  • United Airlines flies from Chicago, Newark, and San Francisco
  • Singapore Airlines out of San Francisco

American Airlines and its oneworld Alliance (70,000 miles per roundtrip):

  • American Airlines flies out of Dallas
  • Cathay Pacific flies out of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Newark, and San Francisco.

If you can book Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific, do so for a better seat recline and much better food. You’ll have to call United or American, since you can’t search for Singapore and Cathay Pacific on their respective websites.

Pagoda at Nan Lian Garden, Hong Kong
Pagoda at Nan Lian Garden, Hong Kong

On the other hand, American and United claim they do, or will have, WiFi available on these routes. That could make all the difference in the world for such a long flight. Keep in mind that you’ll pay extra for the service. Call to verify before booking.

Another airline you might consider for this route is Air Nippon Airways. That’s because it has the best pitch in economy, over 34 inches. It may not seem like a lot compared to the standard 31 inches, or the 32 inches provided on Singapore or Cathay Pacific. But on a 15-to-20-hour flight almost everyone appreciates the extra space. The only shortcoming here is that you’ll have a stopover in Tokyo—but breaking up such a long flight may be a blessing in disguise.

Getting to Macau from Hong Kong couldn’t be easier. A ferry will take you to Macau in one hour. Even if you’re not interested in gambling or shopping, touring the historic sites and seeing some shows will easily fill two to three days.

Macau with Star Alliance

You can fly into Macau, it has its own international airport. Three Star Alliance airlines can get you to there without the stop in Hong Kong. You can book Air China to Macau by way of Wuhan, EVA Air via Taipei, or Shenzhen Airlines via Wuxi. EVA flies from Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. If you’re interested in the minimum number of connections, or want to see Taipei, EVA should be your natural choice. A roundtrip flight will cost you 70,000 United MileagePlus miles.

SkyTeam to Shanghai

Qibao water village in Shanghai
Qibao water village in Shanghai

SkyTeam can get you there by China Eastern Airlines, which flies via Shanghai. Since China Eastern flies to Shanghai from Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, it’s possible to fly to Macau from the U.S. with only one international connection. And since Delta allows a stopover, you can see Shanghai too. A roundtrip flight to Macau will cost you 80,000 Delta SkyMiles. That’s 10,000 more miles than Delta will charge for a flight to Hong Kong; Hong Kong and Macau are in different regions as far as Delta is concerned. But you get to experience Shanghai for those extra miles.

Unfortunately, there are no oneworld airlines flying to Macau. For the list of other Star Alliance and SkyTeam airlines flying to Hong Kong, see Beijing, China and Beyond.