Holiday in China & Hong Kong

I am heading to China and Hong Kong in June. I have been trying to find ways to cheapie some of the costs!

Couple of things ive done so far is use Airpoints for paying for fights, I exchanged Virgin Points to Singapore Airlines to redeem for some transport Options on Pelago.

My accommodation I booked via Agoda using Cashrewards (I have about $400 cash rewards pending after my trip is completed)

I am still looking for some other travel cheapies for places like Disneyland Shanghai and in Hong Kong, eSiM deals and any other hacks or suggestions anyone has!

I have an American Express Platinum card and a ANZ Platinum Creditcard, I would recommend getting these two card if you wanting to do some travel hacking, earn a decent amount of Airpoints Dollars & Status points. I managed to earn enough to pay for my flights, get to elite status for upgrades for free all within a year of having both these cards. You do need to be smart on where you do you shopping to get the max benefit with American Express tho.


  • Jeepers what was the value of the accommodation booked for you to have $400 cash back pending?

    And how much flying did you do to get Elite status? As you have to early the majority of qualifying points through flights not credit card spends right?

  • I booked decent hotels, Cashrewards had a really good promotion on when I did book (20% from memory) I am staying for just over 3 weeks.

    I fly at least once a month, I live in Palmy. usually I fly to Auckland then on to where I need to go, such as Napier or Tauranga. I do check out flights from Wellington to these locations sometimes if I have the time to travel down there to gain extra status points. (sometimes is 50% more due to flying on jet services) Having the ANZ credit card is the big status earner for me. It gives you 50% extra status on all flights. As an example I am heading to Napier for work next week. I have some time to kill, so I will drive down to Wellington, fly to auckland then onto Napier. This gives me 32 status points. The following day, I will return back to Wellington via Auckland and I will earn 48 status points. Because of my ANZ Card I will get a extra bonus of 40 points. Thats a total overall of 120 points. Total transparency here, my work pays for most of my flights and not everyone would earn at the same rate as I am getting. But with me traveling the way that I do for work and having that ANZ card just for the 50% Bonus is totally worth the fee in my option and helps when Amex is not accepted. The monthly spend on my Amex doesnt give me that many status points, but its the airpoints I am chasing with using that card. I have found its pretty much widley accepted, PaknSave, uber etc and even my local cafe.

    When you get to Elite you also get 30 extra points for every 10 flights you catch, I managed to earn this bonus a couple of times in 2023.

    • Wow, sounds like you know the system very well. Do you pay your own airfare for taking detour during work trips? How much dollar value per 1 status point? I am 51 points short from silver and wondering if it's worth the effort to reach it? I don't fly often and no credit card earning status points. So it's kind of hard for me to get to silver. Any idea you can suggest please.

  • A few things to note:

    Mainland China:

    1. Very few places take international payment methods, such as Visa or Mastercard, your best option as a foreigner is cash. Although also be prepared that no one actually carries cash in China anymore, so expect to not get changes.
    2. You will have very limited internet access. I used Eskimo eSim to get around this. If you use another eSim provider make sure to confirm with them you can access Google, YouTube, Facebook etc. when you're in China. If you use Eskimo, search in Deals there was a post that gives you 1GB of free data IIRC.
    3. Trains and public transport are very convenient, but again, it is more difficult for foreigners. If you're travelling between cities by trains, I'm pretty sure you will go to the counter to purchase tickets as a foreigner. But Google it. For buses and subways, it's crazy easy to get around with them, but you will just need to pay cash, as opposed to everyone else in China who will pay by their phones.

    In general China is a good place to visit, and very convenient. It's just a bit more difficult for foreign tourists at the moment.

    For Hong Kong, big places and touristy places take credit cards, but a lot of the small restaurants don't. Carry some cash just in case.

  • +1

    There recent changes for Alipay & WeChat making it easier for payments linkage to Amex, Mastercard, Visa, or bank card, for international visitor.

    These are some guides:…

    Would recommend to install VPN, so can access all your usually apps, email & international webpages.

    Consider downloading Didi (cab), Meituan (food delivery) beside payment apps, and research other apps recommended to make your trips easier to organize.

  • I've found some vpn wouldn't connect. it would attempt multiple times but never get a connection

  • Thank for your advice, any VPN of choice?

    I have Alipay all setup, shame it doesn't take my Amex but otherwise sorted. Ali should take care of Didi ect.

    Still looking around for a good eSIM deal for Data. I haven't quite found what I am looking for yet.

  • +1

    I recommend you buy enough roaming data before going, and if you first travel via HK you go buy a "HK/Macau/Mainland travel data SIM card" as well. Mobile Data is essential as public WiFi is very much hit and miss for foreigners (The Starbucks I went to requires a mainland Chinese mobile number to access WiFi). You also bypass the great firewall if you go roaming data - assuming you have signal coverage. I find that with a foreign SIM card signal coverage is poor even in major cities, so buying a HK travel data SIM is a great idea if you travel via HK first, or early in your holidays.

    A lot of digital services won't work without a working mainland China mobile number, and that requires handing over your passport and biometric information.

    Also just in case, open a Microsoft Outlook email account and forward your Gmail/Yahoo mail stuff there, as both aren't accessible in China.

    For railways, most people buy tickets using the 12306 app. Look at Youtube for tutorials. For other public transport payment is via AliPay or WechatPay. AliPay is more user-friendly for foreigners.

    FINAL NOTE: For online 2-Factor authentication with Visa 3D-Secure - the webpage might NOT load, making the card potentially unusable for online purchases. Obviously notify your bank before you travel, and pray that 3D-Secure works.

    • Also one more thing:

      If you go via HK first, there's a new special Octopus card (public transport card e.g. Hop card) that also allows you to ride on public transport in Mainland China.

  • I can confirm the roaming pack from Spark(…) can bypass the great firewall. Better get it before you enter China in case you are not sure which VPN works.

  • Hi, longtime cheapy here.
    PM me with links if you want better prices on accomodation for what you find on booking com or agoda.
    I'm a cert travel agent focussing on beating publicly available accomodation, but I only do this for family and friends.
    Happy to help out anyone on here with accommodation..just pm me the links and I'll see if I can get a better deal for you

  • Does Wise card work in China?

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