Not usually one to shy away, especially not from my favorite city in the world, Hong Kong protests have me reconsidering my United status run. Should I?
A status run (the brother of a “mileage run”) is an otherwise unnecessary trip taken solely to satisfy elite requirements and maintain or elevate status. In the hotel loyalty game, it’s called a mattress run. To my friend and former UPGRD blogger, Sriram, (now at Travel Codex) – it’s called lunacy.
As it stands right now, I will average 5,625 PQMs monthly. I am trending slightly ahead of where I thought I’d be a couple of months ago but will still fall well short of the 100,000 miles required for maintaining 1K status.
I have looked at alternate destinations but if I am taking my wife and daughter and using my GPUs, I want them to fly the true Polaris product on the 777-300ER. The only route for that aircraft that will deliver the number of miles I need to make it close, is Newark-Hong Kong.
Civil Unrest in Hong Kong
Following a proposed move by the Hong Kong government to allow extradition to mainland China for criminal court cases, Hong Kongers took to the streets en masse. The Hong Kong government has since withdrawn the proposal but the protests have occurred every weekend for 11 straight.
While most of the protests don’t seem to be of a violent nature, there have been instances of people getting hurt, pro-Beijing offices vandalized and police stations damaged. Additionally, troop build-up on the border brings cause for concern that China’s military may enter the territory formally.
Matthew Would Do It…
The founder of this blog, Matthew Klint, is mostly fearless when it comes to this hobby. He has been to countries that I wish I was brave enough to see for myself, but frankly, am not likely to pursue. He’s been to Iran and Afghanistan among others – I’m not sure where he wouldn’t go.
But Hong Kong is hardly a war zone or restricted to US Passport holders. My mother probably just read that and thought, “If Matthew jumped off a cliff-” maybe mother, maybe.
Solo or As a Family?
We have a certain budget for status runs (yes, this is a first world travel blogger budget item) but usually I would run solo in paid business class to earn more points and reduce the number of trips required.
Since I moved to United and discovered that Premium Economy (which looks decent of its own right) earns the same PQMs as paid business class and qualifies for GPU upgrades to Polaris, we have room left for my family to join me.
The issue at hand, however, is that Hong Kong looks safe enough now but with rumors of police drills on the Shenzhen border and military build-ups in plain sight, am I putting my family in a compromised situation? Even if safe, will it be fun as it usually is to visit if there are two million people in the streets or I can’t get to my departure gate?
None of this should be read as denigrating the reason that Hong Kongers are protesting. In defense of the government, the proposal was lifted and has been tabled, there is no current threat to Hong Kongers of formal mainland extradition. I’m leaning toward going anyway because I just doubt it will hamper my trip and Hong Kong never ever disappoints. I love that city.
What do you think? Would you go? Would you take your family? Is it insensitive to go when the city is turmoil?