Mailbag: IHG Hong Kong Hotels, Codeshare Hand Baggage, and Of Course, Chase Sapphire Reserve

John writes: I am planing to visit HK in the fall. I was wondering are the Hotel Indigo (45K) on HK Island or the Crown Plaza (50K)  on Causeway Bay closer to the the center of things? And any knowledge of the Intercontinental which seems to be the most points IGH hotel.  I respect your travel opinion and what would you recommend. I am traveling alone.

Those two are close together in Wanchai/Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island. Intercontinental and Holiday Inn are in Tsim Sha Tsui. Both areas are center of things, though different.

Most neighborhood feeling is the Indigo, and with the cooky system that every light in the room erupts in when the door is opened, it is best for a solo guest.Hotel Indigo Hong Kong

The one I recently avoid is Intercontinental, because, even with IHG status, unless you pay cash to upgrade to a harbourview you will get a view to a massive construction site. Maybe a different story if you are Ambassador/Royal Ambassador.
Intercontinental Hong Kong

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Joe asks: I found an acceptable fare on ITA with Air Berlin which I booked on Expedia LHR-TXL-SZG in economy. From my receipt I can see the LHR-TXL is actually an BA flight (operated as a codeshare).

So, my dilemma is trying to figure out how much hand baggage I’d be allowed on the flight. For weight, BA’s website allows a much heavier bag, 23kg vs the 8kg listed on Air Berlin’s website. I tried reaching out to AB on Twitter and all they did is refer me to their confusing webpage.

Here is a good summary of the convoluted rules. Marketing carrier should be ‘Most Significant Carrier’ on your ticket which will govern checked baggage.

In practice for hand baggage the carriers will enforce what they are accustomed, which would be their own rules. If you are not checking baggage or using the counter you should be able to keep a low profile. Stuffing heavy things in pockets or in a duty-free or other shopping bag can also help. On connection I doubt you will be hassled, if so, for instance at the gate, you can say you flew on BA and they approved the carry-on. At most they should check it for free. Also good to pick up from BA or another one of those “approved cabin baggage” tags.

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Eric comments, I recently got that new card that no one seems to be talking about, the Chase Sapphire Reserve (data point: applied in-branch, found out I was pre-approved despite being way over 5/24 and was approved instantly). What to do with my Chase Sapphire Preferred?  The logical downgrade seems to be to a Freedom Unlimited.  Do you agree?  And any reason to wait, or downgrade immediately?

Lucky you. I spent an hour in a branch and got nothing.

Freedom for the quarterly 5x categories if they are useful to you and you will use them. Freedom Unlimited if you want a backup or sockdrawer card to not think about. You can upgrade back to Chase Sapphire Preferred later if you need to, and presumably the Chase Sapphire Reserve will allow downgrades as well after you have held it for 12 months.

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  • Rich T.

    I had just booked the InterContinental for a 24 stopover because of the location and view – thanks so much for the heads up on the reality. I think I will make alternative plans for my IHG certificate. Any nice IHG properties convenient to the train to the airport for a morning flight?

  • @Rich T – for a 24-hour stop and an IHG cert I would stick with the Intercontinental because it is a convenient location. You are not going for a long stay to marvel at the view. Noise is not the problem, just when you go for a romantic getaway and they put you in front of scaffolding and no lounge, breakfast etc it is frustrating. The location is great for the trusty A21 airport bus, drops off right in front of the hotel. A21 to TST is pretty fast and the train station in TST is not convenient. If going to HK Island the train speed difference increases and the extra cost makes more sense.

  • Tom Young

    I did not get upgrade to a harbor view room even with my Intercontinental Ambassador status. I did not pay the $70 to upgrade. I received two free drinks only and no free breakfast.

  • Tom Young

    I also stayed at the Grand Hyatt on the Hong Kong side using a Hyatt Diamond suite upgrade. I had to pay $75 extra to upgrade to a harbor view suite. It was worth it. I received free lounge breakfast and evening food. and drinks. For breakfast I was able to have their regular breakfast buffet on the 2nd floor. It was $40 if I had to pay.
    The view from the Inter continental is better.

  • @Tom Young – when did you visit and what is the status of the construction outside? We were there last Thanksgiving.

  • John

    Stefan,
    I am assuming you are not talking about the Intercontinental Grand Stanford HK on 70 Moby Rd as the Construction site hitel problem? Is this IC a good location for tourist stuff?

  • @John – I always forget about that one, it is just a few blocks from the other IC, TST East there is a little more quiet, the transport options are all there, it is a nice walk to continue east to Hung Hom and into the residential neighborhood leading up to The Whampoa, temples, mahjong halls, fruit sellers, I used to stay at the quirky Bridal Tea House on that area coming down on the train from Shenzhen. I have not been inside that IC.