Our member froggerADL recently visited the Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu. The city is located on the island of Borneo, which is shared between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

The entire trip was paid for using points, from the flights out of Adelaide to the accommodation at the destination.

The reason for the trip? To check out the new Hilton Hotel that recently opened in Kota Kinabalu. As a “category 2” Hilton Hotel, which is one of the lowest categories, a night at this property costs only 10,000 Hilton Honors points. Plus, with any Hilton redemption, you can also get 5 nights for the price of 4. So, 10 nights at this brand new 4-star hotel cost just 80,000 Hilton Honors points.

I decided to visit Kota Kinabulu because a new Hilton was opening. It is a Hilton Honors category 2 which means that it is only 10,000 HHpoints per night or five nights for 40,000 points. The hotel was due to open on 31 January and I booked from mid-February to give them a couple of weeks to sort out any teething problems. I booked for ten nights for 80,000 HH points plus $0 cash.

As I have HH Diamond status I get executive lounge access which gives me free breakfast each morning and two hours of booze and food every evening.

Our member was very happy with this hotel. The service was warm and the Executive Lounge lived up to expectations. As a Hilton Diamond status holder, they even received a complimentary suite upgrade.

The Hilton KK also has very nice rooms with marble bathrooms and walk-in showers. The executive lounge here beats the DT for me, the beer is colder for a start. It is also very large and open.

Based in Adelaide, our member has only a few airlines to choose from for direct flights into Asia. They decided to leave with Cathay Pacific, returning via Singapore on Singapore Airlines. Naturally, both flights were booked using points.

Despite a seating mix-up, our member was very impressed with the service on Cathay Pacific. The plane was starting to show its age, but the seat was comfortable and service well-received. To top it off, they were the only passenger in the mini-Business cabin that makes up rows 19-21 on the A330.

The return flight on Singapore Airlines was somewhat less pleasant, but our member attributes this mostly to the fact that it’s a short overnight flight. With a flight time from Singapore to Adelaide of under 7 hours, it’s simply not enough time for a decent sleep.

At the beginning of this TR I said that I prefer SQ J over CX J on the A330. I’ve changed my mind. The CX 1-2-1 layout is much better than SQs 2-2-2. But what I’ve realised is that it’s short overnight flights that I dislike the most. I would happily take an SQ A330 day flight over a CX overnighter. Whichever airline it is, the food is better and the FAs don’t hide after the meal service on a day flight.

Read the full trip report HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]