Flights between Mainland China and Taiwan had been restricted since the end of the Chinese Civil War. Due to obvious security concerns, flights between the mainland and Taiwan had to be re-routed through a third city, with Hong Kong being the most notable example. During the years from 2003 through 2005, Lunar New Year charters were organised for Taiwanese businessmen to return to home. These flights were known as cross-strait charter flights and were restricted to Taiwanese businessmen and their family members (excluding students and tourists) who are in mainland China to travel to and from Taiwan. Since 2006, this scheme was opened to all residents of Taiwan. From the Mid-Autumn Festival on 2006, the valid period of the agreement was expanded to four main Chinese festivals: Qingming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, and the original Chinese New Year. In April 2009, a new agreement was reached to allow cross-strait flights to became regularly scheduled instead of chartered. Currently, direct commercial flights are available between the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Taoyuan-Taipei, among others.
Having accumulated some Asia Miles (Cathay's frequent flyer programme) from flying between Beijing and Singapore, I decided to utilize them to claim a flight between Hong Kong and Taipei en-route Singapore after graduation this July. Dur to scheduling issues, I am unable to make the trip in July and hence pushed it forward to May. Also, instead of flying HKG-TPE return, the eventual routing became PEK-TPE return. It requires 20k Asia Miles for a direct flight between Beijing and Taipei (on Air China) or 30k Asia Miles for a flight that transits in Hong Kong. As I only had a miserly 15k, I spent US$180 to purchase 6k miles and another US$80 on taxes for my PEK-TPE return flight. Considering such a ticket would set me back by about US$700 if I did not utilize the miles, I am pretty happy with the deal I secured. The booking process was rather simple, with a few calls made to the Asia Miles phone center and submitting of my credit card details, I was all set for the trip!