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God Save the Points has reported some excellent fares for business class travel to China on all three major alliances. Availability is tight, with the best fares mostly available at the end of December or the end of January, but for those who are interested in a winter visit to China the price is right. It is also a great opportunity for those with Platinum cards to be able to take advantage of Amex’s International Airline Program to get the best fare and for those who have the Business Platinum card, it could be an excellent deal with the 35% rebate in points.
- Excellent round trip business class fares are available on Air China (Star Alliance), Japan Airlines (oneworld), and China Eastern (SkyTeam) from Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, and New York (more cities are possible) to Beijing, China during late December and January. See an example below.
Winter in Beijing won’t appeal to everyone. I’m certainly more of a palm-trees-and-sunshine kind of guy myself, but I have to admit that Harbin looks pretty cool (and depending on your dates it looks like flights there from Beijing are just under or just over $100 each way).
The best prices on this deal are available from Los Angeles to Beijing, though there are also deals available from Boston (on JAL) and New York (on China Eastern) as well as San Diego (on Japan Airlines).
As an example, here is Los Angeles to Beijing from January 24 to January 31, 2019 via Google Flights.
At $1705, that’s already a nice deal for nonstop business class flights. However, you can save a hundred and fifty bucks by purchasing through one of the smaller agencies listed at Skyscanner.
However, on that set of dates, I found the best pricing via Amex Travel when logged in with a Platinum card account. While I saw prices similar to Google Flights before logging in, I found the same flights as cheap as $1535 through the Amex International Airline Program thanks to a Platinum card.
That’s particularly good for Business Platinum cardholders since one of the benefits of that card is a 35% rebate when using Membership Rewards points to pay for business or first class fares (up to 500K points per year rebated). After the rebate, that brings the net cost down to just over 99,000 Membership Rewards points round trip. And you’ll earn miles on the flight. Alternatively, the same flights would cost a bit more in terms of Chase Ultimate Rewards points but still be an excellent value.
For those looking to mileage run on other alliances, God Save the Points is reporting fares in the $1700’s or $1800’s from Boston and San Diego on Japan Airlines or in the $1800’s from New York on China Eastern. Depending on the fare class, I believe the Japan Airlines fares would earn either 170% or 225% of mileage flown if credited to Alaska Airlines, which could make for a really nice return on your airfare spend, especially if you’re already using points to do it.
Again, availability is tight and the season isn’t the ideal time to visit Beijing if you don’t like cold weather, but for those who were contemplating a trip these fares can be a better deal than transferring to partners, especially when you figure in mileage earnings.
H/T: God Save the Points