A couple of days ago I posted about American’s double miles promotion (double elite qualifying miles, double elite qualifying points, and double redeemable miles for elite members) through the end of the year, and also shared thoughts for maximizing it. If you haven’t read those posts yet I’d suggest going back and reading those before continuing on this post.
There are lots of great fares to China in the off season, and as I pointed out in the previous post, it’s easy to get sub-$1,000 fares to China. That being said, for those flying without Executive Platinum status, that translates to some long flights in coach.
I was hoping for some decent premium cabin international fares, and it looks like my prayers have been answered — American has some sub-$2,200 all-in business class fares to China over the coming weeks/months. For example, out of Los Angeles I see the following routing available to Beijing:
Let’s do the basic math — that’s 17,206 flown miles, and as an Executive Platinum member you’d earn the following:
17,206 base miles
17,206 bonus miles (100% bonus for being Executive Platinum)
17,206 bonus miles (100% bonus through current promotion)
5,314 bonus miles (class of service bonus which is 50% for first class and 25% for business class)
That’s a total of 56,932 redeemable miles, 34,412 elite qualifying miles, and 51,618 elite qualifying points (since you earn 1.5 elite qualifying points per mile on the above itinerary, and the total amount is doubled). 51,618 elite qualifying points is huge, and if you’re already an elite member keep in mind it may very well get you over the threshold for 2012 Elite Rewards. In my case, for example, it would get me to the 125,000 elite qualifying point level, which would earn me another 70,000 AAdvantage miles, for a total of 144,138 redeemable miles as a result of this trip. Also keep in mind that with American all revenue tickets are upgradable using systemwide upgrades, so as an Executive Platinum member you could upgrade to first class using systemwide upgrades (and upgrade space is generally readily available).
If you don’t currently have status you wouldn’t earn that 100% bonus for being an Executive Platinum and wouldn’t earn the 100% redeemable mileage bonus through the current promotion unless you’re flying November 16 through 26, as those are dates during which American is offering everyone double redeemable miles.
This is actually a really comfortable way to get started mileage running as well. One of these trips gets you Platinum status starting from scratch, or two of these will get you Executive Platinum status. Under $4,400 for Executive Platinum status is quite decent, especially given that you won’t even have to step foot in coach.
For what it’s worth similar fares are available from many cities in the US, ranging from $2,150 to roughly $2,800 from the east coast.
The best way to search availability is to use matrix.itasoftware.com. Simply enter your desired origin and destination (Beijing seems to be the cheapest and Shanghai slightly more). Then enter “aa aa” in the box below each city, which simply means you’d like to fly American in both directions with two segments (though you can either use different scripts or add more “aa’s” to indicate that you want more segments). Then select a date range and how long you’d like to stay, and be sure to select “Business class or higher” in the drop down menu.
The next page will return a calendar with results.
From there you can always modify dates, origins, etc.
Lastly it’s worth keeping in mind that you need a visa for China, though that’s not too tough to obtain, so I wouldn’t let that be a hindrance in your decision making process.
I’ll probably take advantage of one of these fares so I can comfortably pass 125,000 elite qualifying points.
If you have a bit of disposable income I’d seriously consider taking advantage of one of these, especially if you’ve been trying to figure out a “comfortable” way to make Executive Platinum status.