While I have a post planned for tomorrow about my Executive Platinum requalification strategy for 2016, I saw this deal in the meantime, which I have to pass on.
While American will be switching to a revenue based program in the second half of next year, for the first half of the year they still have a “traditional” frequent flyer program, allowing you to earn miles based on the distance flown.
That means if you’re looking for fares which are a “great deal,” you’re much better off taking advantage of them in the first half of next year, rather than the second half.
I feel like I should pass on the great fares I’ve been seeing to China for this coming winter, in particular in late February through March.
American has roundtrip fares between Los Angeles and Beijing for ~$622 all-in.
There are two ways you can route this:
- Via Chicago, which would earn you more miles, but would be operated by an older 777
- Via Dallas, which would be operated by a new 787
The minimum stay in Beijing is two nights, so you can do this trip pretty quickly.
Roundtrip the Los Angeles to Dallas to Beijing trip is ~16,500 miles, meaning you’d earn:
- ~16,500 elite qualifying miles
- ~33,000 redeemable miles
But here’s what really tempts me about the fare:
- Not only is it a great fare, but it’s a great use of systemwide upgrades, given the 14+ hour flight time
- The flight is operated by a Boeing 787, featuring American’s fully flat business class product with direct aisle access
- Most importantly, upgrades to China in winter are super easy; sure you might be able to find a great fare to Hong Kong or Sydney, but good luck with the upgrade; similarly, upgrades to London are far from a sure bet either
To put upgrade odds in perspective, here’s the seatmap for the outbound flight, where three seats are taken in business class, and very few “premium” economy seats are taken:
Meanwhile the return flight is even emptier, with no seats occupied in business class and “premium” seats in economy wide open:
For what it’s worth, these fares are also available out of other markets, so this isn’t limited to LA. From a quick search I see similar fares out of San Diego, Seattle, and San Francisco, just to name a few markets.
I sure am tempted to take advantage of this fare to get a head start on Executive Platinum requalification.
Anyone else tempted to hop on one of these sub-$700 fares?