Amazing Deal: Business Class To Asia For ~$1,350 Roundtrip!

Hainan Airlines is generally considered to be mainland China’s best airline. Skytrax even ranks them as a 5-star airline, though I don’t put too much weight into what they say.

Skytrax-Five-Stars

Most of Hainan’s US routes are operated by Boeing 787s (they fly to cities like Boston, Chicago, San Jose, and Seattle).

Hainan-787

These 787s feature forward facing fully flat seats, in a 2-2-2 configuration. That hardly seems to be an industry-leading configuration, though still looks red nice enough.

Hainan-1

Hainan-2

As of January 21, 2016, Hainan Airlines will be launching 2x weekly flights between Los Angeles and Changsha, China.

LAX-CSX

The flight will operate Mondays and Thursdays with the following schedule:

HU7923 Changsha to Los Angeles departing 1:00PM arriving 10:35AM
HU7924 Los Angeles to Changsha departing 12:35PM arriving 7:20PM (+1 day)

Via Brian Sumers, Hainan is offering an incredible special for the route launch, including $560 roundtrip economy class fares and $1,359 roundtrip business class fares.

Hainan-Business-Class

The basic conditions are as follows:

  • Book by December 31, 2015
  • Travel between January 21 and March 24, 2016
  • Minimum stay of three days, and maximum stay of six months

Hainan-Fare-1

If those conditions are met, the availability is wide open. I can’t actually easily get the ticket to price through Hainan’s promotion page, but it books just as easily through an online travel agency, like Orbitz.

Hainan-Fare

The best part? Hainan Airlines is an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan member, and “R” fares on Hainan accrue Alaska miles at the rate of 200% (both elite qualifying and redeemable). This route is just over 7,000 miles each way, meaning you’d earn over 28,000 elite qualifying Alaska miles for this roundtrip.

Hainan

That’s under five cents per elite qualifying mile, which is almost mileage run worthy in terms of the fare.

Bottom line

I’ve long wanted to review Hainan’s business class product, and this seems like a pretty awesome opportunity to do so. I can’t say I’m especially familiar with Changsha, but hey, I’ve never been anywhere which isn’t at least worth seeing for a couple of days (even if it’s only to realize I don’t need to go back).

If you’re looking to get to Asia in business class for cheap, this is a deal which is tough to beat.

Anyone else tempted by this incredible Hainan Airlines fare?

(Tip of the hat to Andrew B)

Comments

  1. They are a deplorable airline…go look at the reviews. There is VERY good reason they are ‘giving’ their tickets away. Enough said.

  2. I flew them from SEA in business. I thought it’s a good airline. Didn’t like the food though. But for the price I paid for a business class ticket I can’t complain. It was on there 787 as well. I try to fly them domestically in China as well.

  3. Tempting for a mileage run, except for 1) I don’t have the cash, and 2) there’s a three day minimum stay (I’d want to turn around to minimize expenses for a straight up mileage run). However, if they offer again for flights in late 2016, I might be up for it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Book it! Would love to see a Hainan review! And that’s enough EQMs to get base MVP status with Alaska!

  5. I’m curious to know what the significance of Changsha is. I’m not being sarcastic, if any expert readers could explain what would drive demand on this route I’d appreciate it.

  6. I’m confused. You mention that “R” class fares earn 200% mileage but the chart provided indicates this is for the first class cabin. The price you are quoting is for business class.

  7. @TravelinWilly

    Wild guess, but I found this on Wiki.
    “In recent years, Changsha has become an important creative center for TV and entertainment arts, with its many TV stations producing some of the most popular programs in China”

    Since the flight is from LAX, outsourcing of movie work? Perhaps low end animation/graphics work? Or just cheap studio rental?

  8. I look forward to your review Ben. I cannot believe how cheap long haul fares are in the US, I wish they had these offers in the UK!

  9. I booked this flight a week ago.

    As far as I know, there is a charter between Changsha and Los Angeles (via Anchorage) operated by Dynamic Airways. It’s only bookable if you are part of a Chinese group tour. Hainan Airlines is probably taking over the route from Dynamic Airways.

    There aren’t many foreigners in Changsha. They are not used to receive foreigners, which can be difficult when you try to explore the city on your own. For example, most restaurants only have menu in Chinese. There is an InterContinental in Changsha, but it is located quite far from the city center. There is a Sheraton as well, but it’s a bit old.

  10. I’ve been to Changsha, it’s more of a “scenic” type place (as much as China can be scenic ha). They’re mostly known for this pretty cool mountain range that supposedly inspired the mountains in Avatar. Pretty nice, although it was deplorably hot and humid in the summer

  11. I hope you book it! Always looking forward to your trip reports, especially to a new city on a new airline. Changsha is a major city in the pretty inland province of Hunan. Cuisine is good and spicy.

  12. Do it! Would be interesting to compare it to China Southern/Air China/China Eastern business class. 😉
    One thing to note is a Chinese visa would be needed for US passport holders, right? But I presume you already have a multiple entry visa.

  13. I’m very tempted! Guess I need to get moving on that China visa.

    Never heard of the place, but for 200% EQM on Alaska, I’ll take it.

  14. Go for it. Changsha is the major city near Zhangjiajie and there are two major national parks there. It’s kind of like visiting Yellowstone and Yosemite together over two days. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is the Avatar one — if there’s fog it totally looks like the mountains are floating and it’s incredible. Tianmen Mountain is where the hole in the mountain with stairs is that you see pictures of floating around the internet. It’s one of the best travel experiences I’ve had — and this is coming from a city girl. No hiking around needed — they have buses and cable cars that take you everywhere. Note you will probably need a guide/driver to get you around. If you go, remind us to give you tips if you spend the night in Zhangjiajie — some crazy stuff can happen in those hotels.

  15. I flew Hainan Airlines economy class on the Airbus A330 between Chengdu and Beijing in July 2015. After flying Dalian Airlines and Air China I can say by far this was one of the best flights I’ve had in Asia… Or economy class overall! The crew was friendly and efficient and on a 2 hour flight there was a full meal service, pillows and blankets, as well as additional food provided on request! I would defiantly try Hainan service from the United States!

  16. Please do it! I would be giddy to read a Lucky review of such a unique airline. Though I have to say that Hainan’s business class looks downright primitive.

  17. The 2-2-2 biz config in B787 is common, like in Kenya Airways, AeroMexico, Ethiopian Airlines…etc. Of course 1-2-1 is better but for that price to China, hard to beat. Speaking of AeroMexico–@LUCKY: no reviews on AM787 Premier Clase at all on BoardingArea. I redeemed 125K SkyPesos + $88/person for my parents and me open jaw JFK/MEX/EZE and SCL/MEX/JFK in Oct. I wrote trip reports. Interested in reading and possibly publishing?

  18. @Paul – you know the EU gets better int’l J fares right? Look at the BA thread on FT for J fares to the US. Creative routings at reasonable costs to the West Coast and Hawaii if you book it at the right time. The Middle Eastern carriers also offer some phenomenal deals to SE Asia so I would say the EU sees better deals than the US….

  19. Lots of cool places to see in Hunan Province, of which Changsha is the capital. One is Zhangjiajie, the national park mentioned above. Another is Fenghuang, a beautiful albeit somewhat touristy ancient town. Probably want to find a guide if you go to either, though.

  20. @ TravelinWilly I’m not an expert, but the sheer numbers seem to be an indication. Changsha has 7.5 million people, and is the capitol of Hunan province which has 67 million people. Admittedly, the GDP of Hunan is only $300 bn, (thanks, wikiP) but with major exports of construction equipment and fireworks, as well as Chinese students studying in the US, and tourists, there must be some reasonable demand that will only increase as the Chinese GDP increases. Moreover, Hunan borders the province that Hong Kong is in, so is likely to be benefitting from the relocation of Chinese manufacturing industry out from the Chinese seaboard to the next layer of provinces inland.

    The size and scale of the Chinese market is almost unfathomable, as are the impacts of the incremental numbers of Chinese travelling. It is not only a matter of GDP growth, but also key levels of income. In the next 10 years, an extraordinary number of Chinese are about to trip over the level of income that sees them want to put their excess income into travel. After all, China has double the population of the US and Western Europe combined.

  21. Plan to visit Zhangjiajie National Forest, where some of the scenes in the movie Avatar were inspired and prototyped, in the first week of Feb. Anyone else’s going during that time?

  22. Used to be in Changsha for family affairs, it’s pretty much a step-down from those big cities, but there are a plethora of reasons for a visit. Hotels there are cheap and generally of good quality as well, but years had passed since the last time I was there. My dad is an alumni from Central South Univ in Changsha, enough said for why I promote. I f****** hate typing on surface ahjhhh

  23. @Angie some parts of the national forest are restricted only to Chinese citizens. I don’t think there is a way to get a permit unless you know someone from Hunan’s ministry of tourism…

  24. Lucky, I grew up there. Changsha is a very typical “small town” southern China city (although it is the capital of Hunan). More homogeneous than Guangzhou. There is a relatively low cost Sheraton in downtown. I am not sure when the grand hyatt would open. Anyway, its air quality is bad. Its food is really spicy! I am talking about all possible ways to load up raw chilli peppers. Bangkok spicy is like candy in Changsha.

    The local cuisine emphasizes delicacy of rish dishes, slow stew pork/beef, and tofu.

    The weather can be icy and rainy in winter (like tokyo, but more humid). Usually malls/shops do not have heat, so layer up if you are walking around a lot.

    People barely speak English, even in starbucks. The local dialect is completely different from Mandarin and Cantonese, so a guide is necessary for a good layover tour. (Technically 1500 years older than both of them)

  25. ppl mentions zhangjiajie a lot. Well, only if you are avatar fans and like to hike. It can be snowy in winter.
    not sure where my previous comment go, anyway

    1) a sheraton is operating in downtown with very low rate.
    2) very spicy food.
    3) as cold as tokyo (especially the no heat part)
    4) lunar new year involves tons of fireworks, those really loud kind. also flashy ones.

    I will be there to see my grandparents in a few weeks. We usually walk to those tiny sideways right next to malls and big business centers for our nostalgic meal.

  26. For all you experienced at this……Are you booking these flights with miles to earn more miles? or paying cash to earn miles?

  27. @Jon – Once again…get over yourself. The miles and points game isn’t just about redemption, you have to earn them somehow. Lucky makes it perfectly clear that this is a hell of a deal for those of us chasing Alaska MVP Gold 75K.

  28. I am fairly knowledgeable about a variety of Chinese cuisines, and in my opinion Hunan food is the best (gotta like a little bit of spice, at a minimum). I’ve been to 18 cities all over China and the food in Changsha and Zhangjiajie were by far the most memorable.

  29. @No Name
    @ganross

    THANK YOU for the info.! I was thinking of Wikipedia-ing it myself but I don’t always trust that site, but then the info. does all seem pretty straight-forward. I definitely know Hunan province, and considering the film industry an LA connection does seem like a good idea.

    Thank you again!

  30. @loveairborne – do you live in Changsha ? I am very tempted to do a mileage run in March or April and would like to see the local sites and eat the spicy local cuisine !

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