$1,200 China Eastern Roundtrip Business Class Fares To The US

I’m in the process of completing a Delta Platinum Medallion status challenge, and am trying to decide what my status requalification plans look like for next year. Do I want to go for Diamond status, Platinum status, or no status at all? Yesterday Tiffany and I booked paid business class tickets to Beijing on Delta for early 2018, which at least puts us on the path towards Delta status for the year.

With that in mind, I’ve certainly been looking at good SkyTeam fares that can help me earn Delta status for next year. As discovered by MightyTravels on FlyerTalk, at the moment China Eastern has some insane business class fares between the Philippines and the US (you have to originate in Asia — the fares aren’t available if originating in the US). These fares are available from a couple of cities in the Philippines to several cities in the US. The best place to search these fares is through ITA Matrix.

For example, you can fly from Cebu to Los Angeles for ~$1,200 roundtrip:

The same fare is available from Clark to Los Angeles:

Similar fares are available to San Francisco, and tickets to New York are just about $100 more each way.

This is an opportunity to earn a lot of elite qualifying miles, elite qualifying dollars, and redeemable miles with Delta. Here’s the SkyMiles earnings chart for travel on China Eastern:

For example, the routing from Cebu to Los Angeles covers a distance of 15,828 miles. For that you’d earn:

  • 23,742 elite qualifying miles (1.5x distance)
  • 5,540 elite qualifying dollars (35% of the distance)
  • 27,699 redeemable miles (1.75x the distance), which doesn’t include any elite mileage bonuses

On the plus side, China Eastern has a fantastic business class hard product, with reverse herringbone seats and wifi.

Unfortunately the soft product leaves a bit to be desired, though. In my experience China Eastern has among the worst soft products of any major China carrier, between the qualify of the food and professionalism of the cabin crew.

Still, I sure am tempted to book a couple of these tickets. I’d have to start in the Philippines, but that’s not too tough for me given how much I travel. ~$2,400 for two tickets that earn me over 11,000 MQDs sure is tempting, as it would eliminate the biggest hurdle standing in the way of earning Diamond Medallion status, given Delta’s recent changes.

Anyone plan to take advantage of these great China Eastern business class fares?

Comments

  1. You can also plan a short stay in the Philippines! Would love to see a review of the Conrad Manila from your perspective.

  2. Be warned, they cancelled my flight a day before the flight date and did nothing about it, just refunded my money and were extremely nonchalant about it. This is the worst airline in the world.

  3. @lucky – Cant seem to find on the offical china eastern website ? or do i have to search through other sites like expedia ?

  4. I can’t believe you pulled the story about Indian ATC denying landing to an aircraft in distress.

    Let this be a warning, people: if your plane to India has an emergency, you may not be granted permission to live. And you’re not allowed to know this; in the name of political correctness, stories about it get censored.

  5. It’s a great fare, I just booked it a few hours ago to spend Thanks Giving in the US. Lucky, if you happen to fly out of Cebu check out Abaca Resort. It’s one of my favorite resorts in the Philippines and well worth a visit.

  6. Wait, how do you figure that the MQDs will be 35% of the distance? Won’t they actually give you 35% of the $1200 you spent (minus fees etc), since it’s meant to be qualifying dollars? If they’re doing it the way that you said, then basically this would get you most of the way to Gold, which seems preposterous (especially since on Delta flights proper you would get nowhere that many MQDs for a comparable routing if it only cost $1200).

  7. Never mind–just read the fine print on their webpage. I had no idea this was how it worked, and this will greatly affect how I try to requalify in the future 😀

    Thanks!

  8. @Bas

    This is my experience also. I get the % of actual dollars spent, not miles.

    What am i not understanding?

  9. You get a % of the mileage as MQD. So if it were 25% and you flew 10,000 miles, you would get $2,500 MQDs towards requalification.

  10. Hey guys..this airline us the worst in the world, hence these rudiculous fares. I have travelled twice on this aitline this year and it was a disgraceful experience..will spare you the details..read my review on skytrack …horribly late and no one speaks english in shanghai and no help from ground staff. They use weather as an excuse when flights are delayed (up to 3-4 days at times) when u can check the weather on line and it is fine.

  11. Lucky,

    I know you do the math so I’m assuming the answer is “yes”, but, have you ever considered if this is “worth it”? You’re talking about booking thousands of dollars worth of airfare (Not just these flights), on carriers & products you’ve already reviewed, in cities that you need to position for in order to obtain status. Does it actually work out in your favor? If you’re going from A -> B and you select your preferred carrier, I totally get it, but booking trips that require so much effort to complete without a huge benefit (You’ve already reviewed the product) just seems like you’re paying for status, not getting it through being loyal which is where the benefit is, imo. Especially because you often talk about paying for a domestic upgrade instead of waiting for it to clear so that you are guaranteed it. What benefit are you actually getting from having status?

    What do you value these status at?

  12. @Mike Considering how much he flies, he probably values status substantially more than the average frequent flyer.

  13. Keep getting a message that my email address is not valid. Tried other email addresses, no joy.

  14. Do you know if their Shanghai-Honolulu hard product is as nice as shown above?
    I flew earlier this year and no seat back entertainment in economy.

  15. Just be careful that you will have Delta status as many times when you fly with partners the points are not quite equal or that they don’t count toward medallion status.

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