~$620 Fares To Beijing This Winter On American

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.

Unfortunately this still pales in comparison to the Beijing fares we saw earlier in the year. 😉

Anyone else tempted to hop on one of these sub-$700 fares?


  1. While slightly less miles, similar fares are also available for weekend turns to Sao Paulo in late Feb, but with confirmable upgrades, better schedules, and routings on either 77Ws or 788s. Since I need to minimize downtime and already have a Brazilian visa, that’s where I’m headed!

  2. Probably worth pointing out that if you want to do a quick turn you do need a visa (at least with a US passport) as you will not be considered in transit to a third country.

  3. Also some incredible deals out of Boston on Hainan. For example, some mid-January nonstops from Boston to Shanghai are less than $560 roundtrip, and you’re eligible for some big Alaska miles with those fares (Alaska and Hainan are mileage partners, I believe).

  4. I am sure it will be cold but that is another great time to see it from a different view. I have looked and was tempted by the fare but I choose for our family to Ho Chi City. But with a mind set to re qualify before summer.

    Best to all

    PS. Lucky..When I saw the post I had a flash back that it was redo from AA Business to PEK

  5. My choices are:

    (1) Fly 100K in revenue flights and requalify for EP in 2016, generating miles. This was my plan until the devaluation.
    (2) Use my stash of American Airlines points to fly First Class/Business.

    Hobson’s choice. I booked a First Class ticket on Cathay Pacific to Asia and decided that 2 was a better idea. So I will probably book 10K in revenue flights in 2016 instead.

  6. You couldn’t pay me to go to Beijing.. even if it’s for a mileage run. If you go, remember to bring a mask! Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the pollution is insane and your lungs will hate you for it… feel so bad for people who have to live there and can’t leave….

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