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Getting to China w/miles and/or points

FlyinCajun

Silver Member
#1
Hi - looking for some recommendations. I'm planning a trip to China for late summer/early autumn. I'd like to know how to get there and back with the miles/points I have collected by making the best use of them.

Here are the particulars:
2 travelers
10 days travel
Business Class preferred
LAX departure city
We do want to see Beijing and Shanghai.
We would deal with the transfers between cities separately.

Here's what I have to play with today:
200k AS miles
200k UR points
200k MR points

I'm aware of Hainan which flies from LAX to CTU, that would be fine as well, we could see pandas there.

Thanks!
 

italdesign

Level 2 Member
#2
It's 50k AS each way for Cathay Pacific business class to Asia, so 200k is enough for 2 people round trip. That would be my first pick.

I *believe* ANA charges 80-95k round trip (+ ~$150 YQ) to China. If true, it would be a fantastic value. Transfer from MR. Another choice is Aeroplan @ 75k each way, transfer from MR (EVA is among the airlines not charged YQ).
 

FlyinCajun

Silver Member
#3
It's 50k AS each way for Cathay Pacific business class to Asia, so 200k is enough for 2 people round trip. That would be my first pick.

I *believe* ANA charges 80-95k round trip (+ ~$150 YQ) to China. If true, it would be a fantastic value. Transfer from MR. Another choice is Aeroplan @ 75k each way, transfer from MR (EVA is among the airlines not charged YQ).
I saw the AS option through their website, we could go direct to Chengdu(pandas!) and then transfer to either Beijing or Shanghai. We'd then have to use another option (ANA? or EVA?) to get home, right?

What is 'YQ'?
 

italdesign

Level 2 Member
#4
I saw the AS option through their website, we could go direct to Chengdu(pandas!) and then transfer to either Beijing or Shanghai. We'd then have to use another option (ANA? or EVA?) to get home, right?
Direct to Chengdu is on Hainan. AS has a different chart for each partner. I believe Hainan's chart is more expensive than the Cathay chart, even though Cathay's business class is better. I would recommend flying Cathay to HKG, enjoy the excellent airport and lounges, and connect to PEK/PVG/CTU/etc on the same ticket (no extra cost). On the way back, you just backtrack. It can all be done on Cathay via AS miles, with your 200k. Hainan would require more, if I'm not wrong.

What is 'YQ'?
Fuel surcharges.
 

FlyinCajun

Silver Member
#5
Direct to Chengdu is on Hainan. AS has a different chart for each partner. I believe Hainan's chart is more expensive than the Cathay chart, even though Cathay's business class is better. I would recommend flying Cathay to HKG, enjoy the excellent airport and lounges, and connect to PEK/PVG/CTU/etc on the same ticket (no extra cost). On the way back, you just backtrack. It can all be done on Cathay via AS miles, with your 200k. Hainan would require more, if I'm not wrong.



Fuel surcharges.
We've flown Cathay business class on a 777 return from HKG and it is really nice as is the lounges and airport. I loved the Dan Dan Noodles in the lounge! We did use AS miles for that as well. We flew over from LAX on that trip on Asiana to Seoul then onto HKG. Asiana on an A380, upstairs, to me better than the Cathay 777.

I guess I need to understand the concept of the 'same ticket' for this. Do you know how this works? Do I search on Cathay's site for this, get the flight info then call AS and have the agent book the flight? (It was easier to book the HKG-LAX return on Cathay as it was just one flight).
 

italdesign

Level 2 Member
#6
Yes - best to search yourself, then feed the segments to AS agent over phone. I recommend British Airways website for searching, though no matter which source you use, it doesn't match 100% the availability AS has, so have a few possibilities handy and see which one AS has access to.

p.s. wait until you try Dan Dan Noodle (and other stuff) in Chengdu :)
 

italdesign

Level 2 Member
#7
Forgot to mention - search segment by segment. For example, on the BA site, search LAX-HKG, then HKG-PVG (or other). This can give you results that the search engine doesn't piece together end-to-end (for whatever reason).
 
#8
I fly to China every other year or so. Flying direct into Beijing is by far your best option to minimize flight time, with Shanghai adding at least 90 minutes of flying time (gotta skirt North Korea), and HKG 2 hours or more.

If you were flying east into China, then CTU or Chongquing would be the way to go.
 

FlyinCajun

Silver Member
#10
Yes - best to search yourself, then feed the segments to AS agent over phone. I recommend British Airways website for searching, though no matter which source you use, it doesn't match 100% the availability AS has, so have a few possibilities handy and see which one AS has access to.

p.s. wait until you try Dan Dan Noodle (and other stuff) in Chengdu :)
AS was pretty easy for the HKG trip we did. Thank you!
 

FlyinCajun

Silver Member
#11
I fly to China every other year or so. Flying direct into Beijing is by far your best option to minimize flight time, with Shanghai adding at least 90 minutes of flying time (gotta skirt North Korea), and HKG 2 hours or more.

If you were flying east into China, then CTU or Chongquing would be the way to go.
I have to see which airline alliance will get us there with the miles/points we have. Do you which would work with miles and points I have listed?
 
#14
LAX is Air China territory for nonstop flights to PEK. So is SFO. Not many people have good things to say about Air China though.

Hainan flies direct to Changsha, which would be fine if you are headed to southern parts of China like Guilin or Kunming, and not to far out of your way. Hainan is a Skytraxx 5 star airline, so it can't be all that bad.

Next best option is a single stop in South Korea:
  • Singapore has a 5th freedom route LAX-ICN.
  • I see saver availability on united.com in September for Asiana; can't go too far wrong there.
  • There's availability on Korean as well.
Hard part is the transfer to mainland China, there are only 3 to 7 non-stops out of ICN per day for most first tier cities on the mainland, except Shanghai.

Have you thought about where in China you want to visit? I would suggest
  • Beijing: absolutely infested with culture. Museums, roast duck palaces, temples and other sites.
  • Shanghai: The Bund,
  • Hangzhou has a palace, and a unique cuisine. West Lake area is gorgeous. Street food alley is excellent and will test you limits on what you eat (duck heads, roast scorpion on a stick)
  • Suzhou is all about the gardens.
  • Shanghai is crowded, and you will not find a day when the Yuyuan gardens are not packed.
  • Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou have nearby water towns worth a day trip.
  • Guilin is all about the landscape.
  • Chengdu is the home of spicy cooking and archaeology. There's a museum in SanXingDui (phonetic spelling) not to be missed. Another one in Chengdu proper also worth seeing.
You could spend a week in each city, and maybe 2 weeks in Chengdu and 3 or 4 weeks in Beijing and not see everything.
 
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FlyinCajun

Silver Member
#15
@El Ingeniero I'm looking at the Air China options from LAX and aside from having an extra stop in Chengdu (Hainan) I think we might just keep it to Beijing and Shanghai at this time. We've flown over to HKG on Asiana and loved the experience from start to finish. We connected in Seoul and enjoyed the lounge while waiting for our hop to HKG. I've heard wonderful things about Korean and that could be an option for sure. Thanks for the information!
 
#16
I edited my response above. Personally, I'd be happy never to be in Shanghai again. Super expensive for China and only really only good for point of entry/exit as far as I am concerned. But you could visit the Bund and go up the Shanghai Tower. Could see the Yu Garden too.

If you are into bargaining, there's interesting shopping outside the Yu Garden. I bought my nephew a RC helicopter there before that was a thing, and for about 30 minutes I was his favorite uncle.
 

FlyinCajun

Silver Member
#18
@El Ingeniero We have our reasons for going to Shanghai. We're thinking about spending maybe 2 days in the city there either at the start or at the end of the trip. Beijing is for sure a place we want to experience. Chengdu for the food and pandas could be worth looking at Hainan. Since we're 'Americans' we only have a limited amount of holiday/vacation so 2 weeks is it. This means we have to plan carefully the day trips from our central points.
 

FlyinCajun

Silver Member
#21
This has been so much fun for me! I love researching airlines and routes.....no really I love it!

We have our flights to China in the books, now I'm working on the return flight(s).
Poll:
Which would you choose - Asiana Business (A380) or Eva Business (777-300ER)?

We've already flown Asiana Business LAX - ICN (A380) and loved the whole experience. When that silver tea and coffee set came rolling through I was so impressed!
 
#22
This has been so much fun for me! I love researching airlines and routes.....no really I love it!

We have our flights to China in the books, now I'm working on the return flight(s).
Poll:
Which would you choose - Asiana Business (A380) or Eva Business (777-300ER)?

We've already flown Asiana Business LAX - ICN (A380) and loved the whole experience. When that silver tea and coffee set came rolling through I was so impressed!
EVA, Hello Kitty and stopover in Taiwan if you can swing it.