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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend that you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency, such as Orbitz, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to travel.
Over the holiday weekend, American and United both introduced unpublished sale fares to cities in Asia, including Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo. Airfares range from $630 to $692, depending on your destination, and all of these flights earn a significant number of miles on AA, which, unlike United, awards redeemable miles based on distance flown. For example, on a $630 nonstop flight from Dallas to Tokyo, general members will earn 12,820 AAdvantage miles (more for elites). Based on TPG’s monthly points and miles valuations for May, AA miles are valued at 1.7 cents each, so the miles you’ll earn on this flight are worth $218. Subtracting that amount from the cost of the flight brings you to $412 for a round-trip flight to Asia, not factoring in credit card earnings (more on that below). That’s a fantastic deal.
Here’s a sampling of what you can still book:
Dallas (DFW)-Tokyo (NRT) for $630 on AA (earns 12,820 EQMs):
Chicago (ORD)-Beijing (PEK) for $660 on United (earns 13,160 EQMs):
Philadelphia (PHL)-Shanghai (PVG) for $667 on American (earns 15,452 EQMs):
Maximize Your Purchase
Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as the American Express Premier Rewards Gold or Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
As a reminder, you’ll need a tourist visa if you want to enter China — for help with visas we recommend our friends at Allied Passport & Visa. If you fly to Hong Kong, Macau or another destination at the beginning or end of your trip, you may be able to take advantage of China’s 72-hour visa waiver program. For example, you can book one of these fares, stop in Beijing or Shanghai for 72 hours, continue on to Hong Kong on a separate ticket, then fly back through PVG to catch your AA or United flight home.
If you’re able to score one of these tickets, please share the good news in the comments below! Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.