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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency, such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using the American Express Platinum Card, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.
Flying to China takes a good many hours when you’re starting from the West Coast of the US, and if you’re departing from the East Coast, it’s even longer. So if you’re going to subject yourself to such a lengthy trip, you may want to be a little more comfortable by avoiding seats in economy. Normally that would require finding award space to burn points or miles, but right now several mainstream carriers — including United, American and JAL — are offering good deals on business class seats to Beijing (PEK) from cities as far east as Boston (BOS) and as far west as San Diego (SAN) for as low as $2,156 round-trip.
These prices are generally available from January through April, and you don’t need any tricks to find them. Just search the dates you want with Google Flights, then book on Orbitz, Expedia or directly with the airline itself. In addition to Boston and San Diego, you’ll find a smattering of departure cities all around the country, including Hartford (BDL), Chicago (ORD), Las Vegas (LAS) and others, so start your search from your home airport, but explore nearby airports as well to find the best prices. Note also that some flights on JAL may be in angled flat seats instead of lie-flat.
You can’t take advantage of China’s “visa-free transit” policy since these itineraries don’t include a visit to a third country, so make sure you get the right visa before traveling or you won’t even be able to get on the plane. TPG recommends using a third-party service like Allied Passport & Visa and if you mention The Points Guy on your order form, you’ll get a $5 discount.
Airlines: American, United, JAL
Routes: BOS/BDL/BWI/ORD/LAS/SAN to PEK
Cost: $2,156+ round-trip in business
Dates: January through April
Booking Link: Orbitz or Expedia
Pay With: The Platinum Card from American Express (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)
Here are a few examples of what you can book:
Boston (BOS) to Beijing, China (PEK) in Business Class for $2,156 round-trip on United via Orbitz:
Hartford (BDL) to Beijing (PEK) in Business Class for $2,272 round-trip on AA via Orbitz:
Las Vegas (LAS) to Beijing (PEK) in Business Class for $2,299 round-trip on AA via Orbitz:
San Diego (SAN) to Beijing (PEK) in Business Class for $2,337 round-trip on JAL via Orbitz:
Baltimore (BWI) to Beijing (PEK) in Business Class for $2,519 round-trip on AA via Orbitz:
Chicago (ORD) to Beijing (PEK) in Business Class for $2,520 round-trip on AA via Orbitz:
Maximize Your Purchase
Be sure to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as the American Express Platinum Card (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Premier Rewards Gold or Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
If you’re able to score one of these tickets, please share the good news in the comments below.
Featured image by chuyu/Getty Images.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees