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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, 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, 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.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards