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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 Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the 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.

American Airlines is currently offering cheap flights to Beijing (PEK) and Shanghai (PVG) from Delta hub cities across the US, such as Portland (PDX), Seattle (SEA) and Minneapolis (MSP). The fares start at $394 round-trip and are available for travel from September 2018 through May 2019. Besides getting you to China on the cheap, these fares could significantly boost your American AAdvantage mileage balance and help you earn elite status quicker. You can read more on the special tricks to maximize your mileage earning on American Airlines flights after the flight booking examples, below.

To book, head to Google Flights and plug in your desired departure city. After finding the dates that work best for you, book with American directly or with an OTA such as Expedia or the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Airlines: American Airlines
Cost: $394+ round-trip in economy
Dates: September 2018 – May 2019
Booking Link: OrbitzExpedia or directly with the airline
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express® Gold Card, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)

Here are a few examples of what you can book:

Portland (PDX) to Beijing (PEK) in November for $394 round-trip on American:

Seattle (SEA) to Beijing (PEK) in March 2019 for $394 round-trip on American:

Minneapolis (MSP) to Shanghai (PVG) in February 2019 for $438 round-trip on American:

Portland (PDX) to Shanghai (PVG) in March 2019 for $438 round-trip on American:

Seattle (SEA) to Shanghai (PVG) in September for $438 round-trip on American:

Orlando (MCO) to Beijing (PEK) in December for $504 round-trip on American:

Maximize Your Mileage Earnings

If you’re chasing AAdvantage elite status, you’re going to want to book the American Airlines flights using special fare techniques to maximize your Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) and award earnings. For example, by booking the $394 round-trip ticket from Portland (PDX) to Beijing (PEK) shown above, a general AAdvantage member would normally earn 14,170 EQMs, 304 EQDs and a measly 1,520 award miles. However, that same ticket booked as a special fare would earn 14,170 EQMs, 1,417 EQDs and 7,085 award miles.

Maximize Your Purchase

Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express® Gold Card 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.

H/T: The Flight Deal

Featured image by Prasit photo / Getty Images.

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