Deal Alert: US Cities to China From $484 Round-Trip on US-Based Airlines

Jun 17, 2018

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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 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.

Oil prices are rising and airline CEOs say higher airfares are coming. Meanwhile, we are seeing some excellent deals from the US to Chinese cities such as Beijing (PEK) and Shanghai (PVG), starting at just $484 when looking at flights on US-based airlines.

Mileage Run: For those falling behind on their elite status re-qualification, these fares can be excellent mileage runs. The AA fares generally only require a minimum of two nights in China if you’re looking for the quick-turnaround. And by booking a Special Fare ticket, you can get 10% of the flight miles as Elite Qualifying Dollars — netting up to 1,700 EQDs on some round-trip options.

Earn Money by Flying: If you’re interested in offsetting the cost of your trip, you might want to consider AirMule. You can act as an air courier for $150 per bag from the US to China (up to two bags) and $100 per bag from China to the US. My wife Katie and I earned more than $1,800 in two round-trips. Here’s our review of the experience, including why the company picked that eye-catching name.

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

Airline: American, United, Delta
Routes: SEA/SMF/SFO/SJC/DEN/IAH/LAX to PVG/PEK
Cost: $484+ round-trip in economy
Dates: August 2018 – April 2019
Booking Link: Orbitz, Expedia or directly with the airline
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige (5x on airfare plus excellent trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)

Seattle (SEA) to Shanghai (PVG) 1-stop on United for $484 round-trip:
Mileage run stats: 13,183 Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM)

Sacramento (SMF) to Beijing (PEK) 1-stop on United for $484 round-trip:

San Francisco (SFO) to Beijing (PEK) nonstop on United for $489 round-trip:
Mileage run stats: 11,826 Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM)

San Francisco (SFO) to Beijing (PEK) 1-stop on American for $504 round-trip:
Mileage run stats: 15,023 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) and 1,502 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) by booking as an AA Special Fare.

San Francisco (SFO) to Beijing (PEK) 1-stop on American for $504 round-trip:
Mileage run stats: two-night stay, 16,860 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) and 1,686 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) by booking as an AA Special Fare.

San Jose (SJC) to Beijing (PEK) 1-stop on American for $504 round-trip:
Mileage run stats: 14,967 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) and 1,497 Elite Qualifying Dollars (EQD) by booking as an AA Special Fare.

Denver (DEN) to Beijing (PEK) 1-stop on United for $514 round-trip:

Denver (DEN) to Beijing (PEK) 1-stop on American for $514 round-trip:

Denver (DEN) to Beijing (PEK) 1-stop on Delta for $514 round-trip:

Houston (IAH) to Shanghai (PVG) 1-stop on American for $514 round-trip:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Shanghai (PVG) nonstop on American for $547 round-trip:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Shanghai (PVG) nonstop on United for $547 round-trip:

Maximize Your Purchase

Don’t forget 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 (5x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

Featured image by zhudifeng via Getty Images.

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