Cheap American Business Class Fares To China

Filed Under: American, Great Deals

With airline loyalty programs becoming significantly less rewarding for frequent flyers, the good news is that discounted premium cabin fares are also cheaper than ever before. So rather than being blindly loyal to an airline, nowadays you’re often better off just outright purchasing the business class ticket you want, rather than dealing with the hassle of miles.

In the case of American, they don’t award miles as generously as before, and American Executive Platinum members also only get four systemwide upgrades per year rather than the eight they got in the past.

With that in mind, there are fewer upgrades to go around than before, which is why I think cheap business class fares are also worth pointing out more than before.

American has some fantastic business class fares for travel between Toronto and China (including both Beijing and Shanghai), starting at ~$1,700 roundtrip.

Grand-Hyatt-Shanghai - 46

The basic terms are as follows:

  • 3 day minimum stay required and six month maximum stay
  • 50 day advance purchase requirement
  • Valid for travel starting in November through the end of the schedule
  • Outbound travel must occur on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays

Fares to Beijing start at ~$1,720 roundtrip:


Meanwhile fares to Shanghai start at ~$1,870 roundtrip:


As usual, you’re probably best off using ITA Matrix or Google Flights to search for availability.

Eligible flights to China are operated by Boeing 787 aircraft, featuring fully flat seats with direct aisle access.

American-Business-Class-787 - 3

These fares are eligible for 200% elite qualifying mileage accrual with American AAdvantage, while they’re eligible for 150% elite qualifying and redeemable mileage accrual with Alaska Mileage Plan.

Ultimately positioning to Toronto is pretty easy. Be sure you use your Citi Prestige® Card on the purchase, so you earn triple points on airfare, and also get great travel protection in the case of irregular operations.

Ultimately the Delta fare I posted about earlier today is probably objectively a bit better, though I think the preference will come down to where people are based, where they want to travel to, and also whether they prefer oneworld or SkyTeam miles.

American-787-Business-Class - 2

Does anyone plan on taking advantage of one of these great American fares to China?

(Tip of the hat to BigJC on FlyerTalk)

  1. @lucky: Ben, it seems that economy mileage runners now have gone into discount business mileage running given all the accrual cutbacks to discount economy fares. Is this playing straight into their airlines’ hands?

    One can only imagine that upgrade space and award space is only further diminished now that airlines tap further into the demand curve by lowering business class fares, which is ultimately a further stealth devaluation to frequent flyer programs…

  2. Given that economy fares are now $500-700, this typically means a $1000 premium for business class.

    Historically, this seems basically the same right? Previously economy fares were $1000-1500, and then business class had approx thousand dollar premium on top of it.

    So its not that business class fares are excellent in this instance or just today, its just that fares are down in general, so your decision should be more “am I willing to pay an extra thousand dollars for the bigger seat and nicer meal”.

  3. @keitherson:

    Imagine that, airlines actually using market clearing prices instead of giving away impaired inventory for pennies on the dollar to frequent fliers when they set prices too high. That almost sounds like capitalism!

  4. Thanks for posting this as well…able to take advantage of this along with the Singapore on Delta (with ANA mix).

  5. Two questions for the experts:

    Why does it cost an extra $2K per ticket if you only book from say Dallas or Chicago to Beijing on the same flights, just minus the Toronto portion? I looked this up to confirm.

    Can you purchase the from Toronto to Beijing and simply pick up the flight at its connection in Dallas/Chicago?

  6. I have a variation on the last question–for flts YYZ-ORD-PEK and PEK-ORD-YYZ, on the return flight can you miss the last leg ORD-YYZ with carryon luggage>

  7. Lucky – do you know AA’s view of breaking multi-portion trips? I’m in Chicago and there is a return flight that stops off in Chicago (PVG>ORD>YYZ) and wondering if I could get EQM credit if I didn’t do that last leg (ORD>YYZ).


  8. @ Ben — In practice that’s throwaway ticketing, which is prohibited. However, in practice it typically won’t be an issue, as long as you don’t make a habit of it. You just won’t get the miles for the last segment.

  9. I haven’t been able to find a business class flight from Toronto to China, 50 days out and for about a month, on a Thursday for $1700. I also can’t seem to find any info about this deal on Little help?

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