American and United first class fare war to China: ~$3,000 all-in

American and United seem to be engaged in a first class (that’s right, not coach or business class) fare war to China. Out of select markets, paid first class tickets to Beijing and Shanghai are available as low as ~$3,000 all-in. The fare is available through the end of the schedule with no minimum stay requirements. There’s even some availability remaining for this year, which could be tempting with American’s double miles promotion.

American seems to have these fares out of United hubs, while United seems to have these fares out of American hubs. There could be other cities available as well, so I suggest using ITA Matrix to search fares/availability out of your city.

Anyway, this is a bit out of my budget, but as far as paid first class fares to China go, this is about the lowest I’ve ever seen. I doubt this will last for long!

Filed Under: American, Great Deals
  1. IAH is the city i’ve been able to find for AA, this would push me over the 125K points mark, which would kind of make it worthwhile, but the flight out of IAH leave too early for any chance of connections, which means an extra day in traveling, šŸ™

  2. Hi! Thank you for posting this! I am preparing for my Asia trip next summer and am really excited to see this! I am able to see the $3000 fare from Miami to Beijing (via Chicago/Washington). But when I search for flights from Chicago/Washington to Beijing directly, it gives me scary prices… I am just wondering if I could simply ignore the Miami to Chicago segment, and fly the rest? I base in Montreal, and I don’t think I would like to fly down South and then up North again, haha. Thanks! XD

  3. Newbie question but once you find these fares how does one actually buy them? Neither Kayak nor the United website will find any of the fares I can locate on ITA…

  4. Ben, do you get a lifetime miles bonus for flying first class? Or is that just butt-in-seat miles? I need my stinkin’ million miler status!

  5. Are these still available? I worked most of the morning trying to get a RT IAD-PVG on AA. would get the first leg but the return fare was always not available. went to a meeting, came back and the fares are gone completely šŸ™

  6. @ David — Once you skip a segment the remainder of the trip is canceled. So you could skip the last segment, but not the first one.

    @ Dave — The fares should be bookable on Just be sure you’re searching the right dates, times, etc.

    @ Kevin — With United? Yes, you do get them for the class of service bonus.

    @ Bill n DC — I still see the fare out of Miami on United. Not seeing the fare on American right now, though haven’t checked all city pairs yet.

  7. @ Lucky Right, I have a reservation on United for MIA-PVG that with some discounts and +positioning from DCA for just under $3K netting 27,417 EQMs. now just wondering if UA has a status match for my AA Platinum??? šŸ™‚

  8. Well I have a reservation on AA IAD-LAX-PVG-ORD-DCA 4 $3144 for Easter Weekend (Being the heathen that I am). I get more miles headed out from IAD – only way to get a fare thru LAX. Coming back thru LAX takes another day, so compromise there. Previous efforts were all trying to do more legs (MIA) which wouldn’t price out. As HHonors Gold, think I’ll stay at the Waldorf Astoria over night should get me enough points to be half way to re-qualify for Plat. Can’t understand the fare wars since business class is much higher??

  9. @ Bill n DC — Oh, I never understand fare wars. “Oh yeah, I can charge lower fares than you, take that.” Usually that’s the sign of a “losing” airline, not one that’s “winning.” Except with fare wars.

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