I’m Going To Shanghai For $715 In Business Class!

Filed Under: American

Okay, perhaps not quite as good as the ~$450 business class tickets between Washington and Beijing last year, but this is still a deal I couldn’t turn down.

Yesterday I wrote about American releasing a ton of business class award availability to Shanghai. This is rare, given how as of a few weeks ago, American didn’t have a single premium cabin award seat across the Pacific for all of 2016.

They were making this space available out of both Chicago and Los Angeles, though the Los Angeles route was more tempting by far, given that it’s operated by a 787 with fully flat business class seats and Wi-Fi.

With American, international business class upgrade and award availability is generally identical, so I was much more excited about there being upgrade space than award space, given that I have 14 systemwide upgrades I need to redeem this year.


While my systemwide upgrades have always cleared in the end for international flights, there’s something to be said for being able to confirm an upgrade at the time of booking. When I have waitlisted upgrades, I tend to check if they clear on an almost daily basis, just out of curiosity. So it saves me a lot of time/mental energy to be able to lock in the upgrade in advance.

So when you combined confirmable business class upgrade space with $715 fares between Los Angeles and Shanghai, that was something I couldn’t turn down.


Especially since the flight is operated by American’s 787, which I haven’t yet reviewed.



I’m also trying to get in as much of my 2016 flying in the first half of the year as possible, given that miles are still accrued based on distance flown rather than revenue. Just to compare the number of miles I’d earn:

  • Under the current system I earn 26,000 redeemable miles (13,000 flown miles, plus 100% Executive Platinum bonus)
  • Under the new system I’ll earn 6,500 redeemable miles (Executive Platinum members earn 11 miles per dollar spent on base airfare, which is $639 in this instance)


On top of that, all Hyatt properties in Shanghai have Points + Cash availability for my dates, so now I’m just trying to decide between the Andaz, Grand Hyatt, and Park Hyatt.


Bottom line

As I’ve said, it’s sort of a bittersweet period right now for AAdvantage members. I plan to requalify for Executive Platinum status and have 14 systemwide upgrades to “burn,” so naturally want to do as much flying as possible in the first half of the year, where I’ll be earning miles based on distance flown rather than revenue.

Booking a ~$700 fare to Asia with flat bed business class seats confirmed is tough to beat.

If you’re an American flyer and haven’t yet taken advantage of American’s award & upgrade availability between Los Angeles and Shanghai, I’d certainly consider doing so! There’s still a decent amount of space.

  1. “When I have waitlisted upgrades, I tend to check if they clear on an almost daily basis, just out of curiosity.”

    Don’t you rely on Expert Flyer for this? I’m asking because that’s what I do, and I wonder if I’m missing something otherwise.

  2. Hi Lucky – sounds like a fun trip. Question. I am currently lifetime Platinum on AA and only about 35K miles from hitting my 3MM miles. However, I’ve NEVER made Exec Platinum. I am now retired and my husband will graduate with his PhD in May. After that, we can travel a LOT in the summer/fall of 2016 and in 2017. What would be your ideal recommendation for reaching Exec Platinum in the quickest way possible? We live in Dallas so transcon doesn’t really work for us. Happy to do multiple trans-atlantic/pacific or RTW trips. We will be pretty flexible after May. Thanks in advance!

  3. Title is misleading. It should be “I’m Going To Shanghai For $715 In Business Class!… Thanks to my SWU”

  4. Hi Lucky,

    To have the confirmable upgrade seat, do you usually book online and then call AA EXP desk to apply your SWU or do you call AA to book a seat and apply the SWU at the same time?

  5. Definitely go for the Andaz in Shanghai. I prefer its location, Xintiandi, every day to the much more sterile surroundings of Pudong, where the Hyatt is located.

  6. AA schedules only 25 minutes on the ground in PVG? Are they not using the same aircraft on the return flight?

  7. 787 is good. I actually preferred the reverse facing single seats. My upgrades cleared for $459 RT from Houston to PEK but only T-36ish.

  8. You know your blog is called “One Mile” at a time, not “I’m spending money on various business class fares and luxury hotels, even if they’re a great deal its still hundreds of dollars and I have that kind of money to burn” at a time?

    It would be better if you talk more about how to get these flights on miles, or how to accrue miles which doesn’t involve spending hundreds of dollars.

    Or you know, change the name of the blog. Or don’t, its your blog, but it would be nice if it weren’t deceptively titled.

  9. I agree with juan–unfair, misleading title. If it requires an upgrade to get the deal, you really should I dictate that.

  10. @ Greg – While I think you have a point, $715 is cheap for a transpacific economy class ticket. For those that don’t have SWUs it’s a bit harder, but Lucky’s written so much about his strategy.

  11. @tara, I don’t appreciate trolls, or those who complain every time Lucky mentions a credit card bonus, but I think Greg’s (and Juan’s and my) comments are more legitimate. I love this blog. I follow a lot of these and “one mile” is usually my favorite, but when you click on a story thinking it’s going to be an amazing opportunity to grab a great deal and it turns out it’s for only elites, and only for elites on one airline, you have a right to feel you were tricked into that click. And a right to say so.

    Lucky is really great about asking what his readers think about what he writes (though he’s become much less responsive to specific questions of late, and the blog is less. coversational), so my only purpose in bothering to comment is the hope that he will take it to heart and be more mindful about his titles in the future.

  12. The Grand Hyatt and the Park Hyatt are right next to each other in the middle of the commercial district in Lujiazui – not much after dark. The lobby bar in the Park Hyatt has great views tho. The Andaz is smack next to Xintiandi which is nicely restored and one of my favourite dim sum brunches at Ye Shanghai. The decor at the Andaz is quite tacky and I find the ever-changing disco lighting in the bathrooms unsettling.

  13. @Alvin, “more difficult?” It’s impossible, isn’t it? (I’m asking sincerely, not being sarcastic. )

  14. As someone was born in Shanghai and have tried all Hyatt properties in Shanghai, i’d definitely suggest Andaz . The order will be Andaz-> Park Hyatt / hyatt on the bund (because of the bar/location/phenomenal view of the suite) -> grand Hyatt

  15. Another reader agreeing on Juan’s comment. Leaving out the details in the title sure is misleading

  16. Thx, Lucky. My wife and I just bought two in October for $765 each and used our EVIP for the mileage run.

  17. I look forward to the reviews in 2016. I do think you have become less responsive to the replies, maybe you get so many you cannot reply but it would be nice to see some.

  18. +1 on the misleading title. I don’t think this blog needs to resort to having “exciting” titles to draw readers in. We all follow OMAAT cause we like the content. Thanks for sharing your travel experiences.

  19. Hey Lucky,

    Andaz definitely has the best location in town.
    But also worth trying Park Hyatt as you might sleep in the cloud.

    Welcome to visit Shanghai! And looking forward to your report!

  20. Grand Hyatt definitely! Great view! Fantastic room if you can upgrade to a suite on top floor(85-86 floor). The reception manager is a German guy, super super hot!

  21. There is also a Hyatt on the Bund and they have an awesome sunday champagne brunch with stunning views in vue Restaurant. In case you are there on a sunday, I recommend it!

  22. I just put on hold a business ticket leaving the Friday before Thanksgiving and returning the Monday after..super excited. This will be my first trip in business. Trying to book my trips before the deval, I have a total of 249K and just used 110K for this trip.

    Question…I have SPG (gold) points (booked because reviews indicated location is good at Le Royal Méridien Shanghai for 70K w/ 5th night free), IHG 250K (elite spire) and Hilton 115K (gold) points and wanted to get some recommendations on whether I should keep the SPG booking or stay at an IHG or Hilton. Thanks in advance.

  23. @mbh This is not SecretFlying, the point of this blog is not how to get cheap tickets in business class. Such stupid comments irritate me.

  24. @ mbh – Difficult as in, if you fly 120 segments of American within the next few days/earn 100,000 elite qualifying miles/points, you’ll earn systemwide upgrades and can still get those fares.

  25. Awesome deal! I think Park Hyatt Shanghai is always the clear choice for me. Apply a DSU and go from a $~350 room to a $~1200 suite, I think it’s one of the best value redemptions for your DSU as the entry suite and base room as so far apart in rates. I’ll be there myself in June, applied a DSU. Congrats and enjoy!

  26. Flew 787 from DFW to Ohare a few weeks back and thought it was a pretty good set up. Service was good and the seats were pretty comfortable. Didn’t have the bedding to check out though.

  27. Ben, there are many Shanghai expats that read your blog such as myself; you should arrange a meet up!

    But to give you some options, I know the Andaz in the Xintiandi area is nice but I would encourage you to check out options like the Puli in Jing’an area. Jing’an is a great area with restaurants, bars and shops plus close to the Former French Concesssion. It is not the Bund views but gives you a different perspective of Shanghai!

  28. +1 on the comments on misleading title, especially since the first sentence was in regards to the $450 J mistake fare to PEK last year that didn’t require any SWUs. A better one would have been “I’m going to Shanghai for $715 + SWU in business class!”

  29. Juan, Greg, and Joey were likely super butt-hurt when 50 Shades of Grey wasn’t a movie about colors.

  30. Might as well play the upgrade game since NO AWARD SPACE in FIRST shows up for flights to CHINA or EUROPE. I have been saving up for a ticket (first) and everytime I go to redeem, AA ups the miles. This FF program isn’t worth a crap. I have finally had it and am canceling my AA related credit cards and am letting CITI AND BARCLAYS know why!

  31. @Lucky, stay at the Andaz. You’ll be on the fun side of the river. How do I know? I live in Shanghai on the hohum side of the river, called Pudong, where both the Grand Hyatt and the Park Hyatt are. I’ve not stayed at any since I’m living in a serviced apartment here, similar to a hotel. When you are in town, it’d be great to meet you if you have time.

    @ShanghaiNites, I’d love to meet another traveler to chat about travel, naturally.

  32. I am flying on the 787 Business class in April to Shanghai. Gary Leff noted what were good seats in the 787 cabin. This is my first 787 flight as well. All the flying I do with AA and Delta and this is my first 787. A few months ago I did Singapore Suite A380 for the first time and just did British Airways Business class A380. I would have assumed Ben already flew on Americans 787 but they still dont have many planes after many years of delays. I

  33. Flew this in December. Great flight for sure. I’ll be on this flight again in February looking forward to using my SWU out of LAX

  34. An option other than Hyatt is the Renaisance Yu Garden located in an interesting market area, ( since the fake market was closed down ) as well as the touristy Yu Garden…hope the subway is now completed…
    Top floor pool with night views of Shangai is better than any bar….
    I flew BA 787 in J and found it comfortable (flying backwards) the fold down leg rest..not so much…food and service excellent. For a flying pair, the BA 747 J offers double seating center while 787 only single center in a reverse herringbone.

  35. I am booked on this same route 4/5 LAX-PVG, returning 4/10 PVG-LAX… I just spoke to AA as I noticed the 4/5 flight been completely zeroed out even though the seat map is wide open. I called AA EXP desk about this as I wanted to put an EVIP in and it wouldn’t allow them. They spoke to their manager and said this route is most likely going to cancelled starting in mid-march. Passengers will be routed through DFW onto AA 127 (DFW-PVG)

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