You Can Now Redeem American Miles For China Southern First Class

Filed Under: American, Awards

In 2017 American Airlines invested about $200 million in China Southern, which is China’s largest airline. It became clear that this was part of a larger strategic alliance between the two airlines. Since then, China Southern has left SkyTeam, and American and China Southern have started codesharing on quite a few flights.

As of this March, it’s also possible to earn and redeem American AAdvantage miles on all China Southern flights. Up until now the one limitation has been that it hasn’t been possible to redeem AAdvantage miles for China Southern first class. That has finally changed.

It’s now possible to redeem American miles for travel in China Southern first class. China Southern has first class on all A380s, as well as on select A330-300s, 787-8s, 777-300ERs. So while many regional flights have first class, only a limited number of long haul ones do.

China Southern flies their A380s exclusively from Guangzhou to Beijing and Los Angeles. The remaining planes with first class are primarily used for regional routes, as there are no other US routes that feature first class.

China Southern’s A380 first class

If you want to redeem American miles on China Southern you’ll have to book by phone. You can search availability through ExpertFlyer, and generally availability is pretty good. Sometimes it’s insanely good.

For example, there are dates where all eight first class seats between Los Angeles and Guangzhou are bookable with miles — you could charter the entire cabin, essentially!

If you want to redeem American miles for China Southern first class, a ticket from the US to Asia will cost you 110,000 miles one-way, and there are no carrier imposed surcharges. You could include positioning flights on both ends.

For example, I called to place a China Southern first class ticket on a five day courtesy hold. While the agent wasn’t familiar with the process, she was super nice and worked through it, and within five minutes the ticket was on hold.

Do note that China Southern first class isn’t anything to get excited about. While China Southern has a solid hard product, the soft product is severely lacking.

Want to earn American Airlines miles? See this post for the best credit cards for earning AAdvantage miles.

Bottom line

While China Southern doesn’t have my favorite first class in the world, this is still a great new award option. China Southern first class awards are readily available even for large parties. While the soft product leaves a lot to be desired, the suites themselves are spacious.

Anyone plan to redeem American miles on China Southern?

Comments

  1. it is a good backup option because CX is not always available. does anyone know where to search beside Experflyer?

  2. I flew China Southern A380 first class back in fall 2015 using Korean Skypass miles and will admit I had low expectations but overall I had a pleasant experience. CX is certainly better but one thing I thought was a nice touch was at the end the flight attendant asked me if there’s anything she could have done better. It’s great to ask for feedback and to want to be better so I tried to help her and give her some tips (even told her to check out your blog, Lucky—- not to read your China Southern review but to read your reviews of other first class flights where the soft service was amazing.)

  3. First class is currently being phased out on the 787-8s and it might he phased out on the 777s as well. I don’t know about the A330s.

  4. Sweeeeet. Just changed a terrible itinerary with an airport change in Shanghai to a direct flight!

  5. I flew the 777-300 ER last year from JFK to CAN in business and there were 4 first class seats. Seatguru still shows those 4 seats on flights happening today but maybe they are getting rid of them.

  6. Lucky, Given that your review of China Southern is 5 years old, any word if they have improved their soft product and improved the rules around crew using F seats as rest seats?

  7. @Martin Fleisher you’ll want to search for availability on China Southern, since that’s who you’d be flying with.

  8. Nice as a Back up option. I just booked 1st class PEK-HND-SFO on Japan Airlines with 75k Alaska miles. As a lifetime platinum with American, I don’t see much value in the Advantage program anymore. I tried to book PEK to LAX on Tight-Fisted American and nothing is available even though the business class cabin is empty. So I’m flushing AA down the toilet. Moving forward, China Southern will be a good way to waste the rest of my Aadvantage points.

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