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.
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?