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Book London-Australia/NZ flights for £1,690 and Asia for £1,200 in Business in Air China’s sale

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It’s Easter, and Air China has rolled out its Business Class deals to Asia and Australasia again.  This time there are good deals out of London although if you are willing to fly out of Germany instead you may pay less.

How cheap is cheap?

Take a look at this page of the Air China UK website.  The best deals are outside China and require a change of aircraft:

These are all listed as “from £1,691”:

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Auckland

Air China Sydney deals

These are all listed as “from £1,237”:

  • Tokyo
  • Osaka
  • Sapporo
  • Okinawa
  • Nagoya
  • Sendai
  • Hakodate
  • Fukuoka
  • Seoul
  • Jeju
  • Busan
  • Singapore
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Jakarta
  • Chiang Mai
  • Phuket
  • Manila
  • Bangkok
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Yangon
  • Hanoi
  • Hong Kong
  • Taipei

The deals for China are less good:

These are listed as “from £1,807”:

  • Beijing
  • Chengdu

These are all listed as “from £1,418”:

  • Shanghai
  • Xi’an
  • Chongqing
  • Changsha
  • Wuhan
  • Xiamen
  • Kunming
  • Nanning
  • Zhengzhou
  • Wenzhou
  • Ningbo
  • Guangzhou
  • Shenzhen
  • Hefei
  • Qingdao
  • Nanjing
  • Fuzhou
  • Shenyang
  • Dalian
  • Harbin
  • Changchun
  • Hangzhou
  • Guiyang
  • Sanya

These fares are bookable.  Here is Heathrow to Sydney in June for £1,693 return in Business Class (click to enlarge):

Air China sale deals

Here are the key dates:

Book between 19th April – 22nd April

Travel between:
22nd April – 30th June
1st September – 6th December
11th January – 15th March 2020

Your best option to maximise your miles when paying is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.  This offers double points – 2 per £1 – when you when you book flight tickets directly with an airline.  Our review of Amex Gold is here.

Flying out of Germany may be cheaper

Compare prices with departures from Frankfurt, Dusseldorf or Munich before you book.

Here is the German offers page.  Note that the travel dates are different to the UK sale.

As you can see:

Australasia is “from €1,506” (£1,300)

Everywhere else is “from €1,133” (£980)

That said, I could not find these prices in practice.  You might get luckier.

I would test out pricing on Expedia or Opodo before you book, in case Air China has given even better prices to the online travel agents.

If you don’t have a credit card with 0% foreign exchange fees, your best option for paying is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers triple points – 3 per £1 – when you book flight tickets in a foreign currency.  This is because the transaction triggers the ‘double points for airline spend’ and the ‘double points for foreign spend’ bonuses.  Our review of Amex Gold is here.

Where can I credit my flight?

Air China is part of Star Alliance so you could (depending on which booking class the ticket books into) earn miles and status credit with Lufthansa Miles & More or one of the other Star programmes.  Use to find the most generous programme – you are probably looking for ‘R’ class earning which is typically 125% of miles flown.  

I know very little about Air China, so do some research on what planes are flying which route and what kind of seating if will offer.  A typical Air China business class is pictured below.

Air China business class

Some flights use brand new A350-900 aircraft with this impressive 1-2-1 layout:

Air China A350 business class

Last year reader Joel reviewed the Air China Boeing 777 business class service from Heathrow to Beijing for us – see here.

These deals end on Monday 22nd April.

Comments (18)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Yergan says:

    Hi Rob,

    Travel dates on the promotions page are different to the article, could be why you arent finding prices:
    Economy Class:April 1 – May 31, 2019、November 1 – December 10, 2019
    Business Class:April 4 – April 21, 2019、May 28 – Jun 24, 2019、Jun 24 – August 23, 2019

    • Rob says:

      Yes, German dates are different – but I did try those! I will make the article clearer.

  • TLS says:

    Having flown them in economy once, I would just about fly any other airline. Their seats were only shoulder height, the staff pretends to speak English but has zero grasp of the language, the customer service is nonexistent and beyond being reasonably cheap, I have nothing good to say about them. In fact, we ended up having massive hassle traveling with them as my SO is from Taiwan. They’re by far the worst airline I’ve flown. I’d rather fly Ryanair.

    • Lumma says:

      While your other points might be valid, Air China’s 777s are 9 across rather than 10. I’m 6 foot and found the seats decent for economy, it might have been that I had a spare seat next to me for all 4 sectors.

      Everything else is terrible though. Take your own entertainment and snacks and it’s doable

      • David says:

        I flew LHR-PEK with them in Premium Economy last week on a brand new A350, and it was surprisingly good. I had an empty seat next to me too (there were only about 10 people in the entire PE cabin of 24 seats). Beverages were a definite low point, but apart from that catering was ok, and a couple of reasonable films too…

        • Lumma says:

          It was the amount of beverages they were giving out in economy that was the problem – other than a warm can of beer or Pepsi Max, they only seemed to give out thumblefuls of drinks

    • KK says:

      I very much agree with your report.
      not to mention my trip delay hit rate with them is a whopping 70%

  • Jamie says:

    As a former BA Gold for 15+ years who has now shifted business to Star Alliance, it might be worth remembering that Star Alliance apply the booking class of the metal, not the ticket. Not so important in above as R class is typically credited across the board, but for example, a Swiss numbered Austrian segment in K class would receive the applicable miles for K class on Austrian, not Swiss, versus OneWorld where it would be K class on Swiss [if Swiss were a OneWorld member]. Booking classes is a significant weakness of Star Alliance versus OneWorld. Even some business tickets earn nil miles and points!

    • John says:

      It’s actually worse than you say. If you booked LX K as a codeshare on OS, there’s no guarantee that it will actually be K class on OS – though the M&M airlines probably align their booking classes to some extent.

    • pointsarb says:

      Any tips you could share please on the best Star Alliance member mileage currency for a J or F mileage redemption from LHR to DPS (Bali) flying on Garuda’s new non stop service?


      • pointsarb says:

        Ps that was in response to your experience with Star please Jamie or anybody else here for that matter who redeems miles with Star. Cheers

      • Nick says:

        Why would Star miles give you a redemption on a SkyTeam airline?

        • pointsarb says:

          Doh! Got star and sky mixed up sorry. That’ll teach me to be so virgin and avios centric, I know nothing outside these two!

      • Jamie says:

        It all depends on how you earn your miles. For example, the cost of a redemption might be 50,000 miles on one Star airline and 100,000 on another. If, however, the first airline is giving you 25% miles as an earn rate and the second is giving you 100% as an earn rate, the second airline is a better programme for you. I was recently working in Poland for 6 months and using LOT. The best programme for short haul LOT – in my opinion – is Air New Zealand as they award per segment not mileage. But all other Star programmes including LOT would have given peanuts. I made Star Gold in 4 months based on segments. Whilst economy LOT went into AirNZ, long haul biz miles go into Air Canada Aeroplan and Aegean. Both of those programmes have good points. Also: if you are based in the regions of the UK and flying east, I have no problem stopping off in Athens instead of Heathrow. My other learning is to avoid SAS completely if you want lounge access and not flying from a Star carrier airport – SAS don’t do third party access. Although their mileage earning rates putting into Aegean are superb. That likely won’t last much longer though.

        • Jamie says:

          On LOT: in Warsaw they have a small gold lounge that has superb food – not as good as Cathay’s refurbished F lounge in London but significantly better than LHR Galleries First. They also have good champagne. When the lounge is quiet it really is superb. In general , I’d put Star Gold in-between OWS and OWE. If you fly economy short haul frequently, then Swiss, Lufty, LOT and Austrian – even Brussels Airlines beat BA hands down absolutely if you are gold. I infrequently do not have an exit row seat – with more space, and no-one sitting next to me, versus BA’s cramped and typically full planes. Add SAS to the mix above and you’ve got more destinations in Europe covered and significantly better service than BA. Basically: I put my money where my mouth is and I don’t regret it at all. Hopefully Cathay will shift to Star now… 😉

  • Frankie says:

    Qatar are still doing ARN to BKK biz for £1300 return currently . (560 tier points)

  • James says:

    I tried 2020 on R, also available, but be careful with to chinese cities, inside china is Y class mixed with long range R

  • Kenny says:

    The transfer is horrendous.. until the Chinese govt sort this out, I would think twice about flying via Beijing.. the transfer means you’ll need to go through security again, with other millions of Chinese going to fly at the same time. NO SPECIAL BIZ CLASS QUEUE! Wasted 1.5 hour transfer to Tokyo.

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