Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Asia from £965, Sydney / Melbourne / Auckland / Brisbane from £1275 with Air China Business

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Every year, Air China runs a special sale around 11/11 to celebrate Single’s Day.   All European destinations are usually included, but from Germany there are always some especially aggressive deals.

(Before you ask:  “Singles Day or Guanggun Jie is a shopping holiday popular among young Chinese people that celebrate their pride in being single. The date, November 11th, was chosen because the number “1” resembles an individual who is alone. The holiday has also become a popular date to celebrate relationships, with over 4,000 couples being married in Beijing on this date in 2011, compared to an average of 700 a day.”)

I’m not sure why Germany always gets the best offers but, year in and year out, it does.  Last year there were some ex-London deals as well, albeit for £300+ more than flying from Germany, but I could not find any advance publicity for these.

How cheap is cheap?

Take a look here and see.

Air China business class sale germany

In terms of fares, we’re talking, departing Frankfurt, Munich or Dusseldorf in Business Class:

Around the €1,118 level (£965):

  • Bangkok
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Phuket
  • Tokyo
  • Osaka
  • Seoul
  • Singapore
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Colombo
  • Jakarta
  • Manila
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Hanoi
  • Yangon
  • Busan
  • Fukuoka
  • Nagoya
  • Sendai
  • Hiroshima
  • Okinawa

Around the €1,566 level (£1,350):

  • Beijing
  • Shanghai
  • Wenzhou
  • Fuzhou
  • Hangzhou
  • Guangzhou
  • Xiamen
  • Chengdu
  • Shenzhen
  • Nanjing
  • Xi’an
  • Shenyang

Around the €1,477 level (£1,275):

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Auckland
  • Brisbane

The last four are, without a doubt, the star deals.  £1,275 to Australasia in Business Class is an outstanding deal.

You must book by 13th November (Wednesday).  As I am writing this on Sunday before the tickets go on sale on Monday, I can’t say how good or bad the availability is.  It won’t last long, however.

Travel dates for the Business Class sale are (OUTBOUND):

  • 13th December – 12th January
  • 18th January – 28th January
  • 27th March – 12th April
  • 28th June – 23rd August

You cannot travel INBOUND between 18th January – 27th January.

You will note that, as usual with Air China sales, Christmas is NOT excluded.

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 wheretocredit.com 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.

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.

These deals end on 13th November.

Comments (147)

  • meta says:

    That shop should sort out their IT first before offering any incentives for people to go through them! It is now 14 days + for awarded Avios to reach my Exec Club account!

  • Lady London says:

    Does anyone have experience of flying the three main China Airlines on these longhaul routes? (China, Southern, Eastern). I gather for internal China flights some safety records are questionable. But wondered about the experience and any safety info longhaul (Oz).

    • Rhys says:

      There’s a review in the article!

    • Rob says:

      The EU has a long list of airlines which are banned from flying into the EU on safety grounds and obviously these guys are not on it.

    • John says:

      Safety wise still safer than driving, but as a British Chinese person I would wait for a sale on better airlines.

    • Cam says:

      I flew China Southern PEK-SZN/CAN-MEL return last year, on A330 for all segments. We were pleasantly surprised, on the upside. Food was very good and seat comfort good; IIRC the domestic segments were angled lie flat (not true flat), but for the 3 hour flight it was fine. The English skills of some of the crew very limited, and the service uneven (in the not polished / inexperienced sense – even the errors were just amusing), but considering the price we paid we were happy. Overall it was a far better experience than BA LHR-PEK. The food in the China Southern domestic lounge in CAN (before the CAN-PEK) was very impressive.

  • The Original David says:

    I’ve flown Air China 8 times this year, both long-haul and domestic short-haul, and haven’t died yet, if that helps.

  • RussellH says:

    I am sure that all the advice regarding HK riots is pretty sound.
    Just remember that things can kick off in the most unexpected places. I have been on the receiving end of police tear gas once, fortunately I was only on the edge of the disturbances. And I was not where you might expect it… Easter holidays 1982 in Bern (capital of Switzerland), walking back from the opera house, where my friend had been performing, to her house.
    No warnings of anything as I left the building. Came out and you could hear crashing and smashing, but nothing to see. Walked a few 100m and there it was all happening – shop fronts smashed, street inches deep in rubbish, fruit and veg. I was able to walk round the edge of most of the rioting.
    The performers did get warned and taxi were called.
    In a way, the most alarming thing was how normal things were by the morning. No rubbish in the streets, many shop windows had been repaired – just a couple left boarded up. So Swiss.

    • Bagoly says:

      Yes, in Geneva about 15 years ago I passed a jewellery shop which had bullet holes through the window.
      My local contacts found it not at all shocking.
      No doubt repaired by the end of the day!

  • Harvey says:

    OT
    What is if any the best card with 0% fx, yet earns some sort of points?

  • jason says:

    OT Marriott moments Man utd
    Has anyone got experience of these so far, there seem to be 3 offered regular: all include food and drink

    Marriott Hotels M Club suite at Old Trafford – I assume this is their box
    Ambassadors’ Lounge access with VIP seats – usually the most expensive
    Warwick Suite access with VIP seats – usually the cheapest

    thanks in advance

  • Murray says:

    Off topic but can anyone confirm? I am looking at a two night stay in San Francisco and am looking at booking an Amex FHR hotel. Is it possible to book the two nights separately so we get two lots of the $100 credit or is this looked down upon? Obviously we have my platinum card and my partner has my supplementary card so we do have two separate accounts. Just wondering if anyone has any experience of this? Thanks.

    • Matthew says:

      Pretty sure you can’t do back to back nights as will count as one stay.

      • Murray says:

        Even if one is booked on my account and one on my partner’s?

        • illuminatus says:

          I have not been tried it myself, but afaik it should work just fine if booked on different accounts.

        • Jonathan says:

          Only way this will work is 2 separate bookings on 2 different cards (not sure supplementary will be enough) & person A checks in/out alone for stay 1, person B does likewise for stay 2. Run risk of being rumbled anyway & could you really be bothered having to check out of room A at 11, store bags somewhere then check in for room B at 4 for the sake of $100?!

          It’s not a cash back or points deal, the hotel credit your account at checkout so if they realise I’m any way you’re linked then credit won’t be applied on 2nd room.

          • Murray says:

            Thanks guys. Think I will book a night at two different hotels then. As we need two rooms it would work out an extra $200 so we are thinking it may be worth it.

    • Harry T says:

      Seems risky to me, and I wouldn’t bother as it would add stress to the holiday. Why not stay in a different property each night and use the 100USD credit at each hotel? Some of the properties might be close to each other.

      • Stu N says:

        I’d do this if you’re desperate for to maximise your credit. 4pm check-out from first hotel will help with logistics.

        • Murray says:

          Thanks Stu and Harry. Think we may just book a night at two different FHR hotels if we want the extra $200 in credit!

  • Matthew says:

    Sorry OT for me too. I’ve told a pal of mine that cancelling the BAPP won’t mean they’ll lose the voucher (already in BA account). I’m assuming this still rings true? AMEX will tell you otherwise but as long as you can pay taxes/fees with another AMEX card then all is well? I don’t want to give dodgy advice obviously. Or is downgrading to free BA card better plan?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Rhys says:

      Correct, voucher remains even if card is cancelled

      • Matthew says:

        Thank you Rhys

        • Nick_C says:

          But unless they are planning to go Amex free for two years, I would have thought it better to downgrade. They will need an Amex of some sort to pay the redemption fee when they use the 241. And if they keep the free card, they can upgrade when they hit about £9k spend on the new account year and get another voucher.

          The other reason why I would hang on to BA Amex is it might disappear overnight, but they may have a legacy deal for current cardholders. I’m happy to keep the BAPP on that basis. £195 a year for a 241 and 5000 extra Avios on your £10k spend is a bargain. Get a couple of referrals from it as well and you’re in profit.

          • Anna says:

            +1 – we keep my OH’s for all these reasons, and churn mine. Also don’t forget you get 3 avios per £ on BA spend, which can add up to a fair few when paying those carrier imposed surcharges on your redemptions!

          • Harry T says:

            However, keeping the free BA or BAPP blocks you from a lucrative sign up bonus every two years (or less, if you’ve been favoured by the IT Gods). The odds of Amex cancelling the BA contract seem low, as people have been forecasting this for some time and it doesn’t seem to have happened!

          • Rob says:

            Something must be happening on the financial side because Avios tell me they are going to easily overshoot the 9% CAGR Avios-issuance target in the Investor Day pack last week ….

          • Harry T says:

            @Rob for the finance plebs in the audience, what do you mean by that in this context? It’s like another language to me.