Qatar Business Class

Asia from £965, Sydney / Melbourne / Auckland / Brisbane from £1275 as Air China’s Business flash sale returns

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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.  The Air China Germany site, in English, is here.

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Comments

  1. 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.

    • 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!

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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

      • 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.

          • 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.

    • 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.

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

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

  5. 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 🙂

    • Correct, voucher remains even if card is cancelled

      • Thank you Rhys

        • 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.

          • +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!

          • 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!

          • 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 ….

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

  6. Found a fare to Auckland at the advertised price on April 7th. Two different aircraft types with both business class types (click on the aircraft type and it’ll pop up and you can obviously see if its the herringbone 1-2-1 or the KLM style 2-2-2). Only issue is both ends have lengthy connections in Beijing. Will keep digging if I can find a connection in Shanghai, wouldn’t mind a few hours there.

  7. OT, but as many people are likely to be heading to Japan in near future (Olympics and all), I thought the below could be helpful.

    Have just come back from 2 weeks there, taking in Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Beppu (an onsen resort town) and Tokyo. Had very high expectations and a bit disappointed to be honest, but a lot of it was of my own doing (did not plan daily activities well enough and didn’t consider getting a local guide; had a cold at the beginning of the trip so couldn’t taste food properly, etc.).

    My absolute favourite part was Beppu! Partly because we had no schedule whatsoever and just stayed at the hotel the whole time without worrying that we were missing out on anything. And partly because the hotel was incredible!

    We stayed at the InterContinental – ANA Beppu Resort and Spa in a Premium Suite (or maybe it was a Junior suite – can’t remember) for about £500 a night. The hotel is only about 3 months old and everything was fresh and clean and tidy. Staff were very friendly and significantly more international than at any other hotel we stayed at. As a result, the level of English was much, much better than we found elsewhere. Honestly – people / guidebooks are not kidding when they say that levels of spoken English are poor in most places (even international chain hotels!). The room was spacious (nearly twice the size of our flat!) and the private onsen bath on the terrace was wonderful! Views were amazing, as the hotel is situated on a hill overlooking both mountains and Beppu bay.

    Club Lounge access was included in the rate and the lounge was very good. Breakfast, afternoon tea and cocktails were served at specified times throughout the day and were excellent! Breakfast was ordered from a menu and the afternoon tea was served at your table in the same way you would get in a 5-star hotel in London. Pool was outside, but heated to about 27C. We got lucky and caught some autumn sunshine (about 19-22C throughout the two weeks), which was quite strong, so managed to make use of the pool. Spa was excellent, although pricey (about £450 for 90 mins couple massage).

    We tried the two restaurants and both were excellent, albeit a bit expensive (though not much more than a similar dinner in London would cost you).

    What also added to the great experience was that the hotel was (or at least felt) almost empty. We had the whole pool to ourselves, the Club Lounge too, most of the time, and there were only 2-3 other tables taken in the restaurants when we were there.

    I would very happily go back to the IC for a longer period in the future!

    It was then very unfortunate for the Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho that it had to follow in the IC’s footsteps. For the fact that we paid a similar price and both hotels are supposed to be high-end, the experience could not have been more different! I will spare you the details, but I strongly urge anyone to reconsider staying here; your money or points would be much better spent elsewhere!

    • £500 a night?! I’d want a fleet of staff to rival Downton Abbey’s at my beck and call for that price. But good to hear you had a nice time in that hotel.

    • Beppu is nice but not great. I was a bit of an onsen connoisseur during my two years in Kyushu. IMO you’re much better off going to a ryokan in somewhere like Yufuin, Amagase or even better Kurokawa. They’re still pricy, not quite £500, but provide a much more authentic experience. But yes, Japanese language skills are 95% of the time required in such places.

      • +1 I’m going to onsen ryokan near Kurokawa in the spring. I was also considering Shukubo in Taketa mainly because of friend’s recommendation, but nicer rooms were a bit too pricey. Ryokan experience is a must, but I agree you do need to know some basic Japanese. Also in ryokans breakfast and dinner are usually included, so when you count that in, it’s not that more expensive than hotels. Most of ryokans can nowadays be booked via OTA too, so at least for that you do not need to know Japanese.

        • Enjoy. My favourite was Sanga. Don’t forget to try the local delicacy: basashi – horse meat sashimi.

          • Sanga is nice, but going the other end to Hozantei as want to explore Kuju area. The room I booked overlooks small waterfall and a river.

          • Horse meat sashimi? This will now go on my list. I risked my life trying the chicken sashimi, which turned out just fine.

      • Lady London says:

        And you as a Mongolian would speak dôme Japanese @Genghis?

    • This sounds really good -does anyone know of a good website to find review on Onsens, my wife and I are trying to find some good ones based on Honshu but not Hakone but there seems to be very little choice. We are travelling in May 2020 and it seems not a lot of hotels have put there room on OTAs yet.

      • Sorry a bit better context – Ideally between Kyoto and Tokyo that we can stop at via bullet train.

        • BrotherBear says:

          Kinosaki onsen.

          Beautiful town with about 15 onsens which you can visit for free as long as you stay at a hotel in the town. 1 night enough but highly recommend.

      • When I was in Japan recently I just searched 温泉 (onsen) on Google maps for the area I was in and looked at the photos/reviews that came up on there. Google maps seems pretty good in Japan.

        • One quirk of Google maps in Japan is that you can’t download the maps to use offline and it’s not usually included as a roaming country in UK mobile plans. You can buy a local data SIM but they’re quite expensive (although if you’re paying £500 a night for a hotel you might not be bothered)

          WiFi is available often though, particularly in stations and 7elevens

          • Both my Vodafone and O2 have world travel type of plans and Japan is included. £4.99 per day all data, sms, calls included as in the UK.

          • We used b-mobile when we went, it was just over £20 and the sim was activated and delivered to our first hotel ready for collection.

          • I think portable WiFi is still worth renting. Especially for two people travelling together as you can connect multiple devices. And the price seems to be coming down. I paid ¥9800 last year for a two week rental. This year it is ¥7880 (£56.18) including insurance, optional charger, and delivery. You can pick up at the Post Office on the top floor at NRT T2 or have it delivered to your hotel. That’s through https://anyfi.jp/encontents/

          • The b-mobile option gave 7Gb and allowed tethering, it was more than enough for during the day for 2 of us. Hotel WiFi served us the rest of the time.

          • To be fair, I enjoyed Japan more that I wasn’t fully connected. It was just the maps, especially for cities that I didn’t have a travel guide for

      • Selected Ryokans or Ryokan Collection websites are good. Or just do a bit of search into the areas. Not all areas have proper onsen and sometimes it’s just normal water heated up. I would actually look at reviews from Japanese rather than foreigners (you can get the jist from Google translate) as they’ll know what’s good more than we can ever know.

  8. OT. I have had a Missed Connection claim declined by Amex Platinum Travel Insurance because the flight that I missed “was not paid for using my Amex”. That quote is from the call centre. The claims handler has left for today so I plan to cal back tomorrow. The flight in question was partly paid using a voucher and the outstanding balance was paid on the Amex Platinum. Does anyone know whether the decline was valid or do i need to specifically draw the attention of the claims handler to the use of the Amex Platinum. ?

    • When you submitted the claim online did you tick the box that you paid/not paid with Amex Plat? If not paid with Amex Plat it will give you an option to explain why not. I had a successful missed connection claim on my trip to Seychelles this spring where the flight itself was paid on another Amex. Some of the related expenses (lounge access while waiting for the new flight) was on a Visa card as they didn’t take Amex, but Amex covered it too.

    • The insurance under convenience allows for payment to be made as follows:

      For the benefits under this section to apply travel tickets must have been Purchased in full using:
      a) the Card;
      b) American Express Membership Rewards® points; or
      c) Any travel rewards programmes provided the taxes and/or surcharges have been Purchased using the Card.

      • Sounds like i should not have used my voucher for part payment of flight that i ended up missing. OMG

        • But did you purchase the replacement flight on Amex Plat or you didn’t take the flight at all? From my experience if replacement flight paid on Amex Plat you can get money back for that replacement flight. At least that way you are at the starting point anyway money wise.

          • I purchased the missed flight with an easyjet travel voucher from flight club and I purchased the replacement flight using amex platinum.

          • Sorry, to clarify: The missed flight was purchased using both flight club travel voucher and amex. Replacement was solely on the Amex. I’m a bit annoyed since it renders any vouchers issued by easyjet or other airline as worthless

          • Sorry only saw your reply this morning. You should be able to get the cost back of the replacement flight from Amex Plat insurance. They must have not looked it properly, but my case was slightly different as I used another Amex to purchase original flights.

  9. OT:
    Is there any news on a London Amex Pop-Up Centurion lounge this year? It’s usually about now that we get to hear about it.

  10. OT – Please remind me when the Amex Gold annual spend MR bonus lands? I have it in mind that it is the month after the card anniversary but could be wrong. Just thinking about when I can cancel as my card anniversary was 1st November.

    Linked to the above, and with reference to a question asked the other day about the Marriot transfer bonus, if I also cancel my Plat card and leave myself with just the Green card to keep the MR account active, I figure that my MR account would still be live when the bonuses are dished out and so I won’t miss out. Any flaws in this plan?! 🙂

    • Gold bonus lands about a month into the next year.

      I wouldn’t cancel the Gold card until the bonus had landed. Worth 11.67£ of fees in my mind, especially as you’ll have to waste time chasing it up if you cancel and it doesn’t post. I value my time at more than £11.67!

  11. Has anyone had any success getting TAP to pay EU261/2004 claim and if so what follow up methods to chase for an update ?

    • They usually “forget” to get back to you. Contact them over facebook messenger or whatsapp around 60 days after you submit your complaint, they will tell you “oh, sorry for not getting back to you, we are still looking into your case” and then 1 or 2 days later you’ll get a response; then payment is usually pretty quick after you give them all needed info. This has been my experience with 3 different cases in the last couple of years, and it’s the strategy presented in portuguese aviation forums as well.

    • Shoestring says:
    • Hi Bill,

      My experience with TAP for compensation was long, arduous and awfully torturous.. my flight from OPO to LCY was cancelled, so a pretty much open and shut case for compensation. They were really non-responsive, slow and incommunicado for a long time. In the end I had to escalate the complaint to the CAA and I finally got recompense a year after my cancelled flight. Good luck with TAP – hope you’ll have an easier experience than me.

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