Deal Alert: Business Class from New York to India $1,680
Air China seems determined to give us some great deals in business class lately and I’m not exactly in a hurry for them to stop. Recently, they offered return flights between Europe and Australia for as low as $1,600. While that deal was great if you already lived in Europe or willing to position, it didn’t necessarily help you if you were based in the US. Well thankfully, Air China has deals for the US-centric deal hunters as well.
Air China is currently offering round trip business class flights between New York and Mumbai starting at $1,680. Availability is currently scattered in January and February but pretty much wide open in March.
Air China’s site and ITA Matrix will show prices closer to $2,000 during those periods. However, you’ll be able to get the price down under $1,700 using Momondo or the Amex International Airline Program. Booking through the Amex International Airline Program will earn 5x Membership Rewards points. In addition, you’ll have 24 hours to cancel, risk free.
Some of these may have overnight connections in Beijing. Thankfully, Air China offers a free hotel stay for passengers with overnight layovers and visa-free transit, so no need to worry about an added expense.
Where to credit
With more Air China deals popping up, it’s becoming more and more apparent that discounted long haul on United partners may be the best way to earn United status. Distance flown will no longer matter when it comes to elite status on United…except with partners.
Starting in 2020, you’ll need the following to earn United elite status:
- Silver: 12 Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF) and 4,000 Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) or 5,000 Premier Qualifying Points (no segment requirement)
- Gold:24 PQF and 8,000 PQP or 10,000 PQP
- Platinum: 36 PQF and 12,000 PQP or 15,000 PQP
- 1K: 54 PQF and 18,000 PQP or 24,000 PQP
Regardless of spend, you’ll still need to fly at least four segments on United.
While you probably need a Harvard doctorate degree to fully understand earning elite status on United. Since I’m guessing most of us don’t have time for that, here’s how to figure it out for Air China.
First, calculate the redeemable miles you’d earn on the flight. The actual distance flown from JFK-PEK-BOM and back is 19,600. Because these fares book into the R fare class, they’ll earn 125% of the distance flown. In this case, you’d earn 24,500 redeemable miles.
Once you have the redeemable miles, divide that number by 5 to get the number of PQPs you’ll earn. Why 5? Well, United has deemed Air China a “preferred partner” (whatever that actually means). That gives you 4,900 PQPs for this flight. Considering it cost you under $2,000, that’s a significantly better return. That also leaves you just $100 short of Silver status.
While Air China isn’t Emirates First or Qatar Qsuites, it’s still a perfectly suitable option for getting half way around the world and back. If you’re a United loyalist, this a is a great opportunity to rack up some PQPs toward elite status.