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There aresome excellent fares to China available on Air Canada and United for travel this fall and next spring, with prices as low as $297 round trip out of San Jose, CA with a connection in Vancouver and from the mid-$400’s nonstop from Chicago among many other cities. Some of the cheapest fares require a long layover, but if you’re willing to either accept an overnight in Vancouver (or alternatively pay just a little bit more), you can snag a pretty solid deal to China. Note that these fares include 2 checked bags and you can select your seat within 24 hours of departure for free. You should even earn miles on these cheap flights, and those booking through a portal will find these flights offer a better deal than economy class award tickets in many instances.
- Cheap flights to China on Air Canada, from $297 round trip on Air Canada
- Availability varies by route, but mostly available during fall and sprng months
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, the round trip prices out of San Jose are pretty stellar and with decent availability. Google Flights shows prices from $294, though on the sample dates I checked the low rates were actually $297 (and I was only seeing that price directly through Air Canada).
As noted at the top, these fares include 2 checked bags free, so it’s not the basic economy experience one might expect with such cheap fares (though note the nearly 17 hour layover in Vancouver on the way – you could alternatively pay $20 more on this itinerary to get a ~3hr layover).
Unfortunately, seat selection isn’t free at booking – though you can either pay to choose your seat in advance or wait until 24 hours before departure and then pick your seat for free.
United is also offering nonstop service from Chicago to Beijing from $439 next spring. That’s an excellent price for nonstop travel.
It looks like those flights book into G-class, which means they would earn 50% mileage flown (~6500 miles) in a number of programs, including Aeroplan or Aegean.
At these prices, it certainly makes more sense to book a paid ticket than an award, even if using credit card points. For example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can book that nonstop United itinerary for just over 29K points round trip…..and earn the aforementioned miles if credited to a foreign program.
Less than 15K points each way to China and earning miles to boot certainly knocks an economy class award redemption out of the water. A nearly fourteen hour flight in economy class isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for those looking to stretch their points and/or fly an entire family (the flight above shows 6 seats left at that price), this might be a good option.
Plenty of other cities are available with good prices, so use Google Flights to check your preferred departure city.