New York to Phuket for 34.7K UR points; earn 18K+ miles


There are some great prices available today between New York and Phuket on both China Eastern Airlines and Air China, with round trip flights available from $488 next March and April 2018 — including during the Thai Songkran Festival.

New York to Phuket, Thailand April 6-16th. 2018

We just lucked into being in Thailand during Songkran festival once — which is the Thai New Year festival and is a blast if you don’t mind getting soaked. That’s because people celebrate with supersoakers, like the young man in the picture below (excuse the blurry picture taken from our taxi.

It wasn’t raining….water on the window was from getting stuck in the melee.

And you’ll see families with buckets of water on the backs of pickup trucks scooping it out and dumping it on passersby as well as each other. These pictures weren’t actually in Phuket (we were somewhere else in Thailand), but I imagine it isn’t any less fun there.

Secret Flying reports many dates March and April where the low pricing above shows. The cheapest prices are available through online travel agencies at airfare metasearch site Momondo.

Google flights isn’t showing those cheap prices, but there are also very good prices available on Air China if you prefer not to fly with China Eastern Airlines.

New York to Phuket, April 2018

Unfortunately, those prices aren’t showing in the initial Google Flights calendar search. As you can see here, the lowest prices shown are $631.

I clicked through to Expedia to check the baggage policy on the Air China fares and it looks like they include 2 free bags each way.

And those Air China flights do show up in the Chase travel portal, meaning that those with a Chase Sapphire Reserve could book them for just 34,690 Ultimate Rewards points round trip. And it would earn miles.

In fact, according to Expedia, the economy class legs I looked up are in L-class. It turns out that they should earn 100% mileage flown if credited to Avianca (most other airlines only credit 25-30% on these).

Trading 34,690 Chase points for a round trip flight to Phuket and 18,000+ LifeMiles is a solid deal.

Be sure to check the fare class before you book – YMMV.

From Phuket, it’s easy to also visit Koh Phi Phi, which is certainly scenic.

Bottom line

These are nice prices from New York to Phuket. While the China Eastern flights are a bit cheaper, I think the Air China flights are a standout deal considering the fact that it costs fewer Ultimate Rewards points than an award flight and earns a nice chunk of LifeMiles. And Songkran is a fun time to visit Thailand.

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Hello Nick,

I’m trying to book a similar fare from CAE/CLT to Phuket Thailand. Travel dates in March. I can’t seem to find China Eastern through the UR portal. Suggestions on where to book?

trip map

ANTEQUERA. La época. Have a safe and happy holiday!


There are a couple of older reports on Flyertalk that US-China routes on Air China in L class end up not earning any Lifemiles at all despite what the earning chart says, and Lifemiles refusing to credit after the fact, saying Air China decides which routes qualify.

I’m traveling on a L class ticket on Air China in the near future, and decided to just go with the 25-30% on another *A program.


I have no interest in this deal, but your posts are extremely thorough and informative. Just some appreciation.