I was alerted to an amazing business class fare from Washington DC to Beijing by OneMileataTime. In the rule of travel hobbyists, I booked immediately and knew I could sort out details later. I couldn’t pass by a mileage run in business class.
I am glad that I booked quickly because the fare was gone in less than an hour. Read more to find out additional details.
First class/Business class from DC (DCA) to Beijing (PEK) for $462. Layover in DFW outbound and ORD inbound. I’ll be applying the miles to my Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan which will equate to 19,637 elite qualifying miles towards MVP Gold/Gold 75k. As MVP, I will also get an additional 50% elite bonus for a grand total of 27,312 miles.
I’ve never flown business class internationally, but there are mixed reviews about American’s seats. It sounds like they are transitioning to a new version as they retrofit their older 777, but not sure if either of my planes will be the new seats. I am still confirming whether or not I will have lounge access. EDIT: After reading the Admirals Club website, my understanding is that I will be able to access the lounge at all airports I’ll be flying through (DCA, DFW, PEK, ORD). This will make the layovers more enjoyable.
My new friend OneMileataTime also confirmed via Twitter:
— Ben Schlappig (@OneMileataTime) March 18, 2015
Three problems I had to sort out:
- Getting to DC – I live in Seattle so I had to find a flight to DC and back. My flight out of DC leaves at 7:15am so I booked a direct flight the night before. I’ll stay in the Hyatt Regency at DCA (I hope to have Diamond status by then) using points+cash to make use of the 20% Points Back promotion. Flying back to SEA is easier, just a 2 hour layover. It ended up costing me $490 RT, more than my entire flight to China. But I’ll get miles towards Alaska Status and I’ll continue to check for lower fares.
- Visa – to get in to China you need a visa. You are able to pay a 3rd party company to get the visa for you if you don’t live in a city with a consulate (I don’t… and don’t have plans to be in San Francisco on a week day before May). The good news is that you can now get a tourist visa that is good for 10 years. I don’t know if I will use it again in the next 10 years, but nice to know I’ll have it if I do.
- Lodging in Beijing – there are two Hyatt properties in Beijing. After reading this thread at FlyerTalk, I will likely stay at the Grand Hyatt due to the central location.
Well, there you have it. Plans are in motion. Some additional great info from OneMileataTime about this fare. Who else is joining me on this Beijing mileage run?
UPDATE: And American Airlines confirms (via Twitter) that they are honoring the paid fares. I’m going to Beijing!