For anyone looking to get a head start on elite status for next year, American is offering sub-$600 fares between Seattle and Beijing. I see fares available for travel in January through March of next year. American only serves Beijing out of Chicago, so it’s possible to do quite a bit of back tracking in order to get there.

The best way to search availability is through, as follows (and you can modify dates based on your preferences):

The calendar will display options, and then clicking any date will reveal the actual routings/fares.

Under $600 for China with virtually guaranteed upgrades as an Executive Platinum member? Deal!

(Tip of the hat to The Flight Deal)

  1. December 7th, 2012 at 2:51 am

    oleg said,

    Available further out than March, granted you’re looking for a few dollars more based on routing/times. I booked a trip for April for 650 (all segments upgraded right after booking :)).

  2. December 7th, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Frank said,

    Is there a min stay required per visa regs? I have not been to China (yet) but just might have to jump on this deal.

  3. December 7th, 2012 at 2:59 am

    lucky said,

    @ Frank — You’ll need a visa regardless, but there’s no minimum stay based on that.

  4. December 7th, 2012 at 3:00 am

    Carl said,

    wow. i am not a big fan of mileage runs, but based on my math, 6 round trips gets you to EXP for $3,600, and of course the time involved.

  5. December 7th, 2012 at 3:44 am

    Li said,

    @ Frank you might be able to buy a second roundtrip from Beijing to another country close by and take advantage of the new 72-hour transit rule and avoid getting a (costly) visa. I just did this 2 weeks ago when I booked a roundtrip to Shanghai and couldn’t get a visa in time (hurricane sandy messed up the NYC consulate), so I used miles to buy another nested roundtrip to Osaka (Shanghai has a 48-hour transit rule). it changed my plans last minute but was able to salvage my non-refundable ticket and make a wonderful trip out of it nevertheless! it was a little nerve-racking since you have to convince AA to let you fly to china without a visa and then hope the immigration officers in china know the transit rules well. I luckily had no trouble with either, and went well prepared with documentation.

  6. December 7th, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Jonathan said,

    Are you talking about using an eVIP ? Or you think they would upgrade at the gate for exp ?

  7. December 7th, 2012 at 5:46 am

    beachfan said,

    Is this only available from SEA or are other west coast cities similar.

  8. December 7th, 2012 at 6:31 am

    German Expat said,

    March is not a great time to go to Beijing, if you want to stay any time I would rather pay a little more and look at April like somebody else mentioned above.

  9. December 7th, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Carl said,

    Is UA matching? I bet UA routing rules wouldn’t allow backtracking to ORD or IAD or EWR, or would they?

  10. December 7th, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Bill H said,

    I’m curious about the comment “with virtually guaranteed upgrades as an Executive Platinum member”. Is it common knowledge that space is widely availble on these routes? I went to NRT recently and it was a nail biter til the last minute on whether or not my upgrades would come through. (They did!)

  11. December 7th, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Leftpinky said,

    Looks like you only get 50% of the miles flown towards tier qualification since it is Q class, right? So only 8k towards EP

  12. December 7th, 2012 at 8:04 am

    nikdro said,

    On international flights is it possible to not fly the last domestic leg? So could I get off in Chicago without any problems with customs?

  13. December 7th, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Carl said,

    @nikdro You will clear customs in Chicago anyway, and you’ll even have your checked luggage. There would be no problem with failing to show up for the last leg, but you won’t get credit for it.

  14. December 7th, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Ed said,

    How would you take advantage of this if you lived in SFO?

  15. December 7th, 2012 at 11:18 am

    ben said,

    UA is matching the offer if you fly from SEA-SFO.

  16. December 7th, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Jonathan — I was talking about using systemwides, yep.

    @ beachfan — It’s the only one I see with fares that low on American so far.

    @ Carl — Don’t see them matching out of Seattle, but they usually don’t allow routing that far east.

    @ Bill H — Beijing upgrades are really easy in my experience, especially in the off season.

    @ Leftpinky — 50% elite qualifying points but 100% elite qualifying miles. You can qualify on either metric.

    @ nikdro — Sure.

    @ Ed — I’d wait for a similar fare out of San Francisco. Otherwise you can always position yourself to San Francisco on the outbound and route the return through San Francisco.

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