Last week, American Airlines’ AAdvantage program announced a surprising new partner in China Southern. As of 20 March 2019, you can now earn and redeem AAdvantage miles for China Southern flights. This presents some interesting new opportunities.
Based in Guangzhou, China Southern is one of China’s (and indeed, the world’s) largest airlines. China Southern sensationally left the SkyTeam alliance at the end of last year, and is currently not part of an airline alliance. There has been some speculation that China Southern could soon join Oneworld – of which American Airlines is also a part – but no announcements have yet been made. American happens to own a small stake in China Southern, as does Oneworld’s Qatar Airways.
American Airlines AAdvantage is a popular frequent flyer program. You can buy AAdvantage miles, and miles can be redeemed to fly on Oneworld airlines, including Qantas, plus partners such as Etihad, Fiji Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui. China Southern now adds to this list of AAdvantage partner airlines. In addition, there are no fuel or carrier surcharges when redeeming AAdvantage miles for flights with most airlines – although China Southern is one of a small number of exceptions.
Earning AAdvantage Miles on China Southern
If you’re flying with China Southern, the ability to earn AAdvantage miles is a welcome development. Here are the AAdvantage earning rates for China Southern flights:
Redeeming AAdvantage Miles for China Southern Flights
It is now possible redeem AAdvantage miles for China Southern flights, although you won’t be able to book online. China Southern awards are only available over the phone by calling American Airlines.
China Southern award availability is currently somewhat limited. We searched for award seats across a whole range of different routes. On international routes, we found that most China Southern flights have between zero and two Economy award seats available. But we only found premium cabin award availability on domestic routes within China. This does somewhat limit the usefulness of China Southern awards.
Unfortunately, AAdvantage redemptions do also attract fuel surcharges with China Southern. However, the amounts are quite reasonable. A one-way Economy award from Sydney to Guangzhou, for example, would cost 30,000 AAdvantage miles and $96.98 in taxes and fees. China Southern’s fuel surcharge makes up only $5.70 of this amount.
Economy awards from Australia or New Zealand to anywhere in Asia with China Southern would cost 30,000 AAdvantage miles. Economy flights to Europe are 60,000 AAdvantage miles.
China Southern flies from Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and (seasonally) Cairns to Guangzhou, as well as from Melbourne and Sydney to Shenzhen. We found Economy award availability on all of these routes except Cairns-Guangzhou. There is also generally Economy award availability from Auckland to Guangzhou, but not on the Christchurch route.
Before calling American Airlines to book, you can search for China Southern award availability using Expert Flyer. From our experience, AAdvantage members have access to exactly the same award availability that is shown on Expert Flyer.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: American partners with China Southern
Would you like help using your frequent flyer points?
Frequent Flyer Solutions offers a personalised service that’s designed to take the hard work out of redeeming your frequent flyer points!
Award Flight Assist can help you to find the perfect flights using your points. Just let the team know how many points you have and where you would like to go, and they’ll prepare an itinerary for you.