China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles Program Review

China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles Program Review

China Eastern Airlines has two main hubs, and both are major international airports in Shanghai: Pudong and Hongqiao. The airline flies to more than 200 domestic and international destinations, including Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in the U.S.

Eastern Miles, the airline’s frequent flyer program, has six different award charts. Domestic award flights on China Eastern are distance-based, while its international flights are region-based. All redemptions on partner airlines are region-based. SkyTeam members have one chart, and each nonalliance partner has its own chart.

PROGRAM

Eastern MilesEastern Miles

ALLIANCE

SkyTeamSkyTeam

CURRENCY

pointspoints

POINTS TRANSFER PARTNERS

AIRLINE PARTNERS

  • Cathay PacificCathay Pacific
  • QantasQantas

Hubs:
  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport
  • Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
How Can You Use Eastern Miles?

You can use Eastern Miles points on China Eastern and its subsidiaries, as well as with SkyTeam members and nonalliance partners Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Qantas.

China Eastern is a SkyTeam member
China Eastern is a SkyTeam member

Program Perks:
  • One open jaw per international itinerary
  • One-way awards at half the price of round-trip tickets available on SkyTeam partners and Qantas
  • Mixed-class awards allowed on round-trip flights
Program Quirks:
  • Only date and time changes allowed on existing itineraries
  • One-way flights can cost more than 50 percent of a round-trip ticket on China Eastern and Cathay Pacific, and are not allowed on Japan Airlines
  • Fuel surcharges on most partners
Best Value Awards:

Eastern Miles offers good redemption rates on domestic flights in China, starting at 6,000 points one-way, and 12,000 points roundtrip. In general, using British Airways Avios for short-haul flights is the best option, but since no oneworld partner offer domestic flights in China, China Eastern is an excellent alternative.

ChinaEastern Domestic Award Chart
China Eastern’s domestic award chart

There are some good redemptions on partners, too. Round-trip flights between Hong Kong and the South Pacific cost 70,000 points in economy and 130,000 points in business class on Cathay Pacific. You also get a free open jaw, which allows you to visit another destination for free.

Flights between North America and Japan on Japan Airlines also offer an excellent value for your Eastern Miles points, especially in premium classes. Round-trip tickets cost 100,000 points in economy, 150,000 in business and 200,000 in first class.

Worst Value Awards:

An award ticket from North America to Australia on Qantas is one of the most expensive redemptions in China Eastern’s charts. It costs 200,000 points in economy, 340,000 in business and 420,000 in first.

The Good Stuff: Upgrades and Elite Status

You can use miles to upgrade cash tickets from economy to business class or business to first. You can’t upgrade award tickets. A one-way upgrade to business class between the U.S. and mainland China costs 36,000 to 55,000 points, depending on the original fare booked.

China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles Elite Levels and Perks

Eastern Miles has two Elite Status memberships: Silver and Gold. They correspond to SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus.

The qualifications to achieve each status are:

  • 40,000 points or 25 segments for Silver
  • 80,000 points or 40 segments for Gold

Each level includes the perks of the previous level.

Silver:

  • On China Eastern flights: Guaranteed reservation 72 hours in advance; priority reservation wait list, airport standby and baggage handling; check-in at the business class counter; excess baggage allowance of 20 kg for domestic and 10 kg for international; business class lounge access; 15 percent bonus points on flights
  • On SkyTeam member flights: 10 kg excess baggage allowance; preferred seating and priority baggage handling, airport standby, check-in and boarding on international flights; 15 percent bonus points on flights

Gold:

  • On China Eastern flights: Guaranteed reservation 48 hours in advance; check-in at the first class counter; excess baggage allowance of 40 kg on domestic flights and 20 kg on international; first class lounge access; 30 percent bonus points on flights
  • On SkyTeam member flights: Guaranteed reservation on international flights; 20 kg excess baggage allowance; lounge access for member and one companion; 30 percent bonus points on flights
Associated Credit Cards

China Eastern does not offer a co-branded credit card for U.S. residents.

  • RewardExpert

    You can register as a Eastern Miles member on China Eastern Airlines official website

  • DJ

    Their English website is broken, and the Mandarin version has an issue with the authentication code. You may need to call their hotline to create your account.