So I am getting excited as I count down the hours till my flight to China. I saw a very cheap airfare on American Airlines last year ($549.50) from Baltimore to Shanghai. I try to avoid flying out of BWI, but in this case under $600 to Asia, is too good to pass-up. I know this is still a lot of money, but on this ticket I will travel 15,357 miles. As a top tier member of American Airlines Frequent Flier Program I also get a 100% bonus on any flight miles so I will earn an extra 15,357 miles bonus for a mileage total of 30,714, Now most people will value these miles around 1.5-2.0 cents so the value of the miles I will earn is around $450-$600.
Now of course a trip is not just the airfare and by no means will I justify what I do as being paid to fly. Far from it. But good deals like this are rare, so book first and ask questions later. Remember most airlines will let you cancel for free within 24 hours of making the reservation. Just call back the next day if you change your mind. American Airlines will also let you have a 24 hold on a ticket for free.
Another expense of flying to places like China is that you will need to get a VISA which in this case costs $160. Having actually already been to China, I decided I would be fine with a short stay and decided to use the TWOV (Transit Without Visa) program that is allowed for 72 hour or shorter visits that are entirely within Beijing or Shanghai, as long as you are in transit to a different country than you came from.
In this case I will arrive to Shanghai from Chicago and leave the next day for Bangkok. This is on another ticket I booked with miles that I will blog about later this week. There is goof article about traveling to China without a visa on one of my favorite websites (the Flight Deal) this is also the website where I found this amazing fare. I’m a little nervous about going to China without a visa, as some uninformed Airline staff may not let you board the plane without a valid visa. Tomorrow I will check-into my flight armed with a printout of the TWOV program and my ticket to Bangkok. I obviously went to a lot of trouble to avoid a $150 visa fee, but that why I’m plane crazy.