Can Now Book Awards on China Eastern and China Southern (Supposedly!)

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Reports popped up late last night that China Eastern and China Southern are now bookable for awards on See the FlyerTalk thread and post on MileCards.

This is functionality that had. Slowly Delta is bringing back features from their disastrous choice of over, about the only thing I have heard Delta representatives ever come closing to admitting a mistake.

The trouble is, as of 12:30 EST today I cannot get a single result, even when trying to mimic screenshots others have shared. I tried various one-way, roundtrip, nonstop, exact dates, flexible dates, different city pairs, different browsers, logging in and not, etc, etc. Just booked a CZ on the phone. At least one other report is of the same issue. Maybe just a temporary glitch?

Delta CZ MU error

China Eastern and China Southern do not suffer the same extensive blackout dates as Korean Air and China Airlines. Like China Airlines, they are subject to often enormous fuel surcharges, so your choice can sometimes be between a higher Delta miles price or a higher cash surcharge.  If Korean is available, the correct answer is always Korean. China Southern has started nonstop New York JFK – Guangzhou service (not daily) in addition to LA. China Eastern has dumped its dreadful A340 on the JFK – Shanghai route in favor of their new 777.

One of the hardest parts of booking awards on China Eastern and China Southern has been finding Delta agents capable of doing it. Even with my access to the Diamond Medallion line it is difficult. Website availability is a big help.

Generally I find both to have spotty award availability. China Southern better than China Eastern. China Eastern I will see they may release one seat a time which is a pain for booking multiple people if they don’t release the next seat with the 24-hour free cancel period (for those non-elites without award redeposit waiver). Works ok for me as my wife is in business and me in coach, but not for everyone!

Also, a number of China Eastern flights are codeshares operated by Shanghai Airlines that can be booked as Shanghai Airlines-coded flights, if those have availability, but not as China Eastern, so won’t be on the website. Shanghai – Phuket is one I struggled with mightily last year, virtually no awards either class despite 2 daily Shanghai Airlines-operated flights.

Both airlines open up a lot of Asia travel with few other award options. China Southern has a strong Central Asia network out of its regional hub in Urumqi, Xinjiang. China Eastern is strong in Southeast Asia. Don’t forget SkyTeam-member Xiamen Airlines which is not bookable online.

See my Where and How to Redeem Delta SkyMiles Now for more.

Readers, is online booking working for you?

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