Delta Skymiles partner China Southern is introducing an Airbus A380 on the Los Angeles – Guangzhou route starting October 12th. They’ve got a new lie-flat business class product, and award availability (per Expertflyer) appears to be wide open.

You can fly to destinations beyond Guangzhou without too much difficulty, as intra-Asian award space tends to be pretty good.

Delta does add fuel surcharges onto China Southern award tickets, but they’re usually pretty modest — under $300 in most cases rather than $500 per ticket (in addition to taxes). And if it gets you business class award space using Delta miles, you’re already way ahead of the game.

Of course, this does require you to find a Delta call center agent that has heard of China Southern, believes that China Southern is a Skyteam member, and knows how to search for award availability. That can, at times, be a reasonable ‘hang up, call back’ sort of challenge.

Update: You can search award availability yourself, even without an Expertflyer account, using the AirFrance.us website. You’ll need to log into your account (or sign up for one), but you do not need any miles in order to search for award travel. The Flying Blue frequent flyer program will show availability online for China Southern seats.

Note further that you can of course combine Delta partners on a single award — so fly for instance Alaska Airlines to Los Angeles and then China Southern to Guangzhou and beyond.

  1. sil said,

    wish you had written about finding good seats for delta from U.S to Europe. how do I find the 100k RT from lax to CPH leaving june 19, 2013 and returning june 30th or july 1st. no matter how i piece it together I see 200k for the Biz….much better using UA or US airways miles but want to get rid of my delta skypesos.

  2. Phil said,

    Nice. Do you know what class they book into? That can help with delta gents. Can’t quite work out if there biz is angled or totally flat

  3. Zz said,

    air france is probably your best option.
    look for the us to cdg (transatlantic) segment first

  4. Phil said,

    Looks slightly angled according to this excellent trip report on ft http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-reports/1329462-china-southern-a380-service-beijing-j.html

  5. Mike S. said,

    Me: I would like to book a reward flight to Hong Kong

    Dulta agent: What city in Hong Kong ?

  6. Gary said,

    @Phil these seats book into “I”

  7. Jetstream007 said,

    @sil
    I’m pretty sure you can get there for 100K. I always managed to do that, but it takes time/effort. Look and wait for AF or KL space to open up. However, from LAX at that time(very high season), it won’t be direct LAX-Europe: check out the awardspace from places like IAH,DFW,IAD, there’s about 20 US airports with Delta/KL/AF- Europe connections. Check them all out for your dates and set alerts on EF. Good luck!
    PS I even routed through Canada every now and then..

  8. Matt said,

    sil, US to Europe from the east coast is typically quite easy. West coast is somewhat more limited, but shouldn’t be too bad. Monitor space on Air France and I’d expect something to open up, maybe +/- a day or so.

  9. sil said,

    thanks everyone for the advice..spent 4 hours on delta.bomb, finally got an itinerary for 150k with delta outbound, AF inbound and itinerary on hold is lost. called CSR, website support etc…..and they can’t find locator…. CSR said NO awards availability on AF or KLM on flight from LAX to CPH with connection anywhere in U.S. I find it hard to believe but I can’t find it online.

    Thanks for helping me out…now to take a nap from all the frustration.

  10. Rick said,

    @sil I dont think AF has open their award for June 19th yet, at least not on AF award calendar. They have their award up to June 14th as of now.

    All the flights on Delta website only shows Delta flights, so I suggest you wait another 2-3 weeks until AF open/upload their inventory for June.

    I did a look search at may… both AF and KLM offers direct flight from LAX

    So you are looking at

    LAX—> AMS –> CPH
    LAX —> CDG —> CPH

    Of course there are less direct routes if this is not available.

  11. sil said,

    Thanks Rick and also Matt and Zz for helping me out. Think I will do LAX to CDG, stay for several nights than off to CPH and then back. I will wait several weeks to book.

  12. Exodus said,

    Thanks for this excellent post. I also want to follow up the question on traveling to Hong Kong. So if I can start from LAX or SFO to CAN, can I book the CAN to HKG within the same itinerary with Delta Skyteam? If so will there be more miles then the Delta LAX-NRT-HKG route (let’s say all segments in business class). Or I will have to find other airlines to take me from CAN to HKG. Anyhow this is wonderful info, will definitely try to out next time heading to Asia. Thanks.

  13. Gary said,

    @Exodus you should be able to include Guangzhou – Hong Kong in the award for no additional miles if award space is available on that flight

  14. Exodus said,

    Thanks Gary, so this will definitely be a better option for getting into HKG as the LAX/SFO to NRT flight runs out of space most of the time. Thanks for the info :)

  15. Jason74 said,

    Any way to make this a one way award with Delta skymiles or does it have to be round trip?

  16. Gary said,

    They don’t discount one way
    So way to do it cheapest is business one way coach return to make it 90k rather than 120k if you book straight one way (since it would otherwise price as biz roundtrip)

  17. Mitch said,

    @Phil They’re flat bed seats. Most flat bed seats look a bit angled when photographed because of the angle of the aircraft in flight. The unfortunate bit appears to be the gap between the seat and foot part when it’s in bed mode.

  18. Phil said,

    @Mitch – thanks for that. The gap looks annoying but maybe fixable with a pillow or something. Either way looks a great addition to the DL options

  19. Seth said,

    You can also search it for free without an AF account. You can even get email alerts on the inventory for free.

    http://www.wandr.me/Award-Search.aspx/China-Southern-Airlines-Award-Availability

    :)

  20. Searching for SkyTeam awards to Asia - The Wandering Aramean said,

    […] (CAN)? Turns out there is a lot of inventory out there, at least from the days I was checking. Gary notes that these are flat beds, though Delta also is charging a fuel surcharge on the flights. Still, better than not actually […]

  21. It’s time to fly SkyTeam to Asia… but how? - One Mile at a Time said,

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  22. Bits ‘n Pieces for September 7, 2012 - View from the Wing said,

    […] Skypesos. Some folks will recall my pointing out that Delta’s Skyteam partner China Southern offers amazing business class award availability on its Los Angeles – Guangzhou, China route and the seats on its Airbus A380 look really good. Point Me to the Plane highlights that Delta will […]

  23. Top Eight Best Uses of Delta Skymiles - View from the Wing said,

    […] availability became really outstanding when they put an Airbus A380 on the route, and the aircraft has a pretty good business class product as […]

  24. Bits 'n Pieces for October 26, 2013 - View from the Wing - View from the Wing said,

    […] award availability will be as good as it is on their Los Angeles flight (which isn’t as good as it used to be, and the New York route will be operated by a smaller aircraft, but this is still a welcome […]

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