Concluding Thoughts on My Mileage Run to Shanghai

Breaking Down Two Mileage Runs for 30,000 EQMs to get AA Executive Platinum
Getting a Chinese Visa
Planning a Mileage Run to Shanghai
Vegetarian Economy Meals on American Airlines
Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Shanghai
Eating in Shanghai
Getting a Chinese Massage aka Tui Na
First Class Lounge (No. 69) Shanghai Pudong PVG
Concluding Thoughts on My Mileage Run to Shanghai

$950 for airfare
$30 for ground transportation (in Shanghai and in SF)
$60 for eating in Shanghai and incidentals
$60 for one night at the Crowne Plaza Shanghai
$140 for a one year multiple entry tourist visa to China
Total: $1240

(Tangible) Benefits:
28,473 American miles for the flights (1846 for SFO to ORD; 7057 * 1.25 for ORD to PVG and gold bonus; 7057 * 2 for PVG to ORD and platinum bonus; 1846 * 2 for ORD to SFO and platinum bonus)
5,000 American miles as a goodwill gesture for the flight from PVG to ORD since it ran out of water with over 4 hours to go on the flight
4 500 mile upgrades
Platinum status
Total: The miles are worth at least $500 to me (at a valuation of 1.5 cents per mile); 4 sticker upgrades are maybe worth $50 total to me (they should be moot once I qualify for Executive Platinum, but they also don’t expire); Platinum status is worth maybe $150 (I got better seats on my flights from PVG to SFO, and I’ll get better seats on my flights to Helsinki in a week; other benefits are mostly redundant for me); total tangible benefit is thus around $700

One of my favorite sites from Shanghai: badminton in front of Starbucks

One of my favorite sights from Shanghai: badminton in front of Starbucks

The most valuable benefit, though, was the chance to visit a new city, even if only very briefly. I really enjoyed Shanghai: I ate some ridiculously delicious and cheap food, I got massaged/pummeled by a Chinese man, I watched people practice tai chi and play badminton early in the morning, I rode the subway during rush hour, I saw people spit everywhere, I practiced my crappy Mandarin, and I rode the Maglev and freaked out when it passed another train. All in all, it was a wonderful trip, and I can’t wait to go back/amortize the cost of my visa over several trips.

4 thoughts on “Concluding Thoughts on My Mileage Run to Shanghai

  1. Steve


    Did you fly economy? What were your seat selections on the different legs. I’m a United man, myself. Don’t know much about American but you look like you got some great bonuses with * 2 on some legs. Thanks for the reports!

    1. EfficientAsianMan

      Yep, I flew in economy. American doesn’t have main cabin extra on their 777-200s, so it was just normal economy seats on the PVG-ORD legs. For ORD-SFO, since I had gold status after my first set of flights, I was able to stand by for an earlier flight and the gate agent gave me a bulkhead seat.

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