A guide to redeeming Qantas Points for flights on China Eastern

China Eastern aircraft flying
GUIDE: Using Points
TIME TO READ: 2 minutes
POSTED: July 24, 2019
UPDATED: July 26, 2019
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Qantas Frequent Flyer

Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines is China’s second-largest airline (behind China Southern) and is ranked in the top 10 airlines worldwide for passengers carried, distance flown and number of aircraft. It has undergone huge growth over the past decade.

The airline is part of the SkyTeam alliance, but also has a bilateral agreement with Qantas, meaning Qantas Points can be used for redemptions on China Eastern.

Routes, aircraft and cabins

China Eastern currently flies between its hub at Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Auckland.

At the moment, Aucklanders are stuck with an older A330 seat in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Sometimes—including last summerAuckland gets a Boeing 777-300ER scheduled on the route, which features four First Class ‘Suites-style’ seats, with the centre ones convertible into a double bed (like in Singapore Airlines’ Suites Class):

China Airlines 777 First Class

and a reverse-herringbone Business Class seat:

China Airlines 777 Official photo

Award availability

There is usually a heap of seats on this route in Economy and Business Class, for last minute flights, and for advance bookings.

Qantas China Eastern Search Example

I have also seen First Class availability on the route when the Boeing 777-300ER is schedule, albeit on the return from Shanghai, rather than ex-Auckland.

Award availability is usually excellent on other routes including to North America and Europe if you are looking to fly further afield.

Points pricing

Here is the pricing for a one-way flight to Shanghai from Auckland, with current and new pricing from September:

Auckland to ShanghaiCurrent ratesNew rates
First Class134,000 points149,800 points
Business Class92,000 points104,500 points
Economy Class45,000 points (was 50,000 points)Unchanged

Taxes departing New Zealand are ~$90.

You can confirm points pricing on routes elsewhere by checking distance on Great Circle Mapper and comparing to Qantas’ oneworld Classic Flight Reward table.

Do you need to call to book or can you do it online?

China Eastern redemptions can be booked online through the Qantas website. For more information, read our guide on where to search for award space.

When does award calendar availability open up?

Qantas’ award calendar opens at 353 days (almost one year) before departure.


Air New Zealand flies to Shanghai from Auckland, and you could try to redeem KrisFlyer or United MileagePlus miles for a seat on one of their flights.

Summing up

China Eastern doesn’t have the best reputation for its soft product (meaning its customer service and dining options), but it is investing a lot in its hard product (seats). New Zealand-based travellers are likely to enjoy the updated product in years to come.

The occasional scheduling of the Boeing 777-300ER on this route also sees First Class available at times.

Given China Eastern is part of the SkyTeam alliance, which is hard to access with points for travellers in New Zealand, the option to use Qantas Points on these redemptions is very welcome.

Have you flown China Eastern before? What was your experience?

Supplementary images courtesy China Eastern and Airbus.

A guide to redeeming Qantas Points for flights on China Eastern was last modified: July 26th, 2019 by Daniel Kinnoch