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Review: Air China First Class Lounge Beijing
If you’re following along on my Mom’s $125k Surprise Birthday Trip Around The World then you know we’ve had QUITE the adventure so far, and that she had no idea where she’s going. So when we arrived at Beijing’s Capital airport her head was definitely spinning ( IT’S HUGE and we had people meet us to escort us through – part of the JW Marriott car service – so there was quite a bit of commotion). We checked in at Singapore Airlines’ counter and I kept looking at her thinking she was going to react – I mean, we were at the SUITES counter. Nothing. No reaction. I think it was all too overwhelming and she didn’t clock it. This was great because it meant my dad and I could surprise her in the lounge – byah! We originally were taken to a different lounge that wasn’t that great, and no sooner than our escort left, we left and b-lined it to the Air China First Class Lounge.
The lounge is upstairs in Terminal 3.
Here’s the funny thing – We were initially denied entry because…”we didn’t have first class tickets”
Excuse me? How dare you excuse us of only flying First Class! 😉
Miles was having none of this. He cleared his throat and pointed out a BIG GOLD HEADER which said Suites. MIC DROP!
Except she had no idea what Suites were. Awkward moment. So…I’m just gonna pick this Mic back up and ask you to call your boss.
She did. And really without much apology told us we could use the lounge.
- When: April 2017
- Where: Beijing
- How: Singapore Suites
- Who else: First Class Passengers on Star Alliance, Prioirty Pass
A little history
Years ago I visited this lounge with some buddies and couldn’t believe our Priority Pass got us in. It’s A DOPE Priority Pass lounge and in a lot of ways it accelerated my thirst to never sit in an airport terminal again. It was cool coming back with my folks and I wanted them to see where I’d been with my buddies and relive it with them. Cool little sidenote.
While it may be a dope Priority Pass lounge it pales in comparison with places like The Pier or The Wing which we’d visited only a few days before. It’s a huge lounge with lots of seating, eating, sleep pods, and a movie theater area.
Sleep pods ( which I made use of the last time I was here in 2013..I assume they’ve made the bed since then, but I did use this exact pod and the bed is still messy…you decide)
Everything was such a whirlwind that I think my mom was ready to sit down, have a coke, and just relax for a bit until our flight. I was also adamant that we not eat because the flight would offer some good eats. Here’s a look at what they offered had we wanted a bite.
We didn’t have the food this time around, but for whatever it’s worth, in 2013 I thought the food was good and certainly worth going to if you had a priority pass.
Surprising my mom. With Singapore. Not Suites
She had no idea what Suites were, which was super awesome, because I thought the surprise was at check-in. It wasn’t. Then I thought it would be in the lounge…it was, but not the surprise I thought she’d be most excited about. She knew we were flying on Singapore Airlines, but thought it was to somewhere else. She was very surprised we were going to Singapore because she’s never expressed interest in going there. ( THE NEXT SURPRISE was we were just spending a night there – and heading elsewhere the next day! )
Yes, it was a surprise we were flying to Singapore and she was excited because she saw that we were really excited, but I don’t think she really understood what she was going to be experiencing until she was on the plane. 🙂
There is a lot of hate out there regarding this lounge. And I get the haters – it’s certainly not on part with other First Class lounge offerings, BUT then again…you can get in here with a Priority Pass! That is pretty incredible and before Miles jaded me beyond repair I thought this lounge was pretty good. Now, my toes have been dipped in the healing waters of Lufthansa, Singapore, Cathay, etc and have more to compare it with and know it’s nowhere near being in the same conversation, but that doesn’t mean it’s terrible. It’s like an old cranky aunt that lives in an old house amidst a good neighborhood and has a chef – you’ll have to deal with some salty attitudes, but if you don’t take it too personal…you’ll have a nice time.
You don’t have to stop here. Check out how we paid $5k and took a $125k Surprise trip Around The World to celebrate my Mom’s 75th
- Boston to Beijing
- American Airlines First Class 737 Los Angeles to Boston
- Cathay Pacific First Class 777-300ER Boston to Hong Kong ($17k value)
- Cathay Pacific Business Class 777-300ER Boston to Hong Kong ($7k value)
- Cathay Pacific Business Class 777-200 Hong Kong to Beijing
- Beijing to Singapore
- Singapore Airlines Suites A380 Beijing to Singapore ($3k)
- Singapore to Bali Roundtrip
- KLM Business Class 777-200 Singapore to Bali ($400)
- KLM Business Class 777-200 Bali to Singapore
- Singapore to Dubai
- Singapore Airlines First Class 777-300ER Singapore to Dubai ($4k)
- Abu Dhabi to Cannes, France
- Etihad Airways First Class Apartment A380 Abu Dhabi to London ($8k)
- Etihad Airways Business Studio A380 Abu Dhabi to London ( $3500-5k)
- British Airways Club Europe A321 London to Nice
- Cannes, France to Dallas
- Lufthansa Business Class A321 Nice to Frankfurt ($10k)
- Lufthansa First Class A330 Frankfurt to Dallas
- Intercontinental Boston ($450)
- JW Marriott Beijing, 1 Bedroom Suite ($450 for 5 nights)
- Club King ($250)
- Crowne Plaza Singapore Airport, 1 Bedroom Suite ($300)
- Mandapa, Ritz Carlton Reserve 1 Bedroom Rice Paddy View Villa ($600/night)
- Conrad Bali 1 Bedroom Ocean View Suite ($400/night)
- Intercontinental Singapore ($400/night)
- JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, 1 Bedroom Executive Suite ($450)
- Abu Dhabi
- Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi ($300)
- Cannes, France
- Intercontinental Carlton Cannes, France ($300)
- Grand Hyatt DFW ($150
- JW Marriott Beijing, 1 Bedroom Suite ($450 for 5 nights)
- British Airways Lounge Boston Logan
- Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge
- Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge The Wing
- Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge The Pier
- Air China First Class Lounge
- DNata Lounge
- Garuda Indoneisa Business Class Lounge
- Premier Lounge
- Singapore Airlines First Class Check-In
- Singapore Airlines Business Class Lounge SIN
- Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge SIN
- Singapore Airlines Private Room SIN
- Abu Dhabi
- Etihad First Class Lounge
- Etihad Business Class Lounge
- Etihad Shave Experience
- British Airways First Class Lounge LHR Terminal 5
- Living Room Azur
- Lufthansa First Class Lounge Frankfurt Terminal A
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.