The primary way earn Air China PhoenixMiles without flying is to earn transferable credit card points from Marriott Bonvoy. Before you transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to Air China, it’s important to keep in mind that this doesn’t result in good value.
The reason is because you’ll be transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to Air China in kilometers and not miles like you’ll find with most Marriott to airline transfers. 1 kilometer is equal to approximately 0.62 miles. With that transfer ratio, you are losing more than 30% of the value of your Marriott Bonvoy points, without taking into account the Marriott Bonvoy transfer bonus we will discuss further into this article.
Air China has a number of co-branded credit cards offered by ICBC, however, the bank does not offer a credit card for the U.S. market. For this reason, Marriott Bonvoy personal and business credits are one of the only ways for U.S. travelers to to earn points that can then be transferred to Air China.
Air China ICBC Credit Cards
For residents of China, Air China lists 25 different co-branded credit cards on its ICBC bank partner’s website.
None of these ICBC credit cards offer a welcome bonus. It will be challenging to earn PhoenixMiles with your credit card spend.
Instead, we recommend focusing on the Marriott Bonvoy program. The reason is because Marriott Bonvoy currently has personal and business credit cards that come with sizeable welcome bonus points offers.
Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards
Marriott Bonvoy is the only hotel loyalty program where members earn points that can be transferred to airlines to book an award flight. Marriott Bonvoy has 40+ airline transfer partners in all, more than double the number of airline partners that you’ll find in the Amex, Capital One, Chase, and Citi transferable point programs.
While Marriott Bonoy has a one-up on its hotel competitors by having airline transfer partners, the time it takes for the points to leave your Marriott Bonvoy account and show up in your airline loyalty account is not the same.
In the case of Air China, it will take at least 5 days to transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points into your Air China PhoenixMiles account. Not all airline partners take this long so keep this mind before transfer your Marriott Bonvoy to the airline.
One benefit of the Marriott Bonvoy program is the bonus structure.
For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that are transferred to an airline partner, you’ll receive a 5,000-point bonus in the form of airline miles. When transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to Air China, the transfer will be different due to the kilometer to mile conversion.
The Marriott Bonvoy to Air China airline transfer ratio is 3:1, so 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points become 25,000 PhoenixMiles (kilometers) with the 5,000-point bonus (60,000 / 3 = 20,000 + 5,000 = 25,000). 25,000 kilometers is equal to approximately 15,534 miles.
Other Hotel Partner Credit Cards
For non-Marriott Bonvoy members, you may be interested in transferring your points from its other hotel partner, World of Hyatt.
Unfortunately, this hotel loyalty program has an even worse transfer ratio as the one listed above through Marriott Bonvoy. This means that when transferring hotel points into airline miles, you won’t be getting as many miles as you could with other programs or other transfer avenues.
We only recommend transferring Hyatt points to Air China if you’re topping off your PhoenixMiles account for an award flight. Otherwise, you’ll be better off using your World of Hyatt points in other ways.