China Southern Airlines, also shortened to China Southern, is one of the top 10 largest airlines by passengers carried, and it’s also Asia’s largest airline by fleet size, passengers carried, and revenue.
Founded in 1988 in Guangzhou, this airline is known as one of China’s “Big 3” airlines, responsible for some of the meteoric growth of commercial aviation and freight throughout the 21st century.
Formerly a member of the SkyTeam alliance from 2007 to 2018, China Southern has since opted against an alliance-style partnership network and pushed forward with an individual partnership network.
This state-owned Chinese airline has an astonishing fleet size of 609 planes, including cargo planes and of course, the iconic A380 (the only Chinese airline to operate one).
China Southern has a frequent flyer program known as Sky Pearl Club that enables its members to earn and redeem miles seamlessly.
In this guide, we’ll be exploring all the ways to earn China Southern Sky Pearl miles. Let’s get started!
Sign up for a Sky Pearl Club Account
As we mentioned, China Southern’s frequent flyer program that it administers and operates is called Sky Pearl Club. More specifically, the miles you earn are called Sky Pearl miles.
With that being said, the first thing you will need to do if you want to earn China Southern Sky Pearl miles is to create an online account Sky Pearl Club account. To do this, follow these steps:
- Visit China Southern’s U.S. page
- By default, the China Southern Airlines page displayed when you Google it will be in Chinese, so be sure to follow the exact link above to access the English version
- In the top-right corner, click Sign up
- You’ll be redirected to an online form page to join the Sky Pearl Club
- Enter your name, passport number, date of birth, your title, and your contact information
- Click Get Code under Security verification
- Enter the verification code that was either sent to your email or mobile number (email recommended for non-Chinese members)
- Check off the box that says I have read and agreed to the Terms and Conditions of the Sky Pearl Club
- Click Join the membership
- You’ll receive a successful dialog box with your loyalty program number — write it down!
- You’ll receive a separate email with your PIN, which is your login password
Earn Sky Pearl Miles With Credit Cards
Currently, it’s not possible to earn Sky Pearl miles with any U.S.-based credit cards. Sadly, Sky Pearl Club isn’t transfer partners with bank rewards systems like Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards.
Still, China Southern Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world, and it makes sense that it would have quite a few foreign credit cards. Let’s take a look at our options.
Non-U.S.-Based Credit Cards
Although China Southern miles can’t be earned via credit card spending in the U.S., you can earn China Southern miles with many different credit cards in China.
This makes a lot of sense because most Chinese travelers are interested in accumulating miles on China’s largest airline in hopes of getting a free flight!
3 main banks currently offer co-branded credit cards in partnership with China Southern Sky Pearl Club:
- Bank of China China Southern Airlines Platinum MasterCard
- Bank of China China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Credit Card
- Bank of China China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Gold Credit Card
- Bank of China China Southern Airlines Titanium Mastercard
- Bank of China China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Chip Gold Credit Card
- Bank of China China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Chip Platinum Credit Card
- CGB Southern Airlines Platinum Credit Card
- CGB Southern Airlines Sky Pearl Credit Card
- China Merchants Bank China Southern Sky Pearl Credit Card
- China Merchants Bank China Southern Sky Pearl Gold Mastercard
Bottom Line: Each of these credit cards offers different rewards structures, benefits, annual fees, and more. But the good news is that there are 10 China Southern Sky Pearl Club credit cards to choose from!
Other Financial Partners
China Southern Airlines has agreed to accept transfer partnerships with several Chinese banks in the mainland, similar to transfer partnerships like Chase and United Airlines’ MileagePlus.
In total, there are 5 transfer partnerships, and the transfer ratio will vary depending not only on which type of points you have, but ostensibly also which credit card within a particular bank you are holding.
Transfer ratios for the banks specified as “Varies” will undoubtedly be more favorable with a higher annual fee or more premium card, so keep that in mind.
|Sky Pearl Club Foreign Transfer Partner|
|Transfer Ratio||Sky Pearl Club Foreign Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio|
|Bank of China points (BOC)||15,000:500||China Merchant Bank points (CMB)||Varies|
|Bank of Communications points (BoCom)||9,000:500||Shanghai Pudong Development Bank points (SPDB)||Varies|
|China Guangfa Bank points (CGB)||15,000:500|
Earn Miles Through Travel
For U.S.-based travelers, it’s largely impossible to acquire Chinese credit cards if you’re not a permanent resident and/or live in China, so what are our best options?
Well, luckily, U.S.-based earners can begin to accrue China Southern Sky Pearl miles through travel.
Airfare and Airline Purchases
Flying on China Southern Airlines is perhaps the most logical way for you to earn Sky Pearl miles, considering the miles are with the same company you’re flying with.
In addition to earning miles flying on China Southern Airlines, you’d earn elite qualifying miles and elite qualifying segments towards elite status. You’ll earn these same miles and segments on Chongqing Airlines, a majority-owned subsidiary of China Southern Airlines.
However, you’ll want to note that you earn award miles based on the distance in kilometers, not miles.
Additionally, you will earn a minimum of 500 miles for every flight, even if your flight is less than 500 kilometers in distance.
Here’s the chart breaking down how many miles you’d earn on a China Southern or Chongqing Airlines plane ticket:
|Sky Pearl Miles Accrual Chart for China Southern- or Chongqing Airlines-Operated Flights|
|Fare Group||Fare Class||Accrual Rate||Elite Qualifying Miles||Elite Qualifying Segments|
|Premium Economy Class||W||125%||125%||1.5|
Hot Tip: It might be confusing to try to interpret this chart and try to figure out how many miles you’d earn. Luckily, Sky Pearl Club offers a mileage accrual calculator to help you figure out how many miles you’d earn on your exact route!
A few exceptions, however: routes between Guangzhou (CAN) and Singapore (SIN), Kuala Lumpur (KUL), and Bangkok (BKK) in the T/N/R fare classes will not earn any miles at all.
Also, any group tickets, redemption tickets, tourism or special discount tickets, free tickets, special flights, or charter flights, or any tickets booked in the F, I, O, S, Z, X, and G fare classes are ineligible for mileage accrual.
If you don’t have access to the mileage accrual calculator, follow along with an example ticket. Let’s assume that you are flying on a nonstop, one-way, K-class economy flight from New York City (JFK) to Guangzhou (CAN) on China Southern Airlines.
Since the flight distance is approximately 12,878 kilometers, you’d earn 75% of the distance in award miles, equal to 9,659 redeemable Sky Club miles for this flight.
Crediting Partner Airlines to Sky Pearl Club
If you find it impractical to fly on China Southern Airlines or Chongqing Airlines to earn China Southern miles, you need not worry because you can accrue China Southern miles without having to actually fly with the Chinese airline.
Although China Southern used to be in the SkyTeam alliance, it’s no longer a member of SkyTeam. China Southern wished to partner with different airlines to enhance global connectivity, and SkyTeam wasn’t able to facilitate this more open cooperation.
Luckily, China Southern is still partners with many SkyTeam carriers, and now it can maintain individual partnerships with non-SkyTeam airlines with a greater degree of freedom.
You will need to provide your Sky Pearl Club number when booking any partner airline flight. Alternatively, you can quote your frequent flyer number when you check into your flight at the airport.
You can also claim miles within 6 months of completion of an eligible flight. You can refer to this partner earning chart to learn about the accrual structure:
|Airline||Cabin Class||Fare Class||Mileage Accrual Structure||Elite Segment Accrual Structure|
|Aeroflot||Business Class||J, C, D||130%||2|
|Business Class||I, Z||100%||1|
|Premium Economy Class||W, S, A||110%||1|
|Economy Class||Y, B||100%||1|
|Economy Class||M, U, K, H, L||40%||0|
|Aerolíneas Argentinas||Business Class||J, C, D, I||125%||2|
|Premium Economy Class||W, S||125%||1|
|Economy – Full Flex||Y, B, M||100%||1|
|Economy – Econo||U, K, H, L, Q||100%||1|
|Economy – Promo||T, E, N, V, A, R, G||50%||0|
|Air Europa||Business Class||J, C, D||150%||2|
|Economy Class||Y, B, M, L, E, K, V, H||100%||1|
|Discount Economy Class||S, R, U, T, Q||40%||0|
|Air France||First Class||F, P||150%||2|
|Business Class||J, C, D, I||130%||1|
|Premium Economy Class (long-haul only)||W, S||110%||1|
|Premium Economy Class (long-haul only)||A||100%||1|
|Economy||Y, B, M||100%||1|
|Discount Economy||K, H, L, Q||40%||0|
|Discount Economy||T, E, N, R, G, V||20%||0|
|Alitalia||Business Class||J, C D E||150%||2|
|Premium Economy Class||P||120%||1|
|Premium Economy Class||A||110%||1|
|Economy Class||Y, B, M, H, K, V, T||100%||1|
|Economy Class||N, S, Q, X||40%||0|
|Discounted Economy Class||O, L, W||25%||0|
|American Airlines||First||F, A||150%||2|
|Business||J, D, R, I||150%||1|
|Premium Economy Class||W||110%||1|
|Premium Economy Class||P||100%||1|
|Economy Class||Y, H, K, L, M||100%||1|
|Economy Class||V, G||50%||0|
|Economy Class||N, S, Q, O||25%||0|
|China Airlines/Mandarin Airlines||Business Class||J||130%||2|
|Premium Economy Class||W, U||115%||1|
|Premium Economy Class||A, E||100%||1|
|Economy Class||Y, B, M||100%||1|
|Economy Class||K, V, T||80%||0|
|Economy Class||R, Q, H, N||50%||0|
|Czech Airlines||Business Class||J, C, D||130%||2|
|Economy Class||Y, M, B, H, K, T||100%||1|
|Economy Class||G, L, X, Q, U, A||50%||0|
|Delta Air Lines||First Class||F||150%||1|
|First Class||J, C, D, I||130%||1|
|Business Class||W, S||100%||1|
|Premium Economy Class||Y, B, M||100%||1|
|Premium Economy Class||H||75%||0|
|Premium Economy Class||Q, K||40%||0|
|Economy Class||L, U, T, X, V||25%||0|
|KLM||Business Class||C, D, I, J||130%||1|
|Economy Class||Y, B, M||100%||1|
|Discounted Economy Class||P, F, K, W, H, S, L, A, Q||40%||0|
|Discounted Economy Class||T, E, N, R, G, V||20%||0|
|Korean Air||First Class||P, F||150%||2|
|Business Class||J, C, D, I, R||130%||2|
|Economy Class||Z, Y, B, M, S, W||100%||1|
|Middle East Airlines||Business Class||J, C, D, I||130%||2|
|Economy Class||B, M, U, K||120%||1|
|Economy Class||H, L, Q, T||40%||0|
|Economy Class||N, R, V||25%||0|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines||First Class||F, P, A||150%||2|
|Business Class||J, D, C||130%||2|
|Economy Class||Y, E, M, B, H||100%||1|
|Economy Class||K, Q, L, V, N, T||40%||0|
|Sichuan Airlines||Business Class||C||150%||0|
|Business Class||I, J||130%||0|
|Economy Class||A, P, Y, T, H||100%||0|
|Economy Class||G, S, L, E||40%||0|
|Vietnam Airlines||Business Class||J, C, D, I||130%||2|
|Premium Economy||W, Z, U||110%||1|
|Economy Class||Y, M, S, B||100%||1|
|Economy Class||H, K, L||65%||0|
|Economy Class||N, R||25%||0|
|Business Class||C, D||130%||1|
|Economy Class||Y, H, B, M, L||100%||1|
|Economy Class||K, N, Q, V||40%||0|
|Economy Class||T, R||10%||0|
So, let’s do an example accrual exercise! If you flew on a one-way Delta Air Lines business class ticket in P class from Seattle (SEA) to Paris (CDG), you’d be flying a total distance of 8,072 kilometers. With a multiplier of 130%, you’d therefore earn around 10,494 China Southern miles.
China Southern may change its accrual structure from time to time, so be sure to check directly with China Airlines for its mileage accrual policy.
Use Elite Status to Earn More Miles
If you happen to have access to China Southern Sky Pearl elite status, you can earn a mileage bonus of up to 50%. China Southern’s elite status is called Sky Pearl Club, and you will earn bonus miles based on your current status:
- Sky Pearl Club Classic — 0%
- Sky Pearl Club Silver — 15%
- Sky Pearl Club Gold — 30%
- Sky Pearl Club Platinum — 50%
Although your elite bonus only counts towards redeemable miles and not towards elite qualifying miles or segments, you will earn your elite bonus on all partner flights.
Our very last method to earn lots of China Southern Sky Pearl miles is to leverage China Southern’s select hotel partners.
In this case, China Southern leverages close partnerships with different hotel chains, in addition to its own set of hotels (Southern Airlines Pearl Hotels).
Currently, China Southern partners with these hotel chains:
|China Southern Partner||Mileage Accrual Structure||China Southern Partner||Mileage Accrual Structure|
|LN International Hospitality Co. Ltd.||Can convert at a 300:100 ratio||Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts||Up to 800 miles per stay|
Can also convert at a ratio of 1:1.6 (2,500 GC Award points minimum)
|Minor Hotels||1,000 miles per stay|
Can also convert Anantara Vacation Club points at a 1:3.5 ratio (1,000-point minimum)
|Southern Airlines Pearl Hotels||Varies|
With Southern Airlines Pearl Hotels, your accrual structure is depending on how much your total spend is:
|Total spend (RMB)||Sky Pearl Miles Earned|
|200-399 RMB (~$29-$58)||100|
|400-499 RMB (~$59-$73)||200|
|500-599 RMB (~$73-$88)||300|
|600-699 RMB (~$88-$102)||400|
|700-799 RMB (~$103-$117)||500|
|800-899 RMB (~$117-$132)||600|
|900-999 RMB (~$132-$146)||700|
|1,000+ RMB (~$147+)||800|
To earn Sky Pearl miles, you should just present your Sky Pearl Club membership card upon check-in at any participating property. You can also just enter your Sky Pearl Club membership number when you make your reservation.
Remember that you will only earn 1 type of points or miles — you can’t earn the hotel’s points and the airline’s miles with 1 stay.
Additionally, an eligible stay is based on 1 or more consecutive nights of lodging. Checking in at the same hotel after a check-out on the same day is not considered as 2 stays.
It may take 6 to 8 weeks for the miles to be credited to your account.
Sky Pearl Club from China Southern is one of the more interesting frequent flyer programs.
China Southern Airlines itself is a fascinating airline — it is the only Chinese airline flying the iconic A380, it’s the largest airline in Asia, and it was formerly in the SkyTeam alliance.
Although the loyalty program is still growing and being developed, there are still quite a few ways to accumulate Sky Pearl miles.
Whether it’s signing up for Chinese credit cards, transferring points from Chinese points programs, or butt-in-seat flying, there are a handful of great ways to begin amassing China Southern miles.
Now you know all the best ways to accumulate China Southern Airlines Sky Pearl miles! Now it’s time to redeem those miles for maximum value.