China Southern is one of China’s “Big Three” airlines and the world’s sixth-largest airline by number of passengers carried. The Guangzhou-based carrier does not belong to an airline alliance and serves more than 193 destinations worldwide, including Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.
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Sky Pearl Club is the airline’s frequent flyer program. As a member, you’ll earn kilometers for every flight with China Southern and any of its partners, which you can later redeem for flights as well as upgrades. We’ll get into all the best ways to earn and burn Sky Pearl Club Kilometers below.
|Airline Alliance||None (formerly SkyTeam)|
|U.S. Destinations||Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco|
|U.S. Credit Cards||None for U.S. residents|
|Redemption Options||Flights, upgrades|
Sky Pearl Club Elite Status
When you sign up for Sky Pearl Club, you automatically get Base status. Above that are two elite statuses: Silver and Gold. To move up tiers, you must collect a certain amount of Elite Qualifying Kilometers or Elite Qualifying Segments within one calendar year.
Once you unlock an elite tier, you have that status until the end of the following calendar year, and you’ll enjoy the following benefits:
|Premium check-in counter||–||Yes||Yes|
|Priority standby & upgrade||–||Yes||Yes|
|Extra baggage allowance||–||10kg||20kg|
|VIP lounge access||–||Yes + 1||Yes + 1|
Earning Sky Pearl Club Kilometers
Compared to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Delta SkyMiles and other frequent flyer programs based in the United States, earning Sky Pearl Kilometers is not an easy task for Americans. Especially since China Southern does not have any credit card or hotel transfer partners, like American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.
In fact, the easiest way for Americans to earn Sky Pearl Kilometers is to fly with China Southern and the following partner airlines:
To find out exactly how many kilometers you earned for a particular flight, use the accrual calculator. You can also earn Sky Pearl Kilometers by staying with select hotels:
- LN International Hospitality Co.
- Minor Hotels
- Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
- Southern Airlines Pearl Hotels
There are more opportunities to earn Sky Pearl Kilometers, but they’re not as relevant to those living in the United States.
Redeeming Sky Pearl Kilometers
Most Sky Pearl Club members use their kilometers for award flights with China Southern and their partner airlines. You can also trade in your Sky Pearl Kilometers for upgrades on China Southern and Sichuan Airlines flights.
There are more ways to burn Sky Pearl Kilometers, but they’re not as useful to United States residents.
Sky Pearl Kilometers Expiration
Sky Pearl Club Kilometers are valid for two calendar years. If your total mileage after two calendar years does not reach 20,000 kilometers, the mileage you accumulated in the first calendar year will be reduced by half.
Sky Pearl Club Tips & Tricks
What to love. The following are things you should take advantage of as a Sky Pearl Club member:
- You get a free hotel night if you’re traveling on a China Southern flight with an 8+ hour layover in Guangzhou, Shenzhen or Wuhan. That includes award flights!
- China Southern charges relatively low change fees ($16 to $32).
- One-way award flights are available.
- Open jaws are allowed on partner flights.
What not to love. The following are things you should keep in mind as a Sky Pearl Club member:
- No stopovers are allowed.
- Fuel surcharges for most partner airlines.
- You are only allowed to change date and time of your ticket.
- All other changes will result in ticket cancellation and rebooking.
- Infants and children are charged the same redemption price as adults.
- Only China Southern awards are bookable online.
Best value awards. Use your kilometers for the awards below if you want the best value:
- One-way flights within China start at just 6,000 kilometers with no fuel surcharges.
- Roundtrip flights between mainland United States and Hawaii for 60,000 kilometers (or about 37,500 miles).
- Roundtrip flights within Russia start at just 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) in Economy.
Sky Pearl Club doesn’t have a whole lot of ways to earn and burn kilometers. We suggest joining the China Southern loyalty program only if you frequently travel within or to China. If that’s not you, you’ll want to consider another frequent flyer program.
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