85% Discount on Awards from Beijing to JFK/LAX/YVR/FRA??

Could it just be a typo? On the page for Air China’s latest Phoenix Miles promotion, they state the following:

Passengers flying in Q Class or above from Beijing to Dusseldorf, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Singapore, Hong Kong or Seoul on Air China qualify for 30% mileage bonus. Valid from May 1 to June 30, 2013. This arrangement will make you earn Air China mileage faster, and the mileage can be used to request award domestic travel on Air China and goods at Air China’s e-shop. Also, during the same period, PhoenixMiles members who use their accrued mileage to request award travel in Economy Class, Business Class and First Class on Air China from Beijing to Frankfurt, New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Singapore qualify for 85% discount in the mileage to be paid. Register on Air China’s PhoenixMiles website to benefit.

Now, could it possibly be a poor translation and they actually intended to say that you only have to pay 85% of the normal award amount (a 15% discount)? Who knows, but if we take them at their word, an 85% discount would require just 9,000 Phoenix Miles for economy, 15,000 Phoenix Miles for business, and only 21,750 Phoenix Miles for first. I haven’t yet had a chance today to experiment (hopefully during a late lunch), but please do report your results in the comments section!

Note that Air China is an SPG 1:1 transfer partner.

UPDATE – As expected, the offer was of course too good to be true. Turns out that this is a common way of advertising a (15%) discount.

Huge HT to Frequent Flyer Bonuses

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  1. Not a typo but a poor translation. In Chinese, 85% discount means 15% off. If you walk around Beijing, you see a lot of “95% discount” “90% discount” signs outside of store.

    When I first came to the state, I thought 20% off means “20% discount”. Of course I learned from that mistake quickly.

  2. Could be a bad translation. In Chinese, a direct translation of “85% discount” means paying 85% of the original price, not just 15% (though that would really be quite cool).

  3. I just flew business class Air China yesterday from Sanya to Shanghai. Unbelievably good and attentive service, large comfy seats and the best meal I’ve ever had. Highly recommended.

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