Maximizing Travel Benefits: A Comprehensive Review of Delta SkyMiles Amex Gold & China Eastern Airlines Experience (SkyPriority, Dec 2023)

I sensed a series of trips to China coming up and decided to sign up for the Delta SkyMiles American Express® Gold Card, which offers SkyTeam Elite Plus status in the first year just for joining. Interestingly, my first business trip ended up being with JAL due to schedule and pricing, but now I finally got the chance to leverage this card. This time, I want to share about the perks I experienced flying from Narita to Shanghai with China Eastern Airlines, utilizing the Delta‘s Gold Medallion = SkyTeam Elite Plus benefits. Please note, the specifics of the perks can vary depending on the flight and operations of the day.

Is Shanghai Airlines Part of SkyTeam Alliance? Flight Experience from Tokyo to Shanghai (Feb 2024)

This time, I took a flight with Shanghai Airlines (FM) from Haneda, an airport located in Tokyo, to Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG). There wasn’t much information available about using SkyTeam’s SkyPriority, so I thought I’d share my experience. The flight I took was FM896, operated by Shanghai Airlines but ticketed through China Eastern Airlines (MU8634). It seems this flight also has a codeshare with JAL (JL8261).

Balancing Business Travel and Healthy Living in Shanghai

Last night, I was able to return to my hotel relatively early compared to my previous business trips to China. During my last trip, I gained a significant amount of weight, to the point where I ran out of clothes to wear and had to buy a new suit locally—a foolish mistake I regret. So, this time, I am reflecting on the need to be more cautious, especially as the number of Japanese business travelers increases towards the latter part of the trip. Creating a rhythm in the early stages feels crucial to success. Since I returned early yesterday, I had some time to relax at the hotel before considering going out for dinner. However, I ended up searching for “light meals” on a delivery app called 「美团」(Meiduan, I think) that I found before departing Japan. Eating in Shanghai is relatively familiar to Japanese people, and it’s hard not to indulge. As you might guess when thinking of Chinese cuisine, there’s a plethora of carbohydrate-rich menus, and almost 100% of them are inextricably linked with oil, leading to a diet high in carbs and fats. Lunches, which are usually just convenience store salads or whole grain rice balls, become a valuable time to interact with local staff, so I end up consuming more calories. Dinners, shared with other Japanese colleagues for exchanging information, also tend to exceed my calorie limit, as was the case last time. For dinner this time, I ordered the dish shown in the photo, 「西冷牛排紫薯杂粮谷物碗」(Xīlěng niúpái zǐshǔ zálǐang gǔwù wǎn, meaning “Sirloin steak with purple sweet potato and mixed grain bowl”). It was delicious. The price was around CNY50, or about USD7, so it was very healthy to my wallet too! Besides dinner, I also managed to resist temptations for breakfast and lunch yesterday, keeping my calorie intake quite low. I hope to continue managing my calorie balance in the days to come. In addition to calorie management, I also accomplished tasks that are usually challenging to start: strength training, two types of studies, and output—which are part of this year’s goals. In that sense, it was a highly satisfying day. However, the main purpose of the business trip still poses uncertainties, so I need to keep up on the business side too!