This may have been covered elsewhere, but it’s worth noting that China has introduced a 72-hour visa free stay policy for citizens of 45 countries (US included) who have a continuing airline ticket onto a 3rd country. In other words, you can stay in China for 3 days as long as you have a scheduled flight to another country.
This makes China a much easier stopover point for anyone traveling to Asia, which is great news for anyone looking to book an award ticket to Asia (more options is always a good thing).
Along these lines, beginning in July Air China is launching 4X weekly nonstop service between Houston and Beijing (every time I see the PEK airport code I almost write Peking, but that just shows how old I am). Combining this with the short visa-free stay, Star Alliance loyalists will be happy to see a whole bunch of new options not only to get to China (by connecting on United in Houston to the new Air China flight), but to continue on to Southeast Asia.
Air China 996 IAH 0130 – 0500+1 PEK 77W x246
Air China 995 PEK 1500 – 1540 IAH 77W x135