All airline mileage plans are complex. The new PhoenixMiles system which is being introduced by Air China is simpler than normal but is still not totally straighforward.
Members can get up to 50% off the mileage they usually have to pay for award travel on the carrier’s 20 domestic and international routes. Notice that this is not all encompassing. It is specific routes which have the big markdowns.
For example, for Guangzhou-Beijing, the mileage fare of 15,000km is brought down to 7,500km; for CA1947 Shanghai-Chengdu, the mileage fare of 18,000km is brought down to 9,000km. For Beijing-Seoul service, the discount is 40% off: 30,000km is brought down to 18,000km.
eTurbo News carefully points out that there are rules. Any award ticket is not endorsable, refundable or re-routable which is a pretty standard among all airlines.