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Taipei-based Star Alliance airline EVA Air is a mileage transfer partner of both Citibank and Capital One, and they don’t get nearly the attention they deserve from frequent flyers. Points take 24-48 hours (though I’ve seen some references to 72 hours for Citi transfers).
- Citi Premier℠ Card initial bonus is 50,000 points after $4000 spend within your first 3 months of cardmembership. The card’s $95 annual fee is waived for the first 12 months. It earns three points on travel including gas stations and two points on restaurants and entertainment.
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. There’s a $0 annual fee the first year; $95 after that.
There’s nothing cooler in aviation, in my humble opinion, than Star Alliance member EVA Air’s Hello Kitty jets where all the details of the flight are Hello Kitty-themed… right down to the toilet paper.
EVA Air Shining Star Boeing 777-300ER
And there are very few business class products in the world that exceed’s Taipei-based EVA Air’s Royal Laurel Class. I consider it a top 5 business class experience.
EVA Air Royal Laurel Class
Flying business class between the US and Asia on EVA Air costs a reasonable 75,000 or 80,000 miles each way depending on the US gateway used. One real hidden gem is that they charge just 25,000 miles each way for business class intra-Asia awards.
They also offer Star Alliance round-the-the world awards
- Economy: 180,000 EVA Air miles
- Business: 325,000 EVA Air miles
- First: 480,000 EVA Air miles
A maximum of 10 segments and 7 stopovers are permitted. Travel must be in a single direction, and take a minimum of 10 days.
And a real treat for Gold elite members or higher is the option to use miles for time in a flight simulator.
Travel is Free spent the time to construct full award charts for EVA Air and digging into his data reveals a couple of additional good redemption options as well.
- US-Europe Star Alliance awards in business class is 65,000 miles each way, 85,000 miles in first class
- US-Mideast Star Alliance awards in business class is 67,000 miles each way
Drew also points out key EVA award routing rules:
- Two stopovers permitted on a roundtrip award – one in each direction – although stopovers must be in countries other than the one where you start your trip and the country of your destination. (No stopovers on a one way award.)
- Maximum of 6 segments per roundtrip award (3 segments per one way award).
- Open jaw permitted on a roundtrip award, must be in the same region as either the origin or destination.
I’d add that changes to date and flight up to three days in advance of travel are free while additional changes and also cancel/mileage redeposit cost $50. Swiss first class and Singapore Suites redemptions are not permitted.
At the risk of burying the lede I’ve found greater award availability on EVA Air booking via the airline’s own Infinity MileageLands program than through Star Alliance programs. And while many people skip over the program because they add fuel surcharges to partner award tickets you don’t need to get excised about fuel surcharges for awards on EVA’s own flights.
In any case, EVA Air’s paid fares barely carry fuel surcharges, currently $43 Los Angeles – Taipei and $56 Los Angeles – Taipei – Bangkok.
Their North American gateways are Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York JFK, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver. And flying EVA is perfectly for continuing on to Bangkok, Bali, Cebu, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Phnom Penh, Singapore and Chiang Mai — as well as destinations in Mainland China, Japan, and South Korean — and they even serve Brisbane in Australia.
Good availability in business class to Asia from 75,000 miles one way without significant add-on fees is worth paying attention to.