How to redeem United miles for travel on EVA Airways

Here’s a quick trivia question — if you’re redeeming United MileagePlus miles, which airline offers the best business class hard product to Asia? The answer might surprise many of you, but on select flights it’s EVA Airways, the carrier based in Taipei, Taiwan.

A vast majority of people don’t even realize that United partners with EVA. They’re expected to join the Star Alliance in 2013, though for a long time have had a reciprocal mileage agreement with United.

Why’s their business class so great? Well, many of their 777-300ER aircraft feature the new Royal Laurel Class, which is a very similar hard product to Cathay Pacific’s new business class, which I flew from Bangkok to Hong Kong just a few weeks ago.


Cathay Pacific’s new business class

Here’s a video of EVA’s Royal Laurel Class:

With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about redeeming MileagePlus miles on EVA.

EVA’s route network and new business class

EVA’s destinations in North America include Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver. They also offer connecting service from there to all over Asia.


EVA’s destinations in North America (via gcmap.com)

Presently EVA’s routes to New York and Los Angeles feature the new Royal Laurel Class. Always be sure to check the seatmap before making a booking, to ensure it looks like this:

You want to make sure the seatmap doesn’t look like the one below, or else you’ll be flying their old product, which isn’t so great:

Searching EVA award space

Now, you could call United to ask about award space, though as I’ll cover below, that’ll be a pain and I don’t recommend it, since a majority of United agents don’t even realize that EVA is one of their partners. Do the research on your own first.

The first step is to sign up for an Evergreen Club membership, which is free and can be done here. Once you have a membership and are logged into your account, click on “Evergreen Club” along the top menu, and then click on “Redeeming a Ticket Award.”

On the next page click “Redeeming Online.”

On the next page enter your origin, destination, class of service, and desired date(s). Two important things to note here. First of all, don’t check the box by “Open Date,” because that only complicates things and doesn’t make the search any easier. Second of all, if one person is traveling you want to keep the box by “Adult” at zero. That’s just asking if there are any additional passengers.

After you execute the search you’ll be brought to a results page which lists the flights operating that day. Unfortunately you have to specifically choose which flight you want. I’m warning you right now, the search functionality is only getting less user friendly from here. This thing makes tax code look straightforward, so you’ve been warned.

Once you’ve chosen the flight date you’ll be brought to a page which either shows the flight as being available, or has a prompt that pops up and says the flight will be waitlisted. If the prompt shows up saying the flight will be waitlisted you won’t be able to redeem miles for it. If you see availability at the saver level, you should be able to redeem miles for it. The issue is what a pain-in-the-rear the search functionality is. If your date isn’t available it involves a lot of clicking to search days around it.

Booking the ticket

Once you’ve figured out which flights have award availability you can call United to book. It’s important to note that EVA uses different fare codes for their award space than United’s other partners do. For travel on EVA, “I” class is coach award space, and “D” class is business class award space. It’s very important to mention this to the agent, as for most of United’s other partner airlines, “X” class is coach award space, and “I” class is business class award space.

Award tickets on EVA cost the same number of miles as any of United’s other partner airlines, and you can even combine EVA with United or other partner carriers on a single award ticket. As is the case with award redemptions for travel on all of United’s partner airlines, there are no fuel surcharges.

Other awesome things

EVA has a “Hello Kitty” jet with a dedicated website. How cool is that?

Conclusion

EVA can be a useful partner to know about for a couple of reasons. First of all, EVA has an excellent new business class, so if you can find space it’s an option that’s tough to beat. That being said, award availability is extremely limited for their new business class. That being said, award availability is quite good on their old product, so if there are no other options available it’s definitely worth considering. Knowing your options is good, and EVA is one of them.

Questions/comments?

(Tip of the hat to Pablo)

Comments

  1. says

    I would caution that my experience in Premium Laurel (old hard product) left a lot to be desired – the food and beverage offering is dire.

  2. FlyingDoctorWu says

    I haven’t flown their Royal Laurel service but do note that they are one of the few airlines offering Dom Perignon in business class.

  3. aussie says

    I think the it’s supposed to say “excellent business class”, not “excellent business class award space”…

    First of all, EVA has an excellent new business class award space, so if you can find space it’s an option that’s tough to beat. That being said, award availability is extremely limited for their new business class.”

  4. elton says

    I am handling EVA award seats everyday which is like nightmare for me all the time… very difficult to get… and I don’t consider their service is good according to my experiences. Maybe I am from Asia, I hope their can be like other Asian airlines such as ANA ! Their crew is not very experienced, also they need more training.
    Even their call center didn’t know their seat arrangement for new business, keep claiming 2-2 not 1-2-1! Hardware is good and new but software, hmmmmm another story.

  5. elton says

    By the way, EVA doesn’t have first class which is like Turkish airlines and new business class is on the flight to NEW YORK regularly and certain flight to LAX, so Don’t expect all the flight to US/CANADA providing the new business service.

  6. CCHuang says

    “you can even combine EVA with United or other partner carriers on a single award ticket”
    Is this statement for sure?

  7. thad says

    Umm, best hard product to Asia? I don’t think so. Why couldn’t you think of ANA’s new staggered business class seat. Or how about Asiana’s new quadra smartium seat?

    Those are 2 that will beat EVA’s seat hands down. Also, the new business class seat on Thai’s A380 is not bad also.

  8. lucky says

    @ thad — Sorry, maybe I’m missing something, but you’re claiming the ANA/Thai staggered seats between the Cathay Pacific/US Airways suite “hands down?” I happen to think the suite on the latter is far superior in terms of privacy and personal space.

  9. says

    In addition, I don’t know if it’s still the case, but for the past few months, almost no agents at the regular award desk knew that EVA was a partner, let alone how to book EVA awards. However, I’ve found that the Alliance Desk seems to be very familiar with how to search for EVA availability. Call them at 877-726-7282 and select Option 3 (Around the World awards). If you don’t select Option 3, your call may get routed to the regular award desk.

    In addition, United still requires a 24-hour hold on EVA awards. You will need to call back in 24 hours to reconfirm. However, if the EVA website is already showing up as confirmed (get the EVA booking code from United), you could possibly call back earlier to reconfirm.

  10. Gene says

    FYI, I had a flight show as D4, added the segments to the PNR (2 pax), waited for EVA to confirm, and they came about 45 minutes later as waitlisted, so YMMV.

    If you are replacing segs in an existing PNR, be sure to keep them in until the BR inventory confirms. For my dates it appears they will only confirm one seat at a time.

  11. says

    Thanks for writing this up, Ben. Awards-booking tutorials are always super-useful. Airline booking websites can look cumbersome at times.

    Good catch on putting zero adults for other travelers. Anyone rushing through the process would have selected “1″ adult then wonder why the number of miles required went up.

  12. tyo_flyer says

    How do you search for more than one seat? When I tried doing an award search from my evergreen account a few weeks ago, it asked for an evergreen account number for each additional traveler. Was I doing something wrong or is that really necessary? Seems like a big hassle…

  13. lucky says

    @ tyo_flyer — It’s cumbersome. You have to sign the additional passenger up for an account and then search for the extra seat by also entering their account number.

  14. William says

    So it’s not possible to book EVA with US air miles until they officially join *A? Do you have any idea when in 2013 that might happen?

  15. lucky says

    @ William — Correct, you can’t use US Airways miles for them till they join Star, though they haven’t yet announced when in 2013 that will be.

  16. Thomas says

    GOLDEN! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’ve noticed the partnership on EVA’s site for awhile now and never could figure out how to book through United! Much appreciated for this! One question and I’m pretty sure the answer is no but I’ll throw it out anyways: are we able to combine our EVA points along side United points to book an award? For example, 25k EVA points + 50K united to book an award?

  17. Alan Mel says

    I’ve yet to find any date offers more than 1 award space available in Premium Laurel between tpe and jfk.

  18. RestlessLocationSyndrome says

    @Lucky,

    Thanks for the tutorial. One note, it appears that the seat we want is the Royal Laurel Class but even in your screenshot above, it says Premium Laurel Class which is the old product.

    Are you saying that the seat map is the only way to confirm that you are getting the new product (i.e. there is an IT issue) or can you go by the description?

    As a note: I looked in April and the seat map and description show Premium Laurel for LAX-TPE but their website states that all NYC-TPE should be Royal Laurel and all LAX-TPE should be Roayl Laurel by end of Nov.

  19. lucky says

    @ RestlessLocationSyndrome — Any plane in the 1-2-1 configuration is the new product. Sorry if my terminology was off.

    @ mark — They fly New York to Taipei, with connecting service to Hong Kong.

  20. Kate says

    Thank you so much for the info! EVA wasn’t shown on United redemption website. But we were able to book the flight with EVA by calling United alliance desk – thanks to glu800!

  21. lucky says

    @ Kat — That’s the old seatmap, though sometimes EVA’s website displays the incorrect seatmap. I believe by next May all the LAX service should be operated by the new product.

  22. Kat says

    Thanks, Lucky. When the search results show up, it usually shows 2-3 flights per day. Some flights have “B777″ under “aircraft type” and some have “77N.” Does that make any difference? The seatmap is the same no matter which flight I pick.

  23. lucky says

    @ Kat — 77N should be the new product, while 777 should be the old product. You’ll still want to check the actual seatmap for the flight, though.

  24. kulfan says

    Thanks, Lucky. This post has been extremely informative, and has been helpful in booking a couple of Eva awards. However, I’m currently encountering a slight issue:

    I’m trying to book an LAX-TPE award. I’ve been checking on this flight’s availability for a couple days, and each time I’ve got the “waiting list” popup error. I checked today, and the error didn’t pop up – I got to the next page, for redeeming the award. I just called UA, however, and two separate agents see neither I nor D class available.

    Is there a lag between the time that the award availability shows up on the Eva website and the time that UA gets access to it, or is there some award space that is available only to Evergreen club members?

  25. lucky says

    @ kulfan — Hmmm, haven’t had any experience with that, unfortunately. I’d suggest trying a different browser to be sure you get the same results, and then maybe give it a day or so. United should see the space instantly, but I guess you never know…

  26. kulfan says

    @lucky – Thanks for the response.

    I just called United again and they don’t see availability, 24 hours later, but Eva does still show it as redeemable. I’m looking for a seat on BR1 LAX-TPE in D class on the 23rd. Quite strange.

  27. SITM says

    I’m having the same problem as kulfan (Eva website shows avail, but United doesn’t have it). What’s even worse for me is that United shows availability (even if Eva doesn’t), but after ticketing it, the ticket gets cancelled by Eva within 10 minutes. This has already happened a few times to me and it seems like a completely crap shoot as to what the “real” availability is. VERY ANNOYING….

  28. Sean says

    EVA’s Royal Laurel Class is a great product! Just flew with EVA on JFK-TPE-PVG-TPE-JFK two weeks ago. The flight between New York and Taipei was served with Royal Laurel Class and Taipei to Shanghai was (regular)Laural Class. The new Royal Laurel cabin is the same as Cathay Pacific’s award winning business class. The service and food is amazing. I will say food of EVA is better as you could order food in advanced. The newly renovated lounge at Taipei Tayuan Airport is comfortable and spacious. I saw the adorable Hello Kitty Jet. The local travel agent said the ticket is very hard to get due to high demand. There is also a Hello Kitty play ground near the gate- very cut and well maintained. I guess it would be helpful for those passengers with kids. The regular Laurel cabin between Taipei and Shanghai is a product similar to Air Lingus’s business class. It’s not flat bed but comfortable enough for the shorter flight. And to be frank, it is still way much superior than most of U.S carrier’s business or even the first class. My only complaint is the PA is usually very long as FA had to address in four languages- Taiwanese,English,Mandarin and Japanese. Overall, a very good experience and will use it again.

  29. Sean says

    EVA’s Royal Laurel Class is a great product! Just flew with EVA on JFK-TPE-PVG-TPE-JFK two weeks ago. The flight between New York and Taipei was served with Royal Laurel Class and Taipei to Shanghai was (regular)Laural Class. The new Royal Laurel cabin is the same as Cathay Pacific’s award winning business class. The service and food is amazing. I will say food of BR is better than CX as you could order meal on line in advanced. The newly renovated lounge at Taipei Tayuan Airport is comfortable and spacious. I also saw a couple Hello Kitty jets which are damn cut!The local travel agent said the ticket is very hard to get due to high demands. There is also a Hello Kitty play ground near the gate at Taipei Airport- very cut and well maintained. I guess it would be helpful for those passengers with kids. The regular Laurel cabin between Taipei and Shanghai is a product similar to Aer Lingus’s business class. It’s not flat bed but comfortable enough for the shorter flight. And in my opinion, it is still way much superior than most of U.S carrier’s business or even first class. My only complaint is the PA is usually very long as FA had to address in four languages- Taiwanese,English,Mandarin and Japanese. Overall, a very good experience and will use it again. The ticket is higher on Taipei-NY route as BR is the only non-stop carrier.

  30. Sean says

    EVA’s Royal Laurel Class is a great product! Just flew with EVA on JFK-TPE-PVG-TPE-JFK two weeks ago. The flight between New York and Taipei was served with Royal Laurel Class and Taipei to Shanghai was (regular)Laural Class. The new Royal Laurel cabin is the same as Cathay Pacific’s award winning business class. The service and food is amazing. I will say food of BR is better than CX as you could order meal on line in advanced. The newly renovated lounge at Taipei Tayuan Airport is comfortable and spacious. I also saw a couple Hello Kitty jets which are damn cute!The local travel agent said the ticket is very hard to get due to high demands. There is also a Hello Kitty play ground near the gate at Taipei Airport- very cut and well maintained. I guess it would be helpful for those passengers with kids. The regular Laurel cabin between Taipei and Shanghai is a product similar to Aer Lingus’s business class. It’s not flat bed but comfortable enough for the shorter flight. And in my opinion, it is still way much superior than most of U.S carrier’s business or even first class. My only complaint is the PA is usually very long as FA had to address in four languages- Taiwanese,English,Mandarin and Japanese. Overall, a very good experience and will use it again. The ticket is higher on Taipei-NY route as BR is the only non-stop carrier.

  31. edyang says

    Thanks for this great write up. Two questions;

    1. What changes do you foresee with their official admittance to Star Alliance?

    2. Is there a similar way to do mileage upgrades from economy to business versus straight up redemption of business class ticket?

  32. lucky says

    @ edyang — The major benefit should be the ability to earn elite qualifying and redeemable miles for travel on EVA, and also benefits for Star Alliance elite members (priority check-in, security, boarding, lounge access, etc.). But I don’t foresee any negative changes.

    You unfortunately can’t use United miles to upgrade on EVA as of yet. If they join Star Alliance and participate in the Star Alliance upgrade program that will be possible, though only from a near full fare ticket.

  33. waks says

    EVA changed their website recently and it seems the availability seen on EVA’s website is no longer the same as what United sees when I call in. Any experience with recent successes?

  34. wayne says

    The new business class is not available on the Seattle to Taipei route. They had no plan to upgrade at all. Pay the same price for lesser product. Still has the old crappy rock hard 36 degree seat. discriminatory practice.

  35. wayne says

    against Seattleite and pacific northwest , seems our market is not that important to Eva.

  36. mikey says

    has anyone compared united first class to eva business class.

    I have united miles to use for hkt/san in oct 2014 and can choose either to burn up my united miles before they go up.

    eva looks pretty good from the reviews I’ve read, not much positive for united in the reviews I’ve read

  37. says

    @ mikey — United first class is probably marginally better simply because it’s a first class product, and the 10,000 mile price premium is modest. So I’d probably go with United all else being equal, though both are good options.

  38. mikey says

    Lucky

    thanks for the prompt reply.

    only thing I can see that is tough it the 2 am departure on OZ to connect with the united flights.

    TG to BR departure is close to 2 pm.

    I still have 2 days to decide.

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