It’s not too late to go to Asia this summer on miles — EVA Air business class award space is ridiculously good

I’ve written extensively about EVA Air since they joined the Star Alliance on June 18, including here and here. They have a really, really good business class product, possibly the best Star Alliance business class hard product. A majority of their longhaul 777-300ER aircraft feature a fully flat reverse herringbone configuration with direct aisle access at every seat. While the food doesn’t look amazing, EVA Air is the only airline in the world to serve Dom Perignon in business class. And when you have Dom, who needs food anyway? ;)

I’ve posted this video in a previous post and I’ll post it again, because the product really does look damn good:

I’ll even be flying them next week, so I can report back on my experiences. The current award availability situation with EVA is so good that I feel like I have to make one more post about them, because I’m sure the current situation won’t last.

A few quick reminders:

  • You can book EVA Air using Air Canada Aeroplan miles without fuel surcharges — they’re one of the only Asian airlines on which Aeroplan doesn’t impose fuel surcharges as of yet.
  • US Airways considers Taipei to be North Asia, so business class between the US and Taipei costs just 90,000 miles, and you can even route via Europe if you’d like. US Airways awards on EVA Air only became bookable as of June 25 (Tuesday), and I’m happy to report that things seem to be going smoothly with them. Well, other than that every US Airways agent seems to thing that EVA is Brussels Airlines, given that their airline code is “BR.”
  • United has issues seeing some EVA Air award space. Even though the flights have award space they return a message saying “flight closed,” and I haven’t found a workaround yet. Interestingly the same flights are bookable through Aeroplan and US Airways.

Anyway, just to give you guys a sense of how good award availability is, take a look at the availability between Los Angeles and Taipei:

EVA_Award_Space_LAX

And between San Francisco and Taipei:

EVA_Award_Space_SFO

And between New York and Taipei:

EVA_Award_Space_JFK

And between Amsterdam and Taipei:

EVA_Award_Space_AMS

And between Seattle and Taipei (though it’s the old product — bleh!):

EVA_Award_Space_SEA

Seriously, folks, the availability is so outrageously good that I’d highly recommend booking ASAP. And let’s be honest, there has never been a better time to redeem US Airways miles to North Asia, since their rates are just itching to be devalued.

Anyone else book an award on EVA Air since they joined the Star Alliance?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. I’ve noticed the same. I wish I could take advantage of the space this summer with US Airways miles, but my travel plans are already set.

  2. @ Julian — Hard product is very similar on both carriers. After next week I can report back on the soft product, though I’d expect the service probably isn’t quite as good.

    In terms of availability, Cathay is great about releasing space far in advance, but other than that EVA releases a LOT more award space. Though I suspect that will change now that they’re in Star Alliance and there’s much more competition for those seats.

  3. @ Dale — EVA doesn’t fly to Hawaii and their only destination in Australia is Brisbane, so they probably wouldn’t be especially useful for such an award.

  4. You should be impressed that US Airways agents even know what Brussels Airlines is, and that it’s in Star Alliance.

    On the topic of awards to Asia, China Airlines, China Eastern and China Southern all also have excellent availability for those looking to burn Delta miles, though the products are generally far less aspirational.

  5. How do you know if it’s the old product or the new product? When I go to seatguru.com and put in the flight numbers for SEA-TPE, SFO-TPE, and LAX-TPE it shows the same plane, the 777-300ER and it’s a 2-2-2 configuration in Premium Laurel (Business) class on all the flights. You say that SEA-TPE is the old product. I just booked my parents on BR017 (SFO-TPE) and BR012 (TPE-LAX) and I can’t figure out if either of them are the old product. Any assistance is appreciated.

  6. Also, I’m booked from PER-SLC with a few connections in between on a business class AA award ticket (multiple airlines – Qantas, Hawaiian, American). A couple segments are in economy despite me paying the business class price in miles (due to saver and other award availability). Is there a way (any chance) on getting bumped up into any empty business class seats and if so, how would you go about it?

  7. The food on BR is much better than on any American airline trans pacific, with the caveat is only order the Asian food (given its an Asian airline). They also offer preorder as well. FDW

  8. Lucky – How many award seats are you seeing typically on the various routes? (We’re a family of 3 – so it is always a bit more challenging). Many thanks!

  9. damn, i wish EVA air had joined star alliance way way way earlier. instead i’m flying over on an usair award ticket to tpe on united in july. boo. and EVA air is my peoples!

  10. If you have a long layover (or intentionally build one) in Taipei, the Taiwanese government offers a free half-day tour for transit passengers. See http://eng.taiwan.net.tw/tour/index.htm. Even if you can’t sign up for the tour and have at least 7 hours, it is cheap to take the bus into Taipei and do some sightseeing on your own. At least go to the Taipei 101 area, have some lunch and a lookaround.

  11. Thanks so much for letting us know about the great availability on EVA – would have never known looking at United’s site! It’s kind of ridiculous how 80K EVA miles will get you a business class one way ticket from JFK-TPE while 90K US Airways miles will get you a roundtrip with a stopover in Europe :p May I ask what airline’s site you used to find the availability in this post? Is it Air Canada (tried to look on their site now but it seems to be down)? Thanks again! :)

  12. oops just figured out the availability is from ANA. unfortunately they won’t let us search for partner awards if we have no miles with them – any recommendations? thank you!!

  13. I saw the availability yesterday. Do you know if I can book TPE-JFK(Stopover)-LAX-TPE using US airways dividend miles? I know for a stopover with US air they say it has to be a star alliance hub or US air gateway city. I dont think JFK is either one of those so how likely is that the agent will enforce these rules. Any help is much appreciated

  14. @ Cody — You can’t trust SeatGuru. Pull up the seatmap using Expedia, ExpertFlyer, etc. If the business class cabin is in a 1-2-1 configuration it’s the new product. If it’s in a 2-2-2 configuration it’s the old product. The issue is that they don’t publish their seatmaps more than 100 days out. That being said, JFK, SFO, and LAX exclusively get the new product.

  15. @ Cody — Your best bet is to use the Qantas, British Airways, and American websites to monitor for award space. If you see business class award space open up for the other segments you can switch to it at no cost. Generally speaking there’s a good chance of that space opening up as the departure date approaches.

  16. Lucky – a quick note. I was actually able to get US to book EVA for me the day the joined Star Alliance (6/18). The agent first said no, offered to check, asked their code (and the airport code for TPE since she didn’t know where Taipei was [amongst other places]), and then ticketed it with no issues.

  17. @ Tenten — NYC is a Star Alliance hub (it’s EWR but JFK is considered the same “area”), so that shouldn’t be an issue.

  18. @ pagotto — Good to know, sounds like you lucked out. There was a memo to agents that they weren’t supposed to book EVA till the 25th, but I guess none of the agents read those anyway. ;)

  19. Is there any way of getting to BOM from TPE through Star Alliance connections? I know for a fact EVA doesn’t fly TPE-BOM direct (they stopped flying that route back in 08). Any possibility of connecting to alternate cities in Asia to get to BOM? (Star Alliance only, have some US airways miles to burn).

  20. It seem that Eva air on united award had solve the problem. I just got ticket issue without any problem : ) . Before the UA agent always say it had availability but some how when they try to book the system say flight close.

  21. @lucky, I’m guessing you’re going to fly out of SFO then, since SEA-TPE is still Premium Laurel? Or will you be traveling via LAX/JFK? I’d be interested to see how crowded the SFO BR lounge is now that it’s *A…

  22. Sam, thanks for the update. What a bummer. We booked an award ticket on Eva 3 days ago and our preferred flight showed availability on ANA but not to United. Now, like you said, the seat is available. Contemplating if its worth the $50 change fee (we’re only United Silver and travel is w/i 21 days) to make the change. If we only waited 3 extra days before booking ;)

  23. Thanks for feedback Lucky re Hawaii. Are there any Star Alliance options for getting to Hawaii on miles from Australia? Looking to purchase miles so would use Life Miles or another program where can buy enough miles.
    Dale.

  24. Thanks for the heads up on EVA Business Class availability to Asia. I was able to snag a US award to SGN, TPE, & PEK with 4 of the 6 segments in their new product.

  25. I’m currently booked on an award ticket from SIN to NYC. When I booked it, the ONLY premium TPAC space I could find was NRT-SEA in C on the NH 787, so I’m booked SIN-NRT (UA F), NRT-SEA (NH C), SEA-ORD (UA C), ORD-NYC (UA C). EVA throws a wrench in things, though, because now I have the option of just doing SIN-TPE (SQ C or BR C), then direct TPE-NYC in BR C.

    Any recommendations? It largely comes down to a shorter flight on the NH Dreamliner vs a longer flight on the new BR C.

  26. @ gloreglabert — Hands down I’d do EVA. They have a much better hard product and it’s a more direct routing.

  27. @ lucky – thanks, I’m booked onto EVA. No problem making the change through US Airways (though BR space continues to be blocked on United, it shows up correctly on ANA and my agent had no trouble finding it).

    Looking forward to your BR trip report.

  28. Lucky and friends–I’m trying to search award space on ANA’s website. After creating a new account and logging in, I could access the Star Alliance flights. A few days later, I now get an error message: “We cannot accept your request for booking Partner Flight Awards since there are not enough miles in your account.” Is this common? Any way around it? I can still access ANA’s own flights. Thanks!

  29. @ BRC — Here’s the trick to getting around that:
    1.go to ANA International Flight Awards
    2.Enter an ANA operated route
    3.Click Next
    4.at the bottom click on Use Star Alliance Members Airline (2nd blue button from the bottom)
    5.in the near future credit something small to ANA to avoid having to do 1-4

  30. @Lucky–Worked like a charm! A follow on question: Does EVA limit some flights to only one available award business seat, but later release more? Do you think it will be possible to pick up a second seat before I lose a hold on the first one with US Airways?

  31. @lucky-I heard some people reporting EVA flight is no longer bookable with US Div miles, do you have any insight on this? Thanks!

  32. @ BRC — Sorry for the delay, didn’t see this comment. While more award seats can open up as the departure date approaches, they don’t typically only release a certain number of seats and then release more as soon as those are booked, so I wouldn’t count on it.

  33. @ FAN — Hmm, haven’t heard about that yet, though I’ll do some research and if I find out anything I’ll report back.

  34. Do you know if YYZ-TPE is getting the new product? And does booking business class on United or US Airways equal Premium Laurel class on EVA?

  35. @ Jason — Yep, that should feature the new product. If you book business class (“I” fare code) that’s Royal Laurel Class.

  36. @ Michael H. — Anything is possible, though EVA hasn’t announced anything other than the 747 on the Seattle route, which won’t be retrofitted with the new product.

  37. Any tips on booking 2 business class tickets on EVA? Both my wife and I only have enough UA points to cover our own roundtrip tickets (we have to book our own separately). When I do a test booking for 2 business seats, the website gives an error, but 1 seat request is okay. Thanks!

  38. @ Amazed – Try searching segment by segment, and making sure two seats are available on each portion of the itinerary. The multi-city tool doesn’t work very well, unfortunately. United also doesn’t always show accurate inventory for EVA, so I’d suggest using the ANA tool.

  39. @lucky thanks! If availability only shows up on ANA’s site, then I’d have to call United to make the reservation right? It looks like much of the I class seats for LAXTPE are only on the BR1/2 flights

  40. @ Amazed — Typically United should display EVA’s availability correctly, though if ANA shows space and United’s website doesn’t then it should probably still be bookable by phone.

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