EVA Air Limiting Business Class Partner Award Space

Last summer EVA Air joined the Star Alliance, which was extremely exciting news. They have a fantastic business class product, Hello Kitty jets, and at the time released a ton of business class award space. This trend seems to be pretty common among airlines when they join alliances.

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For many non-aligned airlines, award availability is often excellent, given that they don’t have that many members redeeming miles. For non-US airlines, loyalty programs are usually actually about creating loyalty, as opposed to massive businesses in and of themselves.

There’s a trend we often see among airlines that join alliances — they release a ton of premium cabin award space when they first join, and once they get a better sense of alliances they drastically reduce the amount of award space they release, realizing how many more miles members of partner airlines have.

This is a trend we’re seeing right now with EVA Air. It looks like EVA Air is no longer releasing longhaul business class award space to partner airlines more than three (or so) months before departure.

Looking at all their longhaul routes, I see very good award space within three months of departure. They seem to release progressively more space as the departure date approaches, so there’s a little space three months out, and then great space within a few weeks of departure.

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Meanwhile I don’t see any longhaul business class space further out than that, unfortunately.

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But here’s what’s interesting — EVA Air is making award space available to members of their Infinity MileageLands program.

If you have premium Citi ThankYou points you can transfer them to EVA at a 1:1 ratio, though their program isn’t particularly lucrative.

To search EVA award space you have to be logged in to your MileageLands account. If you want to search for more than one passenger, each traveler needs to have their own account.

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Frustratingly, the results screen just lists all the flights on a given route, without any indication of award availability.

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Once you select the flights and click through, you will get a pop-up if a certain flight isn’t available for using your EVA miles.

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And then you get to wait with Hello Kitty and her friends:

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The flight without award space will show as “Waiting list” but the full mileage requirement and taxes/surcharges are listed. EVA-Award-Space-09

However, compared to what is available to Star Alliance partners, flights as far out as July appear to have good award availability:

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In this case, both the flights I selected had award space, so the status shows as “Confirm.”

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Their system is incredibly clunky to use, so if your schedule is flexible you might be best off calling EVA and asking about availability.

Based on the dates I checked, it looks like EVA has “better” award space through the Infinity MileageLands program 3-10 months in advance, but still not as generous as what they’re releasing to everyone in the weeks prior to departure. This suggests waitlisted space will likely clear, but I have zero experience with that.

Bottom line

This isn’t a “sky is falling” moment for EVA award space, and isn’t all that unusual given what we’ve seen other airlines do in the past.

So while this is disappointing it’s also not surprising. Having reduced access to EVA premium cabins is certainly going to be frustrating for some people who are trying to redeem miles far in advance, but as long as EVA continues to release such a large amount of premium cabin award space inside the 90 day window I don’t know that we can really complain.

(Tip of the hat to Del)

Comments

  1. This is quite annoying for those of us who like to plan further out. 🙁 Not quite a death blow but a very annoying inconvenience!

  2. it’s funny how you could have used United calendar to show much better what you’re trying to say instead of the weekly ANA pics… are you still mad at United?

  3. Depends on the route – tons of availability TPE-HKG/PEK all the way up to next July

    NRT seems to be subject to those restrictions though

  4. I was literally JUST looking at EVA biz class award space last night and wondering – thanks for the timely info!

  5. fwiw about 3-4 weeks ago I booked the following in J via UA, 2 people for 280k total (160 in fees) for mid jan out and mid feb return and there were many other BR options at the time:
    sea-sfo-lax long layover lax-tpe-sin
    sin-bkk-ktm
    ktm-bkk 23 hr layover bkk-tpe-sea

    only the sea-sfo-lax was in coach, everything else was biz

  6. I waited a few days too long, but I guess this explains why all the options I was looking at Feb/March on Eva J have disappeared.

  7. Lucky, even worse news

    EVA is NOT showing any J or Y seats on certain “popular” routes beyond the 3 month, confirmed on Aeroplan/UA/ANA. This makes booking a year out tricky (book first, change later; or gamble and wait till 3 months out)

    e.g. YYZ-TPE or TPE-YYZ/YVR/LAX/SFO show NOTHING in Jan 2015 and beyond, while CDG-TPE is wide open into 2015 August @@

  8. Has anyone tried to look for J availability on EVA between TPE-BNE? It used to be wide open but looks like it’s gone too! What’s worse is that even 3 months ahead, there is nothing! I looked into availability in the next 11 months, zilch! Looks like Eva has completely closed J apace to Australia1 This is no doubt adding fuel to fire on an already almost impossible award space to and fro Australia!

    For poor unfortunate soul like me who reside in Brisbane in Australia, this leaves me with Thai airway as the only Star Alliance that service Brisbane that may still have award space open. (The others are SQ, who also block all J award space between SIN and AUS/NZ until 14 days out, and Air NZ whose J award is non existent…) Also that killed one of the few options for anyone who wishes to visit Australia.

  9. I have upgraded from Elite to Royal Laurel about 9 or 10 times using mileage. I only use my miles for upgrades. I never use my miles for free tickets. I must say this… there is never once I wasn’t wait listed, but there is never once my wait listing does not clear. I usually request the upgrade about 3~4 weeks ahead of the scheduled flight. It usually clears 1~2 weeks before — far enough out to do a meal selection which is nice.

    I am not particularly worried about the upgrade not clearing because of three observances. Firstly, I have never, ever, been denied. So that is a confidence booster. Secondly, EVA’s Business cabin is never full. On every flight they take off with 2~5 empty seats. So it is very hard to imagine that they will refuse to refuse point upgrades when they actually have unsold seats. Finally, it appears that unlike US airlines they do not have a habit of overselling flights and I have never seen them do free upgrades. That is I have never seen them offer vouchers and cash to at the departure gate for people to take a later flight — not on transpacifics and not on east asia regionals. And, they always have empty Royal Laurel and Elite seats while airborne meaning that they don’t seem to bump high loyalty, high mileage customers automatically and will rather fly those premium seats empty. No point expenditure, no upgrade, no free lunch.

    I have my Star Alliance points all credtied to Eva because theirs are the only intercontinental flights I take regularly (3~4 times a year). I have Gold Status with them and by extension Star Alliance Gold. My total Mileage accrual as of May 2015 was 362,000. About 65% of that are actual flight miles (mostly on Eva transpacifics but also on Air Canada, Swiss Air and United regionals) The remaining are from Citibank Thank you Premier credit card usage.

  10. If you transfer 50,000 Citi TY points to EVA would that automatically give you Infinity Mileage Land Gold card (by extension, Star alliance Gold)?

  11. @ Albert — Nope, transferring points only gets you redeemable miles. You need elite qualifying miles if you want status.

  12. Thanks, Ben, this is great info as always. For my honeymoon in April, I used 35k UA miles (x2) for LAX-TPE (I’m paying for connecting flights on both sides) but of course would love to be in Biz. My current UA balance is at ~80k (I do have a lot of Chase points but don’t want to move more than I need to UA, merely to solve a timing issue). Seats in C are 80k, meaning I don’t have enough miles to purchase now, but would once my current Y award is refunded and my earnings between now and April are accrued.

    If I see Eva business award availability appear on united.com (likely close to departure), what is my best strategy to convert my current Y award seats into C award seats? Is there a path I can take? I read elsewhere (see, eg. http://thepointsguy.com/2015/09/put-united-award-tickets-on-hold/) that you can put award seats on hold but it looks like that does not apply for partner bookings.

    How quickly are miles refunded on a partner award booking? Although I’d absolutely hate to risk not having any seat, I’d do it if I thought the “time without a seat” was something like 5 minutes. This seems sort of too risky, even for the Rimowa amenity kit :).

    Thanks as always for thoughts and advice.

  13. Hi Ben,

    Glad I came across your post. Would like your advice if possible. I’ve recently made a Krisflyer *A redemption for my parents in Dec 2016 routing CGK-SIN-KIX-TPE-HKG-SIN-CGK in business class.

    All flights are aligned except for KIX-TPE with BR which had my dad on 14th Dec and my mom 15th Dec. My dad is waitlisted for the flights on 15th Dec.

    What would be his chances of clearing the waitlist? No status with EVA and just a normal status with KF.

    Any way possible to push for the waitlist to clear? Old folks are naturally anxious even though its more than 3 months out 🙂

    Many thanks in advance

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