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Using Star Alliance Partner Miles On EVA Awards – Best Value From ANA, Aeroplan, Singapore or United?

by on September 12, 2013 · 13 comments

in Aeroplan, ANA, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines, star alliance

Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here

Now that EVA has joined Star Alliance officially, a lot of curious readers have written in asking about the relative values of using its Star Alliance partners’ miles to book awards on the airline. I thought I’d put together a post comparing the mileage requirements and fees of booking EVA awards using ANA, Aeroplan and Singapore miles since all three are transfer partners of Amex Membership Rewards – like this previous post comparing all three programs on various other Star Alliance awards – the points you earn if you have an Amex card like the Premier Rewards Gold, Business Gold Rewards, or Platinum Card.

I also calculated them using United miles, just to give you a comparison if that is your main Star Alliance airline program, or if you have a Chase card like the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus that earns Ultimate Rewards, since the program is a 1:1 transfer partner of United.

Want to fly EVA yourself? Let's look at which miles are best to do so.

Want to fly EVA yourself? Let’s look at which miles are best to do so.

The beauty of the American Express Membership Rewards program is having the ability to transfer points to various airline partners so you can use the miles of the program that gets you the best value in terms of both the lowest mileage redemption requirement for your itinerary, as well as the lowest fuel surcharges and taxes.

The three Amex Star Alliance transfer partners are Air Canada Aeroplan, All Nippon Airways Mileage Club and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer. Aeroplan transfers occur almost instantly, but transfers to Krisflyer and Mileage Club take about 48 hours. Still, with some simple planning you can maximize the value of each Amex point transferred and at the same time minimize the out of pocket cost of taxes and fees when choosing the best partner for your route.

Amex's airline transfer partners no longer include Continental.

One of the great things about Amex Membership Rewards is its numerous transfer partners.

Air Canada’s Aeroplan Rewards program is instituting some major changes to its program starting January 1, 2014, including a big overhaul (read: devaluation) of many redemptions. Business and first class awards to almost every continent are increasing 20% by 25,000-40,000 miles on top of the increase in award redemption levels that Air Canada put in place in 2011.

With that in mind, I thought it would be a good moment to compare the miles and taxes/fees breakdowns on various awards both in terms of Aeroplan’s current redemption levels and future levels, as well as posting them side-by-side with redemption options from ANA,  Krisflyer and United so that readers can plan their upcoming travel accordingly.

To help you at least do preliminary research and get a feeling for how many miles and how much cash you’ll be spending on certain awards, I chose one of EVA’s main international routes and one of its main intra-Asia routes and calculated the miles as well as taxes and fees you would need using each program for a side-by-side comparison in Economy and Business Class. This is obviously not a comprehensive study and I recommend you calling the transfer partner and checking availability and taxes/fees before transferring any Membership Rewards points or using your United miles.

The routes I chose were:
Los Angeles (LAX) – Taipei (TPE) in Economy and Business
Taipei (TPE) – Hong Kong (HKG) in Economy and Business

Here are the results. The best option for each route is bolded.

Route Class ANA Aeroplan Aeroplan After January 1, 2014 Singapore United
LAX-TPE Economy 60,000 miles plus $328.40 taxes & fees 75,000 miles plus $72 taxes & fees 75,000 miles plus $72 taxes & fees 90,000 miles plus $247 taxes & fees 65,000 miles plus $30 taxes
LAX-TPE Business 90,000 miles plus $328.40 taxes & fees 125,000 miles plus $72 taxes & fees 150,000 miles plus $72 taxes & fees 175,000 miles plus $247 taxes & fees 120,000 miles plus $30 taxes
TPE-HKG Economy 20,000 miles plus $91.50 taxes & fees 20,000 miles plus $31 taxes & fees 20,000 miles plus $31 taxes & fees 20,000 miles plus $210 taxes & fees 30,000 miles plus $25.50 taxes
TPE-HKG Business 30,000 miles plus $91.50 taxes & fees 30,000 miles plus $31 taxes & fees 30,000 miles plus $31 taxes & fees 40,000 miles plus $210 taxes & fees 45,000 miles plus $25.50 taxes

Booking with All Nippon Airways Miles:

LAX-TPE in Economy using ANA miles.

LAX-TPE in Economy using ANA miles.

Route: Los Angeles-Taipei
Class: Economy
Miles Required: 60,000
Taxes and Fees: $328.40 USD

LAX-TPE in Business using ANA miles.

LAX-TPE in Business using ANA miles.

Route: Los Angeles-Taipei
Class: Business
Miles Required: 90,000
Taxes and Fees: $328.40 USD

TPE-HKG in Economy using ANA miles.

TPE-HKG in Economy using ANA miles.

Route: Taipei-Hong Kong
Class: Economy
Miles Required: 20,000
Taxes and Fees: $91.50 USD

LAX-TPE in Business using ANA miles.

LAX-TPE in Business using ANA miles.

Route: Taipei-Hong Kong
Class: Business
Miles Required: 30,000
Taxes and Fees: $91.50 USD

Booking with Aeroplan Miles:

Route: Los Angeles-Taipei
Class: Economy
Miles Required: 75,000
Taxes and Fees: $72 USD

LAX-TPE in Economy using Aeroplan miles

LAX-TPE in Economy using Aeroplan miles

Route: Los Angeles-Taipei
Class: Business
Miles Required: 125,000
Taxes and Fees: $72 USD

LAX-TPE in Business using Aeroplan miles.

LAX-TPE in Business using Aeroplan miles.

Route: Taipei-Hong Kong
Class: Economy
Miles Required: 20,000
Taxes and Fees: $31 USD

TPE-HKG in Economy using Aeroplan miles.

TPE-HKG in Economy using Aeroplan miles.

Route: Taipei-Hong Kong
Class: Business
Miles Required: 30,000
Taxes and Fees: $31 USD

TPE-HKG in Economy using Aeroplan miles.

TPE-HKG in Economy using Aeroplan miles.

Booking with Singapore Miles:

Route: Los Angeles-Taipei
Class: Economy
Miles Required: 90,000
Taxes and Fees: $247 USD

Route: Los Angeles-Taipei
Class: Business
Miles Required: 175,000
Taxes and Fees: $247 USD

Route: Taipei-Hong Kong
Class: Economy
Miles Required: 20,000
Taxes and Fees: $210 USD

Route: Taipei-Hong Kong
Class: Business
Miles Required: 40,000
Taxes and Fees: $210 USD

Booking With United MileagePlus:

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 11.19.36 AM

Route: Los Angeles-Taipei
Class: Economy
Miles Required: 65,000
Taxes and Fees: $30 USD

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 11.24.29 AM

Route: Los Angeles-Taipei
Class: Business
Miles Required: 120,000
Taxes and Fees: $30 USD

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 11.27.15 AM

Route: Taipei-Hong Kong
Class: Economy
Miles Required: 30,000
Taxes and Fees: $25.50 USD

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 11.28.49 AM

Route: Taipei-Hong Kong
Class: Business
Miles Required: 45,000
Taxes and Fees: $25.50 USD

Analysis

For the long-haul international flights, I think the real winner here in terms of both mileage and taxes/fees is ANA in most cases. Although you’re paying a fraction of the fees by using Unite milesd, for long-haul business class, I’d definitely take ANA miles over United since you need just 90,000 of them instead of United’s 120,000 even though taxes are $300 with ANA. The way I think about it is that you’re paying $300 to save 30,000 miles. That’s 1 cent per mile – just about half of what I value United miles at, and a good deal in my book.

On the short-haul intra-Asia routes, the winner is Aeroplan, and the good news is that the upcoming devaluation won’t affect these redemptions. Aeroplan combines the best of the competition with low mileage levels that tie ANA and low taxes that are about the same as United. It’s definitely the program I would choose on this route.

That said, ANA has one of the best Star Alliance search engines, pulling in nearly every single partner in their online search and allowing you to book multiple segments on different partners. Check out this post on using the ANA search tool. Click here to sign-up for a Mileage Club account.

I did an entire series on ANA Award Taxes and Fees analyzing the costs of award with each partner. In Part 1 I priced out itineraries on Air Canada, ANA, Lufthansa, Singapore, SWISS, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United and US Airways. In Part 2, I looked at Adria, Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Asiana, Austria, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa and Virgin Atlantic. In Part 3, I found the taxes and surcharges on partners: Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, SAS, Shenzhen, South African Airways, TAM and TAP. In Part 4, I found the taxes and surcharges for itineraries on ANA’s non-Star Alliance partners (I found Virgin Atlantic in Part 2 since it’s a popular carrier) including: Air Macau, Etihad, EVA (intra-Asian only), Hawaiian Airlines (inter-island only), Jet Airways and Qatar Airways. In the final post, I included a roundup of all the awards I’d found including taxes and fees for side-by-side comparison.

Aeroplan

I also wrote a series on pre-devaluation (good until the end of 2013) Aeroplan Award Taxes and Fees. In Part 1 of my series, I priced out awards on Air Canada, United, Lufthansa, Brussels Air, Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, ANA and South African Airways. In Part 2, I looked at some other popular Star Alliance carriers including: Air China, Asiana, EgyptAir, LOT Polish Airlines, SAS, Swiss, TAM, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines and US Airways (for now). In Part 3, I examined the rest of the 27 Star Alliance partners including: Adria Airways, Aegean, Austrian, Avianca/Taca, Copa Croatia, Shenzhen and TAP, and the final installment: Aeroplan Star Alliance Taxes and Fees Overview Roundup.

Finally, if you want more information about the airline transfer partners of the three major transferable points programs check out the following series:

The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfers

The Ultimate Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Transfers

The Ultimate Guide to Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Transfers

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • RakSiam

    Is Aeroplan trying to put themselves out of business? Another massive devaluation certainly isn’t going to encourage anyone to use the program.

    One great value on the TPE-HKG route is Avios. 4500 each way in Y and 9000 each way in J on CX. I don’t think the taxes are bad either. But obvious OW and not *A which is the point of this post…

  • AwardBookingService

    In the interest of comparison BA Avios (Flying Cathay Pacific/Dragon Air) is your best bet for TPE-HKG in my opinion. It is 4500 in Economy and 9000 in business plus $43.27 in taxes for either cabin. Both AMEX Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate rewards transfer instantly to BA.

    Great post! Just make sure you weigh ALL the options when you are booking.

  • caveman

    This is slightly off topic but can you explain what would be the best strategy to book Qatar airways award flight from MED-DOH-ISB using avios or amex membership rewards points. How can you check award space on Qatar airways if you do not have enough miles with them?

  • Andy F.

    I think USA-Asia in Biz Class for 90k miles with US DM miles is better than the ANA one?

  • Ben L

    Just booked one way business SFO-TPE on EVA last night for 60K mile + $2.50. I wish I saw this last night, but I only have United miles transferred from Chase UR anyway.

    Coming back on CX award J using AA miles. Hoping to reticket to F when it is closer to departure!!!

  • Wrong Topic

    That’s completely off topic.

  • At

    Can you get free stopover on ANA?

  • Michael

    Canadians don’t really have a choice. We are stuck with Aeroplan. They know it.

  • RakSiam

    you can credit flight miles to any *A program though, right? I guess when it comes to credit cards and so forth you are stuck though.

  • Jung

    for the Aeroplan devaluation, is that only for bookings by 12/31/13? or flights by? Thanks.

  • EYang

    Great comparison but could you also do one for Business class upgrade from a purchased Economy ticket? We recently flew EVA and upgraded to Royal Laurel class from a purchased Economy ticket using 60,000 United miles transferred from Chase Ultimate. I heard that Aeroplane only requires 50,000 for upgrade. And with SPG’s redemption bonus, that works out to only 40,000 SPG points if that’s true…

  • Curious

    How much does one have to spend to get 1 aeroplan mile v.s. 1 united mile? Are they the same?

  • Tyler Barnett

    I am going to Bali for my honeymoon in April. I have 130,000 amex points form my business platinum. What would the best way be to get two business class tickets? Thanks!!

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