Solid business-class award availability for two to Asia in 2020

Oct 29, 2019

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Redeeming your hard-earned points and miles to get to Asia in premium cabins can be a bit challenging. Not only will you encounter high award rates; you’ll also frequently face limited award availability, especially if you’re looking for more than one ticket. Well, if you’re looking to get there in 2020, listen up, as we’re seeing a wide number of dates with two (or more) business-class award seats on EVA Air.

If you’re not familiar with the Taiwan-based carrier, it offers a terrific experience in its forward cabin. In fact, TPG’s Ethan Steinberg described it as the most overlooked business class flying across the Pacific. While the majority of award seats we’re seeing today are from West Coast gateways to the carrier’s hub in Taipei (TPE), there are many dates with availability from other U.S. cities.

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)

Here’s a breakdown of current dates with two business-class award seats at the time of writing:

Los Angeles (LAX): 3x daily service

  • To Taipei (TPE): February 23-24, 26-27 and 29; March 1-2, 7-10, 12, 22-23, 25 and 31; April 5-6, 8, 12-13, 16-17, 20-26 and 28-30; May 1, 3-5, 7, 10, 12-14, 16-20, 25 and 28; July 6, 14-16, 20-24, 26-28 and 30; August 2-7, 9-14 and 16-21; September 1-30
  • From Taipei (TPE): February 20 and 27; March 2-3, 5, 7, 10, 16-17, 24 and 26; April 9, 21, 25 and 27; May 4-7, 11-12, 14, 21-23, 25-26 and 28-29; June 1-4, 7, 9-10 and 17; July 20-21, 24 and 27-28; August 18-20 and 23-31; September 1-30

San Francisco (SFO): 3x daily service

  • To Taipei (TPE): February 10; March 1; April 5-6, 9, 12-13, 15-16, 20, 22-24 and 28-30; May 1, 3, 11, 14, 20, 22 and 24-25; July 15, 17, 19-21, 23-24 and 27-31; August 2-7, 9-14, 16-21, 23-28 and 30-31; September 1-4, 6-11, 13-18, 20-24 and 28-30
  • From Taipei (TPE): March 7, 13 and 19; April 9, 22 and 29; May 4, 9, 11, 13-14, 18, 20-22, 25 and 27-30; June 1, 3-5, 10-12, 15 and 22; July 10 and 16; August 25-29 and 31; September 1-4, 7-12, 14-19, 21-26 and 28-30

Seattle (SEA): 1-2x daily service

  • To Taipei (TPE): January 31; March 23; April 2, 9-10, 16, 22 and 27; May 1, 4, 6-7, 17-20 and 27-30; June 3-5, 7 and 12; July 9, 12, 14, 16-21, 23-24, 26, 28 and 30-31; August 2, 4-8, 10-14, 16-19 and 21-31; September 3, 5-17, 19 and 21-28
  • From Taipei (TPE): February 6; April 23, 26 and 29; May 1, 4, 8-10, 12-13, 16-17 and 27; June 2-4 and 22-24; July 7-8, 10, 14-15, 19-22 and 25-26; August 2, 12, 21-22, 24, 26-27 and 29-31; September 1-3, 5-6, 9, 11, 13-14, 16-17 and 19-30

Chicago-O’Hare (ORD): 4-5x weekly service

  • To Taipei (TPE): July 11, 18, 20 and 31; August 1, 3, 10, 12-13, 17, 19-20, 28-29 and 31; September 3, 5, 9, 11, 14, 16-17, 23-25, 28 and 30
  • From Taipei (TPE): June 12 and 26; July 1, 24 and 26; August 13, 18-19 and 25-27; September 2-4, 6, 8-11, 13, 16-18, 20, 22-23, 25, 27 and 29-30

Houston (IAH): 1x daily service

  • To Taipei (TPE): February 14, 19 and 21-22; April 12, 15, 22-23 and 29; July 13-14, 17 and 28-30; August 4, 6-7, 11-14, 17-21, 23-24, 26-28 and 31; September 1-3, 6-9, 13-17, 20-24 and 27-30
  • From Taipei (TPE): February 3 and 21-22; March 6-8 and 15; May 11-12, 19, 22, 24 and 31; June 1-3, 7-8, 19, 21-22, 26 and 28; July 10, 12, 19 and 27; August 28; September 1, 3, 7-11, 14, 20, 25 and 27-30

Unfortunately, we’re not seeing any dates with two business-class award seats on flights to or from New York-JFK.

How to book

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
Any Star Alliance program can be used to book EVA Air business class. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)

Since EVA Air is a member of Star Alliance, you can use points or miles from any member airline to snag these awards. One of the best options would be ANA Mileage Club, as a round-trip flight on EVA Air from the U.S. to Taiwan would set you back just 95,000 miles per person plus roughly $160 in taxes and fees. Even if you add a connecting flight through Taipei to another Asian destination, your round-trip award rate won’t be any higher than 136,000 miles. You can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards points directly to ANA at a 1:1 ratio — though bear in mind that those transfers might take up to 48 hours to process.

In addition to the longer-than-normal transfer times from Amex, there’s another important drawback to booking award flights through ANA: You must book round-trip itineraries, as one-way awards aren’t allowed. As a result, if you can only find availability in one direction, you’ll be forced to book using another program. And if you don’t currently have a large balance of Amex Membership Rewards, it may be hard to boost your Mileage Club balance.

Here are some other popular options, including award rates from the U.S. to Taiwan:

Program One-way award rate Transfer partners
United MileagePlus 80,000 miles Chase, Marriott
Air Canada Aeroplan 75,000 miles Amex, Capital One, Marriott
Avianca LifeMiles 75,000 miles Amex, Capital One, Citi, Marriott

The best part about all three of these programs is that your taxes and fees will be minimal. That’s always the case with United and Avianca — two programs that never tack on fuel surcharges to award tickets — but EVA Air is one of the airlines that won’t incur fuel surcharges with Aeroplan. Here’s a round-trip award ticket for two passengers booked through Aeroplan, one that’ll require less than $100 out of pocket:

If you are connecting to another city, you may want to consider booking through Avianca LifeMiles, especially if you’re fine taking that connection in economy. LifeMiles will discount these mixed-cabin award itineraries.

Finally, booking a round-trip award through United MileagePlus could allow you to include a free segment within Asia thanks to the carrier’s Excursionist Perk. Unfortunately, though, Taiwan falls into the “North Asia” region, limiting your final destination to Mainland China, South Korea or Mongolia to utilize this benefit.

As an example, you could fly from Los Angeles (LAX) to Taipei (TPE) on Thursday May 28, 2020 and stop for a few days before continuing on to Seoul (ICN) and then returning to Los Angeles from there. In this case, the flight from TPE-ICN would clock in at 0 additional miles:

This entire trip would set you back 160,000 United miles plus ~$125 in taxes and fees.

Bottom line

If you’re already looking ahead to your 2020 vacations and had Asia on your list, you may want to firm up your plans today, as many dates next year have at least two business-class award seats on EVA Air from numerous destinations. This will allow you and a loved one to cross the Pacific in style, but I’d recommend booking sooner rather than later, as this availability likely won’t last long.

Featured photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy.

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