Tuesday, June 19, 2012

EVA Air Flights Now Bookable Using United Miles

Back in March, I posted about EVA Air's entry into Star Alliance. Full membership isn't expected until early 2013, but it looks like United Airlines has already begun to offer several partnership benefits to MileagePlus members. Initially, you could only earn miles on qualifying EVA Air flights based on this chart. However, it now appears that you can also redeem your MileagePlus miles on EVA Air flights as well. This development finally gives North American Star Alliance members a non-stop option to Taipei, Taiwan.

There was some confusion on FlyerTalk regarding the amount of miles needed, as some phone agents were telling people that there was a separate EVA Air award chart (possibly the old Continental-EVA partner chart) that required substantially more miles to Taipei (50,000 miles one-way in economy) and no combining with other partners airlines on a single itinerary. However, that issue has now been resolved. I had a booking to Taipei over Christmas, with my original itinerary being SFO-ICN-TPE. I was able to call in and get that changed to a direct SFO-TPE flight on EVA Air, all for the same amount of miles required on their partner award chart (32,500 miles one-way in economy). Taxes and fees for this one-way award totaled only $2.50! Although if you book a return flight, the cost will be slightly higher since it would include a Taipei airport tax as well as U.S. Immigration fees.

Confirmed EVA Air ticket booked using MileagePlus miles

The biggest headache, however, was finding an agent who actually knew how to search for and book EVA Air award tickets (or an agent who's even heard of EVA Air for that matter)! In all, I called a total of six times to get my itinerary changed successfully. Out of the six, only two of the agents were able to find the EVA Air award availability, and both needed their supervisor's help to get the changes completed. It might be worth the hassle though, since availability seems to be fairly open in economy even during the holidays, and there were also Premium Laurel (business) seats open on many dates I checked. If you get an agent who insists there is no EVA Air award availability, hang up and call back again.

Best of all, EVA Air recently announced their new Royal Laurel Class, featuring lie-flat business class seats in the same mold as Cathay's reverse herringbone design from Cirrus. In fact, they are supposed to start operating on the JFK-TPE route this month, and LAX-TPE beginning September 2012. EVA Air offers plenty of one-stop connections to Mainland China as well as Southeast Asia via Taipei, so having this additional trans-Pacific lie-flat option using MileagePlus miles is a huge plus. I'm slightly wary that award availability will quickly dwindle once EVA Air becomes fully integrated into Star Alliance and online booking begins, so my suggestion is to book early if you plan on heading to Asia within the next year.




EDIT 12/11/2012: Lucky over at One Mile At A Time has written up a good synopsis on how to search for EVA award availability. However, I would still call up the United Alliance Desk (877-726-7282 Option 3) to make the actual booking. The agents at the regular award desk remain hit-or-miss when is comes to familiarity with EVA bookings.

37 comments:

  1. Is it possible to combine BR with other Star Alliance members in a single UA award ticket?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! In fact, I didn't make it clear in my post, but my itinerary continued on after TPE with Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines, all on a single UA award ticket.

      Delete
  2. very useful post

    ReplyDelete
  3. WOW! this is amazing. I was looking at flights today and there's nothing on united for BOS-TPE but maybe there might be some openings on EVA to TPE. Can you book without already having an itinerary, meaning the can see if they can get a booking for you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ryan, yep, you can definitely book new itineraries. However, I've found that only the UA Alliance Desk knows 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 a regular award desk and they definitely don't know how to search for EVA seats.

      Delete
    2. wow, you responded fast. I called United;s call to click and they transferred me and I got someone who knew what was going on. I'm AMAZED that I got a flight from BOS-TPE through SFO, but I'm feeling a bit greedy and I want to try the new product on their TPE-JFK flight. I can't believe that's only a business class award similar to the USAir Envoy Suites which I just flew, but Eva will def have better service and food. Thanks for the number and this blog is def in my rotation. Is there any way to support your blog ie credit signups, etc.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the kind words Ryan. Glad I was able to help! If I were you, I would try to book the JFK-TPE route as well for the new Royal Laurel seats. Otherwise, you'll get the older angle-flat seats.

      Unfortunately (or fortunately) I don't do credit card referral links. This blog is purely non-profit haha. Thanks for reading!

      Delete
    4. the awkward thing is that United goes from BOS-LGA, and Eva does JFK-TPE. There's transport that takes 30m but for some people that can be crazy stressful.

      Delete
    5. Oh that does kind of suck. I suppose you could purchase the BOS-JFK flight separately, but that would be a waste. I believe you can probably catch a LGA-JFK shuttle for around $15... though it could take more than an hour depending on traffic.

      Delete
  4. Hi! is there any info on exactly which flight no will have the new seats? I'm interested in lax to tpe. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can go onto the EVA Air website and search for your flight by clicking on "Timetable" under "Flight Info". Then click on the little airplane icon in the table for your specific date, and a new screen will pop up showing the detailed information. Click on the "Aircraft Type" link and it will show you the seat configuration.

      I believe LAX to TPE will start operating RL Class in September, but most likely only a few flights per week. Also, aircraft swaps might be common as they integrate the new planes. You'll just need a little luck!

      Delete
  5. Hmm.. so have you or anyone you know actually had success in not just "booking" EVA awards seats via United, but actually "ticketed" and flown? I ask because I'm able to book and hold for 24 hrs, only to have United cancel them because they aren't able to ticket it. 2 out of 10 agents can find seats and "book". But then I've yet to be successful when it comes to actually ticketing! Please share your experience/knowledge. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peter, I've booked two tickets on EVA using United miles, but I don't fly until October at the earliest. They have both been confirmed by EVA, however. You just have to ask for the EVA confirmation code from United, and you check your booking on EVA's website. That's really strange though, because the availability that the United agents saw seemed to be valid in my experience... meaning if there was no availability, they would see that as well. Are you talking directly to the Alliance Desk as I mentioned in the previous comments?

      Delete
  6. Ah okay, I will try the alliance desk. Is it also 24hr? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I believe they are. Don't forget to select Option 3 (Around The World awards), or else you will get routed to a regular agent.

      Delete
    2. thank you for the quick responses!

      Delete
  7. Many thanks for this. No availability TPE-PVG on CA for my date, and no EVA (BR) awards coming up on-line.

    But this Option 3 (Around the World) got me through to a super nice lady, who's got me 2x TSA-SHA tickets.

    Well, I've not got them yet! Check back in 24 hrs. But I'm hopeful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jonny, that's great to hear! TSA-SHA is actually a lot more convenient too. I hope the flights come back as confirmed. So far, I haven't had an issue, but it seems others may have. As long as the EVA website says the ticket is confirmed, you should be ok. Good luck!

      Delete
    2. Well, the flights were waitlisted, and then declined 2 days later. The United staff were v surprised, as availability showed, and I'm booking 4 mths ahead for regional flights.

      Not unexpected thouugh, with the way I've seen EVA run things. But never mind, 2 seats on CA opened up in the end, so I'm good anyway.

      Delete
    3. Hmm... that's unfortunate. I'm getting the sense that none of the regional flights on EVA are available for redemption with United miles right now. Glad to hear it worked out otherwise though.

      Delete
  8. Is booking on EVA using mileage from United the only option or can this same thing be done through US Airways also?

    Also, has anyone been successful getting a business class seat (RL) with EVA using United? Will it be classified as business or first class? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As far as I know, you can only use United miles right now to book on EVA as they are not an "official" Star Alliance partner yet. EVA and United have a special agreement outside of Star.

      You should be able to book RL with EVA using United miles. It will be classified as business.

      Delete
  9. Is there an Award availability tool for EVA somewhere? I called UA and "reserved" an available trip in business from LAX-TPE for Feb 2013. I was told to wait 24 hours to call back to check on EVA's confirmation. I just happened to call back an hour later for a different issue and thought to check on the EVA reservation. Those dates got rejected already. I reserved another "available" trip but again it got reject in about an hour. It's frustrating but should I just keep on trying and maybe third time will get something bookable?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I believe you are able to search for EVA award availability if you sign up for the Evergreen Club. However, I do not know for sure if EVA's availability matches up exactly with what United can book.

      Unfortunately, the way United is doing EVA bookings right now includes the 24-hour wait period. What you can do is ask for the EVA confirmation # when you are on the phone with the agent. Then you can go onto EVA's website and check your booking. If it says "Wait List" then it is either still in process or probably not available. If it says "Confirmed" then you can be sure your booking went through.

      Delete
  10. good to know, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Can I ask this forum how many miles are needed for the Deluxe/Elite class from SFO to Southeast Asia? thx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you talking about using United miles? As far as I know, you cannot use United miles to book in Elite Class (premium economy) on EVA Air. You can only book Premium/Royal Laurel Class (business) and Economy. Use the standard United award chart to find out exactly how many miles are needed.

      Delete
  12. Hi glu, thx for response. Can I check if anyone has successfully flown an Eva award using united miles inths forum? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, I redeemed tickets on EVA Air using United miles(65k round-trip)for my mom and she flew last month. I have a ticket on EVA for December as well.

      Delete
    2. Is the phone number (with Option 3) above used to actually book/issue the ticket too? I called that number to hold on to seats (and I can confirm on EVA's site for "confirmed" status), but when I called back today to actually make the reservation the agent said there was no agreement between UA and BR... I should try to call back to find another agent right?

      Delete
    3. Yep, Option 3 was used to book/issue tickets. Not sure what happened... I'm afraid maybe they brought in new people to the Around The World award desk who are not experienced... or perhaps you were accidentally routed to a regular agent. I would hang up and try calling back.

      Delete
  13. Just got the same thing the second time. When I used the Eva's confirmation number on their site it went back as "confirmed", but on united's website it didn't come back as confirmed. Calling the around the world desk didn't work either. They just couldn't see any confirmation on their computer so they couldn't do anything about it. The first time it was almost the same, except that it eventually showed "confirmed" on united's website probably one hour before the hold expired (I couldn't grab that chance because unfortunately my transferred mileage was still in the air, but that was another story...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was probably a delay on EVA's side in relaying the information back to United... that would be my best guess. Wait the full 24 hours and call back. Tell them that EVA is showing confirmed on their website and maybe United will extend the hold, or at least send in another request?

      Delete
  14. Thanks for this invaluable post! I book/ticket using option 3 line but got charged not only tax/fee but also phone booking ($25) as well as award booking ($25)! Is it normal? Please advise as to how to reason with their Alliance desk to get credit back. I thought phone booking for award is free as online award booking via this UA/EVA is not available. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a problem! Thanks for reading. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid the $25 phone booking fee. However, I have never heard of an "award booking fee" for United. If your departure date is within 21 days of booking, you may have to pay another fee depending on your status. Look here for all the fees associated with United award flights: http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/mileageplus/awards/travel/ticketing.aspx

      Delete
  15. After EVA changed their website, availability is different than what the united star alliance desk sees. any experience with this?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Now is July, 2013. I don't see the United web is ready for us to book EVA using United miles online yet. Is calling in the only way to book? I may miss something, if someone can tell me how to book online, that will be great.

    ReplyDelete