Credit Card Churning

How To Redeem Airline Miles to Fly on EVA Air to Taiwan

There are several other sites that are better equipped to share the ins and outs of travel hacking, and how to use points to get to various destinations around the world.  Using sites such as The Points Guy, One Mile at Time, and Million Mile Secrets, I was able to able to piece together our business class flights to Taiwan on EVA Air using points. Here is how to redeem airline miles to Taiwan.

As soon as we decided to make the trip to Taiwan, I began searching the easiest route to get there. Living in Atlanta, the most logical starting point was Delta. After a quick search, a realized that we’d have to first fly to Detroit and then Tokyo before we land in Taiwan. I moved my search to Eva Air, which is based in Taiwan. In late 2016, I learned that EVA Air had great business class availability to its hub in Taipei from each of its American destinations. From that point on, I kept a close eye on award availability. Once we determined our travel dates, I booked roundtrip flights from Houston last spring and then found cheap positioning flights from Atlanta.

The next major question to answer was which reward currency I should use. EVA is a member of the Star Alliance. After researching loyalty programs, I determined that my best options were United Airlines’ Mileage Plan, which required 160,000 points per round-trip ticket and Air Canada’s Aeroplan, which required 150,000 points round trip.  In the end I use both programs to book our flights. Yes, Aeroplan required fewer points but I didn’t have enough points to cover mine and my husband’s flights.

 

Using Aeroplan Miles to Taipei

For my flights, I used Aeroplan (Air Canada’s frequent flyer program) miles since I planned on booking Little T a lap infant ticket. Many airlines will charge as much as 10% of the revenue ticket price for a lap infant on international routes, which can be cost prohibitive on business class flights. Aeroplan only charged 100 Canadian Dollars (plus tax) or 10,000 points for a lap infant in business class, which makes it one of the more cost-effective frequent flyer programs for booking lap infants in business class.

I collected my Aeroplan miles in a roundabout way. First, I accumulated SPG hotel points, by planning a few meetings at Starwood hotels for a start-up pharmaceutical company and using my SPG Amex card. Between the credit card sign-up bonus, earning points via SPG Pro, and putting all meeting expenses on the SPG card, I accumulated 90,000 points I needed. Next, I converted those points to Marriott points. One Starwood point yields three Marriott points, so I ended up with 270,000 points.  With the Marriott points, I booked their hotel and air package, which gave me 120,000 miles and a 7-night stay at a category 1-5 hotel. Aeroplan was also running a promotion where you could earned a 25% bonus when you convert hotel points to miles. I received an additional 30,000 points for a total of 150,000 points, exactly what I needed to my award flights. I also paid $38.94 in taxes.

 

Using Mileage Plus Miles

For my husband, I focused on acquiring Mileage Plus (United Airlines frequent flyer program) miles, since those were much easier to acquire. I had signed him up for two credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which had a 100,000 point sign-up bonus (offer no longer available) and the Chase Sapphire Ink, which had an 80,000 point sign-up bonus. After meeting the minimum spend, I transferred 160,000 Ultimate Reward points from the Chase credit cards to his United account to book his flights. I also paid an additional $38.56 in taxes.

When I booked my flights, my itinerary costed around $1100 in coach and $4800 in business per person.  Since I can’t envision myself booking those business class flights in cash (definitely can’t afford it), I essentially saved about $2000 on our flights, and would arrive in Taipei better rested than we would if we flew in economy. That number doesn’t include the 7-night hotel stay from the Marriott hotel and air package.

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