Trip Report: EVA Air Business Class from Los Angeles to Taipei

I recently had to take a quick trip to Bangladesh. While searching the United site, I found some good space on Thai, EVA, United and Asiana. All the airlines have flat bed seats, but I leaned toward EVA Air because they joined the Star Alliance two months ago, so I hadn’t yet had a chance to fly them.

EVA flies the same flat bed business class seats as Cathay Pacific and the new American Air 777-300ER, which are widely considered the best business class seats in the world. The chance to fly a new airline and the best product made EVA my top choice.

I was booking with US Airways miles, so I followed the standard procedure to book an award with US Airways miles.

  1. Search for award space on united.com because it displays all of the Star Alliance, and usairways.com only shows US Airways space. (All alliance partners should have access to the same award availability, so anything found on united.com is bookable with US Airways miles.)
  2. Call US Airways at 800-622-1015 to book the award.

My Itinerary with all flights in Business Class:

The routing via gcmap.com

LAX-TPE 8/13 1:35AM Arrive 5:10AM +1 EVA Air
TPE-SIN 8/14 7:10AM Arrive 12:00PM Singapore Air
SIN-DAC 8/14 8:40PM Arrive 10:30PM Singapore Air

Return
DAC-SIN 8/18 11:55PM Arrive 6:00AM +1 Singapore Air
SIN-HKG 8/19 7:00AM Arrive 12:00PM Singapore Air
HKG-TPE 8/19 1:00 PM Arrive 4:25 PM Singapore Air
TPE-LAX 8/19 6:40PM Arrive 4:20 PM EVA Air

What was my take on the food, service, and bed?

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Trip Report: Singapore Airlines Business Class Houston-Singapore

Tahsir recently flew Singapore Business Class for twenty hours and was blown away by the service.

I recently had the opportunity to fly on Singapore Airlines Business Class from Houston-Singapore via Moscow. I was excited for this trip because of my last trip with them in which I flew in their Suites cabin.

Singapore Business Class

When I booked this trip, I made the reservation using the Avianca website as I described in this post.

So how was the trip?

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Introduction: The OneStarWorld Alliance Trip Around The World

Great minds think alike? Yesterday I posted about my dream Singapore Suites, Cathay Pacific First, and Lufthansa First Class Terminal trip. I still think my trip idea is cooler, but Tahsir has actually booked something, so he’s beating me there! ~Scott

Tahsir–the Bengali Miles Guru–just booked himself a pretty sweet trip to combine Singapore Business Class with Cathay Pacific First Class to head around the world and sample a few Asian cities.

Introducing: The most ridiculous trip around the world in 6 days!

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MileValue Reader Meetup at FTU DC!

If you’re going to the Frequent Traveler University this weekend, let’s meet up! At the last FTU meetup in Los Angeles, we were able to meet a ton of new people and put some faces to familiar names. Hopefully, we can engage some of our readers at this meetup too!

Although Scott will not be there, Bill & I (Tahsir) will be!

We scouted out a location that is rated highly by the locals and is also walking distance from the Hilton!

Upon choosing a suitable location, we decided on a casual place to get desserts and drinks over a sit-down restaurant.

Time: Saturday April 27th @ 7:30 PM

Location: Danielle’s Desserts. 1770 U. International Drive. Mclean VA 22102

Link to Dessert Bar

Meeting Point: We will meet at the lobby of the Hilton at 7:15 and take the 10 minute walk to the dessert bar!

Let us know if you can make it in the comments below or email us so we can gauge how many people to expect!

-Bill & Tahsir

 

The Way to Get Singapore Business Class Space Without Fuel Surcharges

The Avianca/TACA LifeMiles program sells miles for around 1.36 cents per mile, which means you can get into luxury seats like Singapore business class beds on an A380 for less than the cost of a paid economy ticket.

LifeMiles selling for 1.3 cents is not new. Scott wrote about that deal in September. Every month or two LifeMiles has a “2 for 1″ promo that makes their miles a steal. What is new is that Singapore business class space is currently bookable on lifemiles.com.

Normally longhaul Singapore business class space on their 777-300ERs and A380s can only be booked with Singapore’s own miles (or Membership Rewards transferred to Singapore.) Singapore charges big fuel surcharges on redemptions; LifeMiles doesn’t. So now is your chance to get into longhaul Singapore business class beds for under $900 per direction, which in some cases could be cheaper than buying the same flight in economy.

Singapore 777-300ER Business Class

Here’s why LifeMiles rock:

  • During 2 for 1 promos, you can buy miles for 1.5 cents. There is a 2 for 1 promo until April 30, 2013. (To participate, your account needs to have been opened before April 8, 2013, the date the promo started. This is a common requirement, so open a LifeMiles account now to take advantage of the next promo.)
  • You only need 40% of the miles listed on the award chart to book an award. The other 60% of the award’s price can be purchased at 1.275 cents per mile.
  • Combined that means you can start with zero miles now and get the miles you need for an award for 1.36 cents per mile.
  • The LifeMiles chart is broadly in line with United’s chart. It’s not too much worse. For instance, roundtrip business to Europe is 105k LifeMiles versus 100k United miles.

For more detail, see Roundtrip Flat Beds (Business) to Europe for Under $1,500 All In.

Here are some example itineraries and prices in dollars.

Example 1: LAX-Singapore with LifeMiles account opened before April 8th

Cost: 62,500 Miles oneway

Miles to purchase with 2 x 1 promo: 13,000 @ $30/1000 = $390

Total Miles so far : 26,000 (13,000 * 2 x 1 Promo)

26,000 is about 40% of 62,500

Purchase the remaining miles required at $474 (37,000 miles * 1.275)

Redemption Fee: $25

Taxes: $2.50

Total: $891.50

That is some amazing value for a Business Class ticket to Asia! Keep in mind that this is one way, so roundtrip would be double that amount.

Example 2: LAX-SIN with account open AFTER April 8th

Cost: 62,500

Miles to Purchase: 26,000 @ 30/1000 = $780

Purchase remaining miles needed (37,000) at 1.275 CPM = $474

Redemption Fee & Taxes: $27.50

Total: $1,281.50

That is a pretty good deal for Business Class to Asia one way–especially if you were going to purchase a premium ticket anyways. But you would do better by waiting until the next 2 x 1 promo, when you are eligible.

Singapore Space BEFORE purchasing at 1.275 CPM

Singapore Space AFTER purchasing at 1.275 CPM

Why Is This Important?

LifeMiles are extra hot for one reason right now, and it is because you can gain access to Singapore Airlines business class award space. Flying from Newark-Singapore on the longest flight in the world is now possible for $900. That route will shut down later this year so it’s best to try to get on those flights.

In addition, you  don’t have to fly to Singapore. You can go anywhere in Asia on Singapore for 62,500 LifeMiles each way in business class. India is 62,500 miles in Business Class, and $891 is extremely cheap for one ways to India in Business Class!

Problems With LifeMiles

There are drawback to LifeMiles that you should know.

  • They don’t always show the same partner availability as other Star Alliance programs.
  • The agents are worse than US Airways reps.
  • You cannot combine two cabins like Business & Economy or First & Business. LifeMiles is the only program in the world that I know of that has this rule.
  • Their Multi-City search is horrible.
  • They show a ton of phantom space.
  • Sometimes, the system won’t ticket your reservation.

If you can get over these issues, then LifeMiles may be a good proposition. However, it comes with great caution. I bought 26,000 miles today and went to ticket my reservation only to find out how buggy the system is. For 30 minutes, the system crashed. Then, the flight I wanted to book became unavailable. 10 minutes later, it became available again. I ticketed an itinerary and an E-Ticket number wasn’t assigned for 24 hours, which made me nervous.

My Confirmation

But in the end everything has ticketed and for less than $900 I am flying:

  • Newark to Houston in United First
  • Houston to Moscow to Singapore in Singapore business

[Scott: I am very tempted to buy myself a seat Singapore to Frankfurt for this fall on the A380. I happen to need to get from Southeast Asia to Europe, and under $900 for a flat bed on Singapore's A380 is tempting.

Singapore Business space for 65k miles (AKA $891)

And yes SQ26 that day is on an A380…

I still haven’t decided whether to book or not…]

If you have plans to travel in premium cabins to Asia, Africa, The Middle East or Europe, this is a great way to save some money!

For anyone who has booked with LifeMiles, what have your experiences been?

-Bengali Miles Guru

Tip to Canadian Kilometers & Ben for discussing this more!