When most people plan a trip to Asia, they often visit popular tourist spots like Tokyo, Seoul or Hong Kong. However, there is an often-forgotten destination that can rival these popular cities: Taipei.
Earlier this week, Taiwan's government opened its borders to international travelers and ended its strict quarantine after 2 1/2 years.
Luckily, there is wide-open business-class award availability on Star Alliance member EVA Air between the U.S. and Taipei.
Airline: EVA Air.
Routes: The best availability is from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE). There is also some decent availability from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
Cost: 75,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points, 85,000 Avianca LifeMiles or 88,000 United MileagePlus miles (plus minimal taxes and fees).
Dates: Best availability between July and September 2023.
Pay taxes/fees with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3 points per dollar on travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2 points per dollar on travel) for travel protections on the award flight.
As mentioned above, the best award availability is out of Los Angeles. There are weeks with award space on five or more days.
There is also pretty good award space out of San Francisco.
Lastly, there are also multiple dates out of Chicago. Although there is not nearly as much award availability as from the West Coast, there is still plenty.
Best of all, there are at least two business-class seats bookable at these rates on some dates.
Related: 7 reasons EVA Air is the most overlooked transpacific business-class option
As EVA Air is a member of Star Alliance, there are multiple ways to book these seats. My favorite way is to book through Air Canada's Aeroplan program. Aeroplan charges just 75,000 points for a one-way business-class seat to Asia.
Another option is to book through the Avianca LifeMiles program. Unfortunately, LifeMiles recently had a devaluation for business-class awards to Asia. In short, Avianca now charges 85,000 miles to book one-way Star Alliance business-class seats to Asia.
Lastly, you can also book these seats through United MileagePlus. United charges 88,000 miles for one-way business class from the United States to Taiwan on Star Alliance partners.
Related: The best websites for searching Star Alliance award availability
Earning Aeroplan points is quite simple since you can transfer rewards at a 1:1 ratio from American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One and Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can also transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-point bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer.
Earning Avianca LifeMiles is also relatively easy as you can transfer rewards at a 1:1 ratio from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One and Citi ThankYou Rewards. You can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points at a 3:1 ratio, and you'll get a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Bonvoy points you transfer.
Earning United miles is also simple, as you can transfer miles from Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy to United MileagePlus. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to United at a 1:1 ratio with a 1,000-mile minimum transfer. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to United at a slightly higher 3:1.1 ratio due to United and Marriott's RewardsPlus partnership. You'll also receive the same 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer. This means that 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points are equal to 27,000 United miles.
However, before transferring rewards, check whether you can expect the transfer to be instant. Here's a look at transfer times for each of the major transferable currencies:
Related: How (and why) you should earn transferable points
With Taiwan finally open, now is a great time to start planning a trip to an often-forgotten destination. There is currently plenty of business-class award space from major U.S hubs. You'll likely get the best value when you book through Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles or United MileagePlus.
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