Review: EVA Airlines Infinity MileageLands rewards program

The rewards and loyalty program of EVA Airlines is called “Infinity Mileagelands”. EVA Air is a 5-star premium airline, a member of StarAlliance and a transfer partner of a number of credit card programs, including Citibank’s ThankYou points and CapitalOne Venture miles. Yet their reward program has received little attention from frequent travelers and miles & points bloggers. Let’s find out if it is worth signing up to earn & redeem miles or take advantage of elite benefits – read my review below!

Reach – EVA Air is one of the smaller StarAlliance members, flying to 54 destinations in 19 countries with a fleet of 70 (mostly widebody) planes. But with lots of destinations in Asia and flights to key cities in Europe and North America, in addition to hundreds of StarAlliance destinations, they cover a lot of interesting ground! Get more details about their young fleet and destinations in EVA Airlines – Facts & Figures!

Earn – how do I earn miles? EVA Airlines has a refreshingly simple earning structure: On flights operated by EVA Air and subsidiary UNI Air, you earn miles based on the flight distance and fare class, as well as segment credits according to this table:

EVAAir Infinity MileageLands Earning Chart

Earning for flights on StarAlliance partner airlines is also distance and fare class based, but different by airline, ranging from 100-200% for First Class, 70-150% for Business Class, 50-115% in Premium Economy and 0-125% in Economy Class. You can find the full partner earnings table here!

You can also earn miles in the program with hotel stays, car rentals and other travel partners, from merchants and “lifestyle” programs. EVA Air has financial partners issuing credit card in a long list of countries and has transfer partnerships with key programs like Citibank ThankYou and CapitalOne Venture. This makes it relatively easy to top off your miles balance, even if you don’t fly EVA Airlines a lot!

Miles expire three years after they were earned, without notice and regardless of activity. That’s a harsh policy, common among award programs of airlines in Asia. These hard expirations are a poor way to show loyalty and make it difficult for infrequent fliers to earn a meaningful reward. You can purchase miles at $40/1,000 miles or 4ct/m in increments of 1,000 miles – a steep price I’d only recommend for small quantities shortly before expiration! Your best way to keep your hard-earned miles from expiring is to utilize miles transfers to top off your account!

Redeem – what do I get for my miles? You can redeem your miles for free flights on EVA Air, subsidiary UNI Air and their partners. You can redeem for one-way or roundtrip tickets at half the price of a round-trip ticket. Roundtrip tickets can include two stop-overs, one on the outbound and one on the inbound trip. Open-jaws are allowed, but have to be in the same region of the departure or turnaround point. That’s a pretty generous rule! You can also use miles for cabin class upgrades.
The miles required for flight redemptions are based on zones, below is the table for EVA Air operated flights:

The prices for Economy Class are pretty high and more reasonable for Premium Economy (only 5,000-10,000 more) and Business Class. For example, Business Class Flights from Asia to the US or Europe for 150,000 miles round-trip! That’a little less than what United or Singapore Airlines will charge you!

EVA Air B777 Premium Economy Cabin

Prices for StarAlliance flights are slightly higher and in line with other programs, but without obvious sweet spots. You can find the current award chart here!

You can book EVA Air and StarAlliance awards online, including hard-to-find Singapore Airlines premium cabins! In my test availability was pretty good, although the search tool is very basic: There are no weekly or monthly award calendars, no overview of available cabin classes, ability to search for alternative airports or other conveniences.
I was able to find the same EVA Air award seats on United, so EVA does not seem to hold back their award seats for their own members. I’d recommend to use the United MileagePlus website to look for awards first and book through EVA Air when you’ve found them to make it easier!

One of the strengths of the program are the low fees: EVA Air allows you to change your award flights or cancel it for a low fee of $50 – that’s one of the lowest these days among award programs and makes it useful if your travel plans are not solid! The fees are waived for top level elite members (see below).

In addition to free flights, it’s possible to redeem miles for EVA WiFi vouchers, experiences like time in the EVA Air Flight Simulator or a limited number of Evergreen Hotels, owned by the same conglomerate. As so often, they are not great value.

Status Benefits – what perks will I get? EVA Air Infinity MileageLands has four levels and your elite level is valid for two years. You need to earn 30,000 miles on at least 6 flights  or at least 26 flights to get Silver Status. To renew Silver, you need 40,000 miles or 42 segments. To qualify for Gold, your mileage resets the day you reach Silver and you need to earn 50,000 miles in 12 months, so you’ll need to earn at least 80,000 miles to get to Gold if you start from 0. Requalification requires 80,000 miles or 80 segments. To reach the top elite level Diamond, you have to fly an additional 120,000 miles from reaching Gold (a total of 200,000 miles!) or 100 segments and requalification as Diamond requires 200,000 miles or 140 segments. These are some of the steepest requirements among airline loyalty programs I’ve seen.

So, what do you get for it? Starting with Silver, you get priority check-in and additional luggage allowance, as well as lounge access for the member. As Gold elite, you’ll get priority boarding and luggage handling, as well as waived award change, cancellation fees as well as seat assignment fees.. You can also bring a guest and small children to the lounge. EVA Infinity Gold brings StarAlliance Gold privileges as well! The highest level Diamond elite receive access to a dedicated check-in and VIP lounge, as well as another guest in most lounges.

EVA Star Lounge Taipei

While I consider the benefits for the mid-tier Silver to be competitive, the benefits for Gold and especially Diamond are pretty weak, considering the huge number of miles or segments required to achieve the level.

Who should join EVA Air Infinity MileageLand? If you live in Taiwan and the StarAlliance network is important to you, EVA Air is your default, despite the limited elite benefits. For infrequent travelers, the program might be interesting if you live in South East Asia and have access to an affiliated credit card in your country. For everybody else,  other StarAlliance loyalty programs offer better mileage earning and award redemptions and make it easier to achieve StarAlliance Gold elite and the benefits it brings


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