Airlines Credit Cards

AMEX adds EVA Air Infinity MileageLands as transfer partner; good option for Japan

AMEX's latest transfer partner has pesky fuel surcharges, but potential sweet spots for Tokyo and Osaka.

American Express cardholders can now transfer Membership Rewards points to EVA Air’s Infinity MileageLands frequent flyer program. AMEX is not the first bank to offer it (Citibank and SCB already do), but it’s always good to have additional transfer options in the market.

There appears to be a bug in the Membership Rewards portal right now, because Infinity MileageLands can only be seen by non-Platinum Charge cardholders (i.e. AMEX Platinum Credit Card, Platinum Reserve, Rewards Card)

AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders will only see the existing 8 transfer partners. I suspect this is because they have a special transfer rate of 400 MR= 250 miles (versus the usual 450 MR= 250 miles), and some additional coding needs to be done to get Infinity MileageLands to follow this too.

American Express Platinum cardholders do not pay any transfer fees, and transfers to Infinity MileageLands take up to 10 working days.

Is Infinity MileageLands worth transferring points to?

It depends on which award chart you’re looking at. Infinity MileageLands has two different charts:

  • Chart for flights on EVA Air/UNI Air (one-way prices shown; round trips cost 2X one-way)
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Round-trip prices shown

In general, there isn’t much value to be had from the Star Alliance chart- almost every destination there could be flown for cheaper via KrisFlyer.

When it comes to the EVA Air chart, there is some value, provided you’re ok with paying fuel surcharges. I’ve listed some instances below where the mileage requirement through Infinity MileageLands (I’m getting tired of typing this already) is lower than KrisFlyer:

One-way Business ClassKrisFlyer Infinity MileageLands
Singapore to Los Angeles95,000 + S$7375,000 + S$373
Singapore to New York99,000 + S$10580,000 +  S$373
Singapore to London92,000 + S$5075,000 + S$326
Singapore to Taipei30,500 + S$5025,000 + S$180
Singapore to Tokyo47,000 + S$5025,000 + S$195
Assumes redemption on Singapore Airlines for KrisFlyer, and EVA Air for Infinity MileageLands

However, thanks to fuel surcharges, your cash outlay on Infinity MileageLands will be larger than KrisFlyer.

Here’s where you’ll consult your trusty valuation of a mile figure to determine which tradeoffs are worth it, but my sense is that Tokyo (or Osaka for that matter) is a good sweet spot if you don’t mind a one-stop flight. Your total taxes and surcharges on a round-trip ticket will be under S$400, and you’ll spend 44,000 fewer miles than with KrisFlyer. Infinity MileageLand’s routing rules are such that you could even do a stopover in Taipei on both the inbound and outbound legs, if you were so inclined.

Remember, EVA Air already has a very good Business Class product, and it’s going to get better with the new B787-9/ B787-10 aircraft.

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The new Business Class seats on these planes are designed by DesignWorks, part of the BMW Group, and are visually impressive. The 23 inch wide seats recline into 76 inch flatbeds, with adjustable privacy panels, generous storage cabinets and upgraded 18 inch HD touchscreen monitors.

EVA has a total of eight B787-9/10s, flying routes between Taipei and Bangkok, Brisbane, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Osaka, and Tokyo Narita.

Even if you don’t get a B787-9/10, you’ll still enjoy perks in EVA Business Class that you’d only have in Singapore Airline First Class, like vintage champagne (Krug or Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame, depending on your route), Rimowa amenity kits (out of Taipei; inbound flights receive Salvatore Ferragamo), and pajamas by Jason Wu (who designed Michelle Obama’s dresses for the inauguration).

EVA Air Rimowa Amenity Kit
EVA Air Sleeper Suit

Booking and changing awards

Both EVA Air/UNI Air awards and Star Alliance awards can be booked online. The interface is fairly clunky and requires way more mouse clicks than what best practice dictates, but it gets the job done. You don’t need any miles in your balance to do a search.

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Although awards can be booked online, you’ll need to call up customer service if you want to make any changes or cancellations. The fees involved are about the same as KrisFlyer, and are waived for elite members:

 Cost
Change feeUS$50 (waived for Silver /Gold/ Diamond members)
Refund feeUS$50 (waived for Silver /Gold/ Diamond members)
No-show feeUS$50- Asia/ Hong Kong & Macau
US$100- America/ Europe/ Oceania

Conclusion

There are very limited use cases for Infinity MileageLands for someone based in Singapore, but if you’re set on flying to Japan, then this might be of interest to you.

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Although I wouldn’t use the AMEX Platinum cards as my day-to-day spending tool, there is a hefty sign up bonus available on the AMEX Platinum Charge- spending $20,000 within the first 3 months of approval will yield a total of 140,000 Membership Rewards points, or 87,500 miles. I’d also consider using it at Platinum EXTRA partners like Lee Hwa Jewelry or Fred Perry, where you can earn the equivalent of 7.8 mpd.


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Richard
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Richard

For those who have not accumulated sufficient miles/points, paying the fuel surcharge would be a quick way to make up the shortfall. It’ll be akin to “buying” miles, at 1.4~1.5 cpm for the US flights.

Patrick
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Patrick

Would u advise flying to Taipei using EVA miles instead of Krisflyer. I know u compared above but I don’t know how to really think about it. Less miles but more $$. But miles are harder to get.

Joel
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Joel

5k miles saved for $130 more in taxes, only if you’re short of miles

Wil
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Wil

Assuming if the miles are accumulated via credit card spending, 5K miles is worth at least $1250 of spending (assume $1 for 4 miles). I think its worth it

Richard
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Richard

Paying $260 to save 11K miles for a return trip on J works out to paying about 2.36 cpm. You can “buy” miles at less than 2 cpm.
On the other hand, if you have a big group and can’t “buy” enough miles on time, it is an option.

Patrick
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Patrick

Thank you. I see how you guys are making the calculations now. Learning 🙂