Well this is interesting.
Standard Chartered usually offers new SCB X Card members 30,000 miles (in the form of 75,000 SCB points) when they pay the S$695.50 annual fee. At 2.32 cents per mile, that’s not exactly the deal of the century.
But for a limited time, Standard Chartered is increasing the offer by 50% to 45,000 miles, while keeping the annual fee the same. The catch? It’s an exclusive offer for EVA Air Infinity MileageLands members.
EVA Air x SCB X Card offer
From 25 January to 24 February 2021, customers who apply for an SCB X Card through EVA Air Infinity MileageLands channels will receive 45,000 miles when approved (and upon payment of the S$695.50 annual fee).
|⚠️ This offer is only valid for those who have not applied for the X Card previously|
Unlike the regular sign-up gift, this is awarded in miles, not SCB points. The miles will be deposited directly into your EVA Air Infinity MileageLands account within 60 working days from 24 February 2021. You won’t have the option of transferring them anywhere else.
Your (physical) SCB X Card must be activated within 30 days of approval, and you must remain a cardmember for at least six months after approval. The full T&C of the offer can be found here.
So the question then becomes whether 45,000 Infinity MileageLands miles are worth more than 30,000 KrisFlyer miles (or any of the other transfer partners that SCB has).
What can you do with EVA Air Infinity MileageLands miles?
EVA Air is part of Star Alliance, which means your Infinity MileageLands miles can be used for either EVA Air/UNI Air or Star Alliance redemptions.
Here’s what the award charts look like:
- For flights on EVA Air/UNI Air
- For flights on Star Alliance carriers
In general, there isn’t much value to be had from the Star Alliance chart- almost every destination here 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 is lower than KrisFlyer:
|Round-trip Business Class||KrisFlyer||Infinity MileageLands|
|Singapore to Los Angeles||190,000 + S$157||150,000 + S$718|
|Singapore to New York||198,000 + S$228||160,000 + S$718|
|Singapore to Taipei||61,000 + S$94||50,000 + S$352|
|Singapore to Tokyo||94,000 + S$118||50,000 + S$419|
|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 much 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) might be a good sweet spot if you don’t mind a one-stop flight. Actually, you’re better off staying a few days in Taipei, because the connection times in TPE are not ideal:
Infinity MileageLand’s routing rules are such that you could do a stopover in Taipei on both the inbound and outbound legs, if you were so inclined.
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 10 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).
Booking and changing Infinity MileageLands 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.
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:
|Change fee||US$50 (waived for Silver /Gold/ Diamond members)|
|Refund fee||US$50 (waived for Silver /Gold/ Diamond members)|
|No-show fee||US$50- Asia/ Hong Kong & Macau|
US$100- America/ Europe/ Oceania
Infinity MileageLands miles normally expire after 3 years, although the airline is currently granting further extensions to upcoming expiring miles due to COVID-19.
My sense is that EVA Air Infinity MileageLands miles are of limited use to someone based in Singapore, and even though you’re paying 1.55 cents per mile (S$695.50/45,000), the appeal is inherently narrow.
The key stumbling block are the fuel surcharges, which offset the lower mileage requirements for EVA Air redemptions. You also need to keep in mind that this promotion only gives you 45,000 miles- it’ll be very difficult to earn the remainder given the relatively low earning rates of the SCB X Card (1.2/2.0 mpd for local/overseas spend). That said, American Express and Citibank both partner with EVA Air, so there would be some 4 mpd opportunities too…
Unless you’re really invested in Infinity MileageLands, it’s a pass for me.