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One of my favorite destinations with miles and points is an exotic urban metropolis that has something for everyone: Taiwan.
Taiwan has fine art museums, outdoor adventures, temples and night markets. You can go to the top of the world’s second tallest building, Taipei 101, for breathtaking views, explore national parks, sample craft whiskey and eat your weight in Michelin-starred dumplings.
And there are, of course, pandas at the Taipei Zoo. You can shop for Hello Kitty stuff and drink bubble tea (which was invented in Taipei).
Here are six of the best ways to fly to Taiwan from the U.S. on points and miles.
1 Air Canada Aeroplan
1.1 How To Book With Aeroplan
1.2 How to Earn Aeroplan Miles
1.3 Cards To Help You Earn More Aeroplan Miles
2 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
2.1 How To Book With Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles
2.2 How to Earn Alaska Airlines Miles
2.3 Cards To Help You Earn More Alaska Miles
3 American Airlines
3.1 How To Book With American Airlines Miles
3.2 How to Earn American Airlines Miles
3.3 Cards To Help You Earn More American Miles
4 All Nippon Airways (ANA)
4.1 How To Book With ANA Miles
4.2 How to Earn ANA Mileage Club Miles
4.3 Cards To Help You Earn More ANA Mileage Club Miles
5 Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank
5.1 How To Book With JAL Mileage Bank Miles
5.2 How to Earn JAL Mileage Bank Miles
5.3 Cards To Help You Earn More Japan Airlines Miles
6 United MileagePlus
6.1 How To Book With United Mileage Miles
6.2 How to Earn United Airlines Miles
6.3 Cards To Help You Earn More United Miles
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada, one of Star Alliance carries, doesn’t have direct flights to Taiwan. However, we can use its loyalty program Aeroplan, to get to Taiwan on a combination of Star Alliance partners.
These are one-way award rates on Aeroplan:
|Economy Class||37,500 miles|
|Premium Economy||62,500 miles|
|Business Class||75,000 miles|
|First Class||105,000 miles|
You will have to pay fuel surcharges with some partner awards booked with Aeroplan. There are a few partners, however, that don’t pass on fuel surcharges. Your total taxes and fees will depend on which airline you are flying.
How To Book With Aeroplan ⤊
Aeroplan awards are easy to search. You will need to create an account first, then login and click on Book Travel, then select Flights. You can search for one-way or round-trip award availability.
On the search results page, you will see a box next to Display Mixed Cabin. Leave it unchecked if you want to fly all the way in a premium cabin. However, you won’t be able to see short connecting flights that don’t have premium award space or are single-cabin flights.
You can easily toggle back and forth from economy to business/first on the results screen by changing your preferred cabin in the drop-down menu.
There’s also a very useful Availability Calendar feature.
Click on the calendar to see award availability for multiple dates
EVA Air, Taiwan’s flagship carrier, operates Hello Kitty planes on select routes. EVA Air is also a Star Alliance Carrier and the flights can be booked with Aeroplan miles. You can fly the following routes on a Hello Kitty plane:
- Taipei to Los Angeles, flight BR6
- Los Angeles to Taipei, flight BR5
- Taipei to Chicago flight BR56
- Chicago to Taipei flight BR55
Keep in mind that EVA Air rotates the routes on which you’ll find the Hello Kitty planes.
Added bonus – there are no surcharges for EVA Air flights booked with Aeroplan miles!
How to Earn Aeroplan Miles ⤊
There are a few ways to earn Aeroplan miles. There’s no good Aeroplan miles-earning credit card but it’s a transfer partner of American Express. Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Aeroplan at 1:1 ratio. Occasionally, you will see a transfer bonus. Amex points can be earned with many personal and business cards.
Capital One is a recent addition to Aeroplan credit card transfer partners. Miles earned with the Capital One Venture Card and the Capital One Spark Miles Card can be transferred at a rate of 2:1.5.
You can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Aeroplan. For every 60,000 Marriott points, you will receive 5,000 Aeroplan bonus miles for a total of 25,000 miles.
Cards To Help You Earn More Aeroplan Miles ⤊
American Express offers several cards that can help you earn points quickly thanks to useful bonus categories. If you’re looking for a simple option, your Capital One options earn 2X on all purchases.
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
Using Alaska Mileage Plan miles is one of the most economical ways to get to Taiwan. Alaska has a different award chart for each partner so some partners make more sense than others.
Here’s a breakdown of the miles required for one-way awards on Alaska’s partners that have the best redemption rates:
|Airline||Economy||Business Class||First Class|
|American Airlines||35,000 miles||70,000 miles||110,000 miles|
|Cathay Pacific||30,000 miles||50,000 miles||70,000 miles|
|Japan Airlines||40,000 miles||65,000 miles||75,000 miles|
You can’t fly two different partners on one route, so you won’t be able to include a domestic connection if you are flying on Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific. A good way to get to a major international gateway is to use a positioning flight.
As you can see, flying Cathay Pacific offers the best value. Cathay Pacific is a great airline with consistently good service across all cabins, including a solid business class and an amazing first class. You can expect top of the line champagne, caviar and individualized attention in its first class.
Alaska allows stopovers on one-way awards so why not include a stopover in Hong Kong? You get to explore an additional amazing destination in Asia.
Japan Airlines, just like Cathay Pacific, has a fantastic first class and very nice business class. Award rates are very reasonable, so if you can find availability, this is a great option for award flights to Taiwan.
Fuel surcharges are very reasonable, even for premium cabins, which can help keep your out of pocket costs down.
How To Book With Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles ⤊
One way to look for an award space is to search on Alaska’s own site. You can look for award availability on all partners except Cathay Pacific. You can search right from the home page, so there’s no need to create an account.
Enter your departure and destination and on the next screen you will see a grid displaying available award space.
Be careful with mixed cabin awards. Sometimes, there might be a seat available for only part of the itinerary, often the shortest segment, in a premium cabin. But you will be charged the higher amount, as if there was award space available in premium cabin for all segments of your trip. Put your mouse over the two-colored seat symbol and you’ll see that it’s a mixed cabin itinerary.
If you want to look for Cathay Pacific availability, you’ll have to search for award space on Qantas or British Airways websites. I prefer to search for Cathay Pacific flights on Qantas.com because the website is very easy to use and has a calendar view.
You can search for award space right from the homepage. Make sure you click on Use points – Classic Flight Rewards Only before running your search and if your dates are somewhat flexible, check the box next to Flexible with dates.
On the next page check the boxes for your preferred class of service.
Click on the date you want to travel to see all available flights, including Cathay Pacific flights.
Here also, pay attention to mixed cabin awards indicated with an“i”. In this example, in the lower right corner, the short segment from Hong Kong to Taipei is in business, not first.
You can also search for Cathay Pacific award availability on British Airways. Just log into your account and go to Book → Book a flight with Avios, then enter your dates and destinations.
ProTip: It’s always a good practice to verify award availability with Alaska phone agents before moving any transferable points. This is very important, as sometimes Alaska doesn’t have access to the same award space as Cathay Pacific’s Oneworld partners.
How to Earn Alaska Airlines Miles ⤊
Bank of America has co-branded Alaska Airlines personal and business credit cards and Marriott is a transfer partner with Alaska.
Marriott points transfer to Alaska at 3:1 ratio. If you transfer 60,000 Marriott points you will receive 5,000 bonus miles. So effectively, you can transfer 60,000 Marriott points for 25,000 Alaska miles.
Transfers are one way only – once you move your Marriott points to Alaska you can’t get them back if there’s no award space on your desired flight. Therefore, remember to always verify award space with an Alaska phone agent.
Cards To Help You Earn More Alaska Miles ⤊
Alaska Airlines has personal and business credit cards that offer 3X on purchases made directly with Alaska and 1X on everything else. Co-branded Marriott cards issued by Amex and Chase are another easy way to get your hands on Alaska miles.
American Airlines is part of the Oneworld, and while American doesn’t have any direct routes to Taiwan, you can fly on AA’s partners, such as Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines or Malaysia Airlines.
These are one-way award rates:
|Economy Class||32,500 miles||35,000 miles|
|Premium Economy||N/A||50,000 miles|
|Business Class||N/A||70,000 miles|
How To Book With American Airlines Miles ⤊
My favorite place to look for Oneworld partner award space is on Qantas.com, as described above. Keep in mind, you aren’t actually booking a flight on Qantas, we’re just looking for award availability, so disregard Qantas’ own award rates. When you find availability, call American Airlines and give the agent the flight details.
If you are using American Airlines site to look for award space, just plug in your dates and your destination right on the home screen.
The next screen will look like this. Click on Show Full Calendar link to see 30 day award availability.
American won’t show Cathay Pacific award space on its site, but will you can see availability on AA’s own flights and select partners.
American doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges, so you’ll just have to pay the taxes and fees.
How to Earn American Airlines Miles ⤊
There are a few cards that will help you earn American Airlines miles. Both Barclays and Citi offer co-branded credit cards that earn American Airlines miles directly. American is also Marriott Bonvoy transfer partner. Marriott points transfer to American at 3:1 ratio. For every 60,000 Marriott points, you will receive 5,000 bonus miles for a total of 25,00 AAdvantage miles.
Cards To Help You Earn More American Miles ⤊
While co-branded Marriott cards are the only option if you want to earn transferable points, Citi and Barclays offer several co-branded cards that earn American miles directly.
All Nippon Airways (ANA)
One of Japan’s flagship carriers, and a member of Star Alliance, All Nippon Airways (ANA), doesn’t have direct flights to Taiwan from the U.S., but you can book flights on any Star Alliance carrier with ANA miles. Just remember that only round-trip awards can be booked on ANA.
ANA has seasonal zone-based international award chart for its own flights. There are three seasons (low, regular and high) and the dates change every year. Taiwan falls into Asia 1 zone.
These are the round-trip award rates using ANA miles:
|Class of Service||Low Season||Regular Season||High season|
|Economy||45,000 miles||55,000 miles||60,000 miles|
|Business||80,000 miles||90,000 miles||95,000 miles|
|First||165,000 miles||165,000 miles||180,000 miles|
ANA’s partner award chart covers flights on ANA’s Star Alliance partner airlines. Partner awards are not seasonal and you can fly on more than one partner.
These are the round-trip award rates using ANA miles for partner flights:
|Economy Class||60,000 miles|
|Business Class||95,000 miles|
|First Class||180,000 miles|
How To Book With ANA Miles ⤊
You’ll need to create an account to search ANA awards. Sign in and select “Award Booking”, then enter your travel dates (remember, you can only book round-trip award tickets with ANA).
If your dates are flexible, check the box next to Compare seat availability +/- 3 days.
On the next screen you’ll see two types of awards available:
- 1 or ANA Award – only includes ANA’s own flights
- 2 or Star Alliance Award – can include ANA flights, but will include partner flights
Choose your desired itinerary and click Next. You’ll see the total number of miles required and the surcharges on the next screen.
Taxes and fees aren’t always cheap because ANA passes on surcharges from many partners. However, 55,000 miles for a transpacific award is a steal, even with surcharges.
You can only book award space on ANA’s own flights out of an ANA’s U.S. gateway city from which ANA flies. These cities include:
- Chicago (ORD)
- Houston, (IAH)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- San Jose (SJU)
- New York (JFK)
- Seattle (SEA)
- Washington D.C. (IAD)
If you don’t live near one of these airports, taking a positioning flight to take advantage of lower award rates could be a good option.
How to Earn ANA Mileage Club Miles ⤊
ANA doesn’t have any good credit card options in the U.S. Transferring American Express Membership Rewards Points to ANA at a 1:1 ratio is a good option. These transfers might take 2-3 days and ANA will not hold award space, so keep that in mind before you transfer.
ANA is also a transfer partner with Marriott Bonvoy. For every 60,000 Marriott points you will receive 5,000 ANA bonus miles for a total of 25,000 miles.
First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) has a co-branded ANA credit card that earns miles directly, but the earning rate is pretty weak. It’s generally better to stick with Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards.
Cards To Help You Earn More ANA Mileage Club Miles ⤊
The go-to cards for earning ANA Mileage Club miles are clearly cards that earn Membership Rewards points. However, you can supplement with co-branded Marriott cards offered by Chase and Amex if need be.
[ps2id id=’JapanAirlines(JAL)MileageBank’ target=”/]
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank
Japan Airlines is part of Oneworld alliance and you can use JAL miles to book award flights to Taiwan with partner airlines such as Cathay Pacific, or on its own flights.
There are two different award charts, one for Japan Airlines flights and another for partner flights.
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank uses a region-based award chart for its own flights. These are the one-way rates:
|Premium Economy||37,500 miles|
Japan Airlines also offers limited days of the week awards for first and business class. The number of miles needed depends on the day of the week and the direction you are flying (to or from Japan). There are blackout dates that change every year.
Japan Airlines has a distance-based partner award chart if you want to book on Oneworld partners. Because partner awards are distance-based, Japan Airlines has a nifty calculator on its site to help you determine the total trip distance.
Once you know the total mileage, you can look up award ticket cost on this chart.
How To Book With JAL Mileage Bank Miles ⤊
You can try searching for award space on Japan Airlines website. If you are looking for Cathay Pacific award space bookable with Japan Airlines miles, another option is to search on British Airways or Qantas.
To look for award space on JAL website, you’ll first need to create a JAL Mileage Bank account. After you’ve created the account, login and click on Award Redemption Air, then Book JMB Partner Airlines Award Ticket.
Fill out the details of your flight and hit search.
The next screen will display available award space.
After you select your flight and click continue, you’ll be able to see the total miles required and fuel surcharges.
British Airways and Qantas websites will show both partner and Japan Airlines own award availability. If, for some reasons, you can see the award space on one of the partners but not on JAL own site, you can call Japan Airlines to book.
How to Earn JAL Mileage Bank Miles ⤊
Unfortunately, JAL Mileage Bank miles are hard to earn. There’s a very mediocre Japan Airlines credit card, but the only other way to earn JAL miles is by transferring Marriott Bonvoy points. For every 60,000 Marriott points, you will receive 5,000 JAL Mileage Bank bonus miles for a total of 25,000 miles.
Cards To Help You Earn More Japan Airlines Miles ⤊
While your only real option is the Japan Airlines co-brand card or a card that earns Marriott points, you’ll at least be able to take advantage of some great redemption rates.
United Airlines is a member of Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world. United MileagePlus miles can be used to book award tickets on many partners, including ANA, EVA Air, Asiana, Lufthansa, Swiss and more.
These are the one-way award rates using United miles. United requires more miles for business class awards on its partners.
Note that United recently announced major changes to its award charts beginning on November 15, 2019.
|Class of Service||United Flights||Star Alliance Flights|
|Economy||35,000 miles||35,000 miles|
|Business||70,000 miles||80,000 miles|
How To Book With United Mileage Miles ⤊
It’s very easy to look for and book award tickets with United. You don’t even have to log into your account to run a search – just enter your dates, origin, destination and class of service right on the homepage.
You can search for a specific date or, if your schedule is more flexible, you can select “calendar shop” on the first screen to see two months’ of availability.
If you didn’t select “calendar shop”, you’ll see seven days availability. If you want to see 30-day availability just click on the View 30-day calendar link.
Beware of mixed-cabin awards. They are easy to identify – they are marked with a red text that says “Mixed cabin”. If you put your mouse over the question mark, you can see which segment is in economy and which is in premium cabin.
United will show more economy award space on the short connecting flights in the U.S to its own elites, such as Premier Silver and Premier Gold, and United Explorer credit card holders. In that case, log into your account before searching for award space. Sometimes, because United releases limited award space on its own flights, these are the hardest awards to find.
United operates one non-stop flight from the U.S. to Taipei from San Francisco (SFO).
United doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges so taxes and fees are very reasonable.
How to Earn United Airlines Miles ⤊
Chase offers several co-branded personal and business credit cards. United Airlines is also a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio and transfers are usually instant. If you don’t have enough United miles for an entire award, you can top off your MileagePlus account by transferring some Ultimate Rewards points.
In a pinch, you can even transfer Marriott points to United if you need to top off your account to book an award ticket.
Cards To Help You Earn More United Miles ⤊
United miles are fairly easy to earn. Cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points are definitely the go-to, but co-branded United cards are an excellent way to supplement.
As you can see, there are lots of options to get to Taiwan with points and miles. When you visit Taiwan, you can explore nature’s beauty and eat lots of delicious dumplings. Taiwan is also a great gateway to many other great destinations, so when you go, take advantage of Taiwan’s proximity to other Asian countries.