Taiwan's EVA Air formally enters the Star Alliance network this week, joining the likes of Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, United and Air New Zealand in the world's largest airline alliance.
Travellers on EVA flights will enjoy reciprocal access to the airport lounges of its new Star siblings, along with other perks such as priority checkin,preferred seating and extra luggage allowance, plus point-sharing through EVA's frequent flyer scheme, which has undergone a change of name from Evergreen Club to Infinity MileageLands.
EVA is Taiwan's second-largest carrier behind China Airlines, which last year signed up with the SkyTeam alliance. The airline counts Brisbane as its sole Australian port, with twice-weekly flights between Brisbane and Taipei.
However, EVA Airways president Austin Cheng has scotched rumours that the Taiwan airline will launch Sydney-Taipei flights later this year, or indeed at any time in the near future.
“We currently lack that capability for that route, it depends on the aircraft” Cheng told Australian Business Traveller in Taipei this week, adding that his first priority is to increase EVA’s Brisbane-Taipei schedule from two flights per week to daily.
“We will focus on having Brisbane daily before adding Sydney or Melbourne” Cheng said.
EVA status with Star Alliance
Here's how EVA's Infinity MileageLands status levels stack up against the standard Star Alliance status tiers:
- Infinity MileageLands Diamond = Star Alliance Gold
- Infinity MileageLands Gold = Star Alliance Gold
- Infinity MileageLands Silver = Star Alliance Silver
- Infinity MileageLands Green = nothing
As you can see, EVA's top two tiers are both equal in the eyes of Star, which will keep the airline's Gold card-holders happy.
Star Alliance Silver doesn't give you much across the entire alliance family, with only priority reservations waitlisting and priority airport standby.
Star Alliance Gold cardholders, by contrast, wallow in a raft of benefits: priority reservations waitlisting, airport standby, check-in, boarding and baggage, plus extra luggage allowance (20kg or one extra bag), and access to Star Alliance Gold lounges.
There are a few variation here: some airlines (usually those based in the US) also offer preferred seating, guaranteed seats and free upgrades, while United and US Airways only give out lounge access to long-haul international travellers.
Star's growing footprint
Star Alliance is the largest of the three global airline networks, with 27 airlines already on board, although it noticeably lacks an Australian partner – a gap which many would like to see Virgin Australia fill.
Several international Star Alliance members are active in the Australian skies, however, with two of these – Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines – affiliated with Virgin Australia.
Australian Business Traveller is attending the EVA Air / Star Alliance media event in Taipei as a guest of Star Alliance.
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