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Recently I talked about how I used ANA’s amazing award chart between the US and Asia. Using the comprehensive guide to which airlines charge fuel surcharges on ANA award tickets, I was able to book 2 tickets (for my daughter and I) to fly from the US to Asia for only 95,000 American Express Membership Rewards (transferred to ANA) and only $137 (which will be nearly covered by my Citi Prestige $250 annual airline credit)

We’ll get a 15 hour flight on the Hello Kitty plane (flying EVA Air from ORD-TPE) as well as a 13 hour flight on Air Canada business class from Beijing to Toronton

a screenshot of a flight schedule

This isn’t our exact itinerary / dates but it’s close.  So now that our trip is becoming a reality (my daughter, as you can imagined, is QUITE excited :-D), I thought I’d take a look through some of my plans for the trip.  This one will talk about the visa and airport lounge situations, then we’ll have Part 2 taking a look at the different hotels we’re looking at staying and then Part 3 will look at different activities

Visas for Taiwan, Mainland China and Canada

  • Do you need a visa for Taiwan?  According to the Department of State, US passport holders do not need a visa for short-term visits to Taiwan.  As long as our passports are valid for at least 90 days (which ours are), we’ll be able to stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days.  We don’t plan on making it that far :-D.  The only other requirement is that we’ll need a return or onward plane ticket, which also shouldn’t be a problem
  • Secondly, do you need a visa to go to Mainland China? Yes, in most cases.  However, China introduced a few years ago the concept of a 72 hour Transit Without Visa (TWOV), which they have recently extended to 144 hours. The rules on the TWOV are that as long as you are TRANSITING China by going between 2 different countries or regions, you can stay in China for up to 144 hours.  While Taiwan is not a separate country (at least not according to China), it is considered a separate region, so you are able to transit from Taiwan-China-3rd country.  Same as Hong Kong.  At least that is my understanding and half of the reason for writing this post is so that someone will correct me if I’m wrong 😀

Do you need a passport to go to Canada? Travel expert Dan Miller walks you through the scenarios for crossing the Canadian border

  • Do US Citizens need a visit to go to Canada?  This is similar to a question we’ve answered before about if US Citizens need a passport to go to Canada. While the rules have changed a bit – requiring passports or other ID cards to enter Canada by land, you always (at least in recent memory) needed a passport to go to Canada by air, and that is still the case.  US citizens do NOT need a visa to enter or stay in Canada.  Our itinerary currently has an overnight in Toronto (though I’m hoping space will open up on a flight the day before) so it’s still 50/50 whether we will leave the airport or not.  I’m just excited to get another letter (Y) on my list of 26 airport code starting letters

Lounges in the airports

We are flying international business class so will have access to a variety of airport lounges throughout our trip.  While I don’t necessarily want to travel halfway around the world to eat crappy airport lounge food, I am not always a super adventurous eater and I’ll have my daughter with me, who is even less so.  Still, it’s good to be prepared.  Here is how I understand it

  • CVG – We’ll have access to The Club CVG
  • ORD – I believe that EVA Air contracts out to the Air France / KLM lounge at ORD.  There are a variety of Priority Pass lounges at ORD, but due to the lateness of the flight (around midnight) I believe none of them are open to Priority Pass customers at that hour
  • TPE – As far as I can tell there is no EVA Air Arrivals lounge, but I’d have access to a variety of EVA Air lounges in TPE when we depart
  • PEK – I doubt I’ll have access to anything upon arrival, but on departure, it looks like Air Canada business class passengers have access to the Air China lounge on the business class side as well as the BGS Premier lounge.  There are also a variety of Priority Pass lounges
  • YYZ – There are a variety of Plaza Premium Priority Pass lounges

So that’s my plan.  Anyone have any other thoughts or comments on the visa or lounge situation? Leave any helpful tips in the comments

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