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Etihad is one of the top airlines in the world for passenger experience. They offer a great connecting point in Abu Dhabi for travel to India and the surrounding region. I’ve used them to travel there as well as to the Maldives and also back from Sri Lanka.
You can redeem American AAdvantage miles for travel on Etihad or you can redeem Etihad miles directly. American Express, Starwood, and Citibank points all transfer to Etihad.
Etihad has the world’s best first class on their Airbus A380 — the First Apartment. Their ‘regular’ first class is a fully enclosed suite, and arguably one of the world’s 5 best first class products though unquestionably top 10.
But they also have a strong frequent flyer program of their own, and they are a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards.
- Transfer points from the Citi Prestige Card, which earns 3 points per dollar on air and hotel, into Etihad.
- Transfer points from the fastest-earning Membership Rewards cards.
And right now they’re offering 500 miles. It’s advertised on the front page of the Etihad Guest website, and the signup link embeds promo code EYGCARDS.
Unique Features of Etihad Guest
- Etihad offers award holds. Not every agent will offer them, but many agents will, for up to a week. You may have to hang up and call back or try another call center to get it.
- Etihad has some strong value partner awards. American Airlines awards cost the same number of points that AAdvantage used to charge their own members before the March 22 devaluation, for instance.
The rules for each partner vary, including whether or not there are fuel surcharges collected on redemptions.
Partner Redemptions are Really Unique
The redemption chart for travel on Brussels Airlines is really quite amazing. All prices are roundtrip, they do not offer one-way redemptions on Brussels Airlines.
Etihad only charges 10% of an award’s miles for a lap infant on Brussels Airlines. Many airlines, especially US airlines, charge 10% of the paid fare for a lap infant on an international award ticket. An award for a trip that would have cost $9,000 would yield an infant fare of $900 plus tax!
Short-haul roundtrips are absurdly cheap:
Even their longest flights, for instance here are a few Africa roundtrips, are very cheap.
Brussels – Kigali, Rwanda is less than 40,000 miles roundtrip in business class, and that’s just shy of 4000 miles of flying in each direction.
Brussels – New York JFK is an exceptional value:
- 21,972 miles roundtrip in economy
- 36,620 miles roundtrip in business class
You can search for Brussels Airlines award space using a Star Alliance frequent flyer program website like Aeroplan.com and then call Etihad Guest to book. You may need to hang up and call back a couple of times to get an Etihad Guest agent well versed in partner award bookings. Try the call center in Manchester, UK for this at 44 0345 6081225. And note that you can only book award flights that are on their redemption chart. Washington Dulles – Brussels isn’t on the chart, so you cannot book it.
And how about booking American Airlines awards at the ‘old’ pre-devaluation pricing using your American Express or Citibank points? The Etihad Guest redemption chart for travel on American Airlines is fantastic.
Here’s one-way pricing between North America and other regions:
- First class between the US and Europe is still 62,500 miles each way. If you find a first class seats to London and back that’ll save you 45,000 miles on a roundtrip.
- First class between the US and ‘Asia 1’ is still 62,500 miles each way. If you find a first class seats to Tokyo and back that’ll save you 35,000 miles on a roundtrip.
- First class between the US and ‘Asia 2’ is still 67,500 miles each way. If you find a first class seats to Hong Kong and back that’ll save you 85,000 miles on a roundtrip.
- First class between the US and Australia is still 72,500 miles each way. If you find a first class seats to Sydney and back that’ll save you 75,000 miles on a roundtrip.