Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is Air Transport World’s 2016 Airline of the Year.
Etihad is famous for its new planes and luxurious experience such as the First Class Apartments.
From the United Arab Emirates, Etihad serves 68 countries around the world, including U.S. cities like Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
Even if you don’t fly Etihad often, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by utilizing credit cards and a variety of other strategies.
Table of Contents
- The 15 Best Ways To Use Your Etihad Guest Miles
- Fly American Airlines at Pre-Devaluation Prices in Business and First Class
- Off-Peak to Europe, South America, and Asia on American Airlines
- Book Crazy Cheap Flights to Europe on Brussels Airlines
- Fly Air Berlin in Business Class to Berlin
- U.S. West Coast to Tokyo on ANA in Business Class
- U.S. West Coast to Beijing on Hainan Airlines in Business Class
- Brazil’s Most Pristine Beaches for 3,000 miles!
- Fly Around Eastern Europe on Air Serbia
- Fly Prague to Seoul on Czech Airlines in Business Class
- Fly to Casablanca With Royal Air Maroc
- Fly Oman Air in Business Class
- Bali to Australia on Virgin Australia in Business Class
- Hop Around Australia and New Zealand on Virgin Australia
- Australia and New Zealand to the Pacific on Virgin Australia
- Travel With an Infant
- Buy Miles as Cheap as 0.9 Cents to Save on Etihad Flights!
- How To Earn Etihad Guest Miles
- Etihad Guest Program
- In Conclusion
Table of Contents
- The 15 Best Ways To Use Your Etihad Guest Miles
- 1. Fly American Airlines at Pre-Devaluation Prices in Business and First Class
- 2. Off-Peak to Europe, South America, and Asia on American Airlines
- 3. Book Crazy Cheap Flights to Europe on Brussels Airlines
- 4. Fly Air Berlin in Business Class to Berlin
- 5. U.S. West Coast to Tokyo on ANA in Business Class
- 6. U.S. West Coast to Beijing on Hainan Airlines in Business Class
- 7. Brazil’s Most Pristine Beaches for 3,000 miles!
- 8. Fly Around Eastern Europe on Air Serbia
- 9. Fly Prague to Seoul on Czech Airlines in Business Class
- 10. Fly to Casablanca With Royal Air Maroc
- 11. Fly Oman Air in Business Class
- 12. Bali to Australia on Virgin Australia in Business Class
- 13. Hop Around Australia and New Zealand on Virgin Australia
- 14. Australia and New Zealand to the Pacific on Virgin Australia
- 15. Travel With an Infant
- 16. Buy Miles as Cheap as 0.9 Cents to Save on Etihad Flights!
- How To Earn Etihad Guest Miles
- Etihad Guest Program
- In Conclusion
The 15 Best Ways To Use Your Etihad Guest Miles
1. Fly American Airlines at Pre-Devaluation Prices in Business and First Class
Beginning our list of the best ways to use Etihad miles is with American Airlines. In 2016, American Airlines significantly devalued their business and first class awards.
Fortunately, Etihad’s award chart for American still allows you to book flights on American Airlines at pre-devaluation levels.
You have some great options by flying American with Etihad miles:
- Fly to Europe for 50,000 miles in business class or 62,500 miles in first class
- Fly to Asia 1 (Japan, Korea, Mongolia) for 50,000 miles in business class or 62,500 miles in first class
- Fly to Asia 2 (China, Thailand, Singapore, etc.) for 55,000 miles in business class and 67,500 miles in first class
- Fly to the South Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, etc.) for 62,500 in business class and 67,500 in first class
2. Off-Peak to Europe, South America, and Asia on American Airlines
Etihad’s American Airlines award chart includes off-peak economy awards for certain destinations. From North America, off-peak prices include:
- Europe for 20,000 miles (peak is 30,000 miles)
- South America 2 for 20,000 miles (peak is 30,000 miles)*
- Asia 1 for 25,000 miles (peak is 32,500 miles)**
*South America 2 = Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile (excluding Easter Island), Paraguay, Uruguay
**Asia 1 = Japan, Korea, Mongolia
3. Book Crazy Cheap Flights to Europe on Brussels Airlines
The Etihad Guest award chart for Brussels Airlines shows pricing for round-trip flights. Yes, those really are round-trip prices!
New York to Brussels round-trip in business is only 36,625 miles. That is not much more than most airlines charges one-way in economy! Round-trip economy costs 21,972 miles.
Availability is hard to find and does not match other websites such as united.com. Be persistent in calling Etihad Guest until you get an agent who is helpful and competent.
4. Fly Air Berlin in Business Class to Berlin
Air Berlin’s New York (JFK) to Berlin nonstop goes for 49,000 miles one-way in business class. This may not be as cheap as Brussels Airlines, but is still a great deal compared to other airline programs.
5. U.S. West Coast to Tokyo on ANA in Business Class
Seattle-Tokyo one-way on ANA is 54,000 miles in business class or 30,000 miles in economy.
Because Etihad’s ANA award chart is distanced-based, San Francisco or Los Angeles to Tokyo is more: 63,000 miles in business class or 37,000 miles in economy.
6. U.S. West Coast to Beijing on Hainan Airlines in Business Class
Hainan Airlines is a Skytrax 5-star airline with flights from Seattle, San Jose (CA), and now Las Vegas to Beijing. On the Hainan Airlines distance-based chart, those will go for a competitive 81,000 miles in business class or 41,000 in economy.
7. Brazil’s Most Pristine Beaches for 3,000 miles!
Etihad’s Gol award chart is distance-based. Flights of 500 miles or less cost just 3,000 miles in economy or 6,000 in economy comfort. (Gol does not have business class.)
Gol flies from Recife to the magical islands of Fernando de Noronha. This ticket is often $500 each-way!
Many other Brazil flights are also super-cheap with Etihad Guest miles.
8. Fly Around Eastern Europe on Air Serbia
Air Serbia’s short flights from Belgrade start at just 5,000 miles in economy. Business is 7,150 miles.
Many of these flights are cheap to pay outright in cash also, so always compare.
Hot Tip: Utilize benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express to make all your travels a little more comfortable. Perks include airport lounge access, worldwide Boingo WiFi, hotel elite status, and more!
9. Fly Prague to Seoul on Czech Airlines in Business Class
Etihad has a few super low prices on their partner awards, and this is one of them. Czech Airlines business class from Prague to Seoul is only 25,610 miles. That’s less than most airlines charge for economy!
10. Fly to Casablanca With Royal Air Maroc
Royal Air Maroc has a distance-based award chart. With distance-based charts, award value can depend on slight distance differences that put a flight into a lower or higher price bracket.
Even so, at the longest distance for Etihad Guest awards on Royal Air Maroc (2,001+ miles), New York to Casablanca costs just 22,000 miles one-way in economy, or 44,000 miles one-way in business class.
In 2016, Royal Air Maroc launched nonstop service from Washington-Dulles to Casablanca for the same price.
11. Fly Oman Air in Business Class
There are 2 great Etihad Guest award values on Oman Air:
- London to Muscat in business class is 44,000 miles
- Singapore to Muscat in business class is 42,000 miles
Oman Air’s business class is not as internationally well-known as Etihad, but it receives high marks from travelers in the know.
12. Bali to Australia on Virgin Australia in Business Class
Bali, Indonesia to Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane are 6+ hour flights. These go for 33,800 miles in business or 16,900 in economy.
13. Hop Around Australia and New Zealand on Virgin Australia
Etihad Guest has a distance-based award chart for Virgin Australia. This is perfect for short, expensive flights to incredible destinations such as Brisbane-Hamilton Island for the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsundays. This flight is only 6,900 miles in economy, and getting to Sydney-Ayers Rock is 10,900 miles.
Note: certain Western Australia routes, including from Perth to several popular diving destinations, are served by Virgin Australia Regional. Etihad may not be able to book awards on these flights. You can try alternate programs such as Delta SkyMiles, Singapore KrisFlyer or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
14. Australia and New Zealand to the Pacific on Virgin Australia
Getting to the Pacific islands is rarely cheap. Using Etihad Guest on Virgin Australia, though, Auckland to Tonga and Brisbane to Vanuatu are just 6,900 miles in economy. Other Pacific islands that cost more are Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea.
15. Travel With an Infant
Traveling with an infant lap child using Etihad Guest awards is really reasonable. You will only be charged an additional 10% of the original mileage cost of your ticket to add your infant.
On that Brussels Airlines New York to Brussels flight in business class, adding an infant is only 3,663 miles extra!
16. Buy Miles as Cheap as 0.9 Cents to Save on Etihad Flights!
Plenty of airlines will sell you miles at high prices. None may be as cheap at the roughly 0.9 cents/miles Etihad charges for its Miles Plus Cash option.
For an online award on Etihad flights only, you can purchase as many as 25% of the total miles needed for an award flight. The price varies slightly by trip, though is usually around 0.9 cents/mile. In perspective, most airlines sell miles for 1.7-2.5 cents/mile.
At this favorable rate, the overall cost in miles and cash for an award ticket on Etihad can be a great value!
How To Earn Etihad Guest Miles
You can actually earn Etihad Guest miles without ever setting foot on their planes. Through partnerships with American Express and Citi, you can transfer points from various credit cards to Etihad Guest.
Hot Tip: Take advantage of Etihad credit card transfer bonuses. The last one was a 20% bonus in October 2016. These bonuses apply to all credit cards that can transfer to Etihad.
Citi ThankYou Rewards
Citi ThankYou Rewards is partnered with Etihad Guest. This means you can earn points with your Citi ThankYou Premier Card or Citi Prestige Card and transfer them to your Etihad Guest account at a 1:1 ratio. Other ThankYou cards are not eligible to transfer to airlines unless you pair them with a Premier or Prestige.
It takes a minimum of 3 business days for Citi ThankYou points to transfer to Etihad. Find more information about Citi ThankYou Rewards here.
|Loyalty Program||Credit Card Review||Application|
|Citi ThankYou Rewards Loyalty Program||Citi ThankYou Preferred Card||Apply Here >>|
|Citi ThankYou Premier Card||Apply Here >>|
|Citi Prestige Card||Apply Here >>|
American Express Membership Rewards
American Express Membership Rewards points convert to Etihad Guest miles at a 1:1 ratio.
Like Citi, this transfer takes a minimum of 3 business days.
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)
Etihad Guest also partners with the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program. You can earn points with an SPG credit card and convert them to Etihad Guest.
SPG Starpoints transfer to Etihad at a 1:1 ratio, and you get a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer in a single transaction.
Note that SPG Preferred members must transfer a minimum of 2,500 Starpoints. For SPG Gold members it is 1,500, and there is no minimum for SPG Platinum.
It can take up to a week for transfers to complete, so make your transfer as far in advance as possible.
Hot Tip: Marriott points currently transfer at 3:1 to Starwood, and you can then transfer them from Starwood to Etihad Guest!
|Loyalty Program||Credit Card Review||Application!|
|Starwood Preferred Guest Loyalty Program||Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express||Apply Here >>|
|Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express||Apply Here >>|
Etihad Guest Program
How Much Do Etihad Guest Awards Cost?
Etihad does not have a fixed award chart for its own flights, but you can check the GuestSeat Mileage Calculator to see the lowest price of a specific route.
GuestSeat is similar to ‘saver’ awards at other airlines, but these may not be available. If GuestSeat is not available, there usually are OpenSeat awards, which can be crazy expensive.
Searching for Etihad Guest Awards
You can search for Etihad awards on the Etihad Guest website, but you cannot search online for partner awards.
The Etihad website does not handle connecting itineraries well, so you should search segment by segment for availability and then call Etihad to book. Pricing is additive, meaning each segment prices individually and awards can get expensive fast.
As an example: for travel from New York to Maldives, you may need to search separately for New York to Abu Dhabi, then Abu Dhabi to Maldives.
Miles Plus Cash
If you are short on miles, Etihad allows you to purchase up to 25% of the miles needed for an award. When searching for a award, just choose Miles Plus Cash. Use the slider to determine miles needed and price.
You can only use Miles Plus Cash for booking Etihad flights (not partner flights), and you must book online.
Etihad Guest offers perhaps the best value Miles Plus Cash option of any major airline. Other airlines may sell miles at around 1.7-2.5 cents/mile. On Etihad, when purchased in conjunction with an award, you can buy miles for a little as 0.9 cents!
To qualify for Miles Plus Cash:
- You must book online
- You must book on Etihad flights
- You must have at least 75% of the total required miles for the trip already in your account, because you can only purchase of to 25% of required miles
Here’s how it works:
- Search for an Etihad award.
- Select a flight at full miles price, and continue to booking.
- You will be presented a slider to choose to purchase from 0-25% of the required miles. Make your choice and continue.
- Purchase your ticket and enjoy your trip!
Etihad Guest Airline Partner Awards
Etihad has many partner airlines, each with its own award chart; some are zone-based and some distance-based. We have highlighted partners that usually have great values here. Others have very high mileage prices that you’d be better off booking with other airlines’ miles.
Etihad’s airline partners are:
*Airberlin, Alitalia, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways, and NIKI are considered “Etihad Airways Partners.” They provide the same frequent flyer privileges as Etihad Airways, including priority check-in, priority boarding, lounge access, bonus miles, and baggage allowances. Together they serve a network of more than 400 destinations across 6 continents.
While award flights on Etihad may be booked online, you must redeem miles for partner awards over the phone by calling the Guest Services Center at 877-690-0767. Awards must be booked 14 days in advance.
Troubleshooting Partner Award Booking
Etihad agents can have difficulty seeing partner award inventory, and award inventory generally does not match what you may see from other online sources. Also, many Etihad agents are unwilling/unaware of how to check partner availability, or do not have access to the correct system.
Keep calling until you get a competent agent.
Many travelers have success when calling Etihad’s Manchester, U.K. call center instead of the U.S. The U.K. number is +44 (0)345 6081225.
You can use miles to upgrade paid Etihad flights by 1 cabin of service. However, the prices are generally not much less than award tickets, so in most cases this is a poor value.
Etihad Guest miles expire based on date earned, regardless of activity. Don’t stockpile miles without a plan to use them!
General Etihad Guest members have 2 years from date of earning before miles start to expire. Silver members get 2.5 years, and Gold gets 3 years.
Changes and Cancellations
Date changes to awards cost AED 100 (roughly US$27).
Cancellations must be made 24 hours prior to departure. Rather than a cash fee, a 10% mileage forfeit is charged for award cancellations.
The American Airlines Partnership
American Airlines partners with Etihad, and if you have American Airlines miles, many awards on Etihad are cheaper than using Etihad Guest Miles.
Using American Airlines miles, you can fly in the Etihad First Class Apartment from JFK to Abu Dhabi for 115,000 miles one-way.
Hot Tip: Make sure your flight has the First Class Apartment and not just regular First Class. On JFK to Abu Dhabi, you want flights on the A380, not other planes.
You’ll first want to search for award flight availability on etihad.com, and then call American Airlines reservations to book. This saves time rather than having American Airlines agents manually search many dates.
American Airlines agents only have access to GuestSeat awards, not OpenSeat.
Find an available GuestFirst seat if you are looking for Etihad first class award flights.
You may have to reach the American Airlines call center in Australia (or another country) in order for the representative to see availability for business and first class redemptions.
In this case, you’ll want to confirm that they have the award, but not book it, as that will cause ticketing issues for U.S. customers. Once the award is on hold, call back to American Airlines in the U.S. so they can issue the ticket.
The Korean Air Partnership
Korean Air partners with Etihad as well. This means you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Korean SkyPass and then redeem them for Etihad award flights!
Click on a link to learn about each card and decide whether it meets your spending needs. Find a card you like? Click on the Apply Now link to begin your application!
Korean requires round-trip bookings on Etihad. The prices are:
|Within Bahrain/Oman/ Qatar/UAE||10,000||20,000||30,000|
|UAE – Iran/Kuwait/Saudi Arabia/Iraq, Yemen||15,000||30,000||45,000|
|UAE – Pakistan/ Kazakhstan/Nepal/ Jordan/Syria/Armenia/ Lebanon/Cyprus/Egypt/ Sudan/North India (Mumbai, Delhi, Amanabad, Jaipur)||25,000||50,000||75,000|
|UAE – South India (Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Calicut, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Kolkata)/Turkey/Greece/ Seychelles/Ethiopia/ Kenya/Uganda/Libya/ Maldives/Sri Lanka/ Tanzania||35,000||70,000||105,000|
|UAE – Switzerland/Ireland/ Western Russia/Germany/ Italy/France/Spain/United Kingdom/Netherlands/ Belgium/Bangladesh/ Belarus/Serbia||40,000||80,000||120,000|
|UAE – Nigeria/South Africa/Morocco/Algeria||45,000||90,000||135,000|
|UAE – China/Thailand/ Hong Kong/Malaysia/ Singapore/Indonesia/ Philippines/Vietnam||50,000||100,000||150,000|
|UAE – Korea/Japan||70,000||105,000||140,000|
|UAE – U.S./Canada/ Australia||70,000||140,000||210,000|
|UAE – Brazil||90,000||130,000||180,000|
|China – Japan||40,000||60,000||90,000|
|Singapore – Australia||45,000||90,000||135,000|
Etihad Guest provides many ways to redeem your miles so you can enjoy that well-deserved vacation! We outlined some of what we feel are the best ways to use Etihad Guest miles, but the best redemptions for you will depend on your travel goals.