17 Best Ways to Redeem Etihad Guest Miles for Max Value [2020]

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 First Class Middle Seats

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Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is famous for its lavish planes and luxurious experiences such as the First Class Apartments.

Hailing from the United Arab Emirates, Etihad serves 68 countries around the world, including U.S. cities like Chicago, New York, 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.

The Best Ways to Boost Your Etihad Guest Miles

Etihad Guest miles can be transferred from American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards (both at a rate of 1:1), from Capital One at a 2:1.5 rate, or from Marriott Bonvoy at a transfer rate of 3:1.

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Marriott Bonvoy Transfers

You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points and transfer those to Etihad at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that you transfer, you’ll receive an extra bonus of 5,000 Etihad miles.

The 17 Best Ways to Use Your Etihad Guest Miles

The Etihad frequent flyer program is popular among points-earners because it has some great redemption options. Here are some of our favorites!

1. Fly American Airlines at Pre-Devaluation Prices in Business and First Class

American Airlines Flagship Business Class
Flying American Airlines in business class at pre-devaluation rates is a steal! Image Credit: American Airlines

Beginning our list of the best ways to use Etihad miles is with American Airlines.

Etihad’s award chart for travel on American Airlines is actually better, for the most part, than American Airlines’ own award chart.

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, Hong Kong SAR, 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

The main challenge here will be finding award availability, particularly on routes operated by the 777-300ER featuring Flagship First and business class. The best advice we can give is to be flexible and keep searching for award availability, especially closer to departure.

2. Off-Peak Economy 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 Business Class to Europe on Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines business class
If you’re flying to Europe from the East Coast, consider booking Brussels Airlines business class with Etihad Guest miles. Image Credit: Brussels Airlines

The Etihad Guest award chart for Brussels Airlines shows pricing for one-way flights. Even with the devaluation, there are some competitive awards to book.

You can fly from New York (JFK), Toronto (YYZ), or Washington, D.C. (IAD) to Brussels (BRU) round-trip in business for 88,000 miles. That is not much more than most airlines charges one-way in economy! Round-trip economy costs 54,000 miles.

Availability is hard to find and does not match other websites such as United. Be persistent in calling Etihad Guest until you get an agent who is helpful and competent.

Bottom Line: You can book niche Brussels Airlines awards from North America to Brussels for 27,000 miles one-way in economy and 44,000 miles one-way in business.

4. U.S. West Coast to Tokyo on ANA in Business Class

ANA Business Class Seat 2
Enjoy the comfort of ANA business class. Image Credit: Stephen Au

Etihad Guest uses a distance-based award chart for redemptions on ANA flights. And the best value is for U.S. West Coast flights to Japan.

Seattle (SEA) to Tokyo (HND or NRT) one-way on ANA is 54,000 miles in business class or 30,000 miles in economy.

Because Etihad’s ANA award chart is distance-based, San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (HND or NRT) is more: 63,000 miles in business class or 37,000 miles in economy.

5. U.S. West Coast to Beijing on Hainan Airlines in Business Class

Hainan Airlines A350 Business Class Seat
Hainan Airlines A350 business class seat. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

Hainan Airlines is a Skytrax 5-star airline with flights from Seattle (SEA), San Jose (SJC), and now Las Vegas (LAS) to Beijing (PEK).

On the Hainan Airlines distance-based chart, those will go for a competitive 81,000 miles in business class or 41,000 in economy.

6. Brazil’s Most Pristine Beaches for 3,000 Miles!

Fernando De Noronha
Experience Brazil’s most pristine beaches at Fernando de Noronha. Image Credit: Michal Staniewski via Shutterstock

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 offer 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.

7. 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 the cash prices to the award cost.

Hot Tip: Utilize the benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express to make all your travels a little more comfortable. Perks include airport lounge access, worldwide hotel elite status, and more!

8. Fly Prague to Seoul on Czech Airlines in Business Class

Czech Airlines Business Class
Czech Airlines Business Class. Image Credit: Czech Airlines

Etihad frequent flyer program has a few super low prices on their partner travel awards, and this is one of them.

Czech Airlines‘ business class from Prague (PRG) to Seoul (ICN) is only 25,610 miles. That’s less than most airlines charge for economy!

Czech Airlines leases old planes from Korean Air for this route, so that’s why the business class looks similar to Korean Air’s regional product.

9. Fly to Casablanca With Royal Air Maroc

Royal Air Maroc has a distance-based award chart. With distance-based charts, travel 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 (JFK) to Casablanca (CMN) costs just 22,000 miles one-way in economy or 44,000 miles one-way in business class.

You can also book the nonstop service from Washington, D.C. (IAD) to Casablanca for the same price.

10. Fly Oman Air in Business Class

Fly Oman Air via Etihad Guest
A great business class product on an under-the-radar airline is Oman Air. Image Credit: Oman Air

There is 1 great Etihad Guest award value on Oman Air:

  • London (LHR) to Muscat (MCT) in business class is 44,000 miles

Oman Air’s business class is not as internationally well-known as Etihad, but it receives high marks from travelers in the know.

11. Bali to Australia on Virgin Australia in Business Class

Virgin Australia operates flights from Bali (DPS) to Sydney (SYD), Melbourne (MEL), or Brisbane (BNE).

These 6+ hour flights can be booked for 33,800 miles in business or 16,900 in economy.

However, you won’t see a lie-flat business class product, only a recliner-style business class seat.

12. Hop Around Australia and New Zealand on Virgin Australia

Whitsundays Australia
Visit the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsundays. Image Credit: iacomino FRiMAGES via Shutterstock

Etihad Guest has a distance-based award chart for Virgin Australia. This is perfect for short, expensive flights to incredible destinations such as Brisbane (BNE) to Hamilton Island (HTI) for the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsundays. This flight is only 6,900 miles in economy, and booking flights between Sydney (SYD) and Ayers Rock (AYQ) will cost 10,900 miles.

Hot Tip: Certain Western Australia routes, including from Perth (PER) 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 Airlines KrisFlyer, or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

13. Australia and New Zealand to the Pacific on Virgin Australia

Getting to the Pacific islands is rarely cheap using miles.

Using Etihad Guest miles will only cost 6,900 miles in economy on Virgin Australia on routes like Auckland (AKL) to Tonga (TBU) or Brisbane (BNE) to Vanuatu (VLI).

Other Pacific islands that cost more are Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea.

14. Travel With an Infant

Etihad infant bassinet
Be careful of those infant-in-arms fees that some airlines charge — Etihad won’t take an arm and a leg from you! Image Credit: Etihad Airways

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 (JFK) to Brussels (BRU) flight in business class, adding an infant is only 3,663 miles extra!

15. Fly Air Serbia Business Class from New York to Belgrade

Air Serbia’s sole U.S. flight is between the capital city of Belgrade (BEG) and New York City (JFK).

You can book this niche business class flight for 64,082 Etihad Guest miles. If economy is more your tastes, you can redeem 44,970 miles for a one-way flight in coach.

16. Access Enhanced Etihad Premium Cabin Availability

One of the latest developments in Etihad’s premium cabin availability is that Etihad will not release all of its availability to partners.

For example, if you’d like to book a high-season vacation in December aboard Etihad first or business class, you’ll have much better luck redeeming Etihad Guest miles. So you can access better availability, but it will usually cost you more points.

Here are some great example redemptions you can make:

  • New York City (JFK) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Malé (MLE) for 207,341 miles in Etihad Airways first class or 152,386 miles in business class
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) – Johannesburg (JNB) for 186,251 miles one-way in Etihad Airways business class
  • New York City (JFK) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) for 136,090 miles one-way in Etihad Airways first class or 99,885 miles in business class
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) for 136,251 miles one-way in Etihad Airways first class or 120,000 miles in business class

17. 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 per mile 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 per mile. In perspective, most airlines sell miles for 1.7 to 2.5 cents per mile.

At this favorable rate, the overall cost in miles and cash for an award ticket on Etihad can be a great value!

Final Thoughts

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.

Some of the program’s greatest values come by redeeming flights with several of its many partners. For Etihad flights including the famed First Class Apartments, use American Airlines AAdvantage miles or Korean SKYPASS miles to book.

Happy redeeming!


Frequently asked questions

How do I join Etihad Guest?

Do I need to be an Etihad Guest member to search for awards?

No, you can search without an account or logging in.

How many Etihad Guest miles do I have?

Check your Etihad Guest miles balance by logging in to your account here.

When do Etihad miles expire?

Etihad Guest miles expire based on date earned, regardless of subsequent activity. From the date earned, miles expire in 2 years for General, 2.5 years for Silver, and 3 years for Gold and Platinum members.

Can I transfer miles to Etihad Guest from other loyalty programs?

Yes. Etihad Airways has many travel partners that allow you to transfer points and miles, including, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and American Express Membership Rewards.

How many Etihad Miles are required for a trip reward?

For travel on Etihad flights, use the mileage calculator. For travel on partner airlines, consult the partner award chart for each.

How can I contact Etihad Guest?

Call Etihad Guest at 888-8-ETIHAD 24 hours a day. For partner awards, you may have better success calling Etihad Guest in the U.K. at +44 (0) 345 608 1225.

You can also email the Guest Service Center using the address for your status tier: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].

Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

38 comments

  1. PR steels June 28, 2018

    Etihad just charged me 30k miles one way from Europe to USA in economy flying American airlines May 1 ( off peak period). I was expecting only 20k miles one way. Could you please comfirm if this is a mistake? Many articles suggest 20k miles one way from USA to Europe during off peak period (Oct 15 – May 15) but is it a different mileage requirement when flying from Europe to USA?

    Reply

    • Hi PR steels

      The way I understand the Etihad AA award chart, a OW Europe > U.S. economy flight will be 30k Etihad miles. I am not seeing off-peak pricing from Europe to the U.S.

      For flights from the U.S. to Europe either one-way or round-trip in economy, Etihad charges 20k one-way off-peak or 40k round-trip off-peak on the dates that you noted.

      I would call Etihad to clarify as I can see how this would be confusing. The Europe award chart states 30k one-way while the U.S. award chart states 20k off-peak. The Europe pricing would seem to conflict with the notes at the bottom of the award chart that state “Between North America and Europe.”

      Please let us know what you find out.

      Reply

  2. Hi Guys,

    Question. HKG is the only aa metal destination for Asia2. If I wanted to fly, say Singapore, does Etihad guest allow flying AA codeshare? For example DFW-HKG on AA metal and HKG-SIN on AA/CX codeshare.

    Also, is mixed cabin allowed? How about MPM and routing rules such as backtracking?

    Thanks a lot!

    John

    Reply

    • Hi John,
      Sadly, they do not. You must fly on partner-operated flights. Mixed cabins are allowed, but you’ll need to pay for each segment.

      Reply

  3. Jason Jeffers September 26, 2018

    Does the #1 best way for use on AA have to be on AA metal and limited to the few Asia destinations? Can this method be used to purchase code share partners with AA such as Cathay to Thailand? Can it be mixed airlines, AA DFW-HKG and CX HKG-BKK on the same Etihad award? Thank you for any insight you may offer.

    Reply

    • Hey Jason! The #1 way is on AA metal because they use pre-devaluation prices. So if you’re looking for a way to fly business class and don’t care too much about the airline (you just want a bed to lay in and lots of extra space), Etihad is a great way to achieve this. You won’t be able to fly on codeshare partners with AA. You will only be able to fly on partner-operated flights like AA or ANA.

      Reply

      • Jason Jeffers September 27, 2018

        Stephen,

        Thank you for your response. As a grad school graduation gift to myself, I’m departing this weekend to China for a week and then Thailand for a week, all reward flights. Thanks to this article, I used Etihad to book the OW DFW-PEK in business on the AA 787 at an incredible value of 55k miles. I will be taking the bullet train from PEK to PVG. Then, flying Cathay business PVG to BKK with a BA Avios award. Returning on Singapore Airlines business BKK-SIN-IAH, with a brief stopover in Manchester, UK. Although I’m a bit disappointed I was not able to book SIN first on a different route to enjoy Krug, caviar, cool amenity kit and pajamas, I’m grateful to be flying comfortably. Thank you for your informational article that was a great help for me.

        Reply

        • Hey Jason! We love hearing about success stories from readers. It makes us extremely happy that you’re able to take some amazing flights with points!

          Reply

  4. How do I book a business ticket to Thailand on aa for 55k. I see it has to be on aa metal only. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Hey Jose,

      Unfortunately, you will not be able to book a business class ticket to Thailand. AA does not fly to Thailand. The best you can do is to Hong Kong, Korea, or Japan. You may want to buy a cheap economy ticket to transfer from Hong Kong, Korea, or Japan to Thailand.

      Reply

  5. When booking AA business to the South Pacific via Etihad…

    Do you have to verify Business SAAver availability with AA first? I assume you have to call Etihad to book, rather than booking online?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Hi Gene,

      Yes you’ll need to verify award availability with AA in order to save time. Alternatively, if your dates are pretty broad, you can just call Etihad and give them a range of dates and see what’s available in their system. Thanks for reading.

      Reply

  6. For booking AA business to South Pacific – do you have to verify Business SAAver with AA first? Do you have to call Etihad to book, rather than booking through them online? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Hi Gene,

      You will want to verify business SAAver award availability. Alternatively, you can call Etihad Guest directly and ask them to search for award availability for the dates and routes requested. They can then confirm or deny availability for you. Thanks for reading!

      Reply

  7. Dave Holder April 15, 2019

    I’ve been trying to book BIS-DFW-JFK-LHR all AA metal, with availability showing up as MileSaaver (57.5k) for numerous dates. The call agents at Etihad say they don’t show availability on anything.

    I was then told that they can’t book a 2 layover trip for AA awards. Is this the experience for everyone? Seems like a pretty pertinent piece of information if true.

    Reply

    • Seems like I can’t book a single connecting flight either on business through Etihad, even though it’s showing up as a MileSaaver award.

      Reply

      • Dave, we need some more information to help you. Are you trying to book online?

        Reply

        • The flight I was trying to book was on Aug 13.

          Flight 5990 BIS- DFW in U
          Flight 2292 DFW-JFK in U
          Flight 104 JFK-LHR in U

          It still shows it as a MileSaaver award for 57.5k on aa.com

          It was the Serbia call center I called the couple of times I tried to book it.

          Thanks!

          Reply

          • The first flight is American Eagle. Therefore not bookable through Etihad. My mistake.

          • Hey Dave,

            This is a new data point, and it is likely true that 2-stop flights are ineligible according to their routing rules. Another way to get around it is by booking individual segments.

    • Hey Dave,

      We would suggest you to call back. This isn’t a hard and fast rule. Try calling the Etihad Serbia call center, which has more knowledgeable call center reps.

      Thanks for reading.

      Reply

  8. Our Etihad miles, 12,000 per person, and we are a family of 4, are expiring in December. Can you use Etihad miles with Mariott?

    Reply

  9. Hi! Does anyone know if this still accurate? I looked in Etihad’s website and American Airlines is not listed as a partner.

    Reply

  10. It’s been reported recently that Etihad now charges separately for each flight flown on AA (so even one AA-AA connection will not be permitted on a single Etihad Guest redemption).

    Can anyone confirm that this is, in fact, the case?

    Reply

  11. Hello there…with American’s dynamic pricing…can we only book American Biz if it were non-elevated pricing (due to their new dynamic pricing)? For example, I’m trying to fly AA biz from JFK-CDG, and a wednesday shows 57.5K aa miles vs. a Saturday shows 112k miles…can both be booked for 50K Etihad miles (it’s a single segment from JFK to CDG with no connections for both). Thanks!

    Reply

  12. It says this article was updated 2 weeks ago but according to my search, Oman Air from SIN-MCT does not exist. Am I correct?

    Reply

    • Great point!

      Oman Air did offer a flight at one point in time. We removed that route, but keep in mind they might bring it back into service. Thanks for reading!!

      Reply

  13. Does American fly to Thailand and/or Singapore (like in example #1)? How would I book this for 55,000 miles in business class and 67,500 miles in first class if they don’t fly there?

    Reply

    • AJ,

      The verbiage there is to provide context on how the regions and zones are split up. Just because an airline categorizes a zone a certain way doesn’t mean they have flights there.

      Reply

  14. Can I book AA metal as an Etihad guest via online? Or the only way to book AA flights by calling Etihad reps?

    I tried this link https://www.etihadguest.com/en/flightbooking.html#flightbooking

    but it does not display the miles as shown in the AA flight award chart.

    Also, it seems like local trips could not be booked via Etihad Guest? I tried to search for trips from NYC to HNL, but it could not be done.

    Reply

  15. Ahmed Radhy July 20, 2020

    I have some guest miles which are going to expire and we are not traveling very soon with all that’s going on around the world. What are the best ways to redeem them and better than losing them?

    Reply

    • Hi Ahmed,

      How many miles do you have? If you have enough for an award ticket you could book a trip up to 12 months out from today. Hopefully ar that point travel will begin returning to normal. You can also contact Etihad and ask if they will extend the expiration date on your miles due to the Coronavirus.

      Reply

  16. Looks like ANA and Asiana charge full award fare for infants.

    Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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