15 Best Ways to Redeem Etihad Guest Miles for Max Value

Etihad In-Flight Lounge

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Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways 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.

The Best Ways To Boost Your Etihad Guest Miles

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

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $2,700+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months and a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a HUGE welcome bonus of up to 100,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 after you spend an additional $15,000, on purchases within the first 3 months.

We get ~$5,525+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks. This excludes getting one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork, up to $2,700 in value.

This is the best business card for lounge access as you'll get into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - probably our favorite Amex business card because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. This means you'll max out at a (whopping) 600,000 points per year. After that, you earn 1x. For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - This is a simple card that earns you 2x points on any business purchase, up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year! The card has no annual fee. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Recommended Citi Cards

Recommended Capital One Cards That Earn Miles (Personal)

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card - The big brother of the VentureOne and it's packed with a lot more benefits and perks. Earn a 50,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $500) once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening — and 10X miles per $1 spent across thousands of hotels. We recommend this as a no-brainer card if you even semi regularly stay at hotels.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card - This is an excellent card for those looking to earn 10x miles per $1 across thousands of hotels. With a 20,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $200) after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months and no annual fee, it's a strong choice.

Recommended Capital One Cards That Earn Miles (Business)

Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business - This no annual fee card earns unlimited 1.5x miles per dollar on every purchase and has a 20,000 mile sign up bonus [worth $200 in travel] after meeting the minimum spend of $3,000 within the first 3 months. Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 14.74% - 22.74% variable APR after that.
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business - Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 200,000 bonus miles worth up to $2,000 to spend on travel. Earn 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening. Annual fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.

Marriott Transfers

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

The 15 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

Flying American Airlines in business class at pre-devaluation rates is a steal!
Flying American Airlines in business class at pre-devaluation rates is a steal! Image courtesy of AA.com.

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, 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

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 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
If you’re flying to Europe from the east coast, consider booking Brussels Airlines business class with Etihad Guest miles. Image courtesy press.brusselsairlines.com

In April 2017, Etihad massively devalued their award chart for flights on Brussels Airlines. While this was a disappointing blow for award travel, there are still some solid redemptions.

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 between New York (JFK), Toronto, or Washington, D.C. (IAD) and Brussels 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 56,000 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.

Bottom Line: Etihad’s devaluation of the Brussels Airlines award chart hurts, but there is still value to be had.

 

4. 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 distance-based, San Francisco or Los Angeles to Tokyo is more: 63,000 miles in business class or 37,000 miles in economy.

ANA Business Class
Fly to Tokyo on ANA, which has one of the premier business class experiences in the world. Image courtesy of ana.co.jp

5. 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.

Hainan Airlines Business Class
Hainan Airlines business class. Image courtesy hainanairlines.com

6. 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!

Fernando De Noronha
Experience Brazil’s most pristine beaches at Fernando de Noronha. Image courtesy Michal Staniewski/shutterstock.com

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.

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  hotel elite status, and more!

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

Fly Czech Airlines with Etihad Guest Miles
Use Etihad miles to fly business class at economy class prices! Image courtesy of czechairlines.com.

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 to Seoul is only 25,610 miles. That’s less than most airlines charge for economy!

9. Fly to Casablanca With Royal Air Maroc

Royal Air Maroc airline using Etihad Guest miles
Royal Air Maroc might not be an airline you are overly familiar with, but when business class flights from the U.S. cost only 44,000 miles, you should take the time to learn! Image courtesy flight-report.com.

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 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.

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 courtesy of omanair.com.

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.

11. 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.

12. 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 Airlines KrisFlyer or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Whitsundays Australia
Visit the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsundays. Image courtesy ronnybas/shutterstock.com

13. 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.

14. Travel With an Infant

baby travel on Etihad Airlines
Be careful of those infant in arms fees that some airlines charge. Etihad won’t take an arm and a leg from you! Image courtesy travelagentcentral.com

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!

Bottom Line: Etihad Guest’s greatest values come not for redeeming on Etihad flights. Rather, take advantage of great values 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.

15. 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!

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.

Happy redeeming!

Photo Credits
Etihad Airways A380 Feature Photo: Dmitry Birin/Shutterstock.com

FAQ

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. Miles expire 2 years/2.5 years/3 years from date earned for General/Silver/Gold & Platinum members, respectively.

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 1 (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: guest@etihadguest.com, guestsilver@etihadguest.com, guestgold@etihadguest.com, guestplatinum@etihadguest.com.

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.

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21 comments

  1. PR steels · June 28, 2018 · Reply

    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?

    • Michael McHugh · June 29, 2018 · 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.

  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

    • Stephen Au · September 26, 2018 · 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.

  3. Jason Jeffers · September 26, 2018 · Reply

    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.

    • Stephen Au · September 26, 2018 · 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.

      • Jason Jeffers · September 27, 2018 · Reply

        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.

        • Stephen Au · September 27, 2018 · 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!

  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.

    • Stephen Au · January 10, 2019 · 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.

  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!

    • Stephen Au · February 9, 2019 · 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.

  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!

    • Stephen Au · February 9, 2019 · 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!

  7. Dave Holder · April 15, 2019 · Reply

    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.

    • 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.

      • Stephen Au · April 17, 2019 · Reply

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

        • 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!

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

          • Stephen Au · April 25, 2019

            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.

    • Stephen Au · April 17, 2019 · Reply

      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.

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