Update: The offer mentioned below has expired and is no longer available.
Etihad Airways is a Middle Eastern airline based in Abu Dhabi that has become popular for its opulent first class product.
While it’s regarded as a member of the “Middle East 3” (along with Emirates and Qatar Airways), Etihad is not in any of the 3 major worldwide airline alliances.
Instead, it has opted for a variety of individual partnerships with specific airlines, including American Airlines.
Its loyalty program, Etihad Guest, while complicated, can provide some interesting redemption options thanks to those partnerships it maintains with several airlines.
And now, Etihad is offering a buy-miles promotion, allowing you to purchase miles with up to a 30% bonus — but is it worth it? Let’s take a look at the details to find out.
With this new promotion, you’ll be able to buy Etihad miles for as little as 1.54 cents each. This is a bit more expensive than our valuation of 1.4 cents per mile, meaning it could be a decent deal depending on the redemption you have in mind.
Here are some more details you should be aware of:
- The promotion is valid from now through September 25, 2022
- You must buy miles in increments of 1,000
- Members can buy a maximum of 100,000 miles per year (not including any bonus miles)
- The bonus varies depending on how many miles you buy:
- Buy 2,000 to 10,000 miles and get a 15% bonus (1.74 cents per mile)
- Buy 11,000 to 25,000 miles and get a 20% bonus (1.67 cents per mile)
- Buy 26,000 to 100,000 miles and get a 30% bonus (1.54 cents per mile)
Is It Worth It?
Etihad is less popular than other airlines for award travel, possibly because its system is difficult to use. Much of the time, you’ll need to call the airline to book your flights, since its own system can neither show nor allow you to redeem miles for flights. This is a shame since there are some gems to book through Etihad Guest.
The airline operates on a fixed award chart for partner flights, which means you’ll pay 1 price depending on the region to which you are traveling. However, it hasn’t updated the rates for flights in quite a few years — so you can find some pretty decent redemption rates.
Here are some top options for redeeming your Etihad miles:
- 50,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket between the U.S. and Europe on American Airlines (you must be able to find Saver-level award space) — this would cost just $780 when purchasing miles
- 44,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket between the U.S. and Casablanca, Morocco on Royal Air Maroc — this would cost just $680 when purchasing miles
- 6,900 miles for a one-way economy class ticket within Australia on Qantas — this would cost just $120 when purchasing miles
It’s frustrating that you can’t find award availability through Etihad’s website, but that doesn’t mean you need to call in blind to the customer service center and hope that they’ll find your flights. Instead, try searching for award seats through American Airlines, Qantas, or British Airways.
American Airlines’ search function is particularly useful since it will show you availability a month at a time for a wide variety of airlines (including many with which Etihad partners):
Hot Tip: Purchases of Etihad miles are processed by Points.com, which means you’ll want to use a credit card that maximizes everyday spending, such as many cards issued by Capital One.
Etihad is selling miles for as little as 1.54 cents apiece. This is below our valuation, making this a great sale to take advantage of if you have a use for those miles.
While we don’t ever recommend purchasing miles speculatively, you can find some pretty excellent redemption opportunities on Etihad’s partners.
While Etihad requires that you call to book, you can find award availability with a variety of carriers, including American Airlines, British Airways, and Qantas, to ensure your desired seats are available.
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