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First on UP: Etihad Now Allows Upgrades to The Residence With Miles

Juan Ruiz's image
Juan Ruiz
Juan Ruiz's image

Juan Ruiz

Senior Editor & Content Contributor

120 Published Articles 726 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 41U.S. States Visited: 28

Juan has extensive experience in writing and editing content related to credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. He has been honing his expertise in this field for over a decade. His work has been ...
Edited by: Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

News Managing Editor

104 Published Articles 730 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 25U.S. States Visited: 22

With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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The Residence on Etihad’s Airbus A380 is the most luxurious experience in commercial aviation. The first class suite consists of a private bedroom, a living room, and a private bathroom with a shower, positioned alongside 8 other first class seats known as “The Apartment.”

In the past, passengers have had to pay anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000 one-way for this exclusive experience, as Etihad did not offer the opportunity for travelers to redeem miles for The Residence.

While paid upgrades have been made available to The Apartment first class passengers, they are reserved for those who paid for their ticket in cash, rather than miles.

However, Etihad recently announced major changes to its Etihad Guest loyalty program. Along with those updates, first class passengers can now upgrade to The Residence with miles, Etihad shared with Upgraded Points.

But, is it a good deal? Let’s look at the details of this new upgrade opportunity.

Upgrading to Etihad’s The Residence With Miles

Etihad currently operates the Airbus A380 equipped with 9 first class suites, including The Residence, between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and London (LHR). Starting in April 2024, Etihad will also introduce the double-decker aircraft back to its New York (JFK) service, giving U.S.-based flyers the opportunity to experience The Residence on the 14-hour flight to Abu Dhabi.

Well, the good news is that Etihad Guest members may now upgrade to The Residence, thanks to recent changes in Etihad’s loyalty program.

Etihad First to Residence Upgrade
Image Credit: Etihad

Furthermore, Etihad has shared with Upgraded Points that these mileage upgrades are available for any first class ticketed passenger — booked either with cash or miles — but the rates are quite steep:

  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) to London (LHR) service: Starts at 285,000 miles
  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) to New York (JFK) service: Starts at 570,000 miles

Etihad has also stated that these mileage upgrade rates are for only 1 passenger and one-way.

“The member needs to buy an F class seat with cash or miles, and can then redeem miles for The Residence,” a spokesperson for Etihad said.

It’s doubtful that many people would find this an enticing redemption at these astronomical rates. However, the airline said, “there will soon be a special rate for Etihad’s most loyal members,” and now they’ve shared the details.

Etihad Guest members with Gold status or higher now have the exclusive opportunity to book The Residence using only their miles.

Before the recent changes to Etihad Guest, passengers could only experience The Residence by receiving an upgrade offer from first class or spending substantial money on a cash fare.

Here are the redemption rates for Etihad Guest Gold members (or above) who want to book The Residence outright using Etihad Guest miles:

  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) to London (LHR) service: Starts at 350,000 miles for 1 passenger or 500,000 miles for 2 passengers
  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) to New York (JFK) service: Starts at 550,000 miles for 1 passenger or 900,000 for 2 passengers

How To Book Etihad First Class With Miles

Here’s a look at the redemption rates for Etihad The Apartment first class with Etihad Guest miles:

  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) to London (LHR) service: Starts at 120,000 miles
  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) to New York (JFK) service: Starts at 160,000 miles

As you can see, it costs more than double the miles to upgrade The Apartment to The Residence.

Etihad First Class Apartment bed with duvet cover chair angle
Etihad The Apartment class. Image Credit: Juan Ruiz
Hot Tip:

While you can also book Etihad flights at a favorable rate with partner programs, such as Air Canada Aeroplan and American Airlines AAdvantage, finding the partner award space to do so can be quite difficult.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, using Etihad Guest miles to pay for this dream experience is now possible, which wasn’t the case before.

Considering these extreme rates, doing so may not be advisable — unless you’d rather save the cash in exchange for hundreds of thousands of miles.

Juan Ruiz's image

About Juan Ruiz

Juan has extensive experience in writing and editing content related to credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. He has been honing his expertise in this field for over a decade. His work has been featured in various prestigious publications, such as USA Today, CNN Underscored, Forbes and The Points Guy. Juan is the visionary behind JetBetter, a premier award booking concierge service.

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