Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Juan Ruiz
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When Etihad rolled out The Apartments, it took first class flying to the next level. Considered by many to be the best first class experience in the world, The Apartments defined luxury flying.
However, in 2020, Etihad grounded the aircraft that contains The Apartments. Luckily, the Etihad A380s that exclusively offered The Apartments are being reinstated as of July 2023 on select flights between London (LHR) and Abu Dhabi (AUH).
If you’re planning on flying Etihad first class outside aboard a different aircraft, don’t fret — even on Etihad planes without The Apartments, you’ll still have a great first class suite and access to the carrier’s stellar first class lounge.
Etihad first class is one flight experience you don’t want to miss!
When you fly Etihad first class, you’re going to have an amazing journey starting from the moment you set foot in the airport.
You’ll find first class suites on select Etihad Boeing 787 Dreamliners, while The Apartment is available on Etihad A380s.
The first class product on a 787 is a spacious suite with motorized doors, lie-flat leather seats, an ottoman, an oversized inflight monitor, and a personal minibar.
The Apartment on the A380s provide a massive amount of space and feature a leather armchair and a separate daybed/ottoman that transforms into a bed that’s nearly 7 feet long!
Whenever you fly Etihad first class from the airline’s home airport in Abu Dhabi you’ll have the opportunity to visit the highly-rated Etihad First Class Lounge.
Before boarding your flight, you can savor a luxury lounge experience with white tablecloth dining services, a full cocktail bar, and showers.
Additionally, you’ll have access to its premium lounges when departing from the U.S. and other cities around the world. Last but not least, Abu Dhabi also has a welcome lounge for you to enjoy upon arrival.
We’ve only just begun to look at why the Etihad first class experience is one of the most sought-after flights in the world.
Before we dig in some more, let’s talk about how you can book this awesome flight!
Etihad’s own loyalty program, Etihad Guest, is the most straightforward way to book Etihad award tickets, and it is one of the few ways you can book this flight online.
Etihad Guest prices its award flights according to the distance of the flight. Below is the pricing for first class award tickets:
|Distance Band||Etihad Guest Pricing for Etihad First Class|
|0 to 500||40,000|
|501 to 1,000||50,000|
|1,001 to 1,500||60,000|
|1,501 to 2,000||90,000|
|2,001 to 2,500||100,000|
|2,501 to 3,000||120,000|
|3,001 to 4,000||140,000|
|4,001 to 5,000||150,000|
|5,001 to 6,000||200,000|
For example, a one-way flight from London (LHR) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) covers 3,432 miles, resulting in a first class award that costs 140,000 Etihad Guest miles.
To complete a booking online, follow these simple steps:
You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Points, and Capital One miles to Etihad Guest at a 1:1 ratio. Amex and Citi transfers occur almost instantly, while Capital One transfers take around 36 hours.
Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio to Etihad Guest, with a bonus of 5,000 Etihad miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at once. Marriott Bonvoy points take 3 business days to transfer to Etihad.
Hot Tip: Check out our Transfer Partner Calculator to quickly determine the required number of points needed for your award!
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
This card is undoubtedly the #1 card for luxury travel benefits. From the best lounge access (of any card) to statement credits, to complimentary elite status, you can’t go wrong.
When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.
This is the go-to card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants and those who want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
The American Express® Gold Card is definitely a game-changer.
With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.
There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are a number of other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.
Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards points.
Thanks to the partnership between Etihad and Air Canada, you can now use your Aeroplan points to fly Etihad first class!
Better yet, the rates are quite reasonable and Etihad does not pass on carrier-imposed surcharges on Aeroplan bookings.
Here is Aeroplan’s award chart for one-way flights between North America and Atlantic zones for partner airlines:
|Distance (Miles)||Economy (Points)||Business (Points)||First (Points)|
|0 to 4,000||35,000||60,000||90,000|
|4,001 to 6,000||40,000||70,000||100,000|
|6,001 to 8,000||55,000||85,000||120,ooo|
Another valuable characteristic of Aeroplan is that you can pay an additional 5,000 points to add a stopover on your journey!
Just bear in mind that adding a stopover requires a call to Air Canada to book, as well as the consideration that the new flight distance is the sum of each segment’s flight distance.
Here’s what you need to know to make an Etihad first class booking with Aeroplan points:
Amex, Bilt, Capital One, and Chase points transfer to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio and occur almost instantly.
Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio to Aeroplan, and transfers take around 5 business days. Also, there’s a transfer bonus of 5,000 Aeroplan points when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at a time to Aeroplan.
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.
A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.
The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options. Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.
Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!
Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points.
Although using Asiana miles is not quite as straightforward as Etihad Guest, putting in the extra effort to call Asiana Club can definitely be worth it because it is the cheapest way to fly Etihad first class.
So, if you want to save your precious points and have a bunch of Asiana miles or Marriott Bonvoy points, this is a great way to fly Etihad first class.
Here is Asiana’s pricing for one-way awards between North America and the Middle East:
|Route||Economy (Miles)||Business (Miles)||First (Miles)|
|North America to the Middle East||40,000||60,000||80,000|
It will cost you 80,000 Asiana miles one-way (or 160,000 miles round-trip), plus taxes and fees, to travel between the U.S. and the Middle East in first class.
If you have plenty of Marriott Bonvoy points or Asiana miles, follow these steps to book your Etihad first class flights:
Asiana miles, unfortunately, are difficult to earn. That’s because it has just 1 transfer partner: Marriott Bonvoy.
Transfers happen at a 3:1 ratio, and you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 Asiana miles if you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at 1 time to Asiana Club. Transfers take around 4 business days to process.
Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards
A great option for Marriott hotel fans who want a no annual fee card and automatic Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Casual travelers who like to frequent properties that are part of the Marriott Bonvoy collection of brands may want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card.
The Marriott Bold card rewards cardholders for Marriott stays and gives them a boost towards Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Marriott loyalists will love this card's annual free night award, automatic elite status, and up to 17x points per $1 on Marriott hotel stays.
If you’re a frequent traveler and a Marriott loyalist, there’s a lot to love about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. The card comes packed with several great benefits like a free hotel night once a year, automatic Silver Elite status (with a fast-track to Gold Elite status), and multiple options for redeeming points.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, the latest mid-tier offering in the Marriott Bonvoy lineup of cards, offers cardholders automatic elite status and ways to earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on each of their stays and daily purchases.
A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.
So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?
The American Airlines AAdvantage program is a favorite for many who are looking to enjoy superb redemption value on Etihad first class award tickets.
Here is the award chart for one-way awards between the continental U.S. and the Middle East:
|Route||Economy (Miles)||Business (Miles)||First (Miles)|
|Contiguous 48 U.S. states to the Middle East||40,000||70,000||115,000|
Unlike the Etihad Guest and Air Canada Aeroplan programs, American requires you to book Etihad flights over the phone.
Here’s what you need to know to book Etihad awards via American Airlines:
You have many different options for redeeming AAdvantage miles, so don’t think booking Etihad is the only good choice!
American Airlines AAdvantage has 2 transfer partners: Marriott Bonvoy and Bilt Rewards.
Bilt points transfer almost instantly to American at a 1:1 ratio.
Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to American at a 3:1 ratio. These transfers take around 2 business days to complete.
Also, you can earn AAdvantage miles directly from the American Airlines co-branded credit cards offered by Citi and Barclays.
Generally, the American AAdvantage program has better award redemption rates than Etihad Guest. However, there are more ways to earn Etihad Guest miles, so that could be a good option for those who don’t have AA miles. Other booking options include Air Canada Aeroplan and Asiana Club, both of which have their pros and cons.
Another important factor to consider when booking an award ticket is the fuel surcharges airline loyalty programs can levy, which can significantly increase the cash fees of an award ticket.
Etihad and Asiana will require you to pay fuel surcharges while American and Air Canada will not, so your out-of-pocket costs will be lower with the latter 2 programs.
Here are the total costs for a one-way Etihad first class booking on a handful of its routes with each frequent flyer program:
|Route (One-Way)||Etihad Miles Cost||Air Canada Aeroplan Points Cost||Asiana Club Miles Cost||American AAdvantage Miles Cost|
|Casablanca (CMN) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)||140,000 miles + ~$185 to $223||65,000 points + ~$50||40,000 miles + ~$185 to $223||80,000 miles + ~$62|
|Geneva (GVA) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)||140,000 miles + ~$185||65,000 points + ~$50||40,000 miles + ~$185||62,500 miles + ~$62|
|London (LHR) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)||140,000 miles + ~$234 to $517||65,000 points + ~$64 to $346||40,000 miles + ~$185 to $452||62,500 miles + ~$62 to $346|
|Paris (CDG) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)||140,000 miles + ~$185||65,000 points + ~$50||40,000 miles + ~$185||62,500 miles + ~$62|
|Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)||220,000 miles + ~$331 to $371||120,000 points + ~$50||80,000 miles + ~$331 to $371||115,000 miles + ~$62|
Here are some incredible Etihad first class redemptions you can make:
If you find an Etihad flight operated by an aircraft that is equipped with first class seats and your travel dates are reasonably flexible, you should have a good shot at booking Etihad first class.
Before doing so, however, you need to amass enough points to book these flights!
Asiana Club offers the lowest award cost, but you’ll have a hard time earning enough miles unless you have a bunch of Marriott Bonvoy points. Also, Asiana Club passes on higher fuel surcharges than others.
American Airlines AAdvantage has a bunch of co-branded cards that earn miles directly, but besides that, you need to rely on transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy or Bilt Rewards to AAdvantage.
Aeroplan and Etihad Guest are probably the most realistic frequent flyer programs to use when booking Etihad first class, thanks to transfer partnerships from major programs including American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards.
To summarize, these are the transferable currencies that can be used for Etihad first class bookings:
Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to book Etihad first class using Brex Rewards points.
One last method to consider can actually reduce the number of Etihad Guest miles required for award redemptions.
When you’ve found award space on Etihad Guest and are ready to book your flight, you can actually utilize the Miles Plus Cash option that allows you to use a sliding scale to customize the amount of points and cash used to pay for your reservation.
This effectively allows you to purchase points to use fewer Etihad Guest miles/top off your mileage balance for only 0.9 cents per point!
You can do this for up to 25% of the ticket price, which can make for a great deal.
This feature provides phenomenal value, and it should be seriously considered when making award redemptions using Etihad Guest miles.
Etihad does not consistently release first class award space at a specific time.
The sooner you have your travel dates narrowed down, the more luck you’ll have making a successful booking.
While you might not find award space immediately, check back regularly.
Let’s talk a bit more about what you get during the Etihad first class experience.
In Abu Dhabi, you will have access to the exclusive Etihad First Class Lounge which includes a fully-staffed bar with a wide selection of wine and spirits. You can also order food from the bar menu or head to the dining room for a sit-down meal.
If that weren’t enough, you can also utilize the Six Senses Spa and Style & Shave. As a first class passenger, you will have your choice of a complimentary massage, facial, wet shave, nail, or blow-dry service.
You can also enjoy a nice cigar at the cigar lounge. If you’re a cigar lover, grab a beer or your favorite whiskey, sit back, relax, and enjoy a smoke. The lounge even has a gym!
Etihad provides a first and business class lounge at 9 other airports: Dublin (DUB), London (LHR), Los Angeles (LAX), Manchester (MAN), Melbourne (MEL), New York (JFK), Paris (CDG), Sydney (SYD), and Washington, D.C. (IAD). It also partners with other lounges at airports across the globe.
From fine dining in the Etihad First Class Lounge to your inflight meals, you won’t be disappointed with any of the food during your first class experience.
First class flights include on-demand dining so you can choose what to eat and when you want to have it. Though the first class inflight chefs were eliminated as a result of COVID-19, the dining experience in first class is definitely built around your enjoyment!
Hot Tip: Unfortunately, Etihad cut its chauffeur service for all award flights, including those booked with its own miles.
Etihad offers one of the best first class products in the sky — it’s truly a luxurious experience all the way through.
Take advantage of fine dining, amazing service, and your own cozy space. You’ll have more fun flying than ever before!
Now, go find Etihad award space and book your next adventure!
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
The easiest way to book Etihad award flights is through either the Etihad Guest program or Air Canada Aeroplan. These are the only programs that allow you to book Etihad first class online.
However, you may be able to use fewer miles through American Airlines AAdvantage or Asiana Club.
If you earn Amex Membership Rewards points, Capital One miles, or Citi ThankYou Points, you can transfer them to Air Canada Aeroplan or Etihad Guest.
If you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer them to Air Canada Aeroplan.
If you have Marriott Bonvoy points, you can transfer them to American AAdvantage or Asiana Club.
If you have Bilt Rewards points, you can transfer them to American AAdvantage or Air Canada Aeroplan.
Lastly, American Airlines has a collection of co-branded credit cards issued by both Citi and Barclays that earn American miles.
When you fly Etihad first class, you’ll enjoy one of the most lavish first class suites in the sky with plenty of privacy and luxury amenities.
Before your flight, you can relax with a drink or a cigar at the first class lounge. Don’t forget to get a shave, haircut, or massage!
The Etihad A380 aircraft that offer The Residence and First Class Apartments are currently grounded. Luckily, the Etihad A380s that exclusively offered the First Class Apartments are being reinstated as of July 2023 on select flights between London (LHR) and Abu Dhabi (AUH).
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Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience.
Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class!
Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal). He runs Straight to the Points, an award-seat alert platform.
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.