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Best Ways To Book Etihad First Class Using Points [Step-by-Step]

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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!

A Look Inside Etihad First Class

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.

Etihad Boeing 787 9 First Class
Enjoy a luxury experience in an Etihad first class suite. Image Credit: Greg Stone

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!

Etihad First Class Apartment
The Apartment on an Etihad A380. Image Credit: Alex Miller

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.

Etihad Airways First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Signature Bar
Enjoy a drink or a bite to eat at the bar in the Etihad First Class Lounge. Image Credit: Greg Stone

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.

How To Book Etihad First Class

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 Guest

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:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Distance Band Etihad Guest Pricing for Etihad First Class 
0 to 50040,000
501 to 1,00050,000
1,001 to 1,50060,000
1,501 to 2,00090,000
2,001 to 2,500100,000
2,501 to 3,000120,000
3,001 to 4,000140,000
4,001 to 5,000150,000
5,001 to 6,000200,000
6,001+220,000

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:

  1. Go to Etihad’s website.
  2. Select your route, travel dates, and class of service.
  3. You will be prompted to log in.
  4. Select your desired flight.
    • You want to find Guest First award space (otherwise you will be overpaying!).
  5. Review the mileage cost and the taxes/fees.
  6. Complete your first class booking.

Earning Etihad Guest Miles

Etihad Guest is transfer partners with Amex Membership RewardsCapital One MilesCiti ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.

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)

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

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Apply With Confidence

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
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Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

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.

Pros

  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
  • Annual and monthly statement credits upon enrollment (airline credit, Uber Cash credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit, streaming credit, prepaid hotel credit on eligible stays, Walmart+ credit, CLEAR credit, and Equinox credit)
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to Amex International Airline Program
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Cons

  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

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American Express Membership Rewards

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American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

U.P. Rating
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This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

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American Express® Gold Card

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is 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 several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros

  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at Amex Travel
  • Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash: get $10 monthly in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Access to American Express transfer partners

Cons

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

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Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards points.

Air Canada Aeroplan

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:

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Distance (Miles)Economy (Points)Business (Points)First (Points)
0 to 4,00035,00060,00090,000
4,001 to 6,00040,00070,000100,000
6,001 to 8,00055,00085,000120,000
8,001+70,000100,000130,000

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:

  1. Visit Etihad’s website.
  2. Select your route, travel dates, and class of service.
  3. Find Guest First award space.
  4. Note the flight number, date, and time.
  5. Once you’ve confirmed Guest First award availability, visit Air Canada’s website.
  6. Log into your Aeroplan account.
  7. On the redirected page after logging in, toggle the slider that says Points.
  8. Enter the Etihad flight details from step 4.
  9. Reconfirm that the flight is available on Aeroplan’s website.
  10. Complete the booking by redeeming your Aeroplan points and using a credit card to pay taxes and fees.
    • You can also call Aeroplan at 866-689-8080 to book your award if you are adding a stopover.

Earning Air Canada Aeroplan Points

Air Canada Aeroplan is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.

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.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
60,000 points
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Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
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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.

Pros

  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Travel portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3x points on dining purchases, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel worldwide
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through the Chase Travel portal
  • 6 months of complimentary Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024), plus up to $15 in statement credits each quarter through July 2024
  • Excellent travel and car rental insurance
  • 10% annual bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs like United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 21.49%-28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

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.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel.
60,000 points
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Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

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!

Pros

  • 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
  • 5x points on airfare booked through Chase TravelSM
  • 3x points on all other travel and dining purchases; 1x point on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS credit
  • Access to Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection
  • Rental car elite status with National and Avis

Cons

  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 22.49%-29.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

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Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points.

Asiana Airlines Asiana Club

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:

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RouteEconomy (Miles)Business (Miles)First (Miles)
North America to the Middle East40,00060,00080,000

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:

  1. Navigate to Etihad Guest.
  2. Choose the route, first class, and your travel dates.
  3. Log into Etihad Guest. You may be prompted to enter a one-time password that is sent to your e-mail for verification purposes.
  4. Select the flight you want to take or click around the weekly calendar to look for availability around your best travel dates.
    • You want to find Guest First award space (otherwise you will be overpaying).
  5. Confirm the mileage cost and the taxes/fees.
    • When Guest First award space is not available, you will see a ridiculous miles cost (i.e. 900,000 to 1,000,000), which means this flight is unavailable for first class award redemptions through partners.
  6. Call Asiana Club at 800-227-4262, which is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PST Monday to Friday, and ask to hold the award reservation for up to 72 hours before transferring your Marriott Bonvoy points.
    • Sometimes, the agent won’t be willing to hold your flights. If that happens, politely hang up and call again and you should be able to get a representative to hold your flights.
  7. Transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to Asiana Club.
  8. Confirm and reserve the tickets by calling Asiana Club back. Pay any applicable taxes and fees using a credit card.

Earning Asiana Club Miles

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

There are many different Marriott credit cards available. See our guide where we compare the different products such as their perks and benefits.

American Airlines AAdvantage

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:

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RouteEconomy (Miles)Business (Miles)First (Miles)
Contiguous 48 U.S. states to the Middle East40,00070,000115,000

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:

  1. Visit Etihad’s website.
  2. Select your route, travel dates, and class of service.
  3. Find Guest First award space.
    • To book with AAdvantage miles, you must find Guest First availability on Etihad’s site.
  4. Note the flight number, date, and time.
  5. Call American Airlines’ Australian call center (+61-2-91011948) with Skype or Google Voice.
  6. Ask them to search for first class award space on Etihad (you might have to provide the flight number).
  7. Once they find the space, ask them to put the award on hold (holds last 5 days).
  8. Call the U.S.-based American Airlines call center at 800-882-8880 to complete your booking.

You have many different options for redeeming AAdvantage miles, so don’t think booking Etihad is the only good choice!

Earning American AAdvantage Miles

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.

Great Etihad First Class Redemptions

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 First Class Middle Seats
Try first class aboard an Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9. Image Credit: Greg Stone

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:

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Route (One-Way)Etihad Miles CostAir Canada Aeroplan Points CostAsiana Club Miles CostAmerican AAdvantage Miles Cost
Casablanca (CMN) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)140,000 miles + ~$185 to $22365,000 points + ~$5040,000 miles + ~$185 to $22380,000 miles + ~$62
Geneva (GVA) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)140,000 miles + ~$18565,000 points + ~$5040,000 miles + ~$18562,500 miles + ~$62
London (LHR) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)140,000 miles + ~$234 to $51765,000 points + ~$64 to $34640,000 miles + ~$185 to $452 62,500 miles + ~$62 to $346
Paris (CDG) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)140,000 miles + ~$18565,000 points + ~$5040,000 miles + ~$18562,500 miles + ~$62
Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)220,000 miles + ~$331 to $371120,000 points + ~$5080,000 miles + ~$331 to $371115,000 miles + ~$62

Here are some incredible Etihad first class redemptions you can make:

  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) – London (LHR) one-way in Etihad first class for 65,000 Aeroplan points + ~$64 in taxes and fees
  • Casablanca (CMN) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) one-way in Etihad first class for 65,000 Aeroplan points +~$50 in taxes and fees
  • Geneva (GVA) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) one-way in Etihad first class for 62,500 American AAdvantage miles +~$62 in taxes and fees
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) one-way in Etihad first class for 80,000 Asiana miles +~$371 in taxes and fees
  • Paris (CDG) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) one-way in Etihad first class for 140,000 Etihad Guest miles +~$62 in taxes and fees

How To Earn Enough Miles for Etihad First Class

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:

  • Amex Membership Rewards points transfer to Air Canada Aeroplan and Etihad Guest at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly.
  • Bilt Rewards points transfer to Air Canada Aeroplan and American AAdvantage at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly.
  • Capital One miles transfer to Air Canada Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly and Etihad Guest at a 1:1 ratio around 36 hours.
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Air Canada Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly.
  • Citi ThankYou Points transfer to Etihad Guest at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly.
  • Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Air Canada Aeroplan (5 days), American Airlines AAdvantage (2 days), Asiana Club (4 days), and Etihad Guest (3 days), at a 3:1 ratio.

Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to book Etihad first class using Brex Rewards points.

Miles Plus Cash

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.

When Should You Search for Award Space?

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.

What Makes Etihad First Class a Great Redemption?

Let’s talk a bit more about what you get during the Etihad first class experience.

First Class Lounge

Etihad First Class Apartment - Sydney Lounge
The Etihad First and Business Class Lounge at Sydney Airport. Image Credit: Alex Miller

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.

First Class Dining

Etihad First Class Apartment - Dining Appetizer Duck
Enjoy a fine-dining experience at 30,000 feet. Image Credit: Alex Miller

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to book Etihad first class?

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.

What credit cards can help me earn miles to fly Etihad first class?

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.

What do I get when flying Etihad first class?

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!

Is Etihad Residence still available?

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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About Spencer Howard

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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