Category Archives: etihad

Etihad Now Allows Bidding for Upgrades on Upcoming Flights

Etihad is now joining Air New Zealand in allowing people who have purchased certain Economy and Business class tickets on their website the opportunity to bid for an upgrade to Business (Pearl) from Economy class or to First (Diamond) from Business class.

I recently discussed my failed bid to upgrade from Premium Economy to Business on Air New Zealand (my $350 offer was turned down). This program runs the same way – they give you an idea of where you need to bid to get the upgrade, but you are free to ignore that advice and bid lower. If the bid is accepted (a few days before departure) they charge your card. If they don’t accept, you don’t get charged. Remember if you cancel your flight you’ve lost the upgrade payment.

Any opportunity to jump up a cabin without having to pay the full fare is a good thing, though I’m sure some people take issue with the program.

Full details here.

Etihad Now a Starwood Transfer Partner….Here Are The Great Values in Their Award Chart

Etihad has announced that they are now a transfer partner with Starwood, meaning you’ll get the normal 5,000 mile bonus for transferring 20,000 miles into the Etihad Guest program.

Etihad’s own award chart isn’t great, so this won’t help much there. But they do have a bunch of partner airlines, and there are some great values to be had in those charts (unless I’m mistaken, I believe there are fuel surcharges included with partner airlines, though please correct me if I’m wrong there). That aside (well, you can’t really brush off those fuel surcharges so easily, but still…), here’s where I think there’s good redemption values on partner airlines with Etihad (all mileage below is roundtrip):

Short-haul intra-European is 5,500 miles in coach.
Brussels to West Africa is 35k-40k miles in coach, 58k-66k in business (60k/90k if you used United miles)

ANA (chart here)
US – Tokyo is 65k/95k/120k (United charges 120k in biz and 135k in First)

ALITALIA (chart here)
Short-haul intra-European is 7k miles in coach
Mid-haul intra-European is 12k miles in caoch
Italy – Morocco/Lebanon/Israel/Syria/Egypt/Jordan is 18k coach, 36k business (compare to 40k/60k using SkyMiles)
Rome – Lagos is 30k/60k coach/biz (compare to 70k/100k using SkyMiles)

JET AIRWAYS (chart here)
New York – Brussels is 50k/75k/100k in coach/biz/first.

Yes, that’s a bit of a random assortment, but there’s some good mileage values there, especially within Europe. Always good to have in your back pocket.

UPDATE: Jet Airways just announced that after 5 years they’re dropping JFK-Brussels on September 10th. So much for that. They’ll still fly Newark-Brussels.

Alaska to Partner with Emirates…But Don’t Forget about Qatar & Etihad Partnerships with ANA

Alaska Airlines announced that it will allow for earning and redemption on Emirates to coincide with the latter’s new nonstop service between Seattle and Dubai.

We don’t know the redemption rates yet, but I thought this would be a good time to remind everyone that there are great redemption options on both Etihad and Qatar Airways via ANA Mileage Club, especially if you are looking to go to the Middle East or India (both regions are heavily covered by Emirates, Etihad and Qatar). The best part of using ANA to redeem on Etihad and Qatar is that you use ANA’s mileage-based reward chart. What does that mean? It means you can fly to most destinations in the Middle East from the East Coast of the US for 90,000 miles round trip in business class. You’ll be looking at about $600 in fuel surcharges (weak!), but it’s an extremely low mileage redemption rate compared to most airlines.

Emirates and Qatar have been good availability as well, which is certainly a bonus.

How do you get miles into ANA? Easy enough – transfer from Membership Rewards or from Starwood Preferred Guest (where you’ll get the usual 5k bonus for 20k transfers, so you can get that 90,000 mile reward for just 75,000 Starwood points.)

Some Clarification Around American Aadvantage Routing Rules for Etihad Flights

Given the location of Etihad’s hub in Abu Dhabi, I’ve seen a number of questions about what routings are permitted when using American Aadvantage miles for travel on their partners (Etihad, specifically). Here are the highlights:

– Remember that American only allows a stopover at an American Airilnes gateway city. Abu Dhabi is not a gateway city. Also, you’ll be using the “other airline award chart” to research mileage requirements, not the Oneworld Mileage Based Chart (Etihad is not in Oneworld).

– You must travel to Asia via the Pacific (from North America), so you cannot use Etihad to get to Asia using one award. You would have to book one ticket from North America to the Middle East, then another from the Middle East to Asia.

– You cannot make a stop in a 3rd region (with a few exceptions). Meaning, if you are traveling from North America to Africa, you cannot stop in the Middle East. You can see the list of exceptions here, but none are relevant here. You could travel Etihad from North America to Africa, but you will have to purchase two awards (NA to Middle East; Middle East to Africa).

– This means you cannot fly from Asia to Europe on Etihad, because you have to transit in the Middle East, which is not permitted. One exception is that you can fly from Asia 1 to Europe and connect in Asia 2)

– There is some confusion around trips to the Maldives. Although the country is in the Middle East region, AA is pricing the award out as a North America – Middle East (for JFK-AUH) and a separate award from AUH – MLE. That is likely because Etihad does not publish a fare from JFK to MLE. But some have reported getting AA to price it out correctly. Your mileage may vary for the next few days while the rate desk figures this out.

– Seychelles are in the Africa region, which would require two awards from North America (one award to the Middle East; and a second award from Middle East to Africa).

– India is in the same region as Middle East, so Etihad works great for flights from North America to India via AUH.

Post any additional questions in the comments and I’ll update as needed.

CLARIFICATION: Someone in the comments requested clarification around India region vs. Asia region. India and Middle East are the same region (Middle East/India Subcontinent). Asia 1 is defined as Japan, Korea and Mongolia. Asia 2 is Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Saipan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Perhaps the one surprise in there is that Sri Lanka is not part of the Indian Subcontinent. Rather, it’s in Asia 2.

Now Redeem American Airlines AAdvantage Miles on Etihad; Good News For Travelers to India and Maldives

American Airlines Aadvantage members should be happy to know that as of today (yesterday?) they are now able to redeem miles on Etihad (if Etihad doesn’t sound familiar, they’re an Abu Dhabi-based carrier and considered one of the world’s best. This is extremely good news for anyone flying to India, where they have extensive service, as well as the Maldives.

This is especially good news for anyone with Oneworld miles looking to go to the Maldives, because it will help you avoid traveling there via Hong Kong and Columbo. Instead, you can hop the nonstop from JFK to Abu Dhabi and a quick (ish) connection down to Male. AA’s mileage requirements aren’t exactly cheap (90k in coach, 135k in business, 180k in First), but Etihad opens up a bunch of locations in Africa and India that weren’t possible before.

(On a side note, remember that ANA is also partners with Etihad — and Qatar — and can get you to the Middle East from the East Coast of the US for 90k miles, though you’re looking at about $650 in surcharges on top of that). AA is not charging fuel surcharges for Etihad redemptions.

You can check Etihad availability on their website – just sign up for their frequent flyer program, then you can see availability (it seems to match what AA can book).