The Ultimate Guide to Etihad Airways – Part 3: How to Find Etihad Award Seats

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The best free way to find award seats on Etihad Airways is to sign-up for Etihad Guest, the airline’s mileage program.  You do NOT need any miles in the program to perform an award search! 

American Airlines Etihad

Finding Award Seats Won’t Be Like a Game of Hide and Seek

The Ultimate Guide to Etihad Airways Index:

Enroll in Etihad Guest: Etihad Airway’s Frequent Flyer Program

Link:   Enroll in Etihad Guest

Etihad sure has an interesting list of titles to choose from when entering your name!  I was boring and went with “Mr.”

American Airlines Etihad

Maybe One Day I’ll Be a Baron…

After you have signed-up for your Etihad Guest account, you can log in by going to Etihad’s website and clicking “My Etihad Guest Login.”

American Airlines Etihad

Log In From the Etihad Home page

Tip: I entered my Etihad account into AwardWallet, so I just clicked “Etihad Airways (Etihad Guest)” in my AwardWallet account to login!

American Airlines Etihad

Save Time by Adding Your Etihad Guest Account to AwardWallet

Search for Etihad Award Seats

You can look for award seats on Etihad using this link, or follow the steps below.

Step 1 – Click “How to Redeem”

Log into your Etihad Guest account.

Go to “Your Miles” on the left side of the page and click “How to Redeem.”

American Airlines Etihad

Step 1 – Click How to Redeem

Step 2 – Click “Click here to book flight”

Under the “Reward Flight” section, click on “Click here to book flight.”

American Airlines Etihad

Step 2 – Click on “Click here to book flight”

Let’s say you’re looking for 2 First Class award tickets from New York to the Maldives.  What happens when you search for a trip from New York (JFK) to Malé (MLE)?

American Airlines Etihad

Can You Find 2 First Class Seats From New York to the Maldives?

Your search results implies that all First Class award seats are booked.

American Airlines Etihad

No First Class for You!

Fortunately, Million Miles Secrets readers know that you should try to search for award seats by each segment!

How to Search by Each Segment

So let’s search for 2 First Class tickets from New York to Abu Dhabi and then from Abu Dhabi to Malé.

Step 1 – Search for Your 1st Flight

We’ll 1st search for New York to Abu Dhabi for 2 people in October in First Class.

American Airlines Etihad

Step 1 – Enter Your Flight Information for Your First Flight

Step 2 – Search for an Available “GuestSeat”

Book a “GuestSeat” because you can get those seats with American Airlines miles.  You can’t use American Airlines miles for “OpenSeat” award tickets.

American Airlines Etihad

Step 2 – You Can Use American Airlines Miles to Book “GuestSeats”

Don’t get scared by the number of miles required, 222,000 (for New York to Abu Dhabi).  Those 220,000 miles are the number of Etihad miles that Etihad Guest members have to pay for these seats.  American Airlines only charges 90,000 miles 1-way for the same First Class seat from New York and Abu Dhabi!

If you can’t find seats on the date you want, the calendar at the top of the page shows when award seats are available. 

Step 3 – Search for Your 2nd Flight

Search for award seats from Abu Dhabi to the Maldives (Malé).

Note: This is a regional route, so there is only Business Class and coach available.  If you search for First Class award seats between Abu Dhabi and Malé, the website will show no seats because First Class doesn’t exist!

Let’s search for Business Class seats between Abu Dhabi and Malé.

American Airlines Etihad

Step 3 – Enter Flight Details for Flight 2

Your search will reveal which seats are available.

American Airlines Etihad

2 Business Class Seats Are Available Everyday Except Sunday

Because 2 Business Class seats are available at the “GuestSeat” level, we can book those seats with American Airlines miles.

Write down the dates of the flights and call American Airlines at 800-882-8880.

The flights we found were:

  • Etihad 100 in First Class from New York to Abu Dhabi on Saturday, October 18, 2014
  • Etihad 278 in Business Class from Abu Dhabi to Malé on Monday, October 20, 2014

I called American Airlines and gave those flights to the American Airlines agent who was able to hold the seats in only a few minutes.  The total cost for 2 First Class tickets from New York to the Abu Dhabi and 2 Business Class tickets from Abu Dhabi to the Maldives was 90,000 miles + ~$4 in taxes a person 1-way!

Note that you will have to pay a telephone booking fee of $35.

American Airlines Etihad

US to the Maldives in First Class and Business Class for 90,000 Miles

Note: This itinerary requires an overnight stay in Abu Dhabi, which you have to pay for yourself.  But Etihad includes chauffeur transfers to and from your hotel if you fly in First Class!  If you fly in Business Class, you can use up to 2 chauffeur transfers on each journey.

Putting It All Together

Here’s another example, but this time in coach.  Because I live in Austin which isn’t an Etihad gateway city, I need to get to a gateway city like Chicago (from which Etihad flies).

Fortunately, I can book  flight on American Airlines from Austin to Chicago and pay the same amount of American Airlines miles (45,000 in coach to India!)

Step 1 – Find a Flight From Your City to an Etihad Gateway City

I search on the American Airlines website to find a flight from Austin to Chicago.

American Airlines Etihad

Step 1 – Find Flight to Etihad Gateway City

Step 2 – Find 1st Flight From Etihad Gateway to Stopover Destination

I can’t search for Etihad flights on the American Airlines website.  But we know that you can find award seats on the Etihad website!

After logging into my Etihad Guest account, I search on the Etihad website for flights from Chicago to Abu Dhabi.

American Airlines Etihad

Step 2 – Find Your 1st Flight From Etihad Gateway City to Stopover Destination

Step 3 – Find 2nd Flight From Stopover Destination to Final Destination

Then I search for flights from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai.

American Airlines Etihad

Step 3 – Find Flight From Stopver Over to Final Destination

Step 4 – Call American Airlines & Book

Because I can’t book Etihad award seats online using American Airlines miles, I call American Airlines at 800-882-8880.

I give the agent the flights I found one-by-one:

  • American 2408 in coach from Austin to Chicago on Wednesday, April 16, 2014
  • Etihad 150 in coach from Chicago to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, April 16, 2014
  • Etihad 204 in coach from Abu Dhabi on Thursday, April 17, 2014

My flights to India, including the flight from Austin to Chicago, cost 45,000 American Airlines miles + ~$30 taxes in coach!  This is much better than using American Airlines miles to fly on British Airways to India, because I’d pay hundreds of dollars in fuel surcharges for that flight!

Bottom Line

You can search for award seats on Etihad’s website.  But you have to have an Etihad Guest account.

An Etihad Guest account is free and easy to create.  After you’ve created your Etihad Guest account you can search for award seats.

When using American Airlines miles, search for available “GuestSeat” award seats.

If you can’t find award seats, try searching for each flight segment separately.

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25 responses to “The Ultimate Guide to Etihad Airways – Part 3: How to Find Etihad Award Seats

  1. I’m flying the same JFK-AUH-MLE route in Biz and I was told that I would only be offered chauffer service if I was on a stop-over (more than 24 hours), not while I was only in transit (our overnights are less than 24 hours). Is your post correct on the offer of chauffer service? Or should I be calling Etihad again to request this?

  2. Actually it’s right there in the link you provided tot he Eithad chauffer service page: “Service is not provided in Abu Dhabi for guests in transit.” Have you had a different experience?

  3. Pingback: The Ultimate Guide to Etihad Airways: Part 2 - Using American Airlines Miles on Etihad | Million Mile Secrets

  4. Pingback: The Ultimate Guide to Etihad Miles: Where You Can Fly on Etihad | Million Mile Secrets

  5. Wouldn’t that increase the number of miles needed?

  6. You don’t need an Etihad guest account to search for award space. You only need one if you plan on using Etihad miles to book it. From the home page go to Etihad Guest, click on the ‘Know more’ under Spend Miles, and then ‘Read more’ under Reward flight. From there you can search as you describe.

  7. Hey when did you move to Austin? I thought you lived in Kansas. ..
    Welcome to Austin! Do you live in the North, South or near downtown? I’m sure you have a big fan following here

  8. If you book 2 separate tickets wont you have to collect you baggage at each stop point and have to check it back in again? for e.g if you book a separate aus-ord then ord-auh and auh-bom, wouldnt you have to recheck you bags again at ord then auh?

  9. it’s not necessary to sign up for a guest account. there’s direct link to award search on Flyertalk I remember. No sign-in required.

  10. Pingback: The Ultimate Guide to Etihad Airways: Part 4 - Using KVS to Find Award Seats | Million Mile Secrets

  11. This is a pretty nifty post. I was able to book BOM-AUH-(JFK-LGA)-BOS. I searched EY award tickets and there was just one available. I was the lucky one. I don’t know why they don’t get these search results when doing a generic search.

    I know I have to change airports in NYC from JFK to LGA, but I don’t mind it. I have plenty of friends there. This is a major upgrade compared to my original itinerary by Royal Jordanian. Is there a way to book similar tickets using other partner airlines? I would love to travel by Qatar or Jet Airways. Correct me if I am wrong but I also think that trans-pacific route is not allowed when travelling to/from India.

  12. Quick question. I am planning to book an award from JFK-AUH-DEL. I would like to add a stopover of 72 hrs at AUH then complete my journey to DEL.. Do you guys have any advice? Thanks…

  13. Great post! I am trying to set up alerts on ExpertFlyer for award availability on Etihad (there are no business class award seats currently available). Do you know what the Etihad fare class is for “Guest Business” (i.e., the fare class that is bookable through AA)? The only ones listed on ExpertFlyer are First – Promotional Upgrade (R) and Business – Promotional Upgrade (X). Both of these are described as “Paid Promotional upgrade inventory, not using miles.”

  14. trying to plan a trip to the Maldives. How likely is it to find 4 business seats on Etihad to Abu Dhabi? Also trying to book Conrad Maldives, would I be able to use Hilton free weekend nights? If so, is Thursday considered a weekend night? Thanks

  15. Help…
    Trying to sign up on Etihad Guest and it keeps wanting our country code. I keep putting in a 1 and it doesn’t like it…..what can i do?
    I’ve tried several browsers and still no luck!
    Thanks for any help….

  16. Been trying to sign up but for some reason won’t take country code of 1 for US. Have tried numerous browsers with same results.
    I just want to see if there are any free seats available and can’t find any other way than signing up for their program.
    Any one have the same problem or an answer to how to access without membership????

  17. How long in advanced before your flight you made reservation with American?

  18. I don’t think he monitor this thread anymore, so don’t wait for his answer. But for the country code, put 001 for the US.

    Also, don’t expect to find GuestSeat for First class (bookable using AA miles). I guess lot of people try to redeem the AA miles before its devaluation next March. All of them are sold out.

  19. Hi,

    I always based the availability of Etihad using AA miles with this method, but as of the last 2 weeks it’s been inaccurate – even though it show’s it’s available, AA says it’s not when I call??
    please help!!

  20. Hi, How many AA miles are required from Abu Dhabi to BOM on Business class of Etihad ??

  21. @MMS and @Vivesh:
    I have a business class booking with EY, using AA miles, and am trying to look for availability in first for one of the legs.
    Would be awesome if someone knew of a way to set up alerts for EY using miles, to save having to check manually all the time/

    Any clues / ideas ?
    Thanks in advance 🙂

  22. Hi,
    I am planning to travel to Bangalore, India on September 23rd 2016.
    Please guide me on how to make the flight free to the forward and return journey.