Save Miles! Book American Airlines Awards With Etihad Miles

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Using Etihad miles, you can book award flights on American Airlines at a big discount!  And remember, you can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards pointsCiti ThankYou points, and Starwood points to Etihad!

But you’ll have to be flexible, because award seats can be tricky to find.

Folks were disappointed when American Airlines changed their award chart and started charging more for certain award flights.

Via View From The Wing, there’s a way to book award flights on American Airlines using the old award pricing.  This could help folks who were disappointed when American Airlines changed their award chart.

Save Miles Book American Airlines Awards With Etihad Miles

Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points, Citi ThankYou Points, or Starwood Points to Etihad to Book International Award Flights on American Airlines

I’ll explain how to book award flights on American Airlines using Etihad miles!

Book American Airlines Award Flights for Less!

Link:   American Airlines Award Chart 

Link:   Etihad Award Chart for American Airlines Redemptions 

The new award chart for flights on American Airlines and its airline partners took effect in March 2016.  Depending on the route, coach award prices stayed the same or changed very slightly.  But Business Class and First Class awards increased significantly!

Save Miles Book American Airlines Awards With Etihad Miles

Nobody Likes Award Chart Changes. Thankfully There Are Other Options to Book Award Flights!

American Airlines also shortened their timeframes for off-peak travel. For example, off-peak awards to Europe used to be available 7 months of the year, but it’s now only 4 months.

But Etihad still allows you to book award flights on American Airlines using the old American Airlines award chart and off-peak travel dates.

So by booking with Etihad miles, you can save on award flights to certain destinations, especially in Business and First Class!  For example:

One-Way Within the Continental US in First Class:

  • 50,000 American Airlines miles, or
  • 32,500 Etihad miles

One-Way From the US to Australia in Coach:

  • 40,000 American Airlines miles, or
  • 37,500 Etihad miles

One-Way From the US to Europe in First Class

  • 85,000 American Airlines miles, or
  • 62,500 Etihad miles

These are just a few examples.  You can also save miles on certain flights to Asia, South America, and Canada!

That said, using Etihad miles instead of American Airlines miles is not always easy.  There aren’t as many award seats available!

Finding Available Award Seats

It might be cheaper to book award seats using Etihad miles, but it takes patience.  Available award seats are extremely limited.  There are more available award seats if you use American Airlines miles.

To find available award seats you can either search American Airlines website or call Etihad at 877-690-0767.

The trick to finding available award seats on American Airlines you can book with Etihad miles is to know the correct booking codes.

Sample Coach Award Flight – Los Angeles to London

I searched American Airlines to find one-way coach award tickets from Los Angeles to London in July.

Save Miles Book American Airlines Awards With Etihad Miles

Booking Code “T” Indicates You Can Use Etihad Miles for a Coach Award Ticket

Because the flight details show seats are available under booking code “T,” you can call Etihad to book this flight using Etihad miles.  According to the Etihad representative I spoke to, other coach booking codes are NOT eligible for using Etihad miles.

In this example it will cost 30,000 Etihad miles to fly coach from Los Angeles to London.  This is the same number of American Airlines miles required, but it’s an alternative if you don’t have American Airlines miles.

Sample Business Class Award Flight – New York (JFK) to London

I checked for Business Class award seats on a one-way August flight from New York (JFK) to London.

Save Miles Book American Airlines Awards With Etihad Miles

Booking Code “U” Means Business Class Award Seats Are Available Using Etihad Miles

Because the flight details show seats are available under booking code “U,” you can call Etihad to book this flight using Etihad miles.  Other Business Class booking codes do NOT qualify for using Etihad miles.

In this example it will cost 50,000 Etihad miles to fly Business Class from New York to London.  This means you’ll save 7,500 miles instead of using American Airlines miles.

Earn Etihad Miles With Transferable Points Programs

Etihad is an AMEX Membership Rewards airline transfer partner.  So you can instantly transfer your AMEX Membership Rewards points to Etihad at a 1:1 ratio.  And through June 15, 2016, you’ll receive a 30% bonus when you transfer AMEX Membership Reward points to Etihad.

Or you can use Citi ThankYou points.  But remember, Citi ThankYou points transfers can take a few days to appear in your account.  If you’re in a rush to book a flight, this might not be the best option.

You can also transfer Starwood points to Etihad.  And you’ll get a 5,000 mile bonus for every transfer of 20,000 Starwood points!  However, Starwood points can take up to 4 weeks to transfer.

If you need more points in these flexible points programs, there are currently some nice sign-up bonuses available including:

If you already have the AMEX Starwood Preferred guest or small business card, you can take advantage of the limited time referral bonus to earn extra Starwood points!

Bottom Line

You can save thousands of miles by booking American Airlines award flights using Etihad miles!  But available award seats can be hard to find.

To find award seats eligible for using Etihad miles, you can search available award seats on the American Airlines website or call Etihad.  To book, call Etihad at 877-690-0767.

You can earn Etihad miles by transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou points, or Starwood points.

Let me know if you’ve booked an American Airlines flight using Etihad miles!

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8 responses to “Save Miles! Book American Airlines Awards With Etihad Miles

  1. What would be the booking code for first class saver?

  2. Can you use Etihad miles to book BA flights. If yes will Etihad tack on fuel surcharge.

  3. @John – According to the Etihad representative I spoke to, it’s booking code “Z” – but seats are very hard to find!

  4. @Veer – No, you can’t.

  5. I just booked two business class seats from Miami to Buenos Aires using Etihad miles on AA for 50k each – transferred MR immediately while on the phone with the rep who had just confirmed availability. Took calling in 3-4 times over the course of a week before a rep could find the tickets for the date I want, but overall not too bad a process.

  6. I just looked up JFK-LAX route for first class saver and it showed up as code “Z”

    So I’m assuming this would be 32.5K miles compared to 50K on AA.

    Also, does ethiad charge more than the standard $5.60 fee. Do you also need to book within 21 days like AA without getting hit with a fee? I don’t remember if I recall reading this in the article.

  7. I have already book Etihad flight to India. Usually travel to India every two years or so…. May stick to Etihad from now but my question is Should use Etihad frequent Flyer number or should I use American Arline FF# to earn miles?

  8. I am trying to book a flight to Delhi from New York area for October.

    Any idea what’s the best way to go. I have lot of AA miles that I will like to use. Also have MR that I can transfer to Etihad if needed. I would like to fly Etihad business if I can with no stopover outbound but maybe a day or two of stopover in Abu Dhabi or Europe on the way back (not essential).

    Generally I am good with these rewards but fir some reason having little hard time figuring out this whole etihad airlines.

    Thanks for any help

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