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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