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Want to Fly Business or First Class on American Airlines? Save Tons of Miles By Transferring Your Citi ThankYou Points to Etihad Instead!

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Want to Fly Business or First Class on American Airlines? Save Tons of Miles By Transferring Your Citi ThankYou Points to Etihad Instead!

Andrew WanWant to Fly Business or First Class on American Airlines? Save Tons of Miles By Transferring Your Citi ThankYou Points to Etihad Instead!Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

If you’re sitting on a stash of Citi ThankYou points wondering how best to redeem them, you should seriously consider transferring them to Etihad and booking a flight on their partner airline, American Airlines!

In many cases, Etihad’s award chart requires far fewer miles to fly certain routes compared to American Airlines, so you’ll end up saving a ton by booking an award flight using Etihad miles.  First Class flight to Europe?  That’ll only set you back 62,500 ThankYou points with Etihad, as opposed to 85,000 American Airlines miles!

And with recent rumors that Etihad could soon be ending its relationship with American Airlines, now might be as good a time as any to start booking your next vacation with your ThankYou points and take advantage of this sweet spot before it’s too late!

You can earn Citi ThankYou points in a hurry by opening cards like the Citi Premier℠ Card or Citi Prestige.

Etihad Miles are a great way to book flights on American Airlines.  Business Class flights are more than 20,000 miles cheaper when you transfer Citi ThankYou points to Etihad instead of using American Airlines miles!

How the Magic of ThankYou Points and Etihad Work

Back in 2016, American Airlines miles went through a bit of a devaluation, with many award flights requiring significantly more miles.  But Etihad’s chart remained exactly the same.  Because of this, you’ll generally be able to save a ton of points by using Etihad miles instead of American Airlines miles!

So how does this whole points transfer and airline partner thing work?  Well, Etihad is a transfer partner of Citi, and American Airlines is an airline partner of Etihad.  So in essence, you can transfer your ThankYou points to Etihad, and then use those Etihad miles to book a flight on one of their partner airlines, like American Airlines.

And the booking process is very simple.  Just find MileSAAver award availability on the American Airlines website, and call Etihad to book that flight!

You’ll want to start on the American Airlines website and find available MileSAAver seats before calling Etihad to book that flight

How Much Can You Save? The Sky’s the Limit! (No Pun Intended)

Here are some examples of how much you can save by redeeming Etihad miles for an award flight on American Airlines:

  • A Business Class flight to Japan will set you back just 50,000 Etihad miles.  The same flight using American Airlines miles would cost 60,000 miles, so you’ll have a net savings of 10,000 miles per ticket
  • First Class to Europe requires 62,500 Etihad miles.  With American Airlines miles, you’d need to have 85,000 to book the same flight.  So you’ll be saving over 20,000 miles per ticket!
  • First Class flights to the S. Pacific only cost 72,500 Etihad miles, compared to 110,000 American Airlines miles.  That’s a whopping 37,500 mile savings per ticket!

Quickly Boost Your ThankYou Points Balance

So with rumors swirling around that Etihad might soon terminate its relationship with American Airlines, naturally, I looked for ways to quickly boost my ThankYou points balance.  Here’s a few cards that caught my eye:

  • Citi Premier Card – Earn 50,000 Citi ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  The card’s annual fee is waived for the first 12 months, and you also earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel!
  • Citi Prestige Card – Earn 50,000 Citi ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Note:   You can only earn the bonus for one of these cards every 24 months.  So, for example, if you opened the Citi Premier 6 months ago, you’re not eligible for the Citi Prestige bonus for another 18 months.

Bottom Line

In many cases, it’s more advantageous to book an international Business or First Class award flight on American Airlines using Etihad miles instead of American Airlines miles.  In some cases, you could save more than 30,000 miles!

And with rumors that Etihad could be terminating its relationship with American Airlines, it might be a good idea to book that next vacation of your sooner rather than later.

If you’re short on Citi ThankYou points or if you’re looking to top off your points balance, the Citi Prestige Card or Citi Premier Card are worth a look.  They both come with intro bonuses of 50,000 points!

What do you think about this Etihad strategy?  Have you had success redeeming your Citi ThankYou points in this manner?  Let us know in the comments below!

The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Citi Premier Card

Citi Premier Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel including gas stations
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and on entertainment
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 50,000 Points are redeemable for $625 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center, or $500 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • Points Transfer allows you to transfer points to participating airline loyalty programs
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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The pun is clearly intended by mere virtue of your writing “pun not intended” instead of using the delete or backspace key.