5 Cards to Earn Miles for Etihad Award Flights

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Ebene, commented:

Can you transfer United Airlines miles to Etihad?  What are the best cards to earn miles to fly Etihad?

You can NOT transfer airline miles to another airline.

For Etihad award flights, you can transfer points directly to the airline from 3 flexible programs – American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest.  You can also use American Airlines miles or ANA miles to fly Etihad.

Etihad miles are also valuable for folks looking to book award seats on any of its 26 airline partners.  For example, using Etihad miles for a Brussels Airlines award flight is one of the cheapest ways to get to Europe!

Etihad Award Flights
Use Etihad Miles for Award Flights to Abu Dhabi Where You Can Visit the Magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

I’ll share 5 cards that can earn you miles for Etihad award flights.

Different Ways to Book Etihad Award Flights

Link:   The Ultimate Guide to Etihad Miles

Link:   Etihad Award Flight Mileage Calculator 

Link:   How to Find Etihad Award Seats

Etihad flies from North America to the Middle East, India, and the Maldives.

Etihad doesn’t publish an award chart for their flights.  But you can use the Etihad mileage calculator to quickly find out how many miles you’ll need to fly in coach, Business Class, and First Class.

Etihad Award Flights
Use the Etihad Mileage Calculator to Quickly Find Out How Many Miles You’ll Need for an Award Flight

It’s relatively easy to use the Etihad website to find available award seats.  And you can book award flights online.

Besides using Etihad miles for award flights on the airline, you can redeem American Airlines miles or ANA miles.  And you can often use fewer miles this way.

But keep in mind certain booking rules.  For example, you can only book a round-trip flight with ANA miles.  And you can’t mix airlines.

To book an Etihad award flight using American Airlines miles, you’ll have to call American Airlines at 800-882-8880.  And if you’re redeeming ANA miles, you can book by calling ANA at 800-235-9262.

Earn Flexible Points for Etihad Award Flights

If you’re looking to earn flexible points to transfer directly to Etihad, here are 5 cards that can help!

1.   AMEX Business Platinum

Link:   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Link:   My Review of the AMEX Business Platinum

With The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, you can earn up to 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.

You’ll earn 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.  And an extra 25,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the same timeframe.

Etihad Award Flights
You Can Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Etihad at a 1:1 Ratio. Earning 75,000 Points With the AMEX Business Platinum Opens Up Terrific Award Flight Options!

That’s a substantial amount for a spending requirement!  So don’t forget to check out my post about ways to meet high spending requirements.

You can also earn 5X AMEX Membership Rewards points when you book airfare or hotels through the AMEX travel portal.

The AMEX Business Platinum card is good for folks making large purchases.  Because you can earn 1.5X AMEX Membership Rewards points on single purchases of $5,000+.

And with this card, you can get 50% of your points back for ALL First Class or Business Class flights booked through the AMEX travel portal using Pay With Points.  This perk also works with certain airlines for coach flights, but NOT with Etihad.

Etihad Award Flights
Use Pay With Points With the Business Platinum Card for a First Class Etihad Flight and You Can Get 50% of Your Points Back

The card has a $450 annual fee, which is NOT waived the first year.  But you get a $200 airline incidental credit each calendar year, which helps offset the annual fee.

You can check out my post about using AMEX Membership Rewards points for Etihad award flights to the Middle East and Africa.  Or how you can transfer points to ANA for Etihad award flights with no fuel surcharges!

2.   AMEX EveryDay

Link:   The AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   My Review of the AMEX EveryDay Card

With the no annual fee AMEX EveryDay card, you can earn 10,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

You’ll also earn:

  • 2 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 at US supermarkets up to $6,000 a year; (then 1x)
Etihad Award Flights
Use the AMEX EveryDay Card for Supermarket Purchases to Earn 2X AMEX Membership Rewards Points

And, if you use the card to make 20 or more purchases within a billing cycle, you will earn an extra 20% Membership Rewards points, less returns and credits.

This is the only no annual fee AMEX card that earns AMEX Membership Rewards points, which you can transfer directly to airline partners.

3.   Citi ThankYou Premier

Link:   Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Link:   My Review of the Citi ThankYou Premier Card

You can earn 30,000 Citi ThankYou points with the Citi ThankYou Premier card after spending $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of opening your account.

With this card, you’ll also get:

  • 3 Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent on travel
  • 2 Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent on dining and entertainment (amusement parks, sporting events, movies)

The card’s $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

4.   Citi Prestige

Link:   Citi Prestige® Card

Link:   My Review of the Citi Prestige Card

With the Citi Prestige card, you can earn 40,000 ThankYou points when you sign-up and spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months of opening your account.

Other perks include:

  • 3 Citi ThankYou points per $1 you spend at airlines, hotels, and travel agencies
  • 2 Citi ThankYou points per $1 you spend at restaurants and select entertainment (includes movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions)
Etihad Award Flights
Earn 3X Citi ThankYou Points on Airfare Purchases. This Can Help You Earn Points More Quickly to Transfer to Etihad at a 1:1 Ratio.

The $450 annual fee is NOT waived for the first year.  But you can earn $250 statement credit for airline fees such as airfare every year, which effectively makes the annual fee $200 ($450 annual fee – $250 statement credit).

5.   AMEX Starwood

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

You can earn up to 35,000 Starwood points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements with the limited time AMEX Starwood offers available until April 5, 2017.

You’ll earn 1 Starwood point per $1 you spend on everyday purchases.

But when you transfer Starwood points to partner airlines like Etihad, you get a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer.

This means every $1 spent on the AMEX Starwood card is worth up to 1.25 airline miles!

Use Etihad Miles for Big Travel on Partner Airlines

Link:   How to Use AMEX, Citi, & Starwood Points for Cheap Award Flights to Europe

Link:   Save Miles! Book American Airlines Awards With Etihad Miles

Sometimes, you’ll get a better deal using Etihad miles to book award seats on one of its 26 airline partners.

For example, you can book a round-trip award flight from New York (JFK) to Brussels on Brussels Airlines for:

  • 21,972 Etihad miles in coach
  • 36,620 Etihad miles in Business Class
Etihad Award Flights
Team Member Harlan Transferred Citi ThankYou Points to Etihad to Book a Round-Trip Business Class Award Flight to Brussels!

Or you can use Etihad miles to book American Airlines award flights.

For example, you can use:

  • 37,500 Etihad miles for a one-way coach flight to Australia
  • 50,000 Etihad Miles for a one-way First Class flight within the Continental US
  • 62,500 Etihad miles for a one-way First Class flight to Europe

All of these examples require fewer miles than if you booked directly with American Airlines.

To book, you must call Etihad at 877-690-0767.

Keep in mind, available award seats can be limited.  But here’s my step-by-step guide to finding and booking award seats using Etihad miles.

Bottom Line

To earn Etihad miles for award flights, I recommend collecting flexible transferable points with American Express Membership RewardsCiti ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest.  Because you can transfer these points directly to the airline at a 1:1 ratio.

Folks looking for cards to earn these points can do well with cards like:

Remember, Etihad miles are valuable because you can book award flights on partner airlines, like Brussels Airlines.  This can be a terrific option for cheap award flights to Europe.

And keep in mind, you might use fewer miles for Etihad award flights if you redeem American Airlines miles or ANA miles.

Thanks for the questions, Ebene!

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