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Etihad is known for its exceptional service and comfort. But Etihad is also great for flying in coach to the Indian subcontinent because they have more award seats available than many other airlines.
Etihad flies from North America to the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and the Maldives.
Etihad is not part of the oneworld alliance (a group of 13 airlines) or the Star Alliance (a group of 28 airlines). But they are codeshare partners with 36 airlines. And you can redeem Etihad miles on those partners!
However, American Airlines miles are better than using Etihad miles because you can:
- Book 1-way award tickets with American Airlines miles
- Avoid fuel surcharges and pay very minimal fees & taxes
- Get access to up to 2 First Class, 2 Business Class, and 5 coach award seats available on almost every flight
- Add domestic American Airlines flights to the Etihad gateway city for no additional mile cost and generally less than $5 in taxes
Emily and I used American Airlines miles to fly First Class on Etihad to India.
The Ultimate Guide to Etihad Miles Index:
- Part 1 – Where You Can Fly on Etihad
- Part 2 – Using American Airlines Miles on Etihad
- Part 3 – How to Find Etihad Award Seats
- Part 4 – Using KVS to Find Award Seats
Where You Can Fly on Etihad
Etihad is an airline based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
From North America, they can be a great option for getting to the:
- Middle East
- Indian subcontinent
You can fly on Etihad to the US in:
If you fly in First Class or Business Class, you get a chauffeur to and from 25 airports, which can be a great way to begin or end a trip!
Where Does Etihad Fly in North America?
Etihad flies the following routes between Abu Dhabi and North America:
- New York (JFK)
- Washington, DC (IAD)
- Chicago (ORD) – (There aren’t First Class flights from Chicago.)
- Toronto (YYZ) – (There aren’t First Class flights from Toronto.)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – (Begins June 1, 2014)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – (Begins December 3, 2014)
Where You Can Go From Abu Dhabi
You can fly on Etihad from Abu Dhabi to several destinations in the:
- Middle East
- Indian subcontinent
1. Middle East
You can fly from Abu Dhabi to:
- Al Manama
- Kuwait City
2. Indian Subcontinent
You can fly on Etihad from Abu Dhabi to:
- Chennai (Madras)
- New Delhi
Etihad also flys to Colombo and Sri Lanka. But Sri Lanka is not considered a part of India and the Middle East region by American Airlines, which is the main way for folks in the US to fly on Etihad without paying high fuel surcharges.
It’s relatively easy to book award tickets with points on Etihad. I’ll explain how to book Etihad awards in future posts.
I found 2 First Class seats (on routes with First Class), 2 Business Class seats, and 5 coach seats available on almost every single flight! That said, Etihad doesn’t seem to release award seats as the day of departure approaches and there are unsold seats.
You can fly nonstop in Business Class on Etihad from Washington, DC to Abu Dhabi.
If you need more than 2 award seats, you could fly in coach from, say, Chicago to Abu Dhabi.
Which Miles Can I Use for Etihad Flights?
Etihad is a mileage partner of American Airlines. So you can use American Airlines miles to fly on Etihad.
American Airlines does not charge fuel surcharges on Etihad, so the taxes and fees are very reasonable, ~$30 per person.
Between North America and India and the Middle East you will pay:
- 45,000 miles 1-way coach
- 67,500 miles 1-way in Business Class
- 90,000 miles 1-way between in First Class
If you fly solely within India and the Middle East region, you’ll pay the following American Airlines miles:
- 17,500 miles 1-way within India and the Middle East region in coach
- 25,000 miles 1-way within India and the Middle East region in Business Class
- 35,000 miles 1-way within India and the Middle East region in First Class
Which Countries Are Considered India & the Middle East?
American Airlines considers the following countries to be a part of India and the Middle East:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
Why American Airlines Miles Are Better Than Etihad Miles
Using American Airlines miles is better than using Etihad miles because you don’t pay fuel surcharges. You can transfer Starwood hotel points to Etihad. But you shouldn’t, because you’ll pay fuel surcharges when you use Etihad miles for flights on Ethad.
To fly 1-way in coach from Washington, DC using Etihad miles you would pay 64,333 Etihad miles and ~$26.
If you used American Airlines miles, the same 1-way coach from Washington, DC to Abu Dhabi would cost 45,000 American Airlines miles and $5. Using American Airlines miles you would save 19,333 miles and ~$21!
You could transfer your Starwood points to American Airlines and then redeem those miles on Etihad. However, transfers are not instant can can take up to 4 weeks.
Etihad doesn’t belong to an airline alliance but they partner with 36 airlines.
You can use Etihad miles to fly on partner airlines. Or you can use partner miles, like American Airlines miles, to fly on Etihad.
It’s easier to book award tickets on Etihad than on many other airlines. There are at least 2 seats on every flight from North America.
American Airlines miles are the best miles to use on Etihad because you pay less miles and no fuel surcharges.