Yesterday I posted about The Best Use Of Etihad Miles On Partners, and today I want to continue making the case for Etihad Miles.
What makes the Etihad Miles award chart on AA flights amazing is that they are using AA’s old award chart. Like… their way old award chart. Like stopovers and 67.5k for First Class to Asia award chart!
Just as Alaska cloned AA’s award chart, AA’s really old old award chart is alive today when using Etihad miles.
When using Etihad miles on AA flights, you get access to what is maybe the best award chart in the miles world today. It was a fantastic award chart a decade ago, and it’s now an absurdly good award chart.
With Etihad miles on AA, there are basically no-to-little fuel surcharges and reports are that the award availability is virtually the same as AA itself.
This is one of the best award charts in the miles game (although other partners might offer better specific redemption values), especially given how accessible AA is for those of us in the US. IMO, this is easily the best transfer partner for Amex, Citi, and Cap1… without a close second.
There is one thing that makes this better and one thing that makes it worse than the old AA award chart with AA miles. Using AA miles you could have booked any OneWorld partner, and with Etihad miles you can only book an AA flight- that’s the disadvantage- (therefore it limits your routes, especially to Asia).
The plus side is that Etihad Miles are among the easiest to earn, as they have numerous transfer options!
Transfer partners for earning Etihad Miles:
- Amex MR (1:1)
- Citi TY (1:1)
- Cap1 (1,000:750)
- Marriott (3:1)
- Barclay AP (1.4:1)
(Thanks to FM’s spreadsheet of “List of Transfer Partners“).
Quick note about regions:
1) North America is “US (including Alaska and Hawaii), Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, The Bahamas, Bermuda”…
Except, Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean are different and have their own award chart.
2) “Central America and South America 1” are one region. Which means that, of the countries in South America, “Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela” are considered in this region. Great deals here!
Etihad Miles Award Chart for American Airlines Flights
Here is the Etihad award chart for AA flights departing North America:
- 20k Europe
- Oct 15 – May 15
- 20k South America zone 2
- Mar 1 – May 31 & Aug 16 – Nov 30
- 25k Asia 1
- Oct 1 – Apr 30
- Japan, Korea, Mongolia
- 17.5k Hawaii
- Jan 12 – Mar 8 & Aug 22 & Dec 15
- Yes, it says “Aug 22 & Dec 15”, although it seems like it should be Aug 22 to Dec 15.
Etihad Miles AA Flights Award Maps (From North America)
Here’s the thing… AA doesn’t actually have flights to Africa, the Middle East, India, or Pacific Islands (besides New Zealand/ Australia). So this award chart is useful, but the map below is even more useful to me because it shows all the destinations and their prices.
Here are all Etihad Miles prices for AA flights departing from North America in Economy (including off-peak):
Links to the Business & First Class Award Maps:
- Etihad Miles Award Map for AA Flights in Business Class
- Etihad Miles Award Map for AA Flights in First Class
We made a complete version of the Etihad Miles Award Chart for AA Flights
Note that Etihad Miles basically copied AA’s award chart when they were added as a redemption partner.
But it’s super odd because AA’s award chart is meant for all OneWorld flights and this award chart is only for AA flights. The odd part is that there are regions AA doesn’t fly. For example, why do I need to know the prices for AA flights from Australia when not only do they not fly that route, they don’t fly to India at all.
Yet, as I’ll talk about in a minute, I made it just in case somethings are bookable that would be unexpected.
For example, maybe it will let you book a flight from South America 2 to Europe with a stopover in the US.- Maybe something crazier…
Here’s the Complete Etihad Miles AA Award Chart:
Getting Down To The Deals
Um… Everything on this award chart is a deal…
Best Obvious Deals:
- South America zone 2 for only 20,000 miles in off-peak.
- South America zone 1 for 17,500 miles.
- Europe off-peak economy for 20,000 miles.
- Asia 1 (Tokyo & Seoul) off-peak economy for 25,000 miles.
- Asia 1 First Class for 62,500 miles.
- Asia 2 First Class for 67,500 miles.
I listed all the off-peak, but also, all the economy prices are great, and all the first class flights are great.
These are the cheapest First Class flights to Asia. Am I Right? Plus, AA has a great first class. Your First Class options to Asia are limited to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong for 67,500 miles, and Seoul and Tokyo for 62,500 miles.
72,500 miles for AA first to Sydney and Auckland are also great deals.
Again, what makes this even more killer is that the other best deals (AA, Alaska, some United, etc…) are not Amex, Citi, and Cap1 transfer partners. These are the best prices and there are no close seconds.
The best part is that multiple people have reported no fuel-surcharges being charged on a flight to Europe. There are still many international flights on AA that have no YQ as part of the ticket price anyways, but it seems Etihad is passing none of it on.
Here is a post on FT (that claims an agent offered free changes/cancelation, which I’m not sure I’d trust, but others say only 2,000 to redeposit miles).
Getting Crazier Deals & Stopovers
Hawaii is now one of us!
As mentioned, stopovers are allowed, seemingly on one-ways. But note that many people are having trouble booking them!
I noticed two other things.
1) “North America” includes Hawaii. Of course, there are separate intra North America prices, but for any other region flying to the US, Hawaii isn’t its own region.
2) On the intra-region award chart, which clarifies US to Hawaii is a certain price… there is no price for the Caribbean and Mexico to the USA. But I’m pretty sure it means that the price would be 17,500 if it’s just “USA” to Mexico or the Caribbean.
It seems to me that the Caribbean to Hawaii is 17,500 oneway, and you should be able to stopover somewhere in the mainland USA. Just stopover in your home area for a few months, that way you can get two vacations out of the one ticket.
Actually Booking Stopovers
What is most confusing is how some people are booking stopovers and some are not. Most are not.
People I trust, like Richard Kerr (of AwardTravel101, which has a new podcast), say they have had no success at all booking a stopover on Royal Air Maroc (which is a bummer, but it’s still an amazing value) despite stopovers explicitly being allowed for Royal Air Maroc.
From the sounds of it, the system is incredibly strict on Royal Air Maroc. Agents see availability differently based on how they enter it.
However, I’m hoping it’s easier on AA. And possibly related, some agents seem to manually issue AA related tickets, and people have had oddly priced tickets.
My theory as to why AA tickets could be easier to issue with connections (although still fickle) is because clearly the Royal Air Maroc award chart isn’t supposed to have connections. I say this because airline award charts that price per segment tend to have a top mileage category that is somewhat close to the longest flight (and Royal Air Maroc’s top distance category is over 2,000 miles). Yet, ANA, which prices all segments together, have the top distance range at 16,000 flown miles, which is way longer than a single flight would be.
Most likely price is 17.5k, but either way, it seems Central America to North America is explicitly 17.5k. Which is odd because US to Hawaii is 22.5k year round (and 17.5k in off-peak). So you could save miles by getting a flight from Central America, and in theory, you could stopover in your home area and get two tickets out of one discounted flight.
Another oddity! North America, the first chart, to South America zone 2 is 30k (non off-peak)… Yet, South America Zone 2 to North America is 17.5k? At least, that’s what it says here.
Few things make sense and who knows how agents will handle ticket pricing. YMMV!
Non-US Regional Flights
(To be clear, the following section is speculation and relies on being able to book stopovers)…
It also seems you should be able to fly from Latin America to Europe and do the same stopover trick. Or Hawaii to Europe with a stopover in your home area.
Why not South America Zone 2 to Europe or Hawaii?
My guess/hope is that it just depends on the fickle-ness of the agent. It seems like a manual process, and this post seems to confirm that, (changing prices, checking AA for availability, etc…).
I’ve yet to test this next thing, but notice that Europe to Asia is 35,000 miles on AA. And of course, AA only flies to those destinations from the US. So could you fly from Europe to the US (stopover) and then to Asia for 35k/52.5k/70k? That would be the deal of the century.
It’s likely up to your patience to wait and HUCA (hang up and call again) at different hours to get the different offices. Word is that the Manchester and Serbia offices are the best.
More notes from FlyerTalk threads like this:
- You must book 14+ days out.
- Someone said that the availability matched AA and not BA (here). Multiple people said that it matched AA saver award space (like here).
- HUCA. Try different offices.
Unfortunately, there’s still very little information on the program on FT and elsewhere.
Even without stopovers, AA flights are some of the cheapest flights in economy, business, and first from any Amex or Citi transfer partners.
Add stopovers and it’s a killer deal.
Add the crazy region combinations and it’s a crazy deal.
Royal Air Maroc to the Middle East and Africa for 22k/44k might still be unbeatable, but AA is much more applicable to most of the US as Royal Air Maroc only flies to four east coast locations.
So if you haven’t already done so, check out the Best Use Of Etihad Miles On Partners.