How To Fly The Etihad Apartment Using American Miles
This might come as a surprise, but the best use of American AAdvantage miles is not actually flying American. Our favorite uses of AAdvantage miles are flying Etihad Airways or Qatar Airways.
There is no question that the Etihad Airways apartment is one of the best first class products in the sky. Equipped with an arm chair, full bed, couch and an onboard bar and shower, it is sure to dazzle. The onboard product is quite the experience, and we want to show you how you can experience the Etihad Apartment using American miles.
On What Routes Can You Fly the Etihad Apartment?
The Etihad first class apartment is only available on their Airbus A380 aircraft. Etihad flies the A380 on the following routes in both directions. Pricing is one-way:
London to Abu Dhabi – (62.5k AAdvantage miles)
Melbourne to Abu Dhabi – (100k AAdvantage miles)
NYC to Abu Dhabi – (115k AAdvantage miles)
Paris to Abu Dhabi – (62.5k AAdvantage miles)
Sydney to Abu Dhabi – (100k AAdvantage miles)
Some of these routes will have better award availability than others. For example, finding one-way award space in the Etihad Apartment from New York to Abu Dhabi can prove to be difficult. When you search for one way availability on this route, only Abu Dhabi (AUH) – New York (JFK) appears to be available, not flights originating in New York. Mr. TT flew Abu Dhabi to London last year and had no trouble finding availability.
Finding Award Availability
Etihad is not a member of one of the big three airline alliances, but they do have a number of partner airlines. One of these partners is American Airlines which makes it possible to redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles for Etihad airways flights.
The first thing you need to do is search for award availability on the Etihad Guest Miles award booking page. One thing to note is that if you do not have an Etihad Guest Miles account, it will continually prompt you and ask if you want to sign in or keep searching as a guest. This gets annoying quickly, so I would recommend creating a loyalty account if you don’t have one.
When you are looking for award availability for the Etihad apartment, you will want to make sure the aircraft type is the Airbus A380 and that there is availability showing in the “Guest First” column (indicated with the red box below). Don’t worry about the amount of miles or the taxes and fees displayed. You will be paying with your American AAdvantage miles.
Booking The Award Ticket
Once you have found availability on the route you are looking at, it is time to book. You will book directly through American Airlines. The flight pictured above from London Heathrow (LHR) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) will only cost 62,500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. That is a great deal for eight hours in one of the best first class products in the sky.
Your next step in the process will be to call American Airlines AAdvantage customer service line at 1-800-882-8880. Unfortunately you will not be able to book an Etihad award flight online through the American Airlines AAdvantage website. You will need to give the representative the dates, route and preferred cabin for which you found availability at the Etihad Guest Miles award booking page. There is a very good chance that the American Airlines representative will not be able to see the award availability which is what happened to me when I called the American Airlines US call center.
If the American Airlines representative is unable to see availability for the route you are looking to fly, you will need to call the Australia American Airlines call center at 61-2-9101-1948. You will have to add 011 before dialing the number from the US. I called the Australia American airlines number via Skype and they were able to see the award availability I was seeing without issues.
Earning American Airlines AAdvantage Miles
There are many ways to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles. The easiest of which is to take advantage of the current sign up bonuses on the co-branded American Airlines credit cards. Both the personal and business versions of the co-branded Citi American Airlines AAdvantage cards are currently offering an increased sign-up bonus.
For a limited time, you will earn 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of card membership, on the personal card and 70,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of card membership on the CitiBusiness card. These card offers can be found on our Top Credit Cards page.
Even further, Barclaycard and American Airlines offer a co-branded credit card that is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after making your first purchase and paying the $95 annual fee. These are some of the easiest points and miles you will ever come by.
By opening two credit cards and meeting the spending threshold to earn the sign-up bonus, you will have more than enough American Airlines AAdvantage miles to fly the Etihad First Class Apartment.
The Etihad First Class Apartment is arguably one of the best first class products in the sky. Abu Dhabi is a great connecting point for trips to the Middle East, India & the Maldives. The methods outlined above represent one of our favorite ways to redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles for an incredible value. Another great alternative to Etihad is to use your AAdvantage miles to book Qatar Airways. Both Etihad and Qatar have excellent business and first class lounges and a solid onboard product, so you can’t go wrong flying either one.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.