Citi is offering a 10% transfer bonus from Citi ThankYou Points to Eithad Guest through July 5, 2017.
If you have ThankYou Points earned by a Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi Chairman card, then you can transfer ThankYou points to Citi’s airline partners and are therefore eligible for the transfer bonus.
Using Etihad Miles for Etihad Flights
Etihad Guest Miles aren’t very good for booking First Class on the Etihad A380.
For instance, Etihad would charge 88,048 Etihad miles + $183 to book Abu Dhabi to London in First Class on the Etihad A380.
During the transfer bonus, that’s 80,000 ThankYou points (technically 79,244 but you have to transfer in 1k increments). I’d rather spend 62,500 American Airlines miles and no fuel surcharges than 80,000 ThankYou points + $183, as ThankYou points are much more valuable than American Airlines miles.
A better deal, but not a great one, is booking Abu Dhabi to New York City (JFK) in Etihad First Class for 117,700 Etihad miles + $224, which would be 106,000 ThankYou points during the transfer bonus. You could book the same flight for 115,000 American Airlines miles + $6. Read Trick For Finding/Booking Invisible Etihad 1st Class Award Space to learn how to find and book the other direction, JFK to Abu Dhabi.
JFK to Delhi, which would feature two flights in First Class is also 106,000 ThankYou points during the promotion. Again, this would cost 115,000 American Airlines miles.
So Etihad miles are competitive with American Airlines miles to book Etihad flights during this transfer bonus, but that’s not saying much. Both types of miles are still expensive for booking Etihad flights. The real value of Etihad miles is to book other airlines’ flights.
So don’t use Etihad miles to book Etihad First Class unless you don’t have American Airlines miles, which are easy to get.
- The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard and CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard are each offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.
- The Barlcaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard is offering 50,000 American Airlines miles after the first purchase and payment of the $95 annual fee.
You can sign up for all three in the same nine day period (you can be approved for no more than one Citi card in an eight day period) and earn at least 176k American Airlines miles within three months after meeting the bonus requirements.
Using Etihad Miles for Partner Flights
Etihad Guest miles can be used on 27 other airlines. On Etihad’s page, you can click on “Know more” and then click to bring up the redemption table for that airline’s flights.
Etihad’s award chart is nearly identical to the old American Airlines award chart before the devaluation that happened March 22, 2016, at least for now. Remember 62,500 miles one way to Australia in Business Class and 20,000 miles one way to Europe in Economy? You can’t book those with American Airlines miles anymore, but you can with Etihad miles!
- 125,000 Etihad miles (112,500 ThankYou points w/transfer bonus) + taxes = United States to Australia roundtrip in American Airlines Business Class…to be fair though, First Class award space to Australia can be like find a needle in a haystack. Check award space before transferring.
- 40,000 Etihad miles (36,000 ThankYou points w/transfer bonus) + taxes = United States to Europe roundtrip in American Airlines Economy (however taxes would skyrocket if you returned from London because of departure taxes, choose one of these European cities with lower taxes instead)
Etihad’s award prices for flying GOL are distance-based. You might have trouble opening that chart if you’re located in the United States, but all you have to do to view it is use a VPN for a different country and change the country at the top of Etihad’s site.
A distance-based award chart means sweetspots are going to be short distance, direct, economy flights.
GOL’s hub is São Paulo. For example, I priced out the following awards by calling Etihad:
- 3,000 Etihad miles (also 3k ThankYou Points w/bonus due to 1k transfer increment requirement) + $10.20 to fly GOL São Paulo > Rio de Janeiro
- 3,000 Etihad miles + $9.90 to fly GOL Rio de Janeiro > Florianopolis
- 6,000 Etihad miles (also 6k ThankYou Points w/bonus due to 1k transfer increment requirement) + $9.90 to fly GOL Rio de Janeiro > Salvador
- 6,000 Etihad miles + $71.90 to fly GOL Buenos Aires > Florianopolis
- 9,000 Etihad miles (also 9k ThankYou Points w/bonus due to 1k transfer increment requirement)+ $38 to fly GOL Rio de Janeiro > Buenos Aires
Any of those same GOL flights would cost 12,500 Delta miles for reference, and cash flights in that market tend to be expensive.
I wouldn’t exactly call this a sweetspot, but it is useful to know that if you ever need to book a flight on Air Serbia for some reason, hopping over to Romania on a Eurotrip perhaps, the only miles you can use to book their awards are Etihad miles. Scott booked an Air Serbia award flight once for 5,000 Etihad Miles + $23 from Prague to Belgrade.
Etihad is offering a 10% bonus on ThankYou Points transferred to Etihad Guest miles from ThankYou points through July 5, 2017. This does not offer great value for booking Etihad First Class, but it does for booking partner flights like American Airlines, Air Serbia, Gol, and some other partners.
Transfer times from ThankYou points to Etihad are variable, anywhere from one to 12 days, so beware. 24 hour holds are allowed on Etihad awards flying Etihad planes, but no holds are allowed for partner awards. If you want to book a partner award you may want to call and check how many award seats are available to gauge your chances in case the transfer time is delayed.
This transfer bonus isn’t running long enough that you can get the points needed before the transfer period ends. But if your interest in the Etihad Guest program is piqued, you can earn a lot of ThankYou Points fast by opening a Citi Prestige card that has a sign up offer 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points for spending $5,000 in three months. If you don’t see that offer when you pull up the application page, try opening it in an incognito window or a different browser. I have seen both the 40k and 50k offer. You can read Scott’s full review of the Citi Prestige here.
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Hat tip Million Mile Secrets