American Airlines’ non-oneworld partner, Etihad, has fantastic award space to the Middle East, India, and the Maldives. Etihad also features one of the world’s nicest First Class suites and world-class flat beds in business class.
(Since Etihad is not a oneworld airlines, and it is not a US Airways partner, US Airways miles cannot be used to book Etihad flights.)
Etihad award space is not bookable on aa.com, so you always have to call American Airlines to book the space. Unfortunately since late May 2014, American Airlines phone agents couldn’t see or book Etihad award space on any routes.
This problem has been resolved. American Airlines agents can now see and book all the award space that Etihad releases to partners.
In general, that’s quite a lot of space since American Airlines is the only American partner of Etihad and Etihad’s space isn’t bookable online, which protects it from non-expert award searchers.
- How do you search for Etihad award space?
- Is Etihad reliable about releasing premium cabin award seats?
- Once you find Etihad seats, how do you book them?
Finding Award Space
The best way to verify bookable Etihad space using AAdvantage miles is on Etihad’s own site.
Start on the Etihad award redemption page.
As usual, partner airlines only have access to each other’s Saver award space. For American Airlines to have access to Etihad space, a price needs to be displayed in the GuestSeat column, Etihad’s equivalent of Saver space. It doesn’t matter what that price is! Award space in the OpenSeat column is not bookable with American Airlines miles. OpenSeat space is the equivalent of Standard award space.
In my experience, Etihad frequently loads two business and two first class seats on their daily flight from Washington-Dulles to Abu Dhabi.
If the date you searched doesn’t have award space, the calendar above the search results can let you know which dates have GuestSeat (Saver) award space.
For Washington-Dulles to Abu Dhabi, the GuestSeat price is 114,444 miles. This is not the price American will charge, and its only usefulness is knowing that if that price is displayed on the calendar on etihad.com, then that date has award space American Airlines can book.
Booking the Award
To book Etihad flights, write down the date, flight number, and cabin of each segment you find with GuestSeat award availability on etihad.com and call the AAdvantage desk at 800-882-8880.
Feed the agent your segments.
The award will price out at 45k/67.5k/90k miles each way between the United States and the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, or the Maldives in economy/business/first. American Airlines will collect government taxes plus a $35 phone booking fee.
For a cheaper award on Etihad, consider First Class between Europe and India for only 40,000 American Airlines miles.
Etihad is an awesome non-oneworld partner and great use of AAdvantage miles. Award space is frequently wide open, and searching its online tool is relatively simple.
American Airlines wasn’t able to book Etihad award space for about one month, but the problem is now resolved. If you want to book Etihad award space but don’t want to handle the details, hire the MileValue Award Booking Service to book your award.