First Class award space in Etihad’s A380 Apartment is wide open October through the end of March between Abu Dhabi and New York City (JFK).
There are two flights a day from Abu Dhabi to New York, and as of June 1 all will be flown on an Airbus A380–meaning First Class Apartments! There are scattered days available before October, but one to four Apartments become available daily in October, continuing through the end of March (with spotty availability around Thanksgiving and New Years).
Scott flew this exact route in an A380, in and Etihad First Apartment, at the beginning of 2016. Read his trip report here. First Class on the A380 is an enclosed suite with its own couch, flat screen TV, vanity unit, and access to a shower, onboard lounge, and bar. The Etihad First Class Apartment on the A380 is arguably the fanciest commercial First Class in the world, which you can to fly for nearly 15 hours from Abu Dhabi to New York.
Tips for Searching
- Award space on Etihad is searchable on etihad.com. Here’s how to search etihad.com. Etihad award space is now available on Expert Flyer as well, so if you subscribe you can even set up email alerts.
- As of June 1, all Etihad flights between Abu Dhabi and New York (JFK) will be on an A380, so you don’t even need to bother looking at the aircraft if you’re searching in June or beyond. If your travel date is in May and you want to make sure you get an Apartment, you’ll need to look for the aircraft type in the search results (between the Operated By and award price columns)…
- Award space must be in that “GuestSeat” column in order for it be bookable with partner miles (it’s the cheapest level, and the cheapest level award space is always the only award space bookable with partner miles).
Current Award Space Picture
Days that say “117700 + AED 825” have at least one Saver Level First Class Apartment available. That is the price in Etihad miles, but not how much you’d pay using another type of reward currency (like American Airlines, for example, which has better prices than Etihad does for their own award flights).
I saw a handful of days with First Class Apartments (on A380s) available in May and June. In August, availability starts to open up a bit…
…with at least one Apartment available a couple days of the week, sometimes even more, like in the case above.
But by October, you start to see Apartments open every day of the calendar.
The max you’ll normally see available in one day is four, two on each flight.
Expectedly, available peters out around Thanksgiving, picks up again in early December and stays strong until right before Christmas. After Christmas and around New Years there isn’t much First Class Space.
The pace picks up mid January, when you’ve got at least one Saver level First Class seat available every day…
…if not four, which is the case I saw more often then not…
…through March 26 when all Saver level First Class space becomes nonexistent.
Don’t Forget the Electronics Ban
Flights bound from Abu Dhabi are subject to the electronics ban, so plan accordingly.
What Miles Should I Use to Get There?
Etihad awards are bookable with ThankYou Points, Membership Rewards, or SPG points as they both transfer to Etihad Guest at a 1:1 rate. They are also bookable with American Airlines miles. Prices in Etihad miles will vary depending on the route, but it will cost 115,000 American Airlines miles whether you fly from the Middle East or Indian Sub-Continent region.
If you choose to book with American Airlines miles, you’ll need to note the date, cabin, and flight number and call American Airlines at 800-882-8880. If you choose to book with Etihad miles then you can do it right on etihad.com.
A reader commented that the AAdvantage rep in the United States couldn’t see/access this Etihad award space. Other readers came to the rescue with the valuable tip of calling the AAdvantage office in Australia at +61-2-91011948. Apparently customer service reps in that office have no issue accessing Etihad award space.
And remember, you can put AAdvantage awards on hold for free for five days, so if you’re contemplating an award, go ahead and put it on hold now.
How to Get the Miles
The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard is now offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard is also offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months. Sign up for both at the same time (yes, you can do that) and meet the collective $6k spending requirement in three months, and you’ll have at least 126,000 American Airlines miles.
On top of those offers, the Barlcaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard is offering 40,000 bonus American Airlines miles for opening and putting just one purchase on the card (you also must pay the $95 annual fee).
That’s 166,000 American Airlines easily attainable within three months.
Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.
With the exception of some peak travel dates (around Thanksgiving and New Years), Etihad First Class award space on the A380–meaning a First Class Apartment–is WIDE open with often two seats available on each of the two flights offered each day from October 2017 through late March 2018. This could be very useful award space if you’re flush with American Airlines miles and need to get back (in high style, no less) to the United States after a trip to the UAE, India, the Maldives, etc.
Hat tip View from the Wing