American Airlines and Etihad Airways have a tense partnership, to say the least. About a month ago, American Airlines stopped being able to see award space on Etihad if the departure date was further out than 30 days and the flight was to or from the United States.
Just this week, Etihad announced that they were cutting its route from Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW). American had already announced they were ending their codeshare agreement with Etihad so this seemed to be just another chapter in this rough partnership.
Well, it looks like we might actually have a little good news on the award booking front. After speaking with MilesTalk and seeing a few data points on FlyerTalk, it looks like American phone agents can once again see award space on Etihad beyond 30 days on flights that touch the U.S.
MilesTalk was able to book a flight for early 2018 from Abu Dhabi (AUH) while others have reported being able to book even further out. Hopefully, this reversion to the norm sticks!
Was this an intentional move by Etihad to restrict award space to American Airlines? No idea, but with the way things have continued to devolve between the two this week, I'd guess it wasn't intentional.
For those new to booking Etihad flights with American AAdvantage miles, here's what you need to do to book:
- Find Guest First availability on Etihad
- Note the flight number and date
- Call AA’s Australian call center (+61 291011948 - Skype is a cheap way to do this)
- Ask the customer service rep to check for award space on the specified flight then ask them to place a hold on the award - they'll hold it for 5 days
- Note the reservation number they give you
- Call AA’s U.S. call center (800-433-7300) and provide the reservation number and tell them you'd like to confirm the booking
- Pay the taxes over the phone (they will waive the phone booking fee since this award is not bookable online)
- You will receive an American Airlines booking number and ticket number
- To select your seat, call Etihad or send them a direct message on Twitter and provide the ticket number
If you are planning to book the Etihad's famous first class product, The Apartments, on their Airbus A380, these are the redemption rates when booking with American AAdvantage miles:
- New York City (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) - 115,000 miles
- London (LHR) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) - 62,500 miles
- Sydney (SYD) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) - 100,000 miles
- Mumbai (BOM) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) - 40,000 miles
You can earn the necessary American miles with their co-branded credit cards provided by Citi and Barclaycard. You can also use the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards to earn SPG Starpoints that can be transferred to your American AAdvantage account.
If you are going to transfer SPG Starpoints, make sure you put the award ticket on hold with American Airlines first to ensure you have the space locked up. SPG Starpoints generally take a couple days to transfer to American Airlines so the five-day hold gives you plenty of time. Just make sure you transfer as soon as you have the ticket on hold!
If you've been waiting to book an Etihad award with your American miles, what are you waiting for?! Get to it!