*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated Nov 19, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
The key to maximizing miles with the Etihad Guest program is racking up as many as you can, then leveraging partner programs to get more bang for your buck.
It’s not overly difficult to earn miles through the program, even if you don’t fly often. Several flexible rewards programs let you earn miles that you can transfer to Etihad Guest.
Before you dive into the program, this guide will go over the important details.
In this article:
- Airlines you can book and where to find award space
- How much do Etihad Guest awards cost?
- What are award change and booking fees?
- What are the best Etihad Guest award values?
- Can you upgrade with Etihad Guest?
- Alternative miles to book Etihad flights
- Which credit card rewards transfer to Etihad Guest?
- Do Etihad miles expire?
- Etihad miles FAQ
Airlines you can book and where to find award space
You can search and book Etihad flights on its website. You don’t have to create an account or log in to see how many miles you’ll need for a flight, though you will need to sign in to book one.
All partner flights must be booked by phone at (877)-690-0767 (if calling from the U.S.), but you can search for award space using alternative sites.
|Partner airline||Where to search for award space|
|Air Europa||call Etihad|
|Air New Zealand||Aeroplan, Air New Zealand, United|
|Air Serbia||call Etihad|
|Air Seychelle||call Etihad|
|All Nippon Airways||Aeroplan, United|
|American Airlines||American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas|
|Asiana Airlines||Aeroplan, United|
|Bangkok Airways||call Etihad|
|Brussels Airlines||Aeroplan, United|
|Czech Airlines||ir France-KLM|
|Garuda Indonesia||Air France-KLM|
|>Korean Air||Air France-KLM|
|Malaysia Airlines||British Airways, Qantas|
|Oman Air||call Etihad|
|Royal Air Maroc||call Etihad|
|SriLankan Airlines||British Airways, Qantas|
How much do Etihad Guest awards cost?
Etihad awards are priced primarily on distance, but Etihad Guest does not offer a fixed price chart. Instead, it offers dynamic award pricing, meaning you won’t know the number of miles you’ll need until you’re ready to book.
This means the best way to check how many miles you’ll need for an award is to go to Etihad’s website and search for flights. As you decide how to cash in your miles, it might help to check Etihad’s miles calculator so you can get an idea.
New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi, for example, might cost as little as 39,222 miles each way in economy. From Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi, as little as 44,778 miles may be required depending on your dates. From London to Abu Dhabi, you may be able to find award flights for as little as 10,873 Etihad Guest miles one-way.
Screenshot: Etihad.com on Nov. 8, 2019
Partner award costs vary significantly depending on the airline. To view partner redemption price charts, click here and select the airline you’d like to view. Each airline offers a broad range of information on how many miles you’ll need to book a partner award.
Typically, Etihad’s prices to book a partner flight mirror what the airline charges members of its own frequent flyer program. However, you’ll want to check since it may be cheaper to book Etihad Guest awards directly with the airline depending on the route.
With partner awards, pricing tends to follow the reward structure of the host airline’s program (distance pricing versus region pricing, for example), which makes Etihad Guest miles behave almost like a transferable points currency.
While award seats on Etihad can be booked online, partner award redemptions will require a call to the Etihad Guest Service Centre at 877-690-0767.
Business awards might require roughly double the miles of an economy award when you book with Etihad Guest, but that’s not always the case. For example, business class redemptions for New York to Abu Dhabi can cost as little as 273,000 Etihad Guest miles one-way, but you may also find flights that cost 736,000 miles or more depending on your dates. The same is true for a business ticket from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi, since you may need up to 665,000 miles depending on your dates.
Does the thought of flying in Etihad’s “The Residence” appeal to you? For just over 2 million Guest Miles (2,115,556 if you must quibble over exact figures), you can snag a one-way award between New York and Abu Dhabi in the ultimate mileage redemption. In many cases, using American AAdvantage® miles is a better bet for Etihad flights than Etihad’s own miles. You can’t get into The Residence, but you can get into first class and business class for reasonable prices.
Surcharges vary dramatically depending on the flight you book. They may be as low as $30 for one-way in economy from North America to Abu Dhabi, or up to $70 one-way for first class.
Etihad Guest also passes on fuel surcharges on partner flights when the partner imposes them.
What are award change and booking fees?
Changes and cancellations are permitted.
- Cancellations requested less than 24 hours before departure and no-shows forfeit all miles and surcharges.
- Cancellations requested 24 hours or more before departure are subject to a 10% mileage refund fee.
Date changes are permitted at a cost of about $27.
Changes and cancellations can be requested from the Etihad Guest Service Centre at 877-690-0767. You can also send an email to [email protected]
What are the best Etihad Guest award values?
Etihad Guest makes it easy to earn airline miles good for flights throughout the Middle East, Asia, North America, Europe, Australia and more.
- A North American will likely see the best value via redemptions on Etihad’s partners rather than Etihad itself. This is particularly true for awards in business class. While Etihad’s redemption rates to the Middle East are competitive, costs to Asia and Oceania are extremely expensive (relatively) and don’t always have the best layovers.
- American Airlines redemptions are an attractive option. Any mainland U.S. itinerary costs 12,500 miles each way in economy and 25,000 in business/first class. If crossing a national border within North America (designated as Mexico, U.S., Canada and the Caribbean), the cost is slightly higher at 17,500 miles in economy and 30,000 in business.
- North America to Asia is a bargain on AA compared with Etihad. 50,000 miles each way will get you to Japan or South Korea in business class, while 55,000 will cover most of the rest of East and Southeast Asia. That’s better than paying 500,000 miles or more one-way to fly business class from New York to Seoul using Etihad miles.
- Seattle to Tokyo on ANA in business class can be done for 54,000 miles, or 30,000 miles in economy. San Francisco or Los Angeles to Japan is 63,000 miles one-way in business class, or 37,000 miles in economy. ANA flights are priced according to distance bands (for example, a Los Angeles-to-Tokyo flight is 5,458 miles in distance, which falls into the 5,001-to-6,000-mile price band for ANA flights, which allows business class awards for 63,000 miles one-way).
- Virgin Australia offers good availability within Australia. Redemptions are based on distance, which means that the best values (versus paying cash) can be on abnormally expensive domestic and regional routes. Virgin Australia routes to/from Christchurch (the gateway to New Zealand’s South Island), Queenstown (“Adventure Capital of the World”) and Hamilton Island (Great Barrier Reef tourism) are perfect examples.
Can you upgrade with Etihad Guest?
Etihad allows members to upgrade eligible revenue tickets by one cabin class up to three hours before departure.
To upgrade from economy to business class, there are three levels of eligible economy fare classes.
- A Economy Saver flight between New York and Abu Dhabi (U, V and G fares) can be upgraded for 95,000 miles
- The Economy Classic classes — L, Q, M and K fares — would require 70,200 Guest Miles
- The most flexible and expensive Economy Flex fares, Y, B and H, can be upgraded for 54,000 miles
Using the same New York-to-Abu Dhabi example, any revenue business class ticket (one that was paid for outright and, most likely, wasn’t discounted) can be upgraded to first class for 70,200 miles.
As with most upgrades, the buyer will need to consider the cash differential between the economy ticket in question and the cheapest business ticket (and possibly competitor fares). Before you upgrade an Economy Saver ticket for 95,000 miles, make sure it’s a good value and that it’s a better deal than booking a business class award outright.
Alternative miles to book Etihad flights
American AAdvantage and and Korean SKYPASS miles can be used to book Etihad flights.
Which credit card rewards transfer to Etihad Guest?
This chart highlights some transfer options, as well as some of the credit cards you can utilize to get started:
|Rewards program||Transfer ratio (points/miles to airline miles)||Credit cards to consider|
|American Express Membership Rewards*||1,000:1,000||
|Citi ThankYou® Rewards||1,000:1,000|
|IHG® Rewards Club||10,000:2,000||
|World of Hyatt||2,500:1,000|
*Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.
While Etihad does not offer a co-branded credit card in the U.S., cards that are part of American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards can transfer points to Etihad.
Transfers from American Express Membership Rewards to Etihad Guest can take up to three days, but beware that transfers from Citi ThankYou Rewards can take up to 10 days. In both cases, this means award space could be gone by the time the miles are posted to your account.
Do Etihad miles expire?
Etihad Guest Miles expire after a period of time depending on status within the program:
- Etihad Guest (base tier) members’ Guest Miles expire two years after the date of earning
- Guest Silver members have 2.5 years before expiration
- Guest Gold and Guest Platinum have three years before expiration
Mileage expiration cannot be extended.
Etihad miles frequently asked questions
What are Etihad miles worth? When used well — for good American Airlines redemptions or some “Guest”-level redemptions on Etihad flights — you can get about 2 cents or more in value out of Etihad miles. However, Etihad Guest Miles are generally worth around 1 to 1.4 cents each.
Can you book awards for others? Etihad does not restrict the booking of award tickets for others.
Can you transfer miles? Miles cannot be transferred between members, but you can pool miles with a family membership.
Can you buy Etihad miles? Etihad Guest lets you buy up to 100,000 Guest Miles per year to use at any point in the redemption process.
When are award seats made available? Award seats can be booked 331 days out; availability that far out is another matter. You can book award flights with Etihad Guest up to three hours before departure.
Is there a waitlist for awards and upgrades? No.
What stopovers are allowed? Stopovers are permitted in Abu Dhabi, but only when the booking is made directly with the Etihad Guest Service Centre.