Cool: Air Canada & Etihad Airways Launch Partnership

Filed Under: Air Canada, Etihad

Air Canada Aeroplan and Etihad Guest have launched an exciting new partnership as of today. This was initially hinted at back in April 2019, so the partnership is a bit over a year late, but it has now happened. Better late than never, right? šŸ˜‰

The new Air Canada & Etihad partnership

With this new partnership, Air Canada and Etihad Airways are offering reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities. Air Canada belongs to the Star Alliance, while Etihad is unaligned (they used to have Etihad Airways Partners, but that kind of fell apart), so it’s cool to see a partnership like this.

Here’s what you can expect in terms of the reciprocal opportunities to earn and redeem miles:

Redeem Air Canada Aeroplan miles on Etihad

It’s now possible to redeem Air Canada Aeroplan miles for flights on Etihad, and the terms are awesome:

  • You can redeem Aeroplan miles on all Etihad routes, so this isn’t limited to any specific regions
  • Etihad flights will be subjected to Aeroplan’s Fixed Mileage Flight Reward Chart
  • There will be no carrier imposed surcharges on Etihad redemptions
  • You can book Etihad awards directly at aeroplan.com, as well as via the contact center
  • Etihad award flights can be combined with award flights on Air Canada or other international partners for a single award

Just to give some examples of Aeroplan redemption rates:

  • A one-way New York to Abu Dhabi award would cost 82,500 miles in business class or 115,000 miles in first class
  • A one-way London to Abu Dhabi award would cost 45,000 miles in business class or 60,000 miles in first class

Redeem Aeroplan miles for the Etihad A380 First Class Apartment

Earn Air Canada Aeroplan miles on Etihad

Effective immediately it’s possible to earn Air Canada Aeroplan miles for travel on Etihad Airways, at the following rates:

Earn Aeroplan miles on all Etihad flights

Redeem Etihad Guest miles on Air Canada

It’s now possible to redeem Etihad Guest miles for flights on Air Canada, and Etihad Guest is using a distance based award chart:

As far as these redemptions go:

  • You have to call Etihad Guest to book
  • The above redemption rates are one-way
  • You must redeem at least 24 hours before departure

Air Canada redemption rates on Etihad are significantly better than Etihad redemption rates on Air Canada. For example, paying 170,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket from Canada to Asia or Australia is kind of outrageous.

Redeem Etihad Guest miles for travel in Air Canada 787 business class

Earn Etihad Guest miles on Air Canada

Effective immediately it’s possible to earn Etihad Guest miles for travel on Air Canada, at the following rates:

Earn Etihad Guest miles on all Air Canada flights

The real value with the Air Canada & Etihad partnership

In my opinion the most valuable part of this new partnership is being able to redeem Air Canada miles on Etihad. Is this actually that good of a deal, though? There are three best ways to redeem on Etihad — through Air Canada Aeroplan, American AAdvantage, and Etihad guest.

Looking at those programs:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Capital One
  • American AAdvantage doesn’t have any transferable partners
  • Etihad Guest is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Citi ThankYou

To compare redemption rates between New York and Abu Dhabi (one-way):

  • Air Canada Aeroplan charges 82,500 miles in business class and 115,000 miles in first class
  • American AAdvantage charges 70,000 miles in business class and 115,000 miles in first class
  • Etihad Guest charges 99,885 miles in business class and 136,090 miles in first class, plus surcharges

To me there are some great advantages of Air Canada Aeroplan:

  • Aeroplan is the best value for redeeming transferrable points on Etihad
  • There’s huge value in being able to combine Star Alliance partner airlines with Etihad on a single award

Personally I think this new partnership is a huge win for consumers.

I can’t wait to redeem Aeroplan miles on Etihad

More partner airlines coming to Aeroplan

This is an exciting new partnership, though there’s more on the way. As part of the relaunch of Aeroplan, the program hopes to introduce additional airline partners in the coming weeks.

That’s really exciting, especially if Aeroplan is adding more non-alliance partner airlines.

I’ve been extremely impressed by how Air Canada has been handling their loyalty program lately, as it’s expected to relaunch later this year. They’ve done a great job engaging members at home, have gotten into the business of selling miles at a good rate, and more.

What does this mean for Etihad & the Star Alliance?

Should we read more into this partnership? Going back as far as 2017 there have been rumors of Etihad Airways possibly joining the Star Alliance.

In early 2019 there wereĀ rumors of Etihad and United forming a partnership, and then shortly thereafter it appeared that Etihad and Air Canada were ready to form a partnership (and that was just delayed by about a year).

Up until now Etihad Airways joining the Star Alliance hasn’t materialized, so where does that stand?

While I don’t think Etihad joining the Star Alliance is imminent, I also don’t think it’s off the table.

Could we see Etihad Airways join the Star Alliance?

Bottom line

Air Canada and Etihad Airways have a new partnership, allowing reciprocal mileage earning and redemptions. This is exciting, especially from the perspective of Air Canada Aeroplan members, given the lucrative mileage earning and redemption rates.

I’m really excited about the newly relaunched Air Canada loyalty program, and in particular that we should expect more airline partners soon.

Are you excited about the new Air Canada & Etihad partnership?

Comments
  1. OK Etihad, say goodbye to any award space. With the recent Aeroplan bonuses everyone now has a stack of miles to burn… A big devaluation is looming

  2. So would this mean a one way first class etihad flight with aeroplan miles from USA to Australia would be 110k points? Or would you have to buy a ticket Abu Dhabi and then to Australia? I’m just curious how we think the routing will work. Also would you have to buy 2 tickets to get to Europe on Etihad or could you buy 1 ticket that routes through Abu Dhabi to Europe? If it’s 1 ticket this would be an incredible sweet spot.

  3. Terrible rates using Etihad miles; if I want to go from FL to Vancouver it’s gonna be 47k economy and 94k in business? NO THANK YOU! I was actually planning this route (taking AirCanada) b4 COVID. SQ miles are best for business but doesn’t allow AC Rouge and UA miles went up 10%.

  4. @Andrew C – I can confirm you can book JFK-AUH-SYD for 110k one way or 220k round trip. I just did it myself!

    Taxes were ~ $170. Needed to book via phone as JFK-AUH were not showing up online. Additionally the AC call center was able to see some space even I couldn’t see

  5. There was a time that Qatar was rumoured to be joining *A and then Lufthansa vetoed it overnight.

    I guess Lufthansa, Singapore and possibly Turkish might veto Etihad which is a pity because I think they would be a great addition to an alliance.

  6. I would like to clarify that this “partnership” only goes to earn Award Miles and do not count towards Elite Status, not even those Codesharing flights from both airlines. Altitiude Elite members don’t have access to EY lounges or Viceversa. After all the “battles” supported by Canadian government (sometimes feels that AC is a Crown company), AC blocked Gulf airlines to add more flights into Canada… now they are asking to EY to create a partnership, in my opinion observing their moves for years, they are now in the “survive mode” using it as a “Marketing” strategy to strength their international network and “bluff” to the competition of WS whom by the way, I’m very disappointed when they made the agreement with DL instead of staying more neutral as AS and do more alliances.
    I don’t think this is not a move into Star Alliance… EY has similar agreements for many years with many airlines including AA (agreement remain in place) , KE, UL, NH.

  7. Keep in mind the recent reduction in MPM – Aeroplan now follows IATA MPM, not the previous generous MPM. Devaluations are coming in stealthly.

  8. Seems backtracking isn’t allowed. For example. JFK-AUH-LHR is not bookable. But, JFK-AUH-SYD is bookable. That’s a nice routing with a stopover allowed.

  9. Frequent miler has US to LHR via AUH for 70K one way and 140K RT. That looks like sweet spot of sweet spots.

  10. Will be interesting to see if Etihad moves from T3 to T1 in YYZ to facilitate connections from AC flights.

  11. i just called trying to book JFK – AUH – SYD, and was told it was not within the maximum MPM, which is false. i called again and they couldnt see availability at all. will keep trying, i think there are just issues because this is so new.

  12. You can book that online. At least I saw JFK (business) to AUH to SYD (First) for 110k miles.

  13. @Fcflyer, I just ticketed SYD-AUH-JFK all in F oneway, and it was indeed 115k aeroplan miles as stated in redemption chart.

  14. It is if you can find it. I can’t find the JFK to AUH leg, but it theoretically would be…

  15. I do not see that AA miles can book Etihad.

    On the AA website Etihad is no longer listed as a Oneworld partner.

    There were great sweet spots for F class from Paris-Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi-Seoul, but I think thatā€™s all gone now.

    Aeroplan may be the best option for miles redemption.

  16. @fcflyer it is indeed. But stopover on one ways. Eastbound you have the option of double A380s with 3hrs in AUH, or A380 / 777 mix (still in F) with an oveenight in AUH. Not sure about westbound schedules

  17. Anyone finding award space in economy for an USA-AUH flight on EY? Can’t find a single flight any day.

  18. I got two seats in F for JFK-AUH-SYD early July… might not be able to enter the countries but hey.
    What an awesome deal and two seats together?? That’s awesome.

    If you’re looking for space now, give up and wait for people to cancel closer to your travel dates because all inventory is gone.

  19. Are these the first steps of EY of becoming a Sar Alliance member? I for once , is surely excited. It has been my wish that EY becomes a member. Hope it is on a good path.

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