American miles can now be redeemed for Etihad Airways!

Back in June I wrote about Etihad Airways being added as an American AAdvantage partner, with limited reciprocal benefits at the time. Well, the relationship was just taken to the next level, as American miles can now be redeemed on all Etihad Airways flights, even those between the US and Abu Dhabi.

Etihad is frequently recognized as one of the world’s best airlines (I’m flying them in a couple of weeks from New York to Abu Dhabi in first class, so should be able to report back firsthand then), and given the other restrictions in place for American award travel, this is huge news. While American has a lot of partners through OneWorld, a lot of them are of limited use. You have Cathay Pacific, which is a great partner, though Qantas doesn’t release all that much award space and American imposes fuel surcharges for redemptions on British Airways.

To search for Etihad Airways award space you should sign up for their Etihad Guest frequent flyer program, which is free.

Once you’re logged into your account, click on “Your Miles” and then “How to Redeem” in the tab on the left.

On the next page click the link that reads “Click here to book flight.”

On the next page enter your travel details and click “Search flights.”

Then on the final page click the box right under “GuestSeat” availability at the top of the page. If you click it and the flights aren’t greyed out, they should be available. If they’re greyed out, the flights aren’t available. In my limited experience thus far the award availability American has access to mirror’s what Etihad displays for their own members.

Good luck!

(Tip of the hat to Abdou)

Filed Under: American, Etihad
  1. already booked our flights to maldives including four of us to and from auh-jfk in first class….. cant wait!

  2. AA is charging 90k miles in coach, 135k in Business and 180k in First for flights to India & Middle East (incl Maldives).

  3. @Dan. Right now it is not possible since Etihad is not one world partner. I wish this happens in the near future.

  4. Huh? How do you actually go about booking the flight with AAdvantage miles? Seems like your instructions are incomplete.

  5. @ Dan — You can book an all partner award using Etihad, though not a OneWorld award.

    @ James — Those are the instructions for finding space. To actually book you’ll have to call American.

  6. I flew Etihad bus. class last yr from the U.S. to AUA. It was better than most U.S. carrier’s int’l first class.

  7. Looks like the best bang for your mile when redeeming with EY is Australia to AUH. Only 60K miles oneway in First Class! (~ 7.5K flight miles).

  8. One quick question… considering that AA awards traditionally follow routing rules published by carriers (that cross the ocean or longest international segment), do you think following routing would be permitted to MLE?

    ICN-AUH-MLE? If so, that’s another good redemption opportunity with EY in First (only 45K miles for F and almost 6.5K flown miles).

  9. @brahms77: That routing would be allowed. In general, on award tickets for trips entirely out of the US (ie, your Asia1 to Middle East/Indian Subcontinent trip) you cannot connect via a 3rd region (with a handful of exceptions – you could do your trip via Asia2 countries). AUH and MLE are both Middle East/Indian Subcontinent, so it’s a legal routing.

  10. @ekartash: No. American only allows Asia awards via the Pacific. You would have to book JFK-AUH as one award, then AUH-BKK as a separate award.

    @Gene: 90,000 miles round trip.

  11. I’ve written up an FAQ about routing rules for Etihad using AA miles here.

    @Lucky: I apologize if you have a policy about posting links in the comments. If so, feel free to delete.

  12. cost was 180k each so 720k total. taxes were $40 each. the auh-mle portion is sadly in coach. booked into o for f and n for y, i believe j is i

  13. so how much is to to travel to india from jfk. is it 90K per AA website or the 165k per the EY website. sorry im new to this.

    united flies to india for 60k so im not really seeing the advantage.

    advice appreciated.

  14. This should be an interesting trip report, Lucky. I think you’ll mainly be comparing it Qatar Airways and your trip to Doha. Expect similar food and Asian and/or Eastern European flight attendants in the air, and I’m sure much of Abu Dhabi will remind you of Doha.

  15. JFK-AUH-DEL round-trip is 135K in J and 180K in F. Slightly more than UA (120K r/t in J and 160K r/t in F)

  16. @Lucky – did you use ANA miles to book your upcoming flight? I was considering doing that until this deal came along, although from JFK, the ANA option seems to be a better deal at 140k round trip.

    Of course, I am in Hawaii, so this is a great deal with American, as I believe I can fly them to the gateway city using the partner award.

  17. @Carl I am pretty sure Ben used ANA points as it was booked before this. Indeed if I had the Amex points available I’d have used them instead (JFK-AUH-MLE would price out at 160k ANA instead of 180k AA). But I don’t. And you have transfer hoping that ANA can book them, and I could never be sure. I wonder if ANA have similar fare basis restrictions? (i.e. AA’s requirement that the overwater carrier must publish a fare betweeen your ultimate origin and destination, which frankly is just a bizarre requirement)

  18. Per Etihad website

    To help serve you better, we will be conducting an upgrade to our systems from Thursday 20th October 23:00 to Saturday 22nd October 19:00 (UAE Local Time).

    During this time, no services that require logging in to your Etihad Guest Account will be available online.

    The Etihad Guest Service Centre will also be unable to access your account details.

    We apologies for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your patience and loyalty!

  19. I hope Etihad didn’t catch on that quick and make some type of change that blocks some award availability to American Airline redemptions.

  20. Certainly adds options for ex-London to the Mid-East, Asia, Australia….

    Had been looking at the usual BA vs. CX debate for Australia, but that Pearl Suite in F on Etihad is tempting.

  21. …but would have to see how it adds up (if it’s one award Europe to, say, Mid-East, and another for Mid-East to Elsewhere, or if Europe-Africa, Europe-Asia, Europe-Seychelles :), would be just one award….

  22. Time to accrue more AA miles! Definitely want the F experience for JFK-AUH-MLE and back! Thanks, Lucky

  23. I remembered your post from a long time ago. I just forwarded this post to a friend for booking one-way BLR – DFW. Thanks for the step-by-step instructions!

  24. Hi,

    Hope you are still monitoring this old post.

    Can you travel with Etihad from Australia to Europe under an AA award?


  25. Hi,

    Is this prohibition a routing restriction or only applies to Etihad?

    I ask because Qantas is changing in 2 days to do Australia-Europe via middle East instead of Singapore and hope this doesn’t mean that can’t fly with them on an AA award.


  26. @ Dale — American actually doesn’t let you transit different regions on an award ticket with a few exceptions, noted here under routing exceptions:

    The Qantas flight will be allowed as long as you’re continuing straight through. A “direct” flight doesn’t qualify as transiting a region when it’s the same flight number all the way through.

  27. Hi,

    Does that mean you can do North America to Australia via Asia (eg CX at HKG) if you find the same flight number all the way?


  28. just a simple question, if i book an etihad flight from the middle east to the far east and back via orbitz i can still get all of those miles added to my AA advantage miles account ? or are there stipulations as to how the flight must be booked.

    thank you !

  29. @ ahmed — As long as it’s booked in an eligible fare class you can still earn miles, even if it’s booked through Orbitz.

  30. When looking for availability; Can you only use American miles when it shows “Guest Seat.” Or can I book two business class seats under the “Open Seat” section with buisiness saver, value, and freedom?

    How far out have some of you booked your flights?

  31. @ Matt — You can only use American miles when there’s “GuestSeat” availability, regardless of the cabin.

    Etihad availability is generally quite good, so if you’re not traveling in the peak season it’s usually not too tough to find space a couple of months out.

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