Should You Transfer Amex Points To Etihad With A 30% Bonus?

Filed Under: American Express, Etihad
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A couple of weeks ago, Etihad Guest was added as an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. Previously Citi ThankYou points could already be transferred to Etihad Guest, in addition to Starwood Preferred Guest points, so that means that three of the major transferable points currencies can now be converted into Etihad Guest miles.

Historically I’ve always used American AAdvantage miles for travel on Etihad, though unfortunately many of those redemptions were devalued as of March 22, 2016. As I said when Etihad was added as an Amex transfer partner, the ability to transfer points could be quite lucrative in conjunction with a transfer bonus. Well, ask and ye shall receive.

Through June 15, 2016, Amex Membership Rewards is offering a 30% transfer bonus to Etihad Guest. The bonus is hard coded into the transfer ratio, so 1,000 Membership Rewards points convert into 1,300 Etihad Guest miles. There’s no limit to how many miles you can transfer under this offer.


In the last post I gave the following examples of premium cabin redemption costs through Etihad Guest:

  • New York to Abu Dhabi — 88,391 miles in business class, 117,560 miles in first class
  • London to Abu Dhabi — 65,964 miles in business class, 87,732 miles in first class
  • Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi — 108,076 miles in business class, 143,741 miles in first class

That means through this transfer bonus, 68,000 Membership Rewards points are enough for a business class award between New York and Abu Dhabi, and 91,000 Membership Rewards points are enough for a first class award between New York and Abu Dhabi. Given that American now charges 115,000 miles for first class between the US and the Middle East/India, I’d say that’s a very good redemption value under many circumstances. Do keep in mind that connections on either end would cost you extra.

Etihad-A380-Apartment - 79
Etihad A380 First Class Apartments

This is an especially good value when you consider how easy it is for many to accrue Membership Rewards points. The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card can earn 1.5x points on everyday spend (and up to 4.5x points on US supermarkets and 3x points on US gas), while the American Express® Gold Card earns 4x points at restaurants globally, 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and 3x points on airfare.  In other words, you can earn points at a really fast pace.

Etihad has one of the world’s best first class products, in particular on the A380, where they have First Class Apartments. These are great redemption rates for such an awesome product.

Etihad-A380-Apartment - 6
Etihad A380 First Class Apartment

Bottom line

With a bonus, transferring Amex Membership Rewards to Etihad Guest may be one of my new favorite uses of Amex points. I’m going to guess that we’ll be seeing transfer bonuses once in a while, which could make this the best way to redeem miles for Etihad premium cabins under many circumstances.

I probably wouldn’t speculatively transfer points to Etihad without a near term use in mind, given that a large part of the value of transferable points currencies comes from the flexibility of being able to use them for all kinds of things. I suspect we’ll see another transfer bonus at some point in the not too distance future. But if you are planning on redeeming for Etihad in the next six or so months, I’d probably go ahead and transfer some points.

Is a 30% bonus enough to get you to transfer Amex points to Etihad?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

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  1. How’s award availability though on JFK-AUH in F? Last I checked two months ago, the availability was almost nil. :/
    I forget the exact amount but isn’t the Etihad Residence available for redemptions for roughly 1.2 million EtihadGuest miles one-way AUH-LHR? With this promotion, one would *only* need around 900k Membership Rewards points. 😉

  2. Best value of Etihad miles are redemptions on their partners, which include Jet Airways, ANA, Asiana, Virgin Australia and many others. However, some charts were significantly devalued last year. Especially Jet Airways one.

  3. Since I have no wish to go to Abu Dhabi, and would have to spend even more miles to go anywhere of interest to me, this doesn’t seem like a particularly good deal. SQ first to SIN and beyond would cost no more (and probably less).

  4. Lucky, can you remind me and everyone else of the “cycles” in which Etihad releases business and first availability? This is a tempting offer for a redemption I had in mind for September but see no availability on my dates at the moment.

  5. “I suspect we’ll see another transfer bonus at some point in the not too distance future”

    Agreed, but with the last bonuses from Amex to Etihad being 20% and 25%, it will not necessarily be as generous as the current 30%.

  6. You didn’t cover the fees/surcharges when booking through Etihad Guest. We know there are only taxes using AA miles

  7. Can you still fly NYC to Brussels for 37k roundtrip on Etihad? Looking to book for a friend from May 31st to June 7th. Award space is available on United but I wanted to confirm it’s 37k r/t a person. Thanks in advance to whoever can help me out with this!

  8. @Leigh Thompson…from what I’ve read, that is a valid published award fare NYC to Brussels, but nobody has ever found an Etihad phone who is able to make a booking go thru

  9. Looking at Etihad’s partner award charts and there’s an interesting possibility for Royal Air Maroc.
    A one way business class ticket of 2001+ miles costs 44,000 Etihad miles. Theoretically, you could fly RAM from JFK to Casablanca to Europe, Africa, or even Sao Paolo for that price

    I have no idea how availability works on RAM, but that seems like really good value to get to Europe.
    With this Amex transfer bonus, that would be round trip for fewer than 70K Amex points

  10. As a point of interest, Etihad is also now a Membership Rewards transfer partner for American Express in Canada – but that ratio is 1000 Membership Rewards points to only 750 Etihad points. And seemingly no transfer bonus at the moment, either.

  11. Am I reading it right that a round trip from NYC to BRU on Brussels in business class would be 33K miles and change (before the transfer bonus)? I feel like it has to be a typo on the partner chart, and that that’s the one-way mileage. If not… wow.

  12. @Leigh Thompson. I can confirm JFk- Brussels round trip in J for 36,620 etihad miles. Booked today. If you travel with infant they only charge 10% of award miles not 10% of the normal fare. For myself, my wife and 1 yr old 60k MR points after 30% transfer bonus + $290 in taxes. Unbelievable deal for a business class product that I’ve heard numerous good things about.

  13. I have been struggling to find quality/ updated content on best way to redeem miles between East coast and India. Etihad guest miles calculator shows 116023 for one way business class between NY/ Delhi, and i am considering this 30% bonus to transfer my miles.

    So is this the best use of MR points for traveling between US/ India ? or are they better options available ?

  14. “Etihad guest miles calculator shows 116023 for one way business class between NY/ Delhi,” – scratch that.

    its 1,420,000 miles for first class JFK to DELHI !!! thats insane.
    And i tried maybe 15 different dates from oct 2016 to feb 2017 and its all the same. so where do u even get the ~ 120k JFK to AUD in first class ?

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