I write all the time about opportunities to buy miles with programs like Alaska Mileage Plan, American AAdvantage, and Avianca LifeMiles, though at the moment there’s another airline loyalty program selling miles that some might find useful.
Etihad Guest is offering up to a 30% bonus on purchased miles through December 31, 2018. That might not sound like a huge bonus, but the cost to purchase Etihad miles is much more reasonable to begin with than what some other programs charge.
With this promotion, Etihad is offering a tiered bonus, as follows:
- Buy 6,000-20,000 miles, get a 10% bonus
- Buy 21,000-40,000 miles, get a 20% bonus
- Buy 41,000-60,000 miles, get a 30% bonus
With Etihad Guest you can purchase up to 100,000 miles per calendar year, and up to 60,000 miles per transaction. Etihad ordinarily charges two cents per purchased mile, so during this promotion you can buy miles for as little as 1.54 cents each.
This would happen if you purchased exactly 60,000 miles, which would turn into 78,000 miles, and would cost $1,200.
This is an excellent deal. Note that in November Etihad sold miles with a 25% bonus, which was one of the first times they offered a bonus on purchased miles. So this time the promotion is even better than last time.
Note that Etihad mileage purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as airfare spend for the purposes of your credit card. If you buy miles you’ll want to first use a card where you’re meeting minimum spend, and then use a card that maximizes your return on everyday, non-bonused spend.
While I wouldn’t proactively pick up Etihad Guest miles at this cost, there are several excellent niche redemptions with Etihad where this price could be worthwhile. For example:
- You can redeem just 44,000 Etihad Guest miles for a one-way business class ticket anywhere Royal Air Maroc flies
- You can redeem just 25,610 Etihad Guest miles for a one-way business class ticket on Czech Airlines between Prague and Seoul Incheon
- There are some solid redemption values for travel on Etihad flights, though they have a roughly distance based award chart where the cost varies based on the exact city pair
Royal Air Maroc’s 787 business class
I do think buying Etihad Guest miles for 1.54 cents each could represent a good value, though I should also mention that Etihad Guest is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Capital One, so for those with access to US credit cards, there are other useful ways to accrue these miles.
But for those who don’t have access to US credit cards and/or who would rather pay 1.54 cents per mile than transfer points, buying Etihad Guest miles could represent a great deal.