Obviously for most people this isn’t the time to buy points speculatively. However, for those who have good award redemptions in mind, it could make sense to buy points at a discount, especially when programs offer among the best promotions we’ve seen. That’s why I’ll keep covering deals to buy points as they arise.
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.
Buy Etihad Miles With A 60% Bonus
While Etihad Airways may be operating very few flights at the moment, that’s not stopping the airline from offering a promotion on purchased miles.
Through June 18, 2020, Etihad Guest is offering up to a 60% bonus on purchased miles. The bonus is tiered, and you earn a bigger bonus the more miles you buy, as follows:
- Buy 6,000 to 20,000 miles, get a 20% bonus
- Buy 21,000 to 40,000 miles, get a 40% bonus
- Buy 41,000+ miles, get a 60% bonus
Etihad sells miles at a fairly reasonable cost to begin with (two cents each), and then historically they’ve offered a 20-30% discount on purchased miles, so a 60% bonus is significantly better than that.
With Etihad Guest you can purchase up to 100,000 miles per calendar year pre-bonus (unless you’re a Platinum member, in which case you can purchase up to 150,000 miles). Etihad ordinarily charges two cents per purchased mile, so during this promotion you can buy miles for as little as 1.25 cents each. That’s a really solid deal.
Which Credit Card Should You Buy Miles With?
Etihad mileage purchases are processed by points.com, meaning they don’t count as an airfare purchase for the purposes of credit card spend. So I’d recommend using a card on which you’re trying to reach minimum spending, or otherwise a credit card that maximizes your return on everyday spending.
Ordinarily I’d say that would be a card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review) or Citi® Double Cash Card (review), though you won’t want to use those for purchases that would be subjected to foreign transaction fees.
See this post for more on which credit cards are best for buying points.
Should You Buy Etihad Miles With A 60% Bonus?
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 (and these are all pre-COVID-19 routes, and we’ll see what the future looks like):
- You can redeem just 44,000 Etihad Guest miles for a one-way one segment business class ticket anywhere Royal Air Maroc flies; unfortunately this isn’t quite as useful as it used to be, as you’re now limited to one segment, and can’t have a connecting itinerary
- 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 787-9 business class
I do think buying Etihad Guest miles for 1.25 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 1.25 cents per mile than transfer points, buying Etihad Guest miles could represent a great deal.
At least that’s the case under normal circumstances, while it might not be the case right now for many, given the uncertainty.
Also keep in mind that at the moment Etihad is selling flight vouchers with a 50% bonus, which is a deal that others might consider to be better, should you be looking to spend money with Etihad.
Does anyone plan on buying Etihad miles with a 60% bonus?