Update: This article contains mentions of Chase Freedom Unlimited® whose terms have expired and are in the process of being updated. All other offers reflect accurate offer terms. Learn more about the current offers here.
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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 Offering Up To 30% Discount On Miles
Etihad Guest is offering up to a 30% discount on purchased miles through December 23, 2019. This is the best offer we have seen from them so far this year, as far as I know.
Etihad sells miles at a fairly reasonable cost to begin with (two cents each), and then historically they’ve offered a 20-30% bonus on purchased miles, so a 30% discount gets you an even better cost per mile.
With this promotion:
- Buy 6,000-20,000 miles, get a 10% discount
- Buy 21,000-40,000 miles, get a 20% discount
- Buy 41,000-60,000 miles, get a 30% discount
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 1.4 cents each. That’s a really solid deal.
As far as Etihad Guest mileage expiration goes, the miles expire after 18 months of inactivity.
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 For 30% Off?
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 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 1.4 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 1.4 cents per mile than transfer points, buying Etihad Guest miles could represent a great deal.