How to search Etihad award space

A reader emailed me to ask if I could write a tutorial on searching Etihad award space. I wrote a tutorial back in October of 2011 when Etihad’s partnership with American began, though Etihad has redesigned their website since then, so I realize perhaps it’s not self explanatory anymore.

As a refresher, you can most practically redeem American AAdvantage and ANA Mileage Club miles for travel on Etihad. American has a zone based partner award chart and doesn’t levy fuel surcharges for travel on Etihad. ANA, meanwhile, has a distance based partner award chart, and does levy fuel surcharges for travel on Etihad. It’s worth noting that Etihad has embedded fuel surcharges, meaning it’s not always so easy to tell what the fuel surcharges are, since they don’t appear on the “surface” when doing a fare search. The last time I booked a roundtrip business class award ticket through ANA between New York and Abu Dhabi, the taxes and fuel surcharges totaled about $900.

Anyway, the best place to search Etihad award space is on Etihad Airways’ website. You first need to join their Etihad Guest program if you haven’t yet, which is free and can be done here.

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

From there, on the left of the page click on “Click here to book flight” under the “How to redeem” section.

From there just enter your origin, destination, dates, and desired class of service, and then click “Select Flights.”

When you get to the results page, you’ll want to look for “GuestSeat” availability. If there’s not GuestSeat availability then you won’t be able to book that flight. As you can see below, there’s no first class GuestSeat availability from Washington to Abu Dhabi on June 9.

Meanwhile on June 16 there’s one first class award seat from Abu Dhabi to New York.

You can easily use the calendar function along the top of the page to search multiple days quickly, and then use the arrows to scroll forwards or backwards a week.

Always keep in mind that the mileage costs listed are irrelevant if you’re redeeming through another program. You do need the GuestSeat availability, though the price you’ll be charged is per the respective award chart of the airline you’re redeeming with.

So the redesigned website is actually an improvement over the old website, as it’s now much easier to search for saver award space. And that’s good, because in many cases Etihad is a great option for award travel.

Filed Under: Advice, Awards
  1. As you said, for a JFk-AUH Biz Class ticket ANA charged 900 in taxes and fees, how much would AA charge? Also, is there a way to find the ball park number without calling AA?

  2. Hi Ben,

    great post, as usual 🙂
    Say, does the whole EY fleet feature the new First Class cabin or are there still some planes with the old one flying around?

  3. @ JP — Can’t guarantee it, but believe all their three cabin planes feature the new first class. Definitely those serving their US routes.

  4. Thanks Ben, appreciate it.
    Going to take the MUC-AUH-MEL route in September. Looking forward to it 🙂

  5. Hey Ben. Just a quickie… as per AAs chart, which apparently I am too dumb to understand, is IST-SEZ counted as Middle east – Africa award (45k in J)?


  6. @ Hristo — Per their chart Istanbul is in Europe, so in theory an award between those regions costs 37,500 miles in business class one-way. That being said with few exceptions American doesn’t let you transit regions on a partner award ticket, so you’d have to book it as two award tickets sadly — one between Europe and the Middle East, and one between the Middle East and Africa — obviously a bit of a ripoff.

  7. @lucky – is it safe to assume ANA can see the same availability as the Guest First / Business ?

  8. Ben – looking at an award res on Etihad from MEL-AUH-JFK for later this year. Space is available, but AA is saying it would require two award prices given the regions I’m transiting. Is this correct? MEL-AUH is on price and AUH-JFK is another.

  9. I’m trying to book IAD-AUH & there are 2 seats available but AA is saying that it’s not showing? I’ve already HUCB. Can someone please advise

  10. I used the tool to find guest award space from ZRH -> PEK. It did not show me guest award available but when I did search for both flights separate ZRH – AUH and then AUH – PEK (exact same flights) both have guest award available.
    Will American find the single flights or will they just tell me to pound sand?

  11. @ German Expat — If you found the space on the individual segments then American should be able to book it as well. There should be no “married segments” logic when it comes to American booking Etihad award space.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *