Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!
How to fly Etihad First Class from N. America
I want to fly Etihad Suites and am based in North America… what’s the best way now that AA has devalued. AA still? Etihad’s own program (AMEX MR & Citi TY), some other means?
EY’s only US A380 route is JFK. If booking using AA miles, you can add a domestic segment on AA/AS at no additional cost, as well as AUH-Middle East/Indian Subcontinment. If using EY GuestMiles, I dont think they allow mixed EY/Partner awards and the awards are distance based
If its just between JFK-AUH it doesnt really matter that much which program you use. Price is 115k AA vs ~117k EY. AA wont pass on any heavy surcharges but EY will. However, EY’s surcharges arent horrible – I think it’s around $200, maybe less. If you have enough AA miles, I’d use those first since MR/TY points are more flexible and especially since you can add segments within the same region at the origin/destination at no extra cost.
I find that AUH-JFK A380F awards are easier to find than JFK-AUH but that’s just me.
Purely in terms of mileage requirements, I’ve found that Asiana Club has some fantastic redemption rates on Etihad. US to the Middle East for 80,000 in first? Color me impressed. There are downsides to the program though. They’re a much more obscure program than something like AAdvantage, KrisFlyer, Executive Club and as such there’s less information about the booking process out there. Whether they see the same award space Etihad does, how competent their booking agents are, etc. Second, I’ve heard that they impose surcharges on award tickets which aren’t unsubstantial. Also, they’re not very easy to build up miles with. SPG is their only transfer partner and their credit card only earns 30,000 miles on minimum spend. (They do have an annual 10,000 mile bonus though!). I usually credit my UA flights to them, but you won’t earn 100% flown miles for UA unless you’re on a full-fare economy ticket or above.
On the flip side, they are hands-down the best airline for earning status with. 20,000 miles for Star Alliance Silver and 40,000 for Star Alliance Gold. Plus, you get[I] two [/I]years to accrue those miles rather than 1 which is standard for almost all programs. It’s the main reason why I see crediting my UA miles to them as worth it even if I’m not earning 100%