Redeem American Miles For Virgin Australia

Filed Under: Etihad, Virgin Australia

File this under “things that are cool but not necessarily all that useful.” šŸ˜‰

Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia have a partnership (it’s certainly one of Etihad’s more “premium” partnerships, compared to Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, and Alitalia).


As part of that, Virgin Australia offers three times weekly service between Sydney and Abu Dhabi, as a way to provide “feed” to Etihad flights for passengers connecting to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Because of the way the scheduling works out, the Virgin Australia 777-300ER would be sitting in Abu Dhabi all day on Sunday.

Etihad is growing like crazy, and can use all the planes they can get (which is why they lease several Jet Airways 777-300ERs as well).

So they creatively utilize the Virgin Australia 777-300ER for a Sunday flight between Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur. The Virgin Australia flight operates with the following schedule:

EY418 Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur departing 1:55AM arriving 1:25PM
EY411 Kuala Lumpur to Abu Dhabi departing 8:35PM arriving 11:40PM

My understanding is that this flight is operated by Virgin Australia crews but has Etihad service standards (hopefully that doesn’t simply consist of them catering less food). šŸ˜‰

I used Etihad’s website to search award space on the flight, and they have quite a bit of space. I see two seats per flight in business class for all the dates I checked.


And since it’s an Etihad flight for all intents and purposes, it is bookable with American miles — they charge 30,000 miles for one-way business class between the Middle East and Asia 2.


All that being said, Etihad is probably going to offer a better all around experience in business class than Virgin Australia. They do have a superior hard product with staggered Solstys seats, while Virgin Australia only has standard forward facing business class seats.

Virgin Australia business class

Etihad business class

I sure do find this unique, if nothing else…

  1. Huh. You normally can’t use AA miles to book partner codeshares (e.g. QF flight numbers on EK or JQ metal.) Why is this permitted but that isn’t?

  2. @ Josh — It’s not a codehsare. It’s an Etihad flight number and Etihad service. It’s the same as the Jet Airways flights that Etihad operates to San Francisco and New York.

  3. How can it be virgin australia crew and etihad standards? You can’t just change your service style for one particular flight.

  4. Ben,
    My question is related to the article’s title. Just want to make sure, I can redeem AA miles to fly Virgin Australia, Yes?
    I went to AA sites and try to search MEL-NAD and got error message stating that “There are currently no awards available on for your requested Origin and Destination”
    Basically, my question is, if I want to fly from MEL-NAD-MEL, considering I have AA, MR and UR points, what’d be the best options?


  5. @ Tiara — No you can’t. This is the only route on which you can redeem American miles for travel on Virgin Australia.

  6. @Tiara,

    What you are proposing isn’t possible. That’s why the first line of this post was “File this under ā€œthings that are cool but not necessarily all that useful.ā€ ;)”.

    You can redeem AA miles for a Virgin Australia FLIGHT, on Sunday’s from AUH to KUL because Virgin Australia’s plane and crew are making this flight for EY… Not that you can redeem AA miles for a Virgin Australia flight actually TO Australia…

  7. Ben- I was toying around and they are selling both J and F on this flight. Isn’t it a two class flight?

  8. @ Curious George — It sure is. What date were you looking at? Should only have economy, premium economy, and business class.

  9. I was looking at Febuary 2 and 3, 2015. A pop up window comes up the states that it’s a Virgin Australia operated flight but you can redeem miles for for J and F at the saver level in both classes.

  10. @ Curious George — Interesting, it looks like that flight will actually be operated by a Jet Airways 777-300ER next February, which would explain why there’s first class inventory.

  11. Thanks for the prompt reply! Nice, I think i might book that now that you can redeem AA miles to Asia via Middle East. Always wanted to try those sleeper suites!

  12. @ Curious George — You’re originating in the US? If so, you can’t on a single award book US to Asia via the Middle East.

  13. Yes, originating in the US. I thought you could with AA miles now that QR joined Oneworld. There goes that idea! I guess it must just be for flights to Africa in India that you can go via Middle East now.

  14. Hi Ben,
    May i know if Etihad EY411 and EY418 still operate by Virgin Australia from Kuala Lumpur to Abu Dhabi?

    Thank you.

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