Etihad Airways and Gulf Air launched a codeshare partnership in 2019, and the airlines have now extended that partnership to add reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities.
Why should you care about Gulf Air?
Gulf Air is based in Bahrain, and has come a long way in the past couple of years. The airline has new Boeing 787-9s featuring Apex Suites in business class, which look excellent.
Gulf Air 787-9 business class
They’re smaller than the “big three” Gulf carriers, and the furthest west they fly is London, and the further East they fly is Manila.
So their route network isn’t really that unique, unless you’re trying to fly to & from Bahrain. Other than that, they offer a fraction of the connectivity you’d find on Emirates, Etihad, or Qatar.
But I sure do want to fly their new 787-9, so they’ve been on my radar. I’ve reviewed the airline between London and Bahrain, though that was back when they flew A330s on the route.
Redeem Etihad Guest miles on Gulf Air
The challenge has been that up until now there have been limited options for redeeming miles on Gulf Air:
- You could book directly through the Gulf Air Falconflyer program, though they don’t belong to any of the major transferable points currencies, so this isn’t useful for a vast majority of people
- You could book through Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, which I’ll talk more about below
American AAdvantage used to have a great partnership with Gulf Air, but that ended in April 2018.
It’s now also possible to redeem Etihad Guest miles on Gulf Air. Here’s the Etihad Guest award chart for travel on Gulf Air:
A few things to note:
- Redemption rates are based on cumulative distance flown on one-way tickets
- Stopovers are allowed in Bahrain
- You need to book by phone with Etihad Guest, as they don’t allow partner redemptions online
Unfortunately these are pretty steep redemption rates, as you can tell. For example, Bahrain to London covers a distance of just over 3,000 miles, so a one-way ticket would cost 94,000 Etihad Guest miles in business class. Ouch.
Gulf Air 787-9
What are the other options for redeeming miles on Gulf Air?
As mentioned above, the other practical option for redeeming on Gulf Air is to book through Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. Those redemption rates are as follows:
For the most part, rates are significantly more attractive. For example, that same Bahrain to London flight would cost 70,000 miles rather than 94,000 miles.
I’m happy to see another option for redeeming miles on Gulf Air. While the Etihad Guest redemption rates are steep, the good thing is that they partner with transferable programs, and also that we sometimes see transfer bonuses to Etihad Guest.