Yesterday Air Canada Aeroplan and Etihad Guest launched a new partnership, opening up reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities. I’d argue that by far the most interesting part of this new partnership is the ability to redeem Air Canada Aeroplan miles on Etihad.
In this post I wanted to take a closer look at this opportunity, and in particular at some of the sweet spots available with this.
Redeeming Aeroplan miles on Etihad
Aeroplan redemption rates on Etihad follow the standard Aeroplan award chart. Here’s what that looks like for travel originating in the US & Canada (prices shown are roundtrip, and one-ways cost half as much):
To give some examples of one-way first and business class redemption rates originating in North America on Etihad:
- The Middle East costs 82,500 miles in business class and 115,000 miles in first class
- The Indian Subcontinent costs 75,000 miles in business class and 105,000 miles in first class
- East, West, and South Africa costs 75,000 miles in business class and 105,000 miles in first class
- Southeast Asia costs 77,500 miles in business class and 105,000 miles in first class
- Australia costs 80,000 miles in business class and 110,000 miles in first class
Etihad 787-9 Business Studio
So, what sweet spots do these redemption rates open up?
Fly more on Etihad to save more
A one-way first class ticket from Abu Dhabi to New York costs 115,000 miles.
However, you can save miles by not just starting or ending your journey in Abu Dhabi. In other words, the more you fly, the more you save. 😉
For example, you can save 10,000 miles one-way in first class by originating in India, the Maldives, Africa, etc., as you’d pay 105,000 miles rather than 115,000 miles (in the below screenshot the Maldives to Abu Dhabi segment could be in business class if there were award availability).
Or you could save 7,500 miles by instead flying first class from Singapore to Abu Dhabi to New York, as that costs 107,500 miles rather than 115,000 miles for just the Abu Dhabi to New York segment.
The most incredible sweet spot award
Arguably there’s one sweet spot that’s better than the rest, and several readers have already let me know that they’ve had luck booking this (Frequent Miler also notes this in a post). Aeroplan is allowing people to travel between the US and Australia via Abu Dhabi on a single award.
That means you could fly from Sydney to Abu Dhabi to New York — that’s about 30 hours in the Etihad A380 First Class Apartment — for 110,000 miles. Yes, you save 5,000 miles by flying from Sydney to Abu Dhabi to New York, over just flying from Abu Dhabi to New York.
Note that this one-way award isn’t bookable on aeroplan.com, but it is bookable via the call center.
Dining in Etihad A380 first class
What isn’t possible for Etihad award redemptions
While the above awards do seem to be possible, perhaps it’s also worth pointing out certain awards that aren’t possible, because I’m sure people are curious. Etihad’s A380 destinations ordinarily include London, New York, Paris, Seoul, and Sydney.
It would appear that Aeroplan isn’t allowing:
- One-way awards from New York to Abu Dhabi to Seoul
- One-way awards from New York to Abu Dhabi to London/Paris
Etihad A380 First Class Apartments cabin
Other tips for redeeming Aeroplan miles on Etihad
A few more things to note:
- Aeroplan’s website shows some phantom Etihad award availability, so don’t completely rely on the website being accurate
- Aeroplan call center agents can see some space (particularly originating in the US) that Aeroplan’s website isn’t showing
- You’re always best off searching Etihad award availability on Etihad’s website, and looking for “Guest” space, as that should also reflect the space that Aeroplan has access to
- While the US to Australia awards aren’t bookable one-way on Aeroplan’s website, they are bookable via the call center
Etihad Airways A380
The new Air Canada and Etihad partnership opens up some incredible sweet spot redemptions, including for those with Amex Membership Rewards and Capital One points, given that Aeroplan is a transfer partner.
In most cases you’ll save miles by continuing beyond Abu Dhabi, and there are even some exceptionally good values, like being able to fly from New York to Abu Dhabi to Sydney in first class for 110,000 miles.
While these sweet spots are worth keeping in mind, don’t get too excited just yet. With airlines scaling back service due to COVID-19 and with Australia potentially being closed to outsiders until the end of the year, this will be of limited use to most.