Sweet Spots: Redeeming Air Canada Aeroplan Miles On Etihad

Filed Under: Air Canada, Awards

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

Bottom line

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.

  1. You’ve covered a lot here. Thanks. One thing that was surprisingly not mentioned at all is award availability, particularly for two people in first class. If availability is pretty much nonexistent, then the price doesn’t matter.

  2. @Christian – There’s plenty of availability.

    @all – Aeroplan phone agents have been a real mixed bag lately. Persistence is key if you want to book SYD-AUH-JFK or the reverse.

  3. I’ve never booked Aeroplan before. I’d love to come back from South East Asia to the US West Coast. Landing in JFK after a first class Etihad flight, I would then need to go to EWR to get on UA. Would calling Aeroplan and asking agents to piece together BKK-AUH-JFK transit EWR-LAX be an option or would I just need to plan on terminating the award ticket in JFK and find another way out West?

  4. There’s plenty of availability!? What drug are you on? There’s ZERO availability. Literally zero, none, nada. Not one single seat, for the whole schedule.

    “Sweet spots” like this are a fantasy, just a way for blogs to gin up excitement, get clicks, and fill space – they simply are impossible in the real world.

  5. @June – The drug of booking SYD-AUH-NYC-YYZ for 110,000 miles, like tons of people out there. It’s a real high 🙂

  6. @Ricky – It looks like other people are seeing one thing and you another. How about this: can you list the dates you see in early April JFK-AUH-KUL for two people in suites class? There is some phantom space but if availability is that good, presumably at least some of the dates should have actual availability. This would be stating specific cities on specific dates, so people saying that there’s no availability should be proven to be mistaken.

  7. I could only find dates for business with JFK to AUH and First from AUH to SYD, but it is 110k miles. That’s still a really good deal.

  8. Just called and they said they’ve been inundated with calls on this routing (JFK-AUH-SYD) since yesterday. It is now not a valid routing and they will not book it.

  9. @Lucky, I was able to redeem points earlier for JFK-AUH-SYD with the outbound in J and the return in F, I have a confirmed reservation, tickets, and seat assignments. Aeroplan is now apparently telling folks on the phone that this is not a valid routing and that they have been “inundated” with people trying to book it. Worse, someone on Flyertalk said they were told that they might apply this policy retroactively and cancel existing bookings. Fingers crossed this is not the case!

  10. Not sure about New York–Abu Dhabi–Seoul, but New York–Abu Dhabi–London/Paris almost certainly exceeds the Maximum Permitted Mileage (MPM) for Aeroplan flight rewards.

  11. Routing no longer allowed by Aeroplan due to being “overwhelmed with calls fuelled by blogs”

    This is why we cant have nice things.

  12. @Donna It would appear that Bob *can* pay for F but isn’t being allowed to.

    P.S the “Can’t pay for F? Don’t fly F” saying is truly one of the most obnoxious sayings in the frequent flyer world.

  13. lol, love when someone trolls “want F, pay for F” in a blog post literally titled “Redeeming miles”

  14. so are they allowing JFK-AUH-SYD routing via the call center or have they cut off that option?

  15. I just booked SYD-AUH-JFK, but only 777+A380 could be found. They said this is the most popular flight recently. The call center could find more available tickets than online. If you want it, just call Aeroplan directly, ask them to search for you. The booking fee is C$30 (non-refundable).

    BTW, I was trying to book SYD-AUH-JFK-YYZ, but they said the system not allow it.

  16. It would be helpful to hear about any associated fees that go along with booking these flights.

  17. SYD-AUH-JFK (EY451+EY101)Ticketing Fees Summary:

    Australia International Service Charge C$29.25
    Australia Passenger Move Charge C$56.11
    United Arab Emirates Passenger Facilities Charge C$12.87
    United Arab Emirates International Advanced Passenger Information Fee C$1.84
    Aeroplan Booking Fee C$30
    HST 13%

    Aeroplan: 110,000 points

  18. EY sending out flight changes to people who booked this. I had two seats JFK-AUH-SYD in F the whole way. Downgraded both to biz. Wtf?

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