My Two Upcoming Trips To The Middle East

Several days ago I wrote a post about my upcoming travel to the Middle East using American AAdvantage miles.

At the time I only shared the details of my next trip, though figured I’d quickly outline my two upcoming trips, since I flipped aspects of them around. I’ve been on the ground now for nearly two weeks in Tampa, and am really excited to get back in the skies!

The purposes of my two upcoming trips are to fly on two inaugural flights:

I’m booked in first class on both flights, so the strategy for the positioning of these trips is to:

  • Try some new oneworld/AAdvantage partner airline business class products
  • Spend some time in the Middle East, given how good the hotel deals are

So in the end I’ll be trying the following airline products on these two trips:

  • Airberlin A330 business class
  • Etihad Airways A330 business class
  • Etihad Airways A330 first class
  • Jet Airways A330 business class
  • Qatar Airways 787 business class
  • Qatar Airways A380 first class

Let me break down the two trips:

Trip 1: Abu Dhabi on Airberlin/Etihad Airways


As I said above, the reason for the trip was to fly the inaugural Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles, which will be on June 1. In order to get to Abu Dhabi I’ll be flying airberlin business class from Miami to Dusseldorf, and then Etihad Airways business class from Dusseldorf to Abu Dhabi.

Not only are airberlin and Etihad Airways both American partners, but the two carriers have a really close partnership, so the business class hard product is very similar.

I’ve flown Etihad Airways first class several times before, and have also flown airberlin short-haul economy, so I can’t wait to try both carriers on as even of a playing field as they’ll ever have.

I’ll also be spending some time in Abu Dhabi, and plan on checking out the St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi, and aloft Abu Dhabi (just because I’m oddly an aloft fan, and I’m curious what they’re like outside of the US).

Trip 2: Doha on Jet Airways/Qatar Airways


The second trip is centered around Qatar Airways’ inaugural A380 flight from Doha to London Heathrow. I do plan on spending a bit of time in Doha before the flight.

And to fly there I figured I’d fly a fun combo of airlines — Jet Airways from Toronto to Brussels, and then the Qatar Airways 787 from Brussels to Doha. Jet Airways doesn’t belong to oneworld though is an AAdvantage partner and has great award availability between Toronto and Brussels.

And then the timing of the Brussels to Doha flight works quite well, as it leaves mid-morning, a few hours after the Jet Airways flight from Toronto lands.

Bottom line

Expect lots of fun content over the coming weeks, and be sure you’re following me on Twitter and Instagram, as I’ll be posting a ton of updates and pictures there.

I’m paying 67,500 AAdvnatage miles for each of the outbound trips in business class, which I would say is a great use of miles, since I’m trying two new AAdvantage partner airline products on each award. Then I redeemed 90,000 AAdvantage miles for the Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles trip, and booked a (fairly) cheap paid first class ticket for the Doha to London Heathrow flight, which originates in Cairo (lowering the fare by about 75%).

And stay tuned, because that’s not all I have planned for June. Safe and enjoyable travels to all!

Filed Under: Awards, Travel
  1. We’ll be floating around there at about the same time. I shall keep an eye out! Safe travels.

  2. You should make a stop in Tel Aviv too – best party town in the Middle East!
    Dubai is cool too, but I always found myself looking over my shoulder and the police there are nasty. Tel Aviv is the most free-spirited and safe place I’ve ever been + great beaches and even greater women 🙂

  3. Wow, that looks like an amazing itinerary. I can’t wait to see your reviews. I wish American offered better rates out of ATL. Their FF program seems so much better than any other I’ve seen. It’s tough living in Delta’s hometown!

  4. I’ve been on that EY DUS-AUH flight last month and saw that F class was offered. Did they change the flight to 2 class?

  5. Mentioned it on your last thread as well but it probably got lost in the comments. If you are spending time in the UAE, drop me a note. I’m up in Ras Al Khaimah (maybe worth your while to try out the Waldorf Astoria here?), but can easily make the drive down to Dubai or Abu Dhabi to meet up if you can spare the time.

  6. Any plans to visit Bahrain while you’re in the Middle East? I’m flying BAH-AUH-DUS next month with one way on Etihad and the other Air Berlin (except fort the BAH-AUH part). I’ve flown my wife back and forth between Bahrain and Europe a few times on Etihad, can’t beat it for 60k AA miles RT and free chauffeur service!

  7. 225K miles just for this. Most of your travel appears to be on miles redemptions. How is it that you are able to accrue so many RDMs?

  8. “You should make a stop in Tel Aviv too – best party town in the Middle East!”

    After Beirut, naturally.

    I wish you had taken a trip to somewhere. I mean, a trip to the Middle East, and…Abu Dhabi? Not much to see there besides the hotels. Granted, this isn’t the best time to visit much of the Middle East, but Jordan is stable and Amman has lots to see, even if you don’t want to take the trip to Petra or the Dead Sea.

    And I understand if you don’t feel cool with flying Royal Jordanian, but it would have been interesting to fly Etihad or Emirates to Amman, just to compare regional flights in the Middle East vs the service offered in the US, Europe, and Asia.

  9. @ Brian — For the first couple of months it’s an A340-500, and then after that it’s a 777-200LR.

  10. @ Nic — Hope to make it to Bahrain on my next trip to the Middle East, as I’ve heard it’s quite interesting.

  11. @ Eric M — I do a lot of paid travel on American whereby I earn lots of RDMs, and also earn a lot of miles through credit card sign-up bonuses.

  12. I know zilch about electricity. Europe England, and Sweden what do I need for my computer, coffee maker and curling iron?

  13. Lucky, you are on the inaugural A380 Singapore – Mumbai flight as well, right?
    Remember reading it somewhere here on your blog.

  14. Looking forward to the Abu Dhabi – Los Angeles review. The direct flight is 16hrs 30 minutes! – only business and above will do on this kind of ultra long haul flight.
    Hyatt Capital Gate is amazing.

  15. You should make a stop in Tel Aviv too – best party town in the Middle East!


    Be careful if you are getting your passport stamped, then trying to get into other ME countries

  16. Your map implies you won’t be going to Cairo to take the first leg – you don’t want to give the wrong impression to people of what is allowed!

  17. Could you clarify your comment on the DOH-LHR flight originating in Cairo? I know booking ex-Cairo can save a tonne of money, but you dont appear to be originating in Cairo?
    love the blog by the way. cheers jeremy

  18. Lucky, you are able to combine Air Berlin & Etihad in one award, and Jet Airways & Qatar in another single award?

    I didn’t know that non-oneworld alliance award can mix within AA; most others only allow combination within their own alliance.

    Can you do a list of partners mix in different awards of major mileage programs?

    I remember reading that ANA allows mixing ANA with non-staralliance partners, i.e. ANA & Etihad, but I cannot find information if JAL allows a mix of JAL & Emirates. But in these 2, I know they cannot mix awards with other partners.

    Can US airways mix oneworld partners with non-oneworld partners (their former star alliance partners)? or can they mix the non-oneworld partners?

    Looking forward to your reports as usual!

  19. *But in these 2, I know they cannot mix awards with other partners.

    Sorry, clarification: they (ANA & JAL awards) cannot mix awards if that partner is outside their alliance.

    But I am not sure if JAL can mix even with their non-alliance partner, i.e. Emirates with JAL.

  20. @lucky Do you find it in any way awkward being in places like Abu Dhabi and Doha as a gay man?

  21. @ Ani — I was booked on it, but spoke to a contact at Singapore Airlines who said they were only planning something special for the inaugural OUT of India. So ended up canceling since I figured it wasn’t worth the hassle otherwise. Hopefully soon when I can actually visit India for a while.

  22. @ Jeremy I — I accidentally left Cairo off the map, should have been a roundtrip DOH-CAI-DOH. Whoops!

  23. @ ASAS — Thanks, good idea for a blog post. You can on AAdvantage awards mix partner airlines.

    With US Airways you can’t mix oneworld partners with non-oneworld partners, though.

  24. Given you love Hong Kong so much will you be coming around to stay at different hotels for, say, two weeks? I’d like to see what you think about an extended time in Hong Kong – if it gets boring you can always drive into Shenzhen.

  25. @ CARLOS — You’ll want to search space through Etihad’s website. If they show “Guest” space available then it should be bookable through American as well.

  26. Glad you decided to take TAP back to MIA. Would love to visit Portugal so look forward to your review.

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