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American Express Membership Rewards has another points transfer bonus that is available to U.S.-based cardholders, this time offering a 20% bonus on Membership Rewards transfers to Etihad Guest.
Etihad Guest has quite a few sweet spots that are worth exploring, primarily via partner awards. That said, awards have to be booked over the phone and it can be a hastle to find an agent that’s able to find partner availability and book award space. Don’t be afraid to hang up and call again (HUCA) when booking and make sure to confirm award availability before transferring.
- American Express is offering a 20% transfer bonus when converting Membership Rewards points to Etihad Guest. This brings the transfer ratio to 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 1,200 Etihad Guest Miles
- Transfers from Amex to Etihad are normally complete within 48 hours
- You must be enrolled in Etihad Guest Miles in order to participate in this offer, visit https://www.etihadguest.com/join to enroll.
- Once you have transferred Membership Rewards points, they become subject to the Terms and Conditions of the Etihad Guest Miles Frequent Flyer Program and cannot be transferred back to your Membership Rewards program account.
- Minimum transfer is 1,000 Membership Rewards points.
- Redeem for this exclusive offer from 12:00 a.m. MT on 6/30/2022 to 11:59 p.m. MT on 7/30/2022 to receive 20% additional Etihad Guest Miles. Additional Etihad Guest Miles may be awarded at the time of transfer.
Best uses For Etihad Guest
- Business class to Asia from North America for 50K-59K each way. Etihad Guest offers excellent value for flying on American Airlines in premium cabins, using rates known by long-time hobbyists as AA's "old award chart" for its own flights (though AA is not known for releasing plentiful award space). Pricing on American Airlines is 50K business class to Asia 1 (Japa/Korea) or 55K to Asia 2. First class is 62.5K for Asia 1 / 67.5K Asia 2.There are no fuel surcharges for travel on American Airlines. You can also use Etihad's distance-based award charts for redemptions on ANA and Asiana. The sweet spot on ANA is Seattle to Tokyo for 54K miles in business class. On Asiana, you can fly from Seattle, San Francisco, or Los Angeles to Seoul for 59K miles in business class. Etihad collects fuel surcharges on both ANA and Asiana, but those surcharges are historically mild on Asiana (likely ~$100 one-way) and nearly-nonexistent on ANA (less than $10 from the US to Tokyo).
- Business class to South America on AA from 30-50K each way. Etihad's award chart for American Airlines flights is very competitive. Pricing is zone-based, with business class to South America Zone 1 for 30K miles each way (includes Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Belize, Nicaragua, Peru, Panama, and Venezuela). Business class to South America Zone 2 is 50K miles each way (includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile (excludes Easter Island), Paraguay, and Uruguay).
- Business class to Europe from 44K-50K each way. Etihad Guest offers good value for flying on American Airlines, Brussels Airlines, or Royal Air Maroc between the US and Europe. Pricing starts at 44K each way in business class on Brussels Airlines or 44K to Casablanca on Royal Air Maroc (connections to Europe will add additional miles and fuel surcharges around $170 each way) or 50K each way in business class on American Airlines (no fuel surcharges). First class on AA is only 62.5K miles one-way, but AA only operates 3-cabin first class on a couple of routes and award space can be very hard to come by.
Things to know about Etihad Guest
- Book awards by calling Etihad Guest at 1-877-690-0767.
- Etihad phone agents have historically had trouble booking partner awards, though the new call center in Serbia appears to be quite competent. If your agent appears to be having trouble, you might want to HUCA (hang up, call again).
- Etihad Guest does add fuel surcharges.
- Transfer from: Amex, Citi, Capital One, Marriott
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Does AA even fly to Asia 2? If this sweet spot is on AA metal only, that’s of little use except to go to Tokyo or Seoul. Everywhere else will require a partner connection.
AA normally flies to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai in Asia 2. There’s a planned (though delayed) Seattle-Bangalore flight, but that falls under the Middle East/India chart and so will be 67.5K if it ever actually starts flying. Obviously COVID restrictions are playing havoc with a lot of Asian travel right now, but I think many folks (including me!) would find “old-AA” pricing from North America to Tokyo, Seoul and China/Hong Kong pretty attractive. I believe that the only China destination currently being served is PVG (as an onward flight from ICN), but everything else is scheduled to be up and running by early-Mid next year (and flights are bookable now).
That said, your point about onward connections is well-taken. If you want to go straight to, say, Southeast Asia, you could look at ANA or Asiana. The problem is that, once you get over 6,000 miles flight distance, prices rise to between 78K/82K/88K one way. Still reasonable, but not as sweet.
Thoughts on transferring over 100k MRs to etihad speculatively to make use of the 20%? Potentially…maybe…may think about going to Singapore next year (summer).
If I’m reading correctly, miles expire after 18 months of no activity but any activity keeps them active?
Yes, that’s correct, any activity (including points transfers) extend expiration.
I’m assuming that you want to go after the end of the current schedule, so can’t check for availability?
Is Etihad Guest’s own search engine worth trusting when it comes to looking up availability of these sweet spots (or even some of their semi-sweet spots)? I recently looked for a couple redemptions next year, and the miles were astronomical.
No, it’s not. I’d use Qantas or AA for One World, Aeroplan or United for Star Alliance. Look for saver award availabilty and then call Etihad.
Great recap on those Etihad sweet spots. Similar to the last Asia Miles transfer bonus, it appears targeted.
Does the 54k from SEA to Tokyo work for YVR to tokyo as well?
Yep, it would.
Thanks for the heads up on this transfer bonus. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being easiest, how hard is it to score AA awards on etihad? And what are average fuel surcharges, a range?
If AA Makes them available to partners, they can “usually” be booked through Etihad. It’s just that AA has been terrible with releasing premium availability to partners recently. Good thing is that there’s no fuel surcharges with AA.
What would be the best way to check for premium AA availability to partners? Saver awards on aa.com? Or is there a particular One World partner’s search engine that shows availability?
Yes, saver awards on AA.com or Qantas is usually the best way (though not foolproof) to see if there’s availability before getting on the phone with Etihad. Sometimes, I’ll cross check with Alaska, but that’s not always a good indicator as it seems there can be other One World partners that see more AA awards.