(EXPIRED) 20% transfer bonus from Amex to Etihad Guest

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Update 4/4/24: Today is the last day to take advantage of this 20% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards to Etihad Guest. The promotion will end at midnight Mountain Time.

Amex has today launched a 20% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards to Etihad Guest. Given recent changes to the Etihad Guest program, particularly in terms of award cancellation policy, it would take far more than a 20% bonus to get me excited about transferring to Etihad. That said, this might make sense in some situations, particularly for last-minute bookings on American Airlines.

A reader in the comments reports not having this offer and neither does Greg. It appears that this is targeted.

The Deal

  • Amex Membership Rewards is offering a 20% bonus when transferring points to Etihad Guest

Key Terms

  • Minimum transfer of 1,000 Membership Rewards points to 1,200 Etihad Guest miles
  • Must transfer in increments of 1,000
  • Valid through April 4, 2024

Quick Thoughts

As noted at the outset, I find Etihad’s new incredibly punitive award cancellation policy, whereby you lose 75% of the miles redeemed if you cancel within 7 days of departure, very off-putting. I’ve mostly lost interest in the program.

Etihad Guest Change and Cancellation Fees

  • Deadline: By departure
  • Change fee: $30
  • Cancellation fee: Varies based on when you cancel:
    • Within 24 hours of departure: 100% of the fare
    • Within 7 days of departure: 75% of the fare
    • 8-21 days prior to departure: 50% of the fare
    • More than 21 days prior to departure: 25% of the far
  • Notes: New award cancellation fees took effect on February 22, 2024 and are exorbitant. Book with caution.

That said, it’s worth noting that Etihad can be the best way to book very short American Airlines itineraries. Just the other day, Award Wallet posted about the many short-haul American Airlines and Alaska airlines flights that can be booked with just 8,250 Avios each way. However, it is notable that the shortest of those routes could alternatively be booked with just 6,000 Etihad Guest miles each way — and that’s before accounting for the transfer bonus.

For example, if I decided to take a spontaneous trip to Washington, DC this weekend, I could book from my home airport of Albany, NY to Washington Reagan (DCA) for just 6,000 Etihad Guest miles and about $24.50 one way.

Given the 20% transfer bonus to Etihad Guest, one could book a flight like that for an effective 5,000 Membership Rewards points each way. That’s a fantastic value as compared to cash prices close-in.

In fact, one of the things I love about miles and points is the chance to put together a spontaneous trip like that.

However, I would only really consider Etihad Guest for a last-minute booking on a really short route like that where I’m reasonably sure that I’ll make the trip given the large loss of miles in the event of a cancellation. That 6K pricing only holds up on the very shortest routes — those covering up to 500 miles in distance flown. The next distance band — 501 miles flown to 1,000 miles flown — costs 12,000 miles one way. In that case, you would be far better off booking via British Airways Avios, which charges fewer miles (just 8,250 Avios one way) and has a far friendlier cancellation policy (you’ll just forfeit the taxes if the taxes are less than $55 — and domestically, the taxes are just $5.60 via British Airways Avios). Sure, Etihad Guest is the best way to book Etihad awards more than 30 days in advance, but I’m not risking 25-75% of the miles on a trip booked out further than a few days.

Overall, I find this to be a pretty niche transfer bonus opportunity that I’d only expect to use in the case of an unexpected booking.

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Jeff Cannon

Also, the short haul flights are not quite the bargain that they appear. I booked a flight from Memphis to Dallas last week. It showed up initially as 6,000 points but when I got to the confirmation page (after already transferring in 6K points) it mysteriously jumped to 7,065. I initially transferred 5K points from AMEX under the transfer bonus to get 6K but then had to top it off with another 1K to get 7,200 points and now I have 135 points stranded over there. Had there not been a transfer bonus I would have had to transfer 8K points as you can only transfer in thousand point increments. On top of that, instead of the taxes being just $5.60 on AA there was another charge of $9.57 to Etihad which I don’t see when I book AA flights with BA Avios. Including the extra fee and excluding the transfer bonus and its not any cheaper than booking with BA at 8,250 + $5.60, but with lots of additional restrictions. Like you, I would use Etihad again for a short haul last minute flight if they had a transfer bonus at the time, but I’m not going to speculatively park points there.

Brad R

You must book many speculative awards – I would venture to say that most folks only book flights they’re relatively certain they’re going to take. The cancelation policy isn’t a big deal for most folks – in fact, I’d prob say it’s a net win for most people in order to prevent excessive speculative bookings that use up award space the rest of us could use.


If you got a premium credit card with trip cancellation insurance, you’re not really risking non-refundable cash bookings. Kid getting sick should be a covered case, especially if they were also to go on the trip.


ALB is my home airport too, nice to see deals listed from there, thanks!

Joseph Giorgianni

Same here. Would have been a nice trip to see the apple blossoms in DC and stay at the Grand Hyatt as a Globalist. However, my wife had a knee replacement 13 days ago. So inconsiderate of her!


Etihad’s new points expiration scheme is a massive risk. Choose wisely.


Is this a targeted bonus? It doesn’t show up in my AMEX account, but it doesn’t for my wife. I reached out to AMEX vis Chat and they told me this was a targeted transfer bonus and not for everyone.