Air Canada and Etihad have announced a partnership which is live as of today. You can now earn and redeem miles in either direction. For example, you can earn Air Canada Aeroplan miles when flying Etihad, or you can earn Etihad miles when flying Air Canada. That’s great, but the exciting news is the ability to spend miles. You can now redeem Air Canada Aeroplan miles for Etihad flights or redeem Etihad miles for Air Canada flights. There are terrific opportunities in both directions!
See also: Aeroplan / Etihad first class sweet spot: US to Australia & how to do it.
Book Etihad flights with Air Canada Aeroplan miles
Air Canada’s public relations department reached out to us with the partnership news. Regarding redeeming Air Canada Aeroplan miles for Etihad flights, they wrote the following:
- Etihad flights will be subject to our Fixed Mileage Flight Reward chart, available here.
- Members will be able to book Etihad flights online at aeroplan.com, as well as via our Contact Centre.
- Etihad flights can be combined with flights operated by Air Canada and our other international partners.
- Fuel surcharges will not apply on Etihad operated flights.
This is awesome news. Suddenly we can use Air Canada miles transferred from Amex, Capital One, or Marriott (see our Transfer Partner Master List) in order to book Etihad, and with no fuel surcharges! I flew Etihad’s incredible first class apartments this past October and loved every minute of it. It was out of this world awesome. See my review here.
Here’s a US-centric portion of Air Canada’s partner award chart. Prices are round-trip. One-way flights cost half as many miles:
I haven’t tested yet to see if these awards price as shown above, but assuming they do, this means that we can:
Fly Etihad First Class Apartments, New York to London via Abu Dhabi for only 70K miles one-way. Could that really be true?UPDATE: As noted by Nick and Ron, this probably won’t work due to it exceeding maximum permitted mileage (MPM).
- Fly Etihad First Class Apartments, New York to Australia via Abu Dhabi for only 110K miles one-way. See also: Aeroplan / Etihad first class sweet spot: US to Australia & how to do it.
In any of the above examples, we should be able to add other star alliance flights to the beginning or end for no additional cost in miles (but there may be some additional taxes or fees) as long as we begin or end in the same zone. For example, you should be able to fly from Oregon to New York on United and then Etihad onward for no additional cost. Unfortunately United flies into Newark whereas Etihad flies out of JFK, so that’s not the best connection, but you get the idea. From North America, Etihad also flies out of Washington DC (IAD), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), and Toronto (YYZ). All of these flights are direct to Abu Dhabi (AUH). Look for flights on their A380 aircraft to find first class featuring First Class Apartments.
Book Air Canada flights with Etihad Guest miles
Etihad has separate award charts for each partner. With Air Canada, they have a distance based award chart, as follows:
Only the first two distance bands jump out at me as noteworthy. The ability to book very short flights, up to 500 miles, for 5,000 miles in economy or 10,000 miles in business class is very good (but note that many airline programs have started offering similar pricing for short flights). The ability to book flights up to 1,000 miles for 10,000 miles economy or 20,000 miles business class is good too, but you may find better pricing with some other programs.
The reason this may be interesting to some is that you can transfer points to Etihad from Amex, Citi, Capital One, or Marriott. That said, you may get better pricing with these alternate Star Alliance options:
- Turkish (transfer from Citi or Marriott)
- Avianca (transfer from Amex, Citi, Capital One, or Marriott)
- United (transfer from Chase)
Other Great Opportunities?
What other great opportunities do you see that I missed above? Please comment below.
Is anyone else having issues with the Aeroplan search results? When I search for nearly any award availability, the error message I receive is “Your requested itinerary cannot be booked at this time, please try again. If the problem persists, please call the aeroplan.com website support centre at 1-866-689-8080”
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I just found BOM-AUH-LAX-SMF
BOM-AUH business 777-300 Etihad
AUH-LAX First on 777-300 Etihad
LAX-SMF Economy on United
210,000 Aeroplan Miles for two people
Not a good news for me. I am based out of SEA… AA redemption option is far better as I can easily get multiple F award seats on AA or AS (non stop) between SEA to JFK and then fly Etihad from and to JFK. F award on AA between SEA to LAX, 4+ seats everyday. On other hand, F award availability on United out of SEA is a joke. Air Canada means another stop at YVR or Toronto. and more redemption option means more completion on Etihad space.
Man I wished I bought Aeroplan miles with the 110% bonus a few weeks ago.
Is JFK-SYD via AUH doesn’t appear bookable online. I’ve found dates with two seats searching each leg separately, but can’t get the search to show it through Aeroplan.
Then again, I was able to get JFK-IST-AUH-SYD on TK and EY all in business for 80k….
I haven’t yet found any connecting Etihad flights that show up on the Aeroplan website. The site seems to only show nonstops for Etihad. It will be interesting to see if call center agents can see the connecting flights.
I’m certainly pleased that there’s another quality redemption option for Aeroplan, particularly since there’s no YQ. I do think that we should look at this with some realism though. Pretty much what everyone wants is to fly their suites, usually for two or more people. How much award availability is there? Another point is pricing. It’s so easy to get caught up in our echo chamber about how it’s “only” 215,000 miles per person to Asia 2, but for 2+ people that’s a gigantic amount of miles.