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Manila in the Philippines is a destination that typically bats above its weight in award redemptions for the big airline programs like United and Delta.
That’s because the West Coast has a big population of residents with family in the Philippines, and getting home often is a big priority.
But none of the big U.S. airlines serves Manila nonstop from the U.S., leaving mile useres to endure awkward connections.
Philippine Airlines does fly nonstop, but it’s not part of any global alliance, and only recently partnered with Etihad Airways. So there hasn’t been an easy way to earn miles that can be used on Philippine Airlines flights.
That is until this year, thanks to Citi, a MileCards.com advertiser which has made Etihad a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou points.
So as a U.S. resident you can now rack up points that can be redeemed for Philippine Airlines flights via your card spending using a Citi ThankYou card that carries an annual fee like the ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige cards.
Unfortunately it is prohibitively expensive.
How much does it cost?
Philippine flights using Etihad miles are distance based.
Manila to the West Coast is falls in the 6001 – 8000 mile range and you’ll pay 70,000 points ONE WAY for Economy Class, plus about $210 in taxes and fees, or 140,000 points roundtrip plus $419 in fees. Business class will run 248,888 miles roundtrip plus the same fees.
You can fly from San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Vancouver to Manila nonstop. But you’re paying a big premium for that nonstop option since Delta and United get you there for 80,000 miles roundtrip without hundreds of dollars in fees.
In Business Class Delta and United which charge 140,000 – 160,000 miles roundtrip.
What flights can I take?
Award seats are plentiful on Philippine Airlines flights to and from the U.S., even in Business Class. We had luck finding seats to Manila just ahead of Christmas, and many dates in 2015 were wide open with several seats per flight.
That’s helped in part by the fact that you aren’t competing with frequent flier members of partner airlines for the seats, and that earning miles on the ground has been difficult until now. So there are fewer miles chasing seats on Philippine Airlines flights.
Here are their flights to Manila from North America:
San Francisco: 1-2 flights daily
Los Angeles: 1-2 flights daily
Vancouver: 1-2 flights daily
Toronto: 1 flight daily (via Vancouver)
How can I book awards?
Philippine Airlines books Business Class awards in ‘A’ class, while Economy ‘Standard’ awards are booked into ‘G’ class. Neither of these classes is visible online, so you’ll have to call Etihad directly to check availability. They require 14 days advance notice for booking awards.
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