Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Citi ThankYou is offering a 25% bonus on points transfers you make to its partner Etihad Guest until May 15, 2015. Holders of Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige Cards, and Citi Chairmans cards in the U.S. are eligible to transfer to Etihad Guest.
That’s helpful if you want to try out Etihad, which has some decent prices for Business and First Class on its own flights.
But you can also find Etihad Guest useful for flights on American Airlines.
That’s because Etihad lets you use Etihad Guest Miles for the same prices that American AAdvantage charges its own members.
So for example…
You can even redeem at the special off-peak rates AAdvantage offers.
So if you transfer ThankYou points with a 25% bonus, it’s like getting 20% off the usual mile prices for American flights.
Here’s a rundown of how many ThankYou points you’ll need:
All prices above are round-trip, but it’s okay to book one way flights for half the price, and you can view the full award chart here.
What’s the catch?
Booking partner awards with Etihad Guest miles is a little cumbersome. You have to call them on 1 888 8 ETIHAD to process awards and do it at least 14 days in advance of your flight. But the agents are friendly, though not the most informed, so you’re best to go in armed with flights that show availability at the MileSAAver level on AA.com.
And you can’t mix and match airlines, so all of your travel must be on American Airlines for the direction of your journey.
There is no fee to cancel Etihad reward redemptions – just a 2,000 mile deduction.
You can change dates once for free, after that it’s 200 AED (which works out to about $50 USD) – so after the first date change you’re better off refunding for a 2,000 mile penalty.
Is this better than 1.6 cents per point on American flights?
If you have a Citi Prestige card you can use your ThankYou points to book any American or US Airways flight at the rate of 1.6 cents per point.
So a $300 flight costs 18,750 points.
To get a sense of whether that will cost you fewer points than transferring to Etihad Guest for American Airlines flights, here is a chart with the break even airfare prices:
Basically, this is a really good deal if you plan to fly in Business Class on American Airlines flights and can find dates that have award availability.
For Economy Class flights it can be a good deal if you’re traveling internationally, but keep in mind if you book directly via Citi ThankYou you earn full AAdvantage miles as if you paid for your ticket in cash, which makes the breakeven point even higher, especially for borderline Economy fares.
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