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Great Etihad Biz / First award space opportunities – use AA and Amex points

by on Thu December 8, 2016 • 5 Comments


If you’re sitting on American AAdvantage miles, and are hoping to use them for a big long haul international trip, you know how frustrating it can be, especially if you’re trying to go to Europe.

But if India or the Middle East is in your plans, there are some great opportunities with Etihad Airways flights. And if you have the right points, Africa is a great deal too.

Etihad serves the U.S. from New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, with flights to its hub in Abu Dhabi, and connections to dozens of destinations from there.

And while finding award space on its flagship A380 routes from New York is tough, and Los Angeles is also difficult, Dallas and San Francisco have some consistently great availability next year in Business and First Class on Etihad’s standard 777 aircraft, which have all aisle access seats in Business Class.

Here’s space from Dallas to Abu Dhabi in March, as shown on ExpertFlyer…

Most days have at least 9 award seats in Business Class, and some in First Class…


June looks good…


And so does August


San Francisco also has surprising availability on one of the longest routes Etihad flies. While it’s not daily service, you’ll find good space in July…


And September…


Using AA miles you can fly to the Middle East or India for a reasonable 70,000 miles one way in Business Class, or an eye popping 115,000 miles one way in First Class. The downside is AA doesn’t let you use Etihad to get to Africa unless you pay for two separate awards (one from the U.S. to Abu Dhabi, and another from Abu Dhabi to Africa).

You don’t want to use Etihad’s own miles for this, even though Etihad is a transfer partner of both Amex and Citi. The San Francisco – Abu Dhabi flight costs 110,000 miles one way just for Business Class.


But if you have Amex points, the way to play this is to transfer to ANA Mileage Club.

With ANA, you can fly to Africa or the Middle East / India for just 104,000 miles roundtrip in Business Class.


With Africa such a hard to reach destination with miles at reasonable prices, this is a great deal worth planning for.

Searching for Etihad space is easiest with an ExpertFlyer subscription, but you can also interpret the results from the Etihad Guest website without logging in. What’s available as ‘Guest’ award space should be bookable by partners like American AAdvantage and ANA Mileage Club.


The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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5 thoughts on Great Etihad Biz / First award space opportunities – use AA and Amex points

  1. EXIA12126

    If Africa’s your goal, there is an even cheaper way to get there in J, ironically using Etihad miles.

    If you use Etihad’s partnership with Brussels Airlines, you can essentially do a variation of the below for as little as ~ 70,0000 RT.

    JFK – BRU: 36620
    BRU – NBO: 40790

    I use the above because I assume most people who want to go to Africa on this board are doing so for leisure, and NBO would be the natural hopping off point for an East Africa Safari (although Entebbe or Rwanda could be viable options if you’re thinking of a gorilla trek). In reality, there is a good range of BRU – Africa destinations and although Etihad availability doesn’t match up exactly with what you can see on United, the BRU – Africa legs show what look to be wide open availability.


      @Diamond – Etihad doesn’t file fuel surcharges – just the modest award charge it imposes when you use its own miles.

    2. Ryan

      Just actually booked Etihad using ANA last month from DFW-AUH-SEZ on the outbound and JNB-AUH-DFW inbound. I believe taxes and fees came out to ~$140 per person.


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