Etihad Airways has joined the likes of American Airlines, Alaska, United, Avianca and Starwood in selling Miles for their frequent flyer program, Etihad Guest.
In this guide, we outline what you can use Etihad Guest miles for, how much they cost to buy, how to make a purchase, and why you should only ever buy 75% of the Etihad Guest miles you need for an Etihad flight redemption.
To get the basics down, you may want to have a read of our guide to why and when you should buy points.
What can I use Etihad Guest miles for?
Virgin Australia flights
Redeeming your Etihad Guest Miles for travel on Virgin Australia is often a low fuel surcharge option for domestic flights within Australia, but note that the booking process isn’t straightforward, requiring a phone call.
You’ll see in the table later on that it generally makes more sense to buy Economy tickets on Virgin Australia with cash and Business and Premium Economy Class tickets with miles.
However, if you’ve got access to both points currencies, it’s worth comparing Etihad Guest miles vs Velocity Points for your next Virgin Australia flight redemption.
For some inspiration for your next trip, read Point Hacks contributor Jason’s story of how he used Etihad Guest miles transferred from flybuys to travel across the country in Business Class for the cost of an Economy flight.
Etihad Guest miles can, of course, be used on Etihad flights and, again, it’s the premium cabins that you’ll get the most value out of.
Etihad A380 Business Class overview
Etihad A380 First Apartment overview
Other airline partners
Etihad Guest miles can also be redeemed for travel on 27 airline partners, including airberlin, American Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Hainan Airlines.
How much do the miles cost?
Miles can be bought for a cost of $20 USD per 1000 miles.
That gives a base value of 2 USD cents per mile, which is above our valuation of Etihad Guest miles at 1.7 cents (and that valuation is in AUD – the USD equivalent would be 1.26 USD cents at today’s exchange rate).
You can see in the table below that using miles instead of cash to book a flight makes sense in most cases, except for the ones in bold.
The sweet spot in this table is Virgin Australia Business Class redemptions priced at 13,800 Etihad Guest miles and you can access the full list of those routes here.
|Route||Cabin||Airline||Etihad Guest miles required||Cost buying miles (USD)*||Average cash fare (USD)|
|Canberra - Sydney/Melbourne||Economy||Virgin Australia||6900||$138||$75|
|Perth - Adelaide/Melbourne||Economy||Virgin Australia||10900||$218||$130|
|Cairns - Sydney||Business||Virgin Australia||13800||$276||$630|
|Sydney - Queenstown||Business||Virgin Australia||13800||$276||$660|
|Hobart - Brisbane||Business||Virgin Australia||13800||$276||$600|
|Brisbane - Port Vila||Business||Virgin Australia||21800||$436||$510|
|Melbourne - Nadi||Business||Virgin Australia||33800||$676||$580|
|Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane - Los Angeles||Premium Economy||Virgin Australia||90000||$1800||$2200|
|Melbourne - Paris||Business||Etihad||156367||$3127.34||$4500|
|Perth - New York||Business||Etihad||179062||$3581.24||$4500|
|Sydney - London||First Apartment||Etihad||216513||$4330.26||$7500|
|Sydney - Abu Dhabi||The Residence||Etihad||2194979||$43899.58||$26300|
*All redemption prices are in USD, one-way, and do not include booking fees, taxes and other charges
Another way to make your Etihad points stretch further – at least when booking online – is to use the option to pay in part miles and part cash, meaning you can ‘buy’ miles for as low as 0.9 USD cents each, which is much better value than buying them outright at 2 USD cents a pop.
But that’s only if you already have at least 75% of the required miles for the redemption and it’s only for Etihad-operated flights.
How can I buy miles?
You can buy Etihad Guest miles through this link.
Before you do so, here are a couple of important notes:
- You can buy a maximum of 60,000 miles per transaction and 100,000 in a calendar year
- Points post within 24 hours
- Points purchases are managed by points.com, meaning this won’t qualify as a travel purchase for credit cards with bonus points categories
How else can I get Etihad Guest miles?
Earning Etihad Guest miles is pretty straightforward, with program partnerships with flybuys, American Express Membership Rewards and Citi Rewards (for Citi Prestige Visa cardholders only).
The Amex Explorer’s sign-up bonus transfers to 75,000 Etihad Guest miles:
Find out more →
ends 15 May
For now, my take is that it isn’t worth buying Etihad Guest miles speculatively.
However, if you are looking using cash for a Business Class seat on a domestic or Trans-Tasman Virgin Australia flight, it is probable that you can save money by exploring this route.
This buy miles option can also be useful when needing to top up for a specific redemption but if you already have 75% of the required miles, then make sure to use the part-miles, part-cash trick to buy the miles more cheaply.
It is possible that we see Etihad Guest launch promotions with bonus points or discounts for buying miles, in which case we will update this guide and the attractiveness of this option will increase.
This post first appeared on Point Hacks - The Best Frequent Flyer Deals & Offers In Australia., please read the originial post: here