Amazing AAdvantage Premium Cabin Award Space to Middle East and Indian Subcontinent Returns!

Lots of folks reached out yesterday to let me know that Etihad awards are now bookable again with American AAdvantage miles.

For instance I was pointed to this Traveling Better thread and @matthewsar tweeted me:

Over the past month American has had technical problems booking Etihad award space and some folks even saw black helicopters about the end of American-Etihad partnership which I contended made no sense (at least that the technical glitch wouldn’t have been indicative of that, although I have no inside information about the two airlines’ happiness with the relationship).

Some folks may consider this minor news. I see it as a big deal. Although American’s award routing rules can be restrictive especially through the Middle East (with the exception of some Qatar routings), Etihad offers some of the most generous award space in the world.

American is the only US frequent flyer partner they have, and AAdvantage awards on Etihad aren’t bookable online. That means there’s little competition for the space.

They’re fantastic for travel to the Middle East, to India, and to nearby places like the Maldives.

Etihad’s North American gateways are New York JFK, Washington Dulles, Toronto, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles. (Chicago and Toronto flights do not offer first class.)

I’ve flown Etihad first class:

I confirmed that Etihad’s flights are again bookable by AAdvantage, I had no problem and did not receive any skepticism or pushback from the agent.

Don’t go trying to mess with my reservation, I’ve cancelled it prior to posting.

Now to book that fourth trip to the Maldives…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Etihad is launching San Francisco – Abu Dhabi service in November. That flight will initially be serviced by a Jet Airways 777. The UAE airline will serve San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, New York JFK, and Toronto from North America (Toronto and Chicago flights do not offer a first class cabin). In my experience availability is outstanding. […]


  1. Do you have to call in to book? Also, rather leave from Los Angeles but which city will give me a better chance to score a first class ticket to India or Columbo?

  2. Gary
    Is is confirmed that US Barclays Cards will not get 10k PQMs as a benefit next year for 25k spend?

  3. Fourth trip to the Maldives? Really? There are so many other places to go…Why not venture out and try something different, like a safari, river cruise, arctic circle cruise, climb a mountain? I could go on and on….

  4. How reliable does Etihad open award space when schedule opens up? I don’t see much space for AUH-JFK next May.

  5. Gary,

    What does J award level look like LAX-DEL on Etihad? How many miles is that and can you use USAIR to book it or only AA?

  6. @michael – US Airways is not a partner of Etihad, only American is. A first class award is 90k each way.. what class were you asking about? (It’s just the price on the award chart North America – Indian Subcontinent).

  7. Thank you for the heads-up Gary. Would you please tell me if you can pick your seat on the Etihad website after AA confirms the ticket? Or do you need to call Etihad customer service? I tried to use the manage bookings link through Etihad but it’s not accepting the locator number.

  8. Lauren you need to get the Etihad confirmation number from American and then it should work. The AA confirmation will not work on the Etihad site.

  9. Gary how does one determine all the world-wide flights on Etihad that feature first class? What is the cost in miles for 1st on Etihad USA-Middle East-SE Asia?

  10. @mike – US – Asia with American miles does not permit a connection in the Middle East so you pay the cost of US – Middle East PLUS Middle East – Asia. Most Asia flights don’t feature a first class cabin.

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