American Removes Etihad From Partner Airline Page: The End Of Redeeming Miles Coming?

When American Airlines announced their renewed partnership with Qatar Airways – re-introducing codesharing, which they terminated in 2017, and potentially flying to Doha – I speculated that this might mean an end to American’s partnership with Etihad. After all,

  • Etihad and Qatar are rivals, the U.A.E. (along with Saudi Arabia) are enforcing a blockade against Qatar
  • American doesn’t really need both airlines for access to India, Pakistan, and North Africa
  • American isn’t re-instating codesharing with Etihad, which was ended at the same time
  • Etihad has been retrenching. They offer far less U.S. service (in part as a result of the end of American Airlines codeshares, though also because of attempts to stem their own financial losses).


Etihad A380 First Class Cabin

American and Etihad weren’t that close to begin with. Etihad isn’t a member of oneworld and flights have earned redeemable miles but not elite qualifying miles. There have been road blocks to redeeming AAdvantage miles on Etihad (see this trick).

One Mile At A Time points out that Etihad has been removed from the list of American Airlines partners, though the partnership page itself still exists.

Changes often appear on websites prematurely – someone mocks up the page based on a decision that’s been made, and the switch gets flipped too early. That happened to American when they revealed a change to Executive Platinum status qualification, increasing the segments required to earn status from 100 to 120. They denied the change listed at aa.com though of course eventually that’s exactly what happened.


Etihad A380 First Apartment

If you have plans to redeem American AAdvantage miles for travel on Etihad, doing so sooner than later makes sense. Losing Etihad redemptions would be a real blow to the value of the AAdvantage program.

Even if American ends its partnership with Etihad, you’ll still be able to redeem Etihad flights using partner miles and Etihad’s own program is a transfer partner of American Express, Citibank, and Capital One.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. SO Gary, is this the start of realignments within the various alliances? Of course those of us within the Alaska Airlines eco system are paying closer attention especially when it comes to EK which has been a great addition to AS partners.

  2. Gary, I am unable to find any award space on EY using AA’s flight search page.
    Does it mean booking EY flights with AA miles is already dead?

  3. @JL – EY still appears and is still bookable on aa.com (examples in comments on linked OMAAT page). For how much longer who knows….

  4. Etihad awards are still bookable. AA says the Etihad partnership isn’t over, and Etihad was removed from the partners page in error. As I suggested in the post we don’t know whether that means Etihad will remain a partner into the future, or if the website change was simply premature.

  5. How do I know aa won’t cancel a trip I book? After all, their program says they can do whatever the ef they want.

  6. Hi, Just opened the AA partner page and Etihad is back on there, under “Other airline partners.”

  7. I called AA’s Australian office to book Etihad’s First Apartment today for any date Nov. 2020 – Jan. 2021 (AIH-JFK). While Etihad shows good GuestFirst availability on multiple dates, AA can only see economy. Not good.

  8. @Gary – That would be amazing. It was 10am PST on Saturday. I’ll HUCA A few times over the next few days. Thanks!

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