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).
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.