Etihad And Qatar Non-U.S. Awards Are Back At

Early last month I flagged an issue where awards booked on the American Airlines website, for travel wholly outside North America on Etihad and Qatar, weren’t getting baggage allowances attached to tickets when they were issued. American took the step of removing the ability to book these awards from its website, though it remained possible to book them by phone.

Existing redemptions booked but not yet flown have been getting their tickets re-issued to include baggage in the endorsement section of the ticket.

Apparently the website challenge has been corrected, because American once again offers online booking for Etihad and Qatar awards where neither the origin nor destination touches North America.

American only just introduced online redemption of Etihad awards in May and it was a surprise to see at the time, since American has been in a political war with those two airlines, despite their partnerships, for the past four and a half years – and even terminated codeshares with both. I’m glad to see American continuing to invest in getting online redemption for Etihad and Qatar right.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Thanks for this. I still suspect that American will pull the plug on at least Etihad at some point, given the rivalries at issue. But this is a positive development for the time being.

    Happy holidays!

  2. Thanks for this @Gary. Good news for those of us plan travel from outside the US, e.g. UK to SE Asia where Qatar is a good option especially from BHX. Etihad less so since their network is not as extensive as Qatar’s or Emirates.

  3. I guess that’s why I got a “change” email from AA a few weeks ago though nothing appeared to have changed on my EY Apartment booking for February. Didn’t plan to have a checked bag but useful to know.

  4. @christian – those were never an issue, since baggage to/from the US is on a piece basis rather than weight basis didn’t have an issuing handling those

  5. Although Etihad flights are available again (which is great), I can’t find any availability for Etihad First class on any routes. Is anyone else noticing this too?

  6. Nevermind. Upon further searching, it appears that only one First class route is showing zero availability. Hopefully that changes soon.

  7. Etihad is cutting First on their routes and they burned me after I had already booked an award ticket on

    I never checked to verify the baggage issue.

    I booked SIN-AUH-LHR back in the summer and locked in my First seats 1A and 1H. Then a few weeks later I get a change from AA showing my seats 8A and 1H. Etihad changed aircraft on the SIN-AUH leg and downgraded me to business.

    AA said they would let me change to an available flight that has first but they were a week or more from my original booking.

    Plus I had already bought my own positioning flight from BKK to SIN just so I could get first, which wasn’t being offered from BKK to AUH at all.

    So, I won’t accuse them of a “bait and switch” scam but I’m quite unhappy I paid for first and was downgraded to business without apology and certainly no compensation.

    Separately, I see plenty of Qatar business availability on as well as first on Cathay. I’m holding out for Cathay first availability when next march opens up on and hope to lock in BKK-HKG-CDG return then.

  8. @Don, where are you finding plenty of Qatar business availability? I’ve seen zero QSuites for routing such as HND-DOH-LHR. Unless i’m doing something wrong. Please advise, thanx.

  9. Hi mo:

    I’m searching BKK-LHR on and still see plenty of QR Business as of this moment. I don’t know if they are QSuites or not.

    I did play with Tokyo-LHR a bit and saw some but not many. An while I didn’t check every one, I did see the HND-DOH leg was in Economy.

    So, at a glance, it appears the HND/NRT-DOH leg isn’t plentiful on QR. I’m sure the points pros who follow this blog can help you more in that department.

    That’s why I booked my trip from SIN vs. BKK – because EY doesn’t offer First from BKK. I could have done a multi-city booking BKK-SIN-DOH-LHR and paid extra aa points for the positioning flight BKK-SIN but instead I used some SQ points to book that leg separately.

    And as it turns out, I got involuntarily downgraded to business on the SIN-AUH leg, which I could have done from BKK in the first place, hence my disappoint with EY.

    So beware. I have read elsewhere that EY is cutting their First offerings.

  10. Best. News. Ever.

    At least recently.

    Whatever was really going on with this, (although Gary’s point above about US origins/destinations by piece may be the key; I had asked about any distinctions on FT once but no responses), the non-US point-to-point boycott of Eithiad and Qatar flights on AA’s Award Site was downright painful.

  11. It seems AA’s Australian call center can no longer see Etihad’s F award availability. Both Etihad’s site and ExpertFlyer show availability, and even AA’s site does, but AA’s site, NA call center and Australian call center are unable to actually book the flights because they cannot see the availability when it comes time to book.

    This is a troubling development.

  12. @Sean Corcorcoran – historically the Oz call center only sees the space when it rings to Fiji, not when it rings to Trinidad during off hours. You can also try the UK center.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *