Great Opportunity: 20% Bonus Transferring Amex, Citi or Hotel Points to Etihad Guest

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This summer I wrote about outstanding first class award availability on Etihad and walked through the routes between the US and Abu Dhabi that had award space for at least 2 passengers.

Etihad is one of the top airlines in the world for passenger experience. They offer a great connecting point in Abu Dhabi for travel to India and the surrounding region. I’ve used them to travel there as well as to the Maldives and also back from Sri Lanka.

You can redeem American AAdvantage miles for travel on Etihad or you can redeem Etihad miles directly. American Express, Starwood, and Citibank points all transfer to Etihad.

Etihad has the world’s best first class on their Airbus A380 — the First Apartment. Their ‘regular’ first class is a fully enclosed suite, and arguably one of the world’s 5 best first class products though unquestionably top 10.

Transfer Bonuses into Etihad Guest

You can transfer points from several programs to Etihad Guest with a 20% bonus through October 31. The offer is coming from Etihad rather than partners, so you don’t see it listed on partner websites.

Here are the programs you can transfer to.

The best opportunities are transferring American Express, Citibank, and Starwood points in my opinion.

Transferring Citi ThankYou Rewards points makes great sense. Etihad is already one of the best Citibank transfer partners. I use my Citi Prestige Card a great deal, and am racking points up quickly.

There have been bigger bonuses for transferring to Etihad, for instance over the summer Etihad ran a 25% transfer bonus but excluded US American Express Membership Rewards transfers. American Express Membership Rewards ran a 30% bonus on transfers to Etihad Guest in the spring.

Unique Features of Etihad Guest

  • Etihad offers award holds. Not every agent will offer them, but many agents will, for up to a week. You may have to hang up and call back or try another call center to get it.

  • Etihad has some strong value partner awards. American Airlines awards cost the same number of points that AAdvantage used to charge their own members before the March 22 devaluation, for instance.

The rules for each partner vary, including whether or not there are fuel surcharges collected on redemptions.

Partner Redemptions are Really Unique

The redemption chart for travel on Brussels Airlines is really quite amazing. All prices are roundtrip, they do not offer one-way redemptions on Brussels Airlines.

Etihad only charges 10% of an award’s miles for a lap infant on Brussels Airlines. Many airlines, especially US airlines, charge 10% of the paid fare for a lap infant on an international award ticket. An award for a trip that would have cost $9,000 would yield an infant fare of $900 plus tax!

Short-haul roundtrips are absurdly cheap:

Even their longest flights, for instance here are a few Africa roundtrips, are very cheap.

Brussels – Kigali, Rwanda is less than 40,000 miles roundtrip in business class, and that’s just shy of 4000 miles of flying in each direction.

Brussels – New York JFK is an exceptional value:

  • 21,972 miles roundtrip in economy
  • 36,620 miles roundtrip in business class

You can search for Brussels Airlines award space using a Star Alliance frequent flyer program website like Aeroplan.com and then call Etihad Guest to book. You may need to hang up and call back a couple of times to get an Etihad Guest agent well versed in partner award bookings (the Reddit thread talks about ringing up the call center in Manchester, UK for this which is 44 0345 6081225). And note that you can only book award flights that are on their redemption chart. Washington Dulles – Brussels isn’t on the chart, so you cannot book it.

You think that’s good? How about booking American Airlines awards at the ‘old’ pre-devaluation pricing using your American Express or Citibank points? The Etihad Guest redemption chart for travel on American Airlines is fantastic.

Here’s one-way pricing between North America and other regions:

  • First class between the US and Europe is still 62,500 miles each way. If you find a first class seats to London and back that’ll save you 45,000 miles on a roundtrip.

  • First class between the US and ‘Asia 1’ is still 62,500 miles each way. If you find a first class seats to Tokyo and back that’ll save you 35,000 miles on a roundtrip.

  • First class between the US and ‘Asia 2’ is still 67,500 miles each way. If you find a first class seats to Hong Kong and back that’ll save you 85,000 miles on a roundtrip.

  • First class between the US and Australia is still 72,500 miles each way. If you find a first class seats to Sydney and back that’ll save you 75,000 miles on a roundtrip.

Off-peak economy travel dates are also still super-generous.

Etihad of course has a wide variety of airline partners, each with its own chart, and some charts are more lucrative than others.

Transfer Promotion Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions for 20% transfer bonus:

  • The offer is valid for all Points to Miles conversions made between 1 October and 31 October 2016 both days inclusive.
  • All participating points conversion partners: Accor Hotels, ADCB, Radisson Blu, Citibank, Emirates Islamic Bank, Heathrow Rewards, Hilton Honors, AMEX US & KSA*, Hyatt, IHG, Joyalukkas, Marriott Rewards, NBAD, Shangri-La, Starwood StarPoints and Boubyan Bank.
  • Non participation points conversion partners: American Express Membership Rewards (All regions except AMEX US & KSA*), Etisalat Rewards, and Flybuys Rewards are excluded from this promotion.
  • Once the Miles transfer request in initiated it cannot be reversed.
  • This offer is subject to the Terms & Conditions of the Etihad Guest Programme.
  • A valid Etihad Guest membership number is required to successfully perform the conversion.
  • The Etihad Guest member will be responsible for quoting the correct Etihad Guest membership number to the participating conversion partners for the conversion activity.
  • Terms and conditions governing the existing Conversion partners will apply.
  • The promotion is applicable for any member who converts their points from a qualifying Partner loyalty programme to Etihad Guest Miles. The eligibility of the bonus miles for a specific member will be done based on the validity of the promotion and the date of conversion provided by the partner for that respective member.
  • Base Etihad Guest Miles converted by the member will be awarded as per the applicable conversion ratios of each respective partner.
  • Bonus Etihad Guest Miles earned during this promotion will reflect in the member’s Etihad Guest membership account within 15 days of the end date of the promotion.
  • If an Etihad Guest member holds credit cards and/or Hotel loyalty programme cards of different banks and hotels and converts the rewards points to Etihad Guest Miles under this promotion, then the number of Bonus Guest Miles he/she will earn will reflect separately in the members account for each partner.
  • The above promotion construct is valid only for the all Points Conversion Partners which fall under the Points Conversion programme and governed by the conversion ratios and minimum thresholds applicable for these respective partners.
  • Bonus Etihad Guest Miles will not be calculated on retroactive basis under any circumstances i.e. credit card/ hotel reward points converted to Etihad Guest Miles and posted into the membership account during the promotion period but for which the conversion request was placed outside the promotion period will not qualify for the bonus miles promotion.
  • Etihad Guest reserves the right to withdraw or cancel the promotion or modify or alter the terms and conditions of such promotion at any time.
  • Participation under this promotion is purely voluntary for the members.
  • The decision of Etihad Guest will be final and binding under this promotion and no disputes will be entertained in this regard.
  • This offer cannot be clubbed with any other conversion offer.

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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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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Comments

  1. Gary, is it possible to book jfk to hkg with a layover in icn using american airlines awards?

  2. @steven k – a layover or a stopover? if a stopover it would be 2 awards (jfk to seoul, either via DFW on American’s flight or via Tokyo most likely, and then seoul – hong kong presumably on cathay)

  3. Have been trying to book a return award on any OW carrier from BOM to LAX but the Indian Service Charge on OB ranges from $250 to $493 for J seats.Lowest on EY.This bonus on transfers to EY would be great. Any suggestted work arounds which would not create 2 awards? Thanks for any help.

  4. I don’t have an Etihad account. Opening one and then transferring g points is ok?. I know some programs don’t like this and freeze accounts for doing it. Any experience?

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