Have an upcoming trip to India? Why not travel in a premium cabin for free? In this post, we will explain how you can travel to India for free on Etihad Airways Business/First Class.
Advantages of choosing Etihad
- Etihad has one of the best hard product (flight, seat etc..). Business Class has fully lie flat seats and First class has closed suites. We have recently written a review about the First Class and Business Class out of San Francisco.
- If flexible, you can find as many as 6 award seats in Business Class.
- Etihad offers complimentary Chauffer service for Business and First class passengers even on award tickets
- Etihad has a modern fleet which includes some state of the art modern aircraft Boeing 787, Airbus A380
How to travel on Etihad Airways using Miles?
There are multiple frequent flyer programs you can use to book award tickets with Etihad
You can redeem AAdvantage miles for travel with Etihad Airways. You need
- 45,000 miles for a one way economy class ticket between USA & India
- 67,500 miles for a one way Business class ticket between USA & India
- 90,000 miles for a one way First class ticket between USA & India
You need to call 800-882-8880 to book the award ticket with Etihad. AAdvantage will let you hold the award for 5 days as long as the travel date is not within 14 days.
How can you earn AAdvantage miles?
There are several ways to earn AAdvantage miles and you can accumulate steadily for a future award ticket.
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Master Card : You can earn 50,000 bonus AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 or more in 3 months. Annual fee $95 – Waived for the first year
Citigold Checking account: Earn up to 30,000 AAdvantage miles for opening a new Citigold checking account. There is also a referral program – $100 bonus for every successful Citi gold referral – $30/month (Waived for the first 2 months)
American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit card: You can earn 25,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 or more with in 3 months. You can transfer Starpoints to AAdvantage at a 1:1 ratio and you also get 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 points transferred.
Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard : Earn 50,000 bonus AAdvantage miles after spending $5,000 or more in 3 months. $450 Annual fee – Not waived for the first year
Citi Business AAdvantage Platinum Select card: Earn 30,000 bonus AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 or more in 3 months. $95 Annual fee – Waived for the first year. Note that this is a business credit card and you should have an eligible business to be eligible for this card.
2. Etihad Guest:
The second option you may consider is to book Etihad award through its own frequent flyer program – Etihad Guest
Unlike American Airlines, Etihad uses a distance based award chart, so the amount of miles you need depend on the origin and destination. For ex: Miles needed from New York to Mumbai would be less than the miles needed from Los Angeles to Mumbai.
Here are few sample itineraries:
One-way Economy would be approximately 90,000 Etihad Guest miles
One-way Business class award would be approximately 130,000 Etihad Guest miles
One-Way First Class award would be approximately 150,000 Etihad Guest miles
How earn Etihad Guest miles?
Etihad Guest is a transfer partner with Citi ThankYou rewards. You can transfer Citi ThankYou points at 1:1 ratio to Etihad Guest program. You can only transfer if you have Citi ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card.
Citi ThankYou Premier: Earn 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $3,000 or more with in 3 months. Annual fee $95 – Waived for the first year
Citi Prestige: Earn 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $3,000 or more with in 3 months. Annual fee $450 – Not waived for the first year
Citi ThankYou Preferred: Earn 20,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,500 or more with in 3 months. You can transfer points earned from this card only if you have a Citi ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige
Points earned from Citi banking relationship cannot be transferred.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is a Star alliance member and is also a partner with Etihad Airways. You can redeem ANA Mileage Club miles for Etihad Award Tickets.
ANA Mileage Club does not allow one-way awards and imposes fuel surcharges on award tickets. Fuel Surcharges can be approximately $550 for a round trip economy award and approximately $1,000 for a round trip business class award.
However, you just need 70,000 ANA Mileage Club miles for a round trip economy class or 115,000 for a round trip business class between USA and India.
How earn ANA Mileage Club miles?
ANA Mileage Club is a transfer partner with Amex Membership Rewards program. You can transfer Membership Rewards earned from
You can also transfer Starpoints earned from American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit card at 1:1 ratio to ANA Mileage Club.
1. Finding award seats availability on Etihad Airways is explained in this post
2. Note that Starpoints can be transferred to all the 3 frequent flyer programs mentioned in this post. This explains the value of Starpoints.
3. If you do not have enough miles in 1 program, you can book one way with AAdvantage and the other way with Etihad Guest. ANA Mileage Club requires round trip bookings
You can get an award seat on Etihad Airways through several frequent flyer programs. In this post, we have only explained about using American Airlines AAdvantage , Etihad Guest and ANA Mileage Club miles. There are other Airline Partners that let you book awards with Etihad.
As you could notice, redeeming AAdvantage Miles for Etihad awards give you best value. AAdvantage does not add fuel surcharge and allows one way tickets for a reasonable mileage – 45,000 miles for a one way economy, 67,5000 for a one way business and 90,000 miles for a one way first class award.
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Editorial Note: Opinions, analysis and any calculations shown are authors alone. Information in this post is not reviewed, approved and endorsed by any airlines, frequent flyer programs or financial institutions