Whilst Etihad is not part of one of the big 3 alliances, they have a number of codeshares and partnerships to give frequent flyers a range of options. One of these partners is American Airlines, giving Etihad Guest members the ability to redeem miles on AA flights.
As we’re based in Australia, we checked out the Southern Pacific section of the AA redemption table:
When comparing this to redemption options on other carriers (e.g. Qantas, Virgin Australia or Singapore Airlines), these prices seem phenomenal….if they were actually possible.
For instance, a SYD-LAX flight on Qantas Business Class would cost 96,000 Qantas Points, whilst if you were to travel on AA with Etihad Guest miles, the same journey would cost just 62,500 miles.
But there’s something very confusing about this table. Note the fare codes at the top, which Etihad explains as follows:
E – Economy
B/F – Business/ First
P – Premium
On an AA aircraft with 3 main classes (Economy, Business and First), how does this make sense? Are they charging the same rate for Business and First, or does “Premium” represent First Class? After contacting the Etihad Guest centre numerous times, I was only left more confused, as the agents had absolutely no clue what was going on. They did, however, explain that Etihad “don’t deal with the Premium award”. As such, where is the sense in this table?
Furthermore, it seems as though booking any of these tickets is incredibly difficult. Note the prices for fares between the South Pacific and Europe. Those are phenomenal, supposedly costing just 60,000 miles in Business, where Qantas would charge 128,000 miles. However, when asking the contact centre about making a booking here, they were unable to see any AA availability at all on routes between Sydney and London (as an example). The same held for most other routes that would theoretically be possible, based on the information provided in the table.
The main issues here:
What do the fare classes actually represent?
Why are many of these routes not actually bookable?
Why don’t the contact centre staff know anything about it?
Whilst the numbers in this table seem amazing, with incredible value to be gained, it appears as though the table is near-nonsense, as almost nothing it says can be followed. The fare classes don’t appear to logically align, and the majority of those depicted fares are not even bookable, not to mention the complete lack of knowledge held by the Etihad Guest staff.
Has anyone had any luck making these redemptions? If so, there is amazing value to be had.