Every mileage currency has some sweet spots and "Etihad guest miles" are no exception. Ideally folks would not want to collect the "Etihad guest miles" but knowing where the value lies you might be able to decide if it's worth having them for specific redemption. As of starter if you are based in USA you can transfer Citi ThankYou Points or SPG Points in "Etihad guest miles" program at 1:1 ratio. In fact as with other partner airlines transferring SPG points in 20,000 increment will fetch 25,000 miles so your ratio could be as good as 1:1.25.
The focus of the post is to list the Etihad guest airline partners and how to get value out of your Etihad guest miles. First of all let me list the airline partners for redemption: You can click "know more" on each of the partners on this link to see redemption details.
Preferred Airline Partners:
As you can see that's a pretty long list. Also mind you each partner has their own redemption chart, so it might take you some time to wade through the redemption tables for each one of them, but in general below are the rules of award redemption for partner airlines (Mind you that these are general rules for all airlines and there might be additional rules specific to given airline partner):
Award Redemption Rules (general):
How to book partner airline award redemption?
Unfortunately you cannot do partner award redemption online. You need to call Etihad guest support on +1888 8 ETIHAD or 877 690 0767 and luckily they are open 24 hours. It would also be prudent to verify if the award you are looking for is available (usually saver level awards is what Etihad can book) by checking on the partners web site or paid tools like Expert Flyer or KVS.
How many miles does Etihad charge?
Most of the partner redemption chart are distance based (except few airlines including American Airlines). That means short distance flights which are otherwise expensive can give you best buck for your miles. That being said, below are few examples airlines, redemption on which could be a good value:
Jet Airways Award redemption for International or Domestic Travel:
You could book one-way from Colombo (CMB) in to Chennai (MAA) in Coach for just 3103 Etihad guest miles and with NO Colombo Sales City tax of ~$60. The same would cost 4500 British Avios with additional $60 if redeemed on SriLankan Airlines.
Garuda Indonesia redemption for short distances:
For e.g. you can book Bali (DPS) to Surabaya (SUB) flight for only 5000 Etihad guest miles.
American Airlines for North America to South America (Zone 1):
You can redeem 17.5k Etihad guest miles for travel from North America to South America (Zone 1) one way in coach.
As you can see from some examples there are definitely some value to be had with Etihad partner redemption if you do not mind calling their redemption center. So, there are definite sweet spots that can be utilized using Etihad guest miles.
Ever wondered, which airline flies which route and what are the flight options for the given city? Would that not be much easier if there was single source or page listing all the flights departing a airport? or showing flight details between two city pair?. Although no single website exists which could satisfy this needs there are several resources which could help you find that info. Below are some of the useful websites which can help you get that info, which would help you finalize that missing puzzle of your successful award or revenue travel.
Currently in beta flightconnections will help you find what are the "destinations" served from the airport of your desire and if you key in source/destination pair the available airline/flight options between those two airport/city pair. Of-course you could click on one of those airlines and go to one of their "affiliate" booking web-page, but at least you get the info you need.
Open Flights is like a wikipedia of flights. As it is open-source it is maintained by community of volunteers, and thus would have good info albeit some of the info might be wrong. The interesting part is you could view or list flights from a given "airport" or "city" and the data could be either seen as a map or read as a list. You can even sort the data as well as filter per the "airlines". As seen from below snapshots!
This tool would be useful if you know the source and destination as well as the dates of your travel and want to know all the available flight options. So, although limited compared to open flights or flightconnection it is still useful as it can quickly list all the options on various airlines as can be seen from below search.
This website requires a little more info before spitting out the route-map but it is useful if you are looking for a route map by "region" or "airline". You could plug in your short-listing criteria and get set of route-maps which are available. You can see a simple search for American Airlines below yields links to various route maps by region as well detailed info on the "hubs".
Airline Route Mapper
Airline route mapper is another tool which was created by flyertalk member cockpitvisit. You need to download this tool but it does list a fairly comprehensive and updated route map. So, if you are one of those who do lot of search and do not mind installing this tool on your laptop/desktop then this is for you.
Apart from above there is a route map (which might be a little limited in its usage but still useful) for One World Alliance routes which can be found here and Star Alliance routes which can be found here.
If you ever thought about getting the retroactive miles/points credit for any of your past trip, the first most important thing you need is the "boarding pass". Most of the time we do not care about keeping the boarding pass once we board the aircraft. But most often you could still get those miles for your air travel if you have your boarding pass. One of the best way is to take a "picture" of the boarding pass so that you still have proof of boarding the aircraft in case you need it at a later date. In fact sometimes the airlines miles/points might not post even though you might have entered your Frequent Flyer (FF) number. In such situations as well you might need to have the boarding pass from the trip to email/fax the customer support.
The other important aspect of air travel is to know what "fare bucket" your travel was booked into. For commoners all we know are the "classes" such as Economy, Business and First. But there are many fare buckets from which your ticket might originate and those determine how much "miles credit" you get for your trip. Fare bucket information is usually displayed on your itinerary right beside the the "class" information. This is important to know as it would "save you hassle" of contacting the airlines if you know before hand (by looking at airlines website) if your "fare bucket" earns any miles or not.
So, once you have above two pieces of information and provided the airline you flew allows retroactive miles credit (which most airlines do), you can earn the miles for the trip you took in the past. Ideally airlines have partners or belong to alliance so you could potentially credit your miles to those partners or alliance airline provided you enter that airline Frequent Flyer number in your reservation (This could be done online or by calling the airline you are flying). But, when you do not enter this info before taking your flight and would be doing retroactive credit majority of airlines will only allow you to credit the miles to their "own frequent flyer program".
Below is the information regarding the time frame you can get retroactive credit for your flights. Before you "contact the airlines", you would need to create the Frequent Flyer account in their program if you do not have one. I have listed only few airlines here, but you should be able to easily look up this information on the airlines website:
So the next time you travel, make sure you enter your Frequent Flyer number in your reservation record (can be done after booking your reservation) and always "keep your boarding pass" to ensure "airline mileage credit".
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