Get 17,000 miles with the free Etihad credit card – worth it?

Etihad launched their UK credit card back in May. Even accounting for the fact that the card was free, the sign-up bonus was a little underwhelming – 5,000 Etihad Guest miles.

Etihad has now launched the first ‘open to all’ promotion. Until the end of October, you will earn 17,000 Etihad Guest miles when you sign-up.

Full details are here.

Etihad card

Here are the key facts:

The cards are a double pack of American Express and Visa

There is no annual fee

You earn 1.5 miles per £1 on the Amex and 0.75 miles per £1 on the Visa

The issuer is MBNA, so no churning – it is likely you won’t be able to get another bonus in the future on this card if you apply now

And the rules for this promotion:

You receive the standard 5,000 miles for spending £250 within 90 days

You receive an additional 12,000 miles for spending £1,500 within 90 days

All in all, the targets are very reasonable.

Of course, 17,000 Etihad Guest miles won’t get you too far. However, they are partners with American Express Membership Rewards, so you can top up your account via them at 1:1.

The Rocketmiles promotion I discussed yesterday can get you a further 4,000+ Etihad Guest miles with one hotel stay.

And, of course, they are partners with most major hotel programmes.

If you are starting from scratch, this promotion is probably best if you are a solo traveller:

A one-way Economy ticket to / from Abu Dhabi is 31,115 miles

Business is 44,245 miles

First is 55,396 miles

For comparison, BA would ask 20,000 / 40,000 / 60,000 Avios, with higher taxes.

Remember that Etihad has very nice First Class private suites:

Etihad 2

Some other points to think about:

Remember that Business Class and First Class redemptions come with free chauffeur transfers in Abu Dhabi (they will take you to Dubai if you want) and at 25 of their other outstations, including London.

Etihad does not charge fuel surcharges – the First Class ticket I booked from Dubai to Istanbul this week required just £13 to be paid

Etihad is a partner with airberlin, although the redemption rates are higher than you get with Avios, plus American and others

You can use American Airlines miles to book Etihad flights. If you got enough miles via this promotion for one ticket, you could potentially use any AA miles you have for another.

Etihad has PointsPay. If you can’t redeem for a flight, you can transfer them to a ‘virtual’ (or indeed physical) Visa card at the rate of 0.41p per mile. Not great, but you are effectively trading them for cash, making the sign-up bonus worth £70.

This clearly isn’t the card for everyone. Take a look at my original post again before applying. However, the required spend is not huge and the miles could be handy.

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. I’m tempted to start collecting with Etihad just to go in one of those private suites!

  2. Phillip says:

    As an aside, is the Emirates Skywards card with MBNA new? Or has it been there a while?

  3. Waribai says:

    You are flying your nanny in F? 🙂

    • As I said the other day … I was on the hook for a 40,000 Avios Club World BA ticket back from Dubai for her after our holiday, plus £200 of taxes. When she said she fancied a couple of days in Istanbul, it was saving me miles to switch her to Etihad (30,000 miles, so 25,000 Amex points with the transfer bonus) plus £13 tax, plus chauffeur so I don’t even pay for her taxi!

  4. James67 says:

    Just had a look at their route map. Unfortunately there does not seem to be any fifth freedim flights that might have offered sime possibilities. For those going eastwards might still be wort considering in conjunction with an Air Berlin flight from DUS or TXL on avios to cut down on APD and other costs

  5. Interesing points about the limo transfers for F/J redemptions and redeeming with AA miles.

    I have AA miles but no Etihad miles. Would I get the limo if redeeming with AA miles? (I’m prepared for a No, as with VS redemptions using VS miles, but would be very happy with a Yes.)

    • Yes you will.

      (You even get one on an airberlin flight to Abu Dhabi due to their Etihad partnership.)

      However, I think (via third hand reports) it is a fiddle to book because you can’t use Etihad’s online booking service.

      With an Etihad redemption, you get big print reminders in your confirmations saying click here to book!

      • Thanks.

        I’ve been wanting to try Etihad for a while. With no relevant business travel likely, this (AA miles) could be just the opportunity, even better if the limo works.

        • No fiddle to book. They say it is, but if you get the Etihad PNR number, it works on their site to assign seats and book limousine transfers.
          Flew EY F from DUS-AUH using purchased AA miles (cheaper than the Y fare was at the time) and it was fantastic. Superb service, great hard product, hard to fault really.

  6. Phillip says:

    Another interesting thing about Etihad Guest, is that you can redeem flights with Oman Air, who have an excellent longhaul business/first class product (but the chauffeur service is not available on redemption flights).

    • Thywillbedone says:

      Agreed – Oman’s long haul biz product is equal if not better than many first class offerings.

  7. I applied for this card just now and received decision in less than 5 seconds. Never seen an application going this quick 🙂

    Weird thing is that I did not get any application reference number in the final page. Any similar experiences ?

    • Phillip says:

      Yes, and the page even refreshed back to the MBNA homepage. There will be an email confirmation on its way over the next couple of days.

  8. The Phantom says:

    This is my first post as I am new to the site.
    Thank you for all the great hints and tips.

    I am considering apply for this card and have been told about the Emirates and Qatar credit cards.
    Has anyone compared all three to establish which has the best outcomes?
    I do however fancy the limo service

    • Qatar has no UK credit card, although you can transfer from the Starwood Amex into QMiles.

      Emirates has a UK credit card but has a very tough reward chart which requires more miles than most other airlines for the same route.

      Unless you have a specific redemption in mind and know the miles you need to earn, you are better off with a card like Amex Gold which lets you convert points into a variety of airlines (BA, Virgin, Etihad amongst others) as and when you need them.

      I would recommend clicking on Favourite Posts at the top and reading the 8 Avios Redemption University articles to get an overview of the BA Avios scheme as well, as it may turn out to be your best option when living in the UK.

  9. creampuff says:

    “Remember that Etihad has very nice First Class private suites”

    Still not private enough to bork your travel companion in one!

  10. I notice Etihad has family membership – do credit card bonus miles also get credited to the head of household – if so, we’re looking at 34,000 miles if I get one in my wife’s name as well.

    • Good question, don’t know. Quick look at the website implies it would work.

      • Phillip says:

        Yes it does. Any mileage earned by members automatically gets pooled to the head. And you can book flights for anyone, in or out of the family membership.

  11. Thanks for highlighting this. I’m kind of tempted to apply even though I’m unlikely to redeem the points towards a flight. From a quick glance you seem to be able to redeem points for a variety of items such as luggage and it looks like you could get about £80 worth of Crumpler bags, as an example, for the 17K points.

    Now I have just have to decide if I really need another CC spend target to hit…

  12. If you are thinking about collecting Etihad, here is a pential way to earn 10,000 personal and 10,000 business credit for free. You need to have a company to do give it a go. I applied last week and havent received the credit yet.

    Good luck

    “Would you like extra miles to put towards an upgrade for your personal travel as well as your business travel? Well, now you can with the latest offer from Etihad Airways’ company loyalty programme BusinessConnect.

    Follow these three easy steps to receive an extra 10,000 miles into your personal Etihad Guest account as well as receiving an additional 10,000 miles for your company’s new BusinessConnect account:

    1. Sign your company up to BusinessConnect via the individual who manages your company travel at
    2. Connect your Etihad Guest number and one other business traveller’s number to the BusinessConnect account via the website
    3. E-mail your Etihad Guest number & Company name to [email protected]

    Once these steps have all been successfully completed you and your company will receive an extra 10,000 miles each for free flights, upgrades or products for your personal travel as well as your business travel.

    Free flights and more at Etihad BusinessConnect.

    Terms and Conditions apply. Promotion is only valid if a new company has successfully been signed up to BusinessConnect and a minimum of two travellers have been connected from 22 September to 31 October 2013. For full terms and conditions regarding this offer, please visit:”

    • I have done this, if I get the miles I will write it up.

      My company account has been approved and my two travellers linked, albeit with no flights booked or taken. Now waiting to see if I get the 20k.

      The company 10k you can spend via PointsPay as cash, I think. I was able to link my company account to my personal PointsPay account.

  13. Brendan Sweeney says:

    Redeeming on AA seems like a good option, I think the USA is 20k miles each way. Have a few questions though if anyone can answer:
    1. AA allows a stopover in a gateway city for free on awards. Would this still apply redeeming through Etihad?
    2. Pricing an award with free stopover of DUB -> JFK -> SFO on AA gives taxes of only £35. Would redeeming through Etihad be similar or are there extra taxes? If so, any ideas how much? Thanks!

  14. Michael says:

    Anyone any joy on the business account feedback or miles being added yet ??

    • Got a post prepared for later this week. I have now been told by Etihad that all is good and I will get my 2 x 10,000 within 10 days of the Oct 31 closing date.

      • Michael says:

        Thanks Raffles…..I may push on and do this for my business and the wife’s. May as well try it x2.

        • Michael Christie says:


          if i setup another account under my wife’s company then try to link it wont allow me as says already connected to a business connect account – and to contact the callcentre…..

        • You could create the account, link it to a new Etihad account for a family member, and then put that family member into a household account. You would then benefit from their 10k.

  15. Michael Christie says:

    My old mother did cross my mind – wouldnt get the 10k for the wifes business but at least get the 10k for my mum

    cheers raffles