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How I made £3.80 out of useless Korean Air miles

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My wife took a domestic flight in Korea last week, on Korean Air.  Korean is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, but she does not have an active account with any SkyTeam airline.  It seemed that the – admittedly small number of – miles would be wasted.

I never like to admit defeat, though, so I set out to find any partnerships that Korean may have outside of SkyTeam,  And I found what I wanted – Etihad.

Etihad Guest is a good dumping ground for any miles you may accrue on obscure airlines.

The reason for this is that, via PointsPay, you can cash out the miles for 0.41p each on a Virtual Visa card.

You can find out more about PointsPay on the Etihad website here.  I also wrote about it last year.  You can very easily cash out your miles for a Virtual Visa card which – in my case – I immediately use to pay some money onto my Inland Revenue account.

You’re not going to make a huge amount of money with this, of course.  The Korean Air flight generated 930 Etihad Guest miles (which posted amazingly quickly) which gives us PointsPay credit of £3.80.  However, it is better taking £3.80 than a handful of pointless SkyTeam miles.

Here are the airline partners that allow you to earn Etihad Guest miles and therefore, via PointsPay, effectively take your airline miles as hard cash:

Etihad and Etihad Regional 

airberlin (oneworld)

Air New Zealand (Star Alliance)

Air Serbia (no alliance)

Air Seychelles (no alliance)

Alitalia (SkyTeam)

ANA (Star Alliance)

American Airlines (oneworld)

Asiana Airlines (Star Alliance)

Bangkok Airways (no alliance)

Brussels Airline (Star Alliance)

Czech Airlines (SkyTeam)

Garuda Indonesia (SkyTeam)

Hainan Airlines (no alliance)

Jet Airways (no alliance)

Korean Air (SkyTeam)

Malaysia Airlines (oneworld)

Oman Air (no alliance)

Royal Air Maroc (no alliance)

SriLankan Airlines (oneworld from May)

Ukranian International Airlines (no alliance)

Virgin Australia (no alliance)

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (February 2024)

Etihad Guest does not have a UK credit card.  However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (15)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • tony says:

    Might be worth pointing out that there does now appear to be a sensible family account option in SkyTeam, in the shape of AeroMexico.

    I’ll be putting it to the test shortly!

    • Rob says:

      Interesting, thanks Tony. Can you let me know afterwards how easy it was to set up and then redeem? I can then write something.

  • Ian says:

    On a similar thread, I’ve been looking through my accounts and have found some “useless”miles and wondered if there’s a way they could be “useful”.
    I’ve got 3500 Delta miles, 1201 United and 1500 Southwest. I appreciate these were from one trip stateside and a very low amounts but I am very unlikely to add to the totals.

    Any ideas?

    • Mr Bridge says:

      I too have ‘useless miles’, 7772 asia miles and 12212 thai royal orchid, any ideas on these?

      • John says:

        Asia miles can be converted to several other things via
        Thai, I would try to get a few more and then use for the lowest redemption level
        1201 United are basically useless, unless like me you can be bothered to add 2000 e-rewards every 3 months until 12500 for the lowest redemption 🙁

        • Rob says:

          I did a big article on recently – do a search in the search box. It tells you how to use it without being legged over!

      • Rob says:

        12,000 Thai is a lot – how much is a one way on Lufty, Swiss, Austrian or LOT inside Europe?

        • Mr Bridge says:

          actually, turns out have 15k, but cant make a booking on thai website, how do i use with austrian?

          • Mr Bridge says:

            thai redemption is 20k each way to europe to europe so thats no go.

            15k Thai miles x2 as my partner has the same, and they can not be combined 9 no family acc exists)

          • xcalx says:

            15,000 is good for 1 return in economy within Thailand. Over £200 value on the pricey Bangkok Ko Samui hop.

            I have 90 Bangkok Airways points, 30 of which expire 31st December 2014. 100 points is the requirement for a Thailand OW flight . Unluckily I am planning Koh Samui for Jan/Feb

            We could do with a swop shop here on Head for points. Ha

    • Rob says:

      Some US sites have hotel and car booking portals where you can book a room and partpay using whatever balance you have. They will go through as third party bookings so no points or status benefits though.

  • Roger says:

    Checking the Etihad website, I see that FlyBe is an ‘earn miles’ partner, though only redemption rates are shown.

    There’s a huge number of codeshare partners – – but I’m assuming that only Etihad flight numbers qualify for credit.

    Thanks for pointing out this opportunity. I’d never have dreamed of directing non-alliance flights this way.

  • Adam says:

    I’ve got about 17,000 enrich miles with MH, that I put in the account 1 month before it became part of Oneworld. I’m not sure how to / if it’s possible to use these for flights in Europe with BA / Air Berlin. The members area is very clunky and customer service (pre disappearing plane, so i imagine there is no chance now) was virtually not existent.

    Does anyone have any ideas?

  • Lloyd says:

    This is the issue for a lot of people, redundant points that will just get wiped away. I have 5,107 Asia Miles and about 10,000 Aeroflot bonus plan. Ideally I’d like to convert into whatever i can get avios wise but suspect there is no way to do this!

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