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20% bonus on Amex and hotel point transfers into Etihad Guest

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Etihad Guest has launched a 20% bonus on points you transfer in to their scheme. They ran this promotion last year but this year it is bigger and better with more partners involved.

You can find full details on the Etihad website here.

Etihad First Class suite

Relevant partners for UK readers are:

American Express Membership Rewards
HSBC Premier
Club Carlson
Hilton HHonors
Hyatt Gold Passport
IHG Rewards Club
Le Club Accorhotels
Shangri-La Golden Circle

The bonus also applies to Mobily, CitiMiles, Emirates Islamic Bank and Etisalat Rewards transfers.

Starwood Preferred Guest is the obvious ‘missing’ partner, perhaps because they offer their own year-round 25% bonus when you transfer points to Etihad, or any other airline, in chunks of 20,000. Marriott Rewards is also missing.

Remember that Etihad has PointsPay. You can transfer your miles to a ‘virtual’ (or indeed physical) Visa card at the rate of 0.41p per mile. With the 20% bonus, this effectively means you are getting just under 0.5p per Etihad mile at the original conversion rate. This is still unlikely to be a great deal, of course.

To build up a big Etihad balance, you may be able to combine this with the current special offer on the Etihad Guest credit card which I discussed here. If you apply for this free card before 30th November you will receive 20,000 Etihad miles for spending £4,000 within six months.

It is worth remembering that a one-way ticket from Abu Dhabi to Heathrow – in the private First Class Suites pictured above – costs just 55,000 Etihad Guest miles and whopping £18 (yes, £18) of tax. Tax in the other direction is higher due to APD but you still only pay £200 return.

This is an excellent deal and blows an equivalent Avios redemption out of the water. Etihad will even throw in a chauffeur transfer at both ends on business and first class redemptions. Having now experienced Qatar Airways and being a semi-regular Emirates flyer, I am very tempted to give this a go in the dark days of January or February!

The deadline for transfers is 31st November. It is not clear if points need to arrive at Etihad Guest by this date or if you simply need to initiate the transfer. To be safe, I would try to get any transfers made by mid November.

You can find out more on the Etihad website here.

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  1. 31st November does not exist (at least on this Earth!) so it definitely must be 30th? 😉 joking

  2. Could do with Virgin running the same offer…or have I already missed it!!!

  3. DANNYRADO says:

    This has made my day!! Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    I might be doing it wrong, but I can’t see any Guest First availability LHR-AUH in either direction after a quick scan of a couple months in Q2. Business availability looks good though.

    • Phillip says:

      This is by no means a confirmed pattern, but at the moment, they are only releasing First Class redemptions until the end of February. If you keep an eye out you will find that seats will progressively be released.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        That would make sense. Can you upgrade a J redemption to F without too much bother?

        • Phillip says:

          I have only done it at the airport when it was offered at check in, which was seamless, but I assume it is easy enough to do online, especially if booked directly with Etihad. I understand that you can upgrade any Business Class booking, regardless of fare class. They have two separate rates for Economy fares.

          • goglobalnz says:

            We couldn’t find AUH-LHR space last summer (AA redemption) but EY fly just about everywhere in Europe so lots of alternatives if you just want to give it a try. We went via Munich, and used On Biz points for the last leg.

            We would highly recommended and are trying to figure out ways to save up enough points for the trip all the way to Australia, steaks on a plane

  5. Can you upgrade from a lower cabin class with etihad?

    • Phillip says:

      Yes you can, including discounted fares, although they require extra miles:

      • Thanks for that, on another question, how do people on here deal with etihad miles expiring every two years? Do you empty your account often enough for this not to matter, if so this means there is always redemptions available where and when you need them right???

        • Phillip says:

          Alex, that is exactly what I do. I normally plan my mileage accrual with Etihad in blocks when I know I will want to use them. So after I make a redemption and empty my account, I might not transfer or accrue any miles for a few months, and start again once I decide I want to make a redemption. I generally transfer from my Amex MR account which makes this easier to manage. I have also amassed Etihad Miles from pointshound at times when they have genuinely been the cheapest option (yes, it happens and when they have 18x bonus offers, a week away can easily result in a business class seat from the UK to AUH!) so again, they are awarded in blocks.

          I have never had an issue with redeeming, I do find the availability really good both in advance and last minute. Remember if the validity is two years, then if you book a year or so in advance you actually don’t need to travel for 3 years after you start accruing, so to speak. It’s not a FFP for casual accrual (i.e. a little bit here, a little bit there and maybe one day they will add up…), for this reason. But if you know you will be spending X amount in a year or so, it works.

          • Thanks Philip that’s really helpful, thanks for taking the time to explain that.
            Kind regards

      • louie-m says:

        How do you find out the fare class prior to booking?

        • Phillip says:

          It depends where you book. On expedia, for example, once you select the flights it will show you the fare class in brackets. If booking on Etihad directly, select your flights and click on View Fare Rules. At the top it will show the Fare Basis, the first letter of which is the fare class.

          • louie-m says:

            Thank you. I had seen the fare basis on Etihad’s website but didn’t know how to interpret it!

  6. What’s the conversion ratio from IHG ? Surely not 1:1

  7. Anyone know what each hotel conversion rate to miles is?

  8. Exchange rate (not including 20% bonus)
    Club Carlson
    10 points = 1 miles

    10 points = 1 mile

  9. Shame its not the same exchange rate as Amex i.e. 1 amex = 3 club carlson so 3 club carlson should = 1 etihad! Wishful thinking!

  10. Does it work for the international amex dollar card which has the 3:2 conversion? Would 60k transfer as 40k with a 20% bonus giving 48k?

  11. Hi Raffles,
    As a regular traveller to the middle East, with your family, which airlines do you prefer for travel during school holidays in April and October( in J or F)? I haven’t got an etihad account yet, but this looks like the carrot that might get me started, especially with BA’s lack of Avios availabilty recently.

    • Etihad used to limit J and F to two seats per plane, not sure if that is still the case.

      Qatar tends to open up a lot of seats but you can use Avios for that. You would need to connect to Dubai though.

      We flew down on BA J last week (4 Club World no problem) but my kids school finished a week before most. Coming back we are on Emirates. Not sure how tight they are on Saver seats but the Standard seats (125k return) are very easy to get.

      Remember to keep an eye on BA to Abu Dhabi which is effectively Dubai.

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