Why you should never use 100% miles for an Etihad redemption!

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With Etihad still running – for another 5 days – its 25% bonus on transfers from American Express Membership Rewards, you may have become interested in using it.  My ‘in-progress’ reviews of their business and first class products may also tempt you.

One little-known feature of Etihad Guest is ‘cash and miles’.  Many airlines, including British Airways, offer a feature like this.  NONE are as generous as Etihad Guest.

As long as you have at least 75% of the miles required for a redemption, Etihad will sell you the rest at a knock-down rate.

Let’s take an example of Business Class from London to Abu Dhabi, one way.

A standard redemption costs 44,158 Etihad Guest miles plus £189.96 of tax (if you were flying in the other direction, the tax is just £15 or so).

You can use ‘cash and miles’ on a sliding scale.  If you use the smallest possible number of miles, you need 32,981 miles plus £255.01.

Etihad 350

A quick wave of the calculator shows that Etihad is selling you the additional miles for just 0.58p each.  That is exceptionally good value.

If you are thinking of transferring points from Amex, you may want to cap your transfer at 75% of what you will need.  You would then retain the additional Amex points for a potentially more lucrative redemption elsewhere.

In order to use ‘cash and miles’, simply make your redemption booking as usual via etihad.com.  When you get to the last page, you will be shown a slider which lets you select your preferred combination of miles and cash.

Etihad and its cancellation policy

Whilst on the subject of Etihad Guest, there is some confusion over its cancellation policy on reward seats.   When you book, you are initially told that your ticket will be non-refundable and non-changeable.

Click on the detailed fare rules and you are told something different – and more reasonable.

This page on the Etihad website seems to clarify that you definitely can cancel Etihad Guest seats with no problems.

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  1. How did this compare to the good old bmi miles and cash?

    bmi diamond club was the East Coast Rewards of the air, but at least Avios and Flying Club are still reasonable options, well at least compared to Nectar than the rail industry seems to have settled on.

    • pauldb says:

      One-way to the middle would have been 30k or 15k+£105. So a lot less miles but a less favourable exchange at 0.7p/mile.
      Of course the best deal is still available but a little harder to accumulate: 25k AA miles to fly EY

      • pauldb says:

        Whoops.. 30k AA in fact.

        • sandgrounder says:

          Flying Etihad is one of the best ways to accumulate AA miles- even deep discount economy seems to earn 100%. A friend of mine recently received 13000+ for a £400-odd return MAN-BKK. Four and a half trips for a business class return to AUH- a fantastic incentive, no doubt due to be savaged in the inevitable AAdvantage devaluation!

  2. Gordon says:

    I was able to change an etihad flight date at no charge

  3. Simon says:

    Slightly OT and might just be my mobile phone’s browser: the engines in that picture don’t quite look like they’re in the right place…

  4. Jason says:

    How often have etihad done an amex bonus in the past?

    • Autumn 2013, Autumn 2014 and now Spring 2015

      • Jason says:

        With the miles expiring in 2 years. If I transferred some MR points today, could I use them for flights in Oct 17?

        • A lot can happen in 2 years re redemption rates, taxes etc. I would not recommend this.

          • Jason says:

            I haven’t got any etihad points at the moment and will look to do some credit card bonuses. 2 years is worst case scenario but I’m going to have to put the MR points somewhere, by May, as I’ll be cancelling the card.
            Etihad is looking a good option after BA and Qatar/Virgin, after your 2 most recent posts. Especially with the 75% miles option 🙂

  5. Phillip says:

    Not as good as Etihad’s rate but I was recently looking at Cathay’s flight from JFK to Vancouver, which offered the best part cash rate I have ever seen on BA.com for Economy and Premium Economy. For Business the rate was a lot less lucrative!

    • Matthew says:

      Go for first…..37,500 avios +£55 at current rates for an amazing flight!

  6. Tracy says:

    I’ve just been on the Etihad site to do a trial run for cash and miles to see how many Amex points and how much cash I would need to transfer to Etihad for a flight to Abu Dhabi but it won’t let me continue to the last page because I don’t have enough miles. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks.

  7. How long does it take to transfer from MR to Etihad GuestG?

    Also do you get the chaffuer on F redemption bookings (I’ve got etihad Guest gold if that makes any difference)? I ma thinking of Singapore to Dubai on Emirates in F and then Etihad F to London so need to connect via road.

    • Yes, you get the chauffeur on redemptions booked via Etihad Guest. In business class as well.

      Oddly, redemptions keep the chauffeur whilst Etihad has scrapped them for some super-cheap business class cash tickets.

  8. James says:

    Can anyone tell me how much a one way first redemption is using 75% of the miles please? I’m not able to look right now.

  9. A recent MR-> Etihad redemption by me took two business days.

    Taking advantage of various promos, you can currently acquire 55K Etihad miles (enough for a 1 way AUH-LHR in a 1st class apartment), for 41.6K MRs


    • Brendan says:

      Tangey – obv they don’t fly the a380 from DUB – can you fly from DUB but connect in LHR to get on the a380? If so, is it more miles / cash? It doesn’t appear to be bookable online if its possible but thats presumably because of the connection being operated by EI

  10. Tom euflyer says:

    This is a great deal, and works particularly well given the extraordinarily good value “starting price” you can get on the “GuestSeats”.

    E.g. 55k miles First Class one-way between LHR and AUH is a steal.

  11. jason says:

    Are there any disadvantages of enrolling for the Family membership?

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