Nutmeg Avios

What to do with the miles from your £1,275 Etihad Australia ticket? BA Bronze benefits for a start

Yesterday I wrote about the amazing Etihad business class fares currently available.

These include business class to Australia on an A380 from as little as £1,275 (starting in Istanbul) or £1,400 from Dusseldorf.  There are also some excellent fares out of London such as £1,100 to Abu Dhabi.

You have until Monday to bookmake sure you read my original article first for ideas.  You can travel at any point until 12th December.

Where should you credit the miles?

Etihad is not a British Airways partner so you can’t credit them to BA Executive Club.  You will earn about 25,000 miles return to Sydney (Z class tickets earn 115% of miles flown) – here are a few options for how to use them.

Etihad A380

Credit to Etihad Guest and redeem for cash via PointsPay

Etihad lets you cash out your miles for, well, cash.  This is via a virtual Visa card system called PointsPay which I covered here.  You will get about 0.4p per mile.

Credit to Etihad Guest and redeem for gift cards via Etihad’s Reward Shop

You can buy gift cards for various UK shops via Reward Shop, including gift cards.  You will get around 0.45p per mile.

Credit to Etihad Guest and redeem on an Etihad partner airline

Whilst not in a major alliance, you can redeem Etihad Guest miles on various partner airlines.  Unfortunately, apart from those airlines where Etihad has a shareholding (Alitalia, airberlin etc) or its US partner American Airlines, it can be very tricky to find space.  I wrote more about Etihad’s partners here.

You can top up your Etihad Guest balance using American Express Membership Rewards, Heathrow Rewards or by taking out the UK Etihad Guest credit card.

Credit to Etihad anyway if you are travelling with other people

Etihad has family accounts – see here – allowing you to pool the miles from other people travelling with you.  This will give you a decent mileage pool and far more flexibility when redeeming.

Credit to another airline shows which airlines will give you credit for a Z class fare on Etihad.   There are 14 options!

If you don’t want to credit to Etihad, SAS may be an option as you could top up your balance using American Express Membership Rewards points.  SAS allows you to redeem across all of the Star Alliance airlines.

Credit to airberlin and get British Airways Bronze equivalent

airberlin is partly owned by Etihad and is also a member of the oneworld alliance.  This means that:

you can redeem airberlin miles on British Airways and

if you have airberlin status, you can use it to enter BA lounges or get other BA status benefits

As you can see here, airberlin topbonus Silver status requires you to earn 25,000 status miles.  You should get that from an Australia business class return with Etihad, given that you receive 115% of miles flown.  topbonus Silver gives you the same benefits on BA as a BA Bronze card – you don’t get lounge access but you would get free seat selection seven days before departure, priority boarding and use of BA’s business class check-in desks.

If you were thinking of booking one of the Etihad deals, I hope these ideas convince you that the miles will not be wasted!

How to get a discount on Heathrow Express (2016 edition)
Bits: redeem Avios from Humberside!, win 60,000 Avios with Melia, £129 Park Plaza London
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Leonid says:

    Rob, any ideas with what to do with about 5500 miles from Emirates? I am not expecting further flights on them in the foreseeable future. Reaching 6000 would be great as this would allow converting into Heathrow Rewards voucher. However, buying the missing 500 costs too much.

  2. Can’t believe a business class fare credits nothing to AA, jeez

  3. darrenf says:

    Since it’s possible to fly on airberlin codes the whole way, and their metal to AUH, is there value in crediting those sectors to BA?

    • Susan says:

      There would, if you could, but you can;t.

      Non OW-metal codeshare are excluded except Emirates/Qantas – wish I’d remembered this exception before booking return to NZ on Emirates.

    • You could credit it to topbonus.

      Air Berlin coded flights in business class get 200% status miles, so you’ll get gold.

      I can’t see how to get them air Berlin coded all the way there though – can anyone point out how to do this – kayak cannot seem to.

  4. Polly says:

    That was a lot of research Rob, thank you. The AB is best for us as you could end up banking 50k miles on one trip. That’s a lot of RFS trips to have earned and a great price to Oz. Will be looking for a similar deal next year to AKL ex EU, to visit family.

    • err, but you can’t use RFS with Airberlin miles.

    • Brian says:

      How will you earn RFS trips? You can use topbonus points for flights within Europe of course, but you won’t benefit from RFS – that’s only for BAEC.

      • The RFS issue is less important since BA took fuel surcharges off short haul. Charges unlikely to be a lot higher than £40.

        • Brian says:

          I booked a one-way ticket for friends from Vienna to Malaga, using their topbonus account. I believe they paid 50 pounds in taxes. Had I used BAEC, it would have been about 25. The point is that it doesn’t matter what BA have done to fuel surcharges, since Polly isn’t using BA. From these Etihad flights, you’ll be getting topbonus points and using them for short-haul flights. So the BA charges have nothing to do with it, presumably…

      • Polly says:

        Re the above comment, I was only thinking if part of the trip it is on an AB sector, could we credit those to BAEC.

  5. Lumma says:

    OT But has anyone ever flown the afternoon iberia flight from MAD to LHR that they use the A330/340 in economy? I know you get flat beds and better service in business but what is it like in the back? Is the cabin quite empty? Do you still have to pay for everything? I just think I may fall a little short on the avios required to book it in business.

    Also, what would the situation be if I was delayed on my reward flight into Madrid from New York and missed this? There’s around 6 hours which seems more than enough as long as nothing goes wrong. Or is it worth having a night in Madrid to be safe?

    • harry says:

      6 hrs should be OK, I take it you’re asking because it’s not the same airline?

      If they’re more than 3 hrs late, you’ll get compo.

      • Genghis says:

        Not if its a non EU airline. Sounds like Lumma is going to MAD on IB though

        • harry says:


          But Lumma may not be on IB into MAD otherwise he/she should not be worried about missing the connection

        • Lumma says:

          Yeah I’m flying jfk to mad on iberia, then looking at booking a separate reward back to London.

        • Matthew says:

          If you book it as a through flight, Iberia will let you select business for the long haul then economy for the short haul for example, meaning you only pay one set of taxes and guarantee they will look after you if your first flight is late.

        • Regarding the A330 to MAD in Economy: I was on this flight (booked as BA516) last friday and it was not very full. I even spotted a few rows in the back with all four middle seats empty. Not what I expected on a friday night. And yes, IB lets you pay for all snacks and drinks. But the good news is plenty of movies/TV for a short flight.
          Business was completely full, I was told when I tried to upgrade.

    • IB would look after you if you were flying oneworld on both legs.

      • Lumma says:

        Thanks. Just a bit concerned as for some reason the flight I’ve booked goes via Chicago. Seems to me that would make it for liable to be delay.

  6. Concerto says:

    But does airberlin Silver status stop your miles from expiring? Because that mileage expiry issue is a serious negative and no no about the airberlin programme.

  7. harry says:

    The T-7 days seat selection would be handy.

    Checked in yesterday for our RFS ( flights back to UK today – got the gloomy confirmation that emergency exits do indeed now cost £18. They were free at Xmas out/ New Year back.

    You can still get free seat selection for non exit seats @ T-24hrs so got us 3 windows & a middle.

    It’s free to get emergency exit @ check in so there’s hope yet – there were plenty left yesterday evening so fingers crossed 🙂

    • I’m about to book some flights on flybe via First time redeeming on flybe so do I get baggage included and also free seat selection? Or is it only baggage free but pay for seat selection? I’m back to blue on ba

  8. Lumma says:

    Does anyone put much of a value of BA bronze? I could just about reach it this year if I booked multi sector American Airlines routing in domestic first class but obviously it would cost me more money than flying economy or with a different airline.

    I tend to fly mainly HBO flights when I pay for flights with BA so I think the advance seat selection would be of limited use to me, ditto the business class check in.

    • harry says:

      Do Bronzes still have to pay £18 for emergency exit @ T-7 days?

      • Genghis says:

        Yes. Only a Gold benefit now I believe. TP run to HNL, Harry?

        • harry says:

          No chance, what with the kids & a place in the sun which doesn’t run on wishful thinking.

          All our holidays in the last 15 years have been to 1 place only, good job I love it here.

          Quite a change to my younger days when I did indeed hop around the globe.

          Not long until the parental slave bonds are redeemed (those pelican kids) & I get to do my own thing a bit more…

        • Genghis says:

          And I assume that place isn’t Dubai? 🙂

        • harry says:

          Yep ME & harry are deeply, darkly alien to each other, the only place out there I might ever willingly set foot in would be Oman but I think I’ll give continental Africa & protruding bits a massive miss for the rest of my life (connecting flights on an ex-EU excluded 🙂 ).

        • u 2 should get a room…

  9. kevino says:

    Excellent summary for Etihad, but Is there an equivalent for Emirates?

    Is it possible to fly Emirates and book the loyalty miles to either BA, Iberia or AA? If so, what is the rate?

  10. ThinkSquare says:

    Beware that IST-AUH-SYD is a lot shorter than starting in the UK. You’ll only earn about 21.5K miles return.

  11. I booked return flights to oz on Qatar a while back, with the triple miles. Would be interested if you ran an article on whether it is beneficial to put my miles with Qatar instead of BA.

    I’ve had to book some random BA flights to Europe as I realise I will have none this year for status but will have 8 business class with Qatar, so perhaps it’s time to change

  12. Gavin says:


    Hilton match came through. Cheers Raffles!

  13. AndyS says:

    OT. Aspire t5 victim of own success? Just tried to get in with PP but was told it was full, people were coming out but when mentioned agent pointed to about 20 pax sat on benches outside, “there next in”. Back to galleries then, only wanted to try out new PP !

    • RIccati says:

      Whoa! Sitting on the bench in a new and (relatively) fresh airport terminal waiting for a stale cookie!?

      Could spend £3 on coffee and enjoy the Starbucks or Pret sandwich and a view…

    • Has been like this since a month after opening. The new Plaza Premium lounge will have 5 x the capacity.

    • Lady London says:

      Who on earth would queue up on a bench outside a lounge? I can only imagine this if I had a really long layover and if the lounge was exceptional. It just shows how much pent up demand there is for decent lounges at T5.

  14. BA’s OSL to Australia fares in J are particularly keen at the moment:£1800 Rtn and this will also allow you several intra-Australia flights to tag on as well.

    • Brian says:

      Yes – do compare BA. I found that Dusseldorf to BKK with BA was not much more than Etihad – much better flights, too, in terms of sleeping, since no change half-way through in the Middle East.

  15. I make a read across to Asiana for the Istanbul Sydney fare as just under 25k miles since it counts at 130% according to Raffles’ link.

    Unless I missed something.

  16. Noob question.

    Where on the Etihad booking data do I see the fare class?


  17. harry says:

    OK here’s a poser:

    Flying back today on a nearly full plane, we had 3 window seats (in a column) & 1 middle joined to one of the window seats. ALL 3 of us with possible neighbours managed to get vacant seats next to us, which is obviously better than the alternative if you like a bit of space.

    My only status these days is a scant few TPs and I’m just a bluey. But I would have been one of the very first to check in @ T-24hrs. I always stick my membership number in, even if (as today) we’re just flying RFS redemptions. Do I have any kind of status that would give me those empty adjoining seats?

    Or was it because BA don’t like to sit strangers next to kids? (Though they are not so young: 11, 13, 15.)

    • Genghis says:

      DYKWIA status?

      • harry says:

        Well, yes – I am technically status-less or Iess technically just a nobody hobo.

        But I was just wondering if somewhere in the seat allocation algorithm, my worthlessness is not quite so worthless as I was thinking.

        A few TPs and 8 flights a year?

        OK it’s probably all down to the kids.

        We still got 3 empty seats next to us on a nearly full plane…

  18. I would not claim those miles to SAS. You need a decent amount of miles to actually buy something.
    You would be better off claiming to Etihad. For instance Etihad is partner with VA and therefore you could fly from Brisbane to Nadi (Fiji) for as little as 11667miles one way in Y or Perth to Christmas Island in Y 11232 or even Brisbane-Honiara for 9145 in Y. In case you do not have enough EY miles you can apply for MBNA credit card and top up.
    The other interesting option is Europe to PPT in some dates is available for 40k AF and 120 EUR and you can claim to AF (partnership with EY) and top up using amex points. Come on Rob make some effort !