Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Book a good Etihad fare to Australia for Christmas

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I’ve had a few emails recently asking about cheap cash flights to Australia over Christmas.   As this is a non-starter for Avios – and anyway is terrible value given the taxes – you need to look for good cash deals.

The fall-back is China Eastern out of Amsterdam.  Last year I checked this in early December and they were still selling seats for £1900 for Christmas and New Year travel.

You can do better, in terms of price and quality of carrier.

Etihad has launched an excellent deal from Stockholm to Sydney, Melbourne or Perth for around SEK 20,000 (£1700).  Availability is excellent all year, including Christmas and New Year.

The one pain is that Etihad does not fly to Stockholm.  You are looking at three flights each way – Stockholm to somewhere in Europe on another airline, somewhere in Europe to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi to Australia.

Here is a typical routing for SEK 20970 (£1770):

Out 8th December – Stockholm to Heathrow (SAS), Heathrow to Abu Dhabi (Etihad A380), Abu Dhabi to Sydney (Eithad A380)

Back 8th January – Sydney to Abu Dhabi (Etihad A380), Abu Dhabi to  Brussels (Etihad A330), Brussels to Stockholm (SAS)

Is this a messy routing?  Yes.  Is it EXCELLENT value for money for the peak Christmas and New Year period?  Yes.  Is the Etihad A380 Business Class seats very very nice?  Yes – here is my review of Etihad A380 Business.

Check out the special Etihad A380 page here showing the Business Class Studio too.

The best thing to do is have a  play with dates on the Etihad site here and see what routings come up.  You can credit the flights to Etihad Guest or American Airlines amongst others.  AA would give you the opportunity to redeeem on BA or another oneworld carrier.

If you don’t have a credit card with 0% foreign exchange fees, your best option for paying is American Express Preferred Rewards Gold which offers triple points – 3 per £1 – when you book flight tickets in a foreign currency.  This is because the transaction triggers the ‘double points for airline spend’ and the ‘double points for foreign spend’ bonuses.

In addition, if you are not already an Etihad Guest member, you can sign up here and receive 500 bonus miles.

Etihad Sydney fares

How to earn Etihad Guest miles via UK credit cards

As a reminder, Etihad no longer has its own UK credit card.  However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.  These are:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold – 10,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

The Platinum Card from American Express – 30,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

American Express Rewards credit card – 5,000 Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile.

Etihad Guest is also a partner with the HSBC Premier Mastercard (0.5 miles per £1 spent, reviewed here) and HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard (1 mile per £1 spent, reviewed here).

Comments (72)

  • Boi says:

    OT:
    I am struggling to get the 5000 for gold companion credit card. I called Amex and they say I am not eligible coz I already had an MR account. However the MR account they are talking about is the PRG that I added PRG to. Called twice and both agents read the same note. How else would anyone get this bonus without already having an MR account? It’s a companion credit card. How have people got it?
    PRG applied for in feb, companion cc in early March.
    Ps help.

    • Alex W says:

      I got rejected for the plat version. They said I had to write to them and they couldn’t do anything over the phone.

  • Jen says:

    I was wondering if lon-hkg-mel would be good value using flying club miles….. Virgin atlantic to hkg and then virgin aus for hkg to MEL.

    Other route I was looking at was Singapore Airlines using flying club miles…

    Anyone know if the above is feasible?

  • jason says:

    Did I miss it or it was widely publicised that Amex replaced its product offering for its Gold card from charge to credit card? At least i dont see a charge card offer anymore – only the Gold credit card.
    Besides the fundamental difference between charge and credit cards, bonus/points offers seem to be unchanged.

    • Rob says:

      Happened last night with no notice. Even the press office and the marketing agency did not have any notice.

      • jason says:

        i was about to cancel my Gold charge card today (or considering of upgrading to Plat) – any reason why I should hold on to the charge card? Is it gone for good? Will the Gold credit card be the only option from now on?

  • David says:

    We went to book the Etihad fare this morning, however it has disappeared. Instead we picked up a companion fare on Malaysia Airlines at £2225 each LHR to Sydney departing on the 10th December. An excellent fare, none of the agents could match it or get close and it’s only available on their website. I’m not sure if this is a system error as the sale says it only runs for travel upto 30th November.

    • Rob says:

      Garuda had a £1600 offer running which I was planning to cover although of course may not cover Christmas.

      • David says:

        That’s a pretty good deal. My parents are happy as they enjoy flying Malaysian and will earn some Avios back!