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Get an excellent business class deal to Asia using Etihad Guest miles on Czech Airlines

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Etihad Guest, the frequent flyer programme of Etihad Airways, has a rather eclectic mix of airline partners on which you can redeem your miles.

I wrote about these partners here.  At the time, the sweet spot was a 36,000 miles business class return trip on Brussels Airways to New York.  This flight was virtually unbookable, however, and Etihad has now increased the mileage required to 88,000 miles.

There is another sweet spot on the Etihad Guest partner reward chart from Europe.

Czech Airlines is an Etihad Guest partner.  Czech Airlines has a grand total of one long haul aircraft which it uses to fly to Seoul, South Korea, four times a week.

This isn’t such a crazy move as you might imagine.  Czech Airlines is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, as is Korean Air.  Czech and Korean both fly from Prague to Seoul and Czech Airlines customers can connect to other Korean Air flights to get to other destinations in Asia.

Czech Airlines A330 business class

The Czech Airlines flight to Seoul is very cheap and bookable.

As you can see on the Etihad Guest website, a one-way flight in Business Class between Prague and Seoul will cost you just 25,610 Etihad Guest miles.

To put this in context, a one-way Club World flight on British Airways between London and Seoul will cost you 75,000 Avios off-peak and 90,000 Avios peak.  This is a huge saving – you also save £250 return on the taxes and charges which compensates for the need to route via Prague.  And potentially spending a day in Prague at the start and end of your holiday is not exactly a major hardship …..

Etihad Guest members appear to have access to the same reward availability as any SkyTeam member airline.  You can use the KLM website to search for availability and I would recommend this rather than trusting what Etihad tells you.

You can only book your flights, in either direction, for a Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday.  These are the days on which Czech Airlines operates the flight – the other Seoul flights are codeshares operated by Korean.

You need to ring Etihad Guest to book, unfortunately.  I think that the Manchester call centre has now closed and that it diverts to Serbia, but don’t quote me on that.  If the KLM website is showing seats as available and the call centre agent cannot see them, hang up and call back.

The total cost per person of a return business class reward flight from Prague to Seoul is 51,220 Etihad Guest miles plus, based on reports, around £350 in cash for taxes and charges.  This is almost 100,000 miles cheaper (130,000 on a peak day) than using Avios.

From Seoul, it is easy to get connections elsewhere in Asia.  You could get Avios redemptions on JAL to Tokyo, on Cathay to Hong Kong or to Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia.

The Czech Airlines seat on its A330 plane is pictured above.  The seat is fully lie-flat with a huge amount of legroom, although the 2 x 2 x 2 seating means that it may be more attractive to couples than solo travellers.  The aircraft is actually an ex-Korean Air one which has been leased to Czech Airlines.

More details on this redemption, and Etihad’s other airline partners, can be found here.

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 (16)

  • TripRep says:

    LP – better hurry, you’ll be late getting in to Westminster for a good spot on the Tory backbenches…

    ps I hope this Harry

  • David says:

    Good find, although we’re missing the explanation of how to get 50k Etihad miles in the first place. I think they convert from Amex MR (1:1), Bonvoy (3:1 plus the 5k bonus for 60k) and HSBC Premier points. Anything else?

  • Zain says:

    Been on that flight and the food and service are terrible. No hot towels, only two food options (Korean or a very bland Continental), FAs were quite inefficient. For the money, it’s a nice way to sleep all the way to Korea but this is nowhere close to the typical long haul business class from BA, let alone EY or QR.

  • Zain says:

    KE flies their Dreamliner on other days while the OK plane idles at Incheon, presumably for regular maintenance checks as it’s a leased KE plane anyway.

  • Petr says:

    Anyone has a clue what’s the best use of Czech OK Plus airmiles, I claimed there some flights I never bothered as they were giving always 100% of mileage but I find their miles useless as everything requires asking their customer service and taxes are pretty high too. Any thoughts?

  • Michael says:

    This is when the old Etihad Credit Card would of been useful I imagine!

  • Concerto says:

    I personally would avoid CSA Czech Airlines, it’s pretty bad these days.

    • They seem to have shrunk a lot over the years. Around about 2008 I was using them quite frequently, they used to have a regular LHR-PRG service with better timings than BA. Now they don’t even serve LHR at all (presumably sold their valuable slots), they no longer have their own lounges in PRG, and I’m pretty sure back then they had a decent long haul network.

      In those days service was good (on the short hauls at least), in economy you could order special meals and the seafood meal was excellent. I only travelled short haul business with them once but remember I decent steak as the meal (as many people know steaks are generally to be avoided in the air, I didn’t know that back then but I wasn’t disappointed)

      • Alex Sm says:

        Oh, those were the days!.. PRG lounge was the first EVER lounge I’ve been after being upgraded to biz to compensate for 8-hour fog delay. Then I flew with them in 2007 and 2008 a few times to Czechia and Russia (they had an amazing LHR-PRG-SVX connection) and the lounge was good as was the food onboard. Oh, those were the days long gone…

        I’m glad I always used SU or FB progs to collect SkyTeam miles, not OK. They have been slipping downward in the last decade despite being 49% (?) owned by KE

  • Ed says:

    I was on that flight last week and it was forced to divert and return to the origin with an emergency landing due to a fuel leak. While it was a good deal on miles it was a complete nightmare to get re-routed due to an issue with the Ethiad ticket. Was stuck on the ground in PRG for 2 days and had to buy an alternative ticket in the end as Czech were unwilling to help re-route.

    • Aliks says:

      We took that flight a year ago, and had a nightmare. The outbound flight was all right, but they had cancelled the inbound flight months earlier and neither Czech nor Etihad bothered to tell us. We only found out when we arrived at ICN checkin desk.
      The Korean airlines desk tried to help, but there were no flights for 48 hours so we ended up booking one way with QR to Oslo, plus a BA flight to London (which was delayed 3hrs 5mins, but thats another story)
      Predictably Czech and Etihad pointed the finger at each other, and we ended up with solicitors letters to get our EU621 compensation.
      A bit of research on FT showed others had the same problem (a couple of these flights cancelled over Easter period) and also that Czech airlines was in financial trouble with a takeover potentially in the offing.
      I don’t know the truth of the matter, but if anyone takes up this offer, monitor the status of the flights regularly!!

      • Ed says:

        Sounds very similar. Did you have any luck claiming for the flight you had to book yourself? Or did you just manage to get the standard compensation?

        • Aliks says:

          I had travel insurance which did pay out a couple of hundred, and legal insurance which put pressure on Czech. Unfortunately, the legal insurance delegated to one firm, which handed it off to some firm in Cornwall. They advised me to accept Czech’s first offer which was the EU statutory amount. I think the advice they gave was incorrect as Czech should have made more effort to inform me of the cancellation. There is some recent EU case to this effect saying the carrier, not the agent is responsible.

          Net effect was that I was not out of pocket, but didnt get a business class flight home.