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How to book Oman Air flights using Etihad Guest miles, as BA has dropped Muscat

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This article looks at how to book Oman Air flights using frequent flyer miles.

In 2019 I did a trip to Oman, a country I had wanted to visit for some time, with Oman Air.  I had planned to return with my family last October – I never got to visit any of the mountain resorts on my earlier visit – but, of course, coronavirus got in the way.

How to book Oman Air with frequent flyer miles

Whilst the country is now reopening, this will be a harder trip to rebook in 2021.  British Airways has dropped its direct flights to Muscat.  Any Avios trip is likely to involve buying a connnecting flight from Dubai or using Qatar Airways and changing in Doha.

There is an alternative, however.

How to book Oman Air with frequent flyer miles

If you want to try Oman Air‘s excellent product to Muscat – links to my reviews are at the bottom – you don’t have many options if you want to use miles.

Whilst Oman Air has dropped its Manchester route, it will continue to fly from London Heathrow to Muscat.

Oman Air is not in any major alliance

Oman Air is NOT in a major airline alliance.  However, it does have one airline partnership which you can use – with Etihad Guest.

Here is the Oman Air redemption chart when you are paying with Etihad Guest miles – click here (PDF).

Scroll down to Muscat-London and you see:

Economy – 22,000 Etihad Guest miles each way

Business – 44,000 Etihad Guest miles each way

First – 80,000 Etihad Guest miles each way (but see below)

Oman Air First Class

But there is a snag ….

Based on reports over the last year, it seems that Etihad Guest has stopped you being able to book Oman Air First Class.

So …. you need to ignore the reward chart on the Etihad Guest website.  It seems that you can’t book First Class unless something has changed.

How to book Oman Air with frequent flyer miles

The good news ….

Business Class IS still bookable with Etihad Guest miles.

It seems that two Business Class seats are released per flight.  Availability for Etihad Guest miles matches that shown on the Oman Air website if you create a Sinbad frequent flyer account and search for seats.

The taxes and charges for Business Class are around £325 return from Heathrow, which is excellent value compared to British Airways business class redemptions.

Amusingly, it is substantially cheaper to redeem Etihad Guest miles for a Business Class seat on Oman Air from London to Muscat (88,000 miles return) than to book on Etihad itself from London to Abu Dhabi (roughly 125,000 miles return).

Even if British Airways does resume flights to Muscat at some point in the next year or so, Oman Air via Etihad Guest is substantially cheaper than using Avios on British Airways.  The BA route used to cost 100,000 Avios off-peak or 120,000 Avios peak plus £500+ of taxes and charges.

Earning Etihad Guest miles

Even if you do not have any Etihad Guest miles, you can get them by transferring American Express Membership Rewards points.  Some options are at the bottom of this article.

Oman Air redemptions can also work for connecting to a BA flight

Whilst it is possible to redeem Etihad Guest miles to fly direct to Oman from London, it can also help with connections from British Airways.

Dubai to Muscat, for example, is just 3,000 miles each-way in Economy.  This is using Etihad Guest miles to book Oman Air flights.  It may be good value compared to paying cash if you are connecting from a BA flight to Dubai.

oman stock photo mountains

Some background reading ….

If you are not familiar with Oman you can read our overview here to set the scene.

My review of the Gulf Air lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 – which is the one used by Oman Air – is here

More importantly, my review of Oman Air’s very impressive First Class Suite is here.

My hotel stay, at the Al Bustan Palace, managed by The Ritz Carlton and bookable on Marriott Bonvoy points, is reviewed here

My review of the new Oman Air business class lounge in Muscat is here. 

Finally, my review of Oman Air business class is here.

Earning Flying Blue miles from credit cards

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (September 2021)

Etihad Guest does not have a UK credit card.  However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cardsThese are:

  • American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 Etihad Guest miles. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two free airport lounge passes. 30,000 points is a special offer which expires on 9th November 2021.

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

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

Comments (17)

  • Baji Nahid says:

    Shame about BA dropping Muscat but it is not a surprise, they have been touting the closure for a while, and I am sure it was at one point routed via Abu Dhabi? Must not be that much demand. Also Qatar recently signed an extensive code share agreement with Oman Air, so possibly any sweet redemptions through qmiles?

    Oman is absolutely beautiful and well worth a visit. Highly recommended, and it isn’t commercialised like the other Arab states, so you will enjoy some real authentic Arab culture.

  • Tarmohamed says:

    Etihad, imho, is expensive for reward upgrades. LHR-DXB-KHI cost me 45k miles and c£100 in taxes to upgrade from Y to J. With Etihad it was nearer to 90k miles to upgrade.

  • Saiz says:

    Are you able to book cash flights on Etihad’s website for other partner airlines like we can book Qatar Airways on BA’s website. Wondering if I can use my Etihad credit to book a flight with Oman Air on Etihad’s website.

    • Josh O says:

      Unfortunately not. I called Etihad yesterday and was told credit could only be used on their own aircraft. You can also not top with miles, or use the credit to pay taxes on a mileage redemption. Only option is to use additional cash. At least that is what the agent I spoke to told me. Sorry 🙁

  • Brian says:

    I like the look of those mountains. It certainly looks like a more interesting place than some neighbouring countries!

    • The Streets says:

      I spent a few weeks travelling around Oman. Definitely my favourite ME country. Miles of empty beaches, the mountains, sleeping in the desert, exploring the wadis .. and when it was available 5,000 points a night for the Hilton Salalah!

      • Mikeact says:

        Totally agree, one of the finest unspoilt country’s to visit, and ideally, allow a minimum 3 week visit.

        • kitten says:

          How would you advise getting around? car, hire drivers, or a more rugged vehicle?

          • The Streets says:

            We hired a car and it really needs to be an SUV or 4×4 if you want to explore. Some parts of the country only allow these kind of vehicles to access mountainous towns like Jebel Akhdar with police check points along the way. Petrol was of course cheap! I remember once filling up a whole tank for less than a tenner

          • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

            Hire a 4×4. It’s a pretty easy country to drive in and no traffic outside Muscat.

  • ayearinmx says:

    scheduled to start our season in Oman in the first week of April… looking at going to Bahrain for the F1 the weekend before, then perhaps Sri Lanka/Maldives afterwards

    trying not to get too excited as it’ll probably get binned but Oman still looks like an interesting place!

  • Sandra says:

    Oman is beautiful and the people are very friendly. You need to be aware though once you leave the Muscat area hotels are few and far between and generally (apart from the newish mountain resort) quite basic. Diving is good in Oman. Salalah is either a flight or very long drive from Muscat & close to the Yemen border. KLM did fly there, it was via Doha (you remain on aircraft) but they may have changed back to via Abu Dhabi again. Can’t imagine they’ll stop as a lot of Dutch tourists go there plus there are some Shell workers use it.

  • Josh O says:

    Hi Rob – happy new year to you, the team and the family. We made it back from Germany in the end, after BA rebooked us. Hopefully all still going well in Dubai, which I guess you’ll be extending with schools likely to be closed. I know where I’d rather be!
    Quick question about the biz taxes you mention above – where did they come from?
    I called Etihad yesterday and was quoted circa £540 for a Heathrow rtn and circa £450 for a Frankfurt rtn. Both using Etihad miles, flying direct to Muscat, in biz class on Oman Air. Wondering if I as given wrong info. We have friends in Muscat we’ll likely visit again in either Feb/Mar or Oct/Nov. I can also confirm it’s a great place to visit to anyone thinking of heading over!
    Thanks as always.

    • Rob says:

      These numbers are from the last report I had a few months ago. Could have gone up but if so it just Etihad adding fake surcharges.

  • Duncan Orr says:

    Do you need to transfer Etihad miles into Oman (Sindbad) miles prior to booking or is there an automatic link that recognises your Etihad miles if you have insuffcient Oman (Sindbad) miles??

    • Rob says:

      You ring Etihad and Etihad books it for you using your Etihad miles.

      No different to ringing BA to book a Qatar Airways flight.

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