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Good Etihad business class sale to a Dubai bus stop (!) from €739 or £1,093

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If you are planning a holiday in Dubai this Winter or next Spring, Etihad is running an aggressive sale at the moment.

I should say up front that there are also good deals available to parts of Asia. However, with covid restrictions still in place I thought it best to focus on the bargains available to …. erm …. a bus stop in Dubai.

Etihad bus deal to Dubai

OK, let me explain how this works.

It is normal practice for airlines to sell indirect flights for less than the cost of direct flights. Every HfP reader should know that, for example, London to Bangkok on a direct British Airways flight is likely to be more expensive than London to Bangkok via Frankfurt on Lufthansa. People will pay for convenience.

What we have here is simply the same philosophy at play. It’s just that, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi under an hour apart by road, there is no point in flying you between the two airports. Etihad puts on a bus instead!

What’s the deal?

Etihad is offering good deals from Madrid, Amsterdam, Brussels and London to a bus stop in Dubai.

The Dubai bus stop used by Etihad has been given the airport code XNB.

Availability is excellent.

Note that the fare may originally look a little higher than the headline numbers shown below but will reprice on the final screen. For Madrid, for example, the outbound flights show as €501 but later falls.

Madrid to Dubai in Etihad business class for €739 return:

(EDIT: Rome and Milan also seem to price at €739)

Etihad business class deals Madrid

Amsterdam to Dubai in Etihad business class for €1,203 return:

Etihad business class Amsterdam

Brussels to Dubai in Etihad business class for €939 return:

Etihad brussels business class sale

London Heathrow to Dubai in Etihad business class for £1,093 return:

Etihad business class deal

Etihad is also flying from Dublin but I couldn’t find a fare under €1,300 return.

Do you actually need to take the bus?

Good question. Could you book these tickets to get a cheap trip to Abu Dhabi?

Let’s put it this way. Under no circumstances can you drop a leg of a flight and keep your ticket intact. If Etihad flew between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and you didn’t turn up for the last leg to Dubai, your return flight would immediately be cancelled.

Similarly, if you failed to turn up at Dubai for the first leg of the flight home, your Abu Dhabi to London flight would be cancelled.

Will bad things happen if you don’t get on the bus? I’ve honestly got no idea, but for safety I’d take the ride – even if it means turning around in Dubai and getting a taxi straight back to Abu Dhabi.

Low Etihad fare via bus to Dubai

What is Etihad like?

Here is my last published review of Etihad’s Business Class Studio

The review is six years old, but I flew the seat on holiday with my family in 2018 and 2019 and little has changed, except for the new Etihad amenity kits.

It is light years ahead of British Airways Club World, although Club Suite is a different story. You can’t guarantee getting Club Suite, of course.

What about my miles?

Etihad is not in an airline alliance. It does, however, have a lot of airline partners with whom you can redeem.

Your main options are:

  • credit to an American Airlines account (AA is an Etihad partner) which gets you access to oneworld redemptions including British Airways
  • credit to Air Europa – IAG is in the process of buying Air Europa and its frequent flyer scheme will swich to Avios when the takeover is complete. There is a risk that the deal does not happen if the airline collapses or the EU blocks it on competition grounds

Before booking, look at the details of the Dubai bus service on this page of the Etihad website.

The main Etihad booking page is here.

Thanks to Luxury Flight Club.

PS. If you are in the market for a longer-haul Etihad sale trip from London, here are the headline Etihad sale prices on offer until 10th October:

  • Bangkok £1,499
  • Phuket £1,899
  • Seoul £1,499
  • Seychelles £1,999
  • Singapore £1,599
  • Tokyo £1,999

It’s also worth checking prices from Amsterdam, Brussels and Madrid.

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (December 2022)

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 cards.

Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:

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.

Comments (106)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • aviosnewbie says:

    and these are all non-refundable, right? It seems like a long time since I considered a non-refundable ticket!

    • Dominic says:

      Can’t speak for refunds, but their sale fares allowed me to change my inbound and outbound flights within 48 hours of departure (i.e. in London and whilst in Abu Dhabi) with no fee. Didn’t have to beg or anything!

    • Prince Charles says:

      Do the busses also have flat beds for business class? I’m imagining those long distance coaches in Japan.

  • pauldb says:

    HUKD has found Wizz Air will fly you LTN-BUD-DXB for £78 return. When can we expect the review?

    • Rob says:

      Can’t argue with that!

    • Peter says:

      I’ve done it in May via SOF for £20 return. Had a nice stopover in SOF and taking two 3/4 hour flights aren’t bad at all.

    • Dominic says:

      Involves an 11 hour stopover, large parts of which are very early morning (i.e. 2am). The fares essentially require you to use two days annual leave just for travel (whereby you’ll have few options on what to do), which I’d have thought would be worth more than the c.£200 saving to just about anyone here.

      • Michael Jennings says:

        There were times when I was young and poor that I might have done that. Not these days.

        • Dominic says:

          Absolutely – not the too distant past for me (when I was a student). For the majority working, though, I’d have thought £100 a day wasted on travel is a pretty big chunk (even on a very low wage).

          • Alex Sm says:

            People still need to use their accumulated annual leave, so +/- 1 day doesn’t matter. You will still get paid by your employer!

        • peter says:

          I don’t really get what’s great about Dubai, maybe because first time I went there I was young and poor :). Way better to just fly to BUD/SOF and skip the -DXB leg!

        • ChrisW says:

          Me too. I’m too old and grumpy to put up with that much discomfort just to save a few hundred quid these days (could also be that I’m earning a lot more now than I was when I was a youngster!)

      • TGLoyalty says:

        For that price can’t you just stop over a couple nights in Budapest?

      • Peter says:

        I worked remotely from Bulgaria on the way back for a couple of days – as long as the flights are outside office hours, not a problem for me. Plus I get to see another place, and Sofia was really worth visiting.

    • ChrisW says:

      Dubai is an expensive destination, especially if you want to drink alcohol. Your savings on this cheap flight would quickly be eaten up.

      • Alex Sm says:

        Why do you need to drink by all means? It could be a good chance for a mini-detox, your own version of “sober October” for instance

  • Shaw West says:

    Spain travel question. I have postponed the travel by a week, Strangely the Spanish website doesn’t let me change the flight details. Do I need to let it expire and complete another one later or is there anyway to change the flight dates?

    • Mikeact says:

      Better posted in todays Bits, not here.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Whole new form just like the U.K. PLF.

      It can’t be filled out more than 72 hours before your flight anyway.

  • Andrew says:

    The economy prices are very low too and you can mix and match – flying out economy and back in business is just £629 in total (after the Amex discount). If you want to try the business product but on a budget.

    • Blair says:

      What is a budget? HfPers have no concept of this

    • Tarmohamed says:

      Once you go business, there is no turning back. Our very first time we flew out business and had economy booked on the return. We paid cash for business in the return as simply refused to fly economy again.

      • Blair says:

        Yes same. Once you know what happens in the pointy end, why would you ever go back.

        • will says:

          The differential between business and economy on BA to dubai in December is about £1700. For a higher rate tax payer that’s £2933 pre tax. Even if you’re on £150k a year that’s a week at work to have a bed on two 7 hour flights and some food I would complain about if they served it in a restaurant.
          Personally I value a week of my time more than that.

          For EUR700 however I’m willing to take a connection and lose a few hours travelling.

    • Saiz says:

      Can you mix and match classes on Etihad’s website? It doesn’t allow the Amex code of its multicity. One ways are working out expensive.

      • Andrew says:

        You don’t select multicity, just put your initial search in for economy and select an economy fare on the outbound and the inbound will present you with economy and business prices and pick a business one – Amex code works that way, saving you about 5% as it’s not really 10% as it’s only off the base fare.

  • Barry McNally says:

    I have just booked 2 X return business class tickets for the Xmas period for £1250 all in. Using avios to get us out to Madrid (88k avios plus £2). Got loads of avios saved from last two years, so not a problem using them to get us over there.

    Anyone got any good hotel hacks? No HHonors points left now….

    • Dominic says:

      Seems like a significant under valuation of your Avios, but each to their own – and can’t complain about the Xmas flights!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Depends a return to Dubai using a 2-4-1 is 100-120k plus £1000.

        88k and £1252 is bad at all in comparison.

        • Rob says:

          There was no need to book the ‘£1 taxes’ connection to Madrid though – the usual £35 taxes option is always better value.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            I agree for me an extra £68 would’ve been well worth worth swapping for the Avios. Even to then spend the Avios in sainsburys for more than £68 in food.

            OP can probably still do that by taking an FTV but long wait for an agent.

          • Barry McNally says:

            Just to clarify, the Madrid flights are business class and are NCL – LHR – MAD and back. One of the flights had to be Iberia due to flight times. Been checking Avios 2-4-1 BA Dubai flights for weeks but nothing showing up at all for December. Had 600k+ points and 3 x 2-4-1 tickets to use so don’t mind the taking the hit on the 88k for the Europe flights.

  • George K says:

    Rumours of the A380 coming back for Etihad would make this even more worthwhile, but won’t pull the trigger till that’s confirmed.

    • Andrew says:

      Although the 787 seat is the same, so all you’re missing is the onboard lounge and the A380 factor.

  • Mud says:

    I’ve just looked for London to Dubai on the link provided in the article and am not seeing any saving for early Nov. Prices are showing as well over £3k for two in business, am I missing something here?

    • Rob says:

      Probably sold out. If you want dirt cheap in November I think you’ll need to go out of Madrid, Amsterdam etc.

      There is a reason that the screenshots in the article are all for November flights EXCEPT London.

    • Andrew says:

      London was cheap this morning, so must have sold out.

    • ThePenguin says:

      Yea, your missing that you are on a #whiteprivalage website

      • Dominic says:

        I know I shouldn’t feed it, but those in the Indian ethnic group in the UK are the most likely to have weekly household incomes of above £1,000 or more, and £2,000 or more.

        • Callum says:

          I completely agree that they’re being utterly ridiculous and are better off being ignored, but white privilege isn’t just about annual income. Indians apparently being wealthy than the white population doesn’t really mean much in that context.

  • Mark says:

    Booked a 1 way J-class South East Asia to UK/Europe for 360USD last week! I’m guessing it might have be an error fare though so fingers crossed it dosen’t get cancelled.

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