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 in 2020 – I never got to visit any of the mountain resorts on my review visit – but, of course, coronavirus got in the way.
Whilst Oman is now open to tourism again, 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 continues to fly from London Heathrow to Muscat.
Oman Air is not in any major alliance – yet
In Spring 2024, Oman Air will join the oneworld airline alliance, alongside British Airways. The airline confirmed to us in a recent interview that this is on track. This will, in 2024, allow you to use Avios for Oman Air flights.
If you want to book Oman Air flights for miles today, you can’t use Avios. 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)
But there is a snag ….
Etihad Guest has stopped you being able to book Oman Air First Class. The last online report I can find of this being possible via Etihad Guest is from 2019.
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.
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.
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, although this looks less likely now that Oman Air is joining oneworld, Oman Air via Etihad Guest would be substantially cheaper. The BA route used to cost 100,000 Avios off-peak or 120,000 Avios peak.
Anecdotally, taxes and charges for Business Class appear to be around £700 return which is similar to British Airways levels to the Middle East.
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 at a 1:1 rate.
Cards which earn Membership Rewards points at 1 per £1 spent include:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (20,000 points bonus)
- The Platinum Card (30,000 points bonus)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 points bonus)
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 points bonus)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 points bonus)
Check the rules carefully to see if you qualify for any particular bonus. This HfP article explains the American Express sign-up bonus rules in more detail.
Air Canada is also an option
It is worth flagging that Oman Air recently became a partner with Air Canada’s Aeroplan programme.
- reports suggest that Aeroplan members can book Oman Air First Class rewards
- Air Canada does not add surcharges to redemption bookings so the taxes and charges required will be far lower than Etihad Guest wants
- you can also book Air Canada partner redemptions online (Etihad Guest partner redemptions can only be booked via telephone and the quality of agents can be, ahem, variable)
The snag, of course, is that it is virtually impossible to earn Aeroplan miles in the UK at a decent rate. The best option is by converting Marriott Bonvoy points at 3:1, or converting American Express Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy at 2:3 and then onwards to Aeroplan at 3:1.
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.
Another option is flying from the UK to Doha, on BA or Qatar Airways, and then on to Muscat. You can redeem Qatar Privilege Club Avios for seats on Oman Air between Doha and Muscat – this is a slightly odd ‘one route’ partnership that the two airlines have. You can learn how to transfer Avios between the British Airways and Qatar Airways programmes in this article.
Some background reading ….
If you are not familiar with Oman you can read our overview here to set the scene.
How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (January 2023)
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:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 20,000 Etihad Guest miles. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with four free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 Etihad Guest miles.
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 10,000 Etihad Guest miles. This card is FREE for life.
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.