The Etihad Apartments have been a bucket lists flight for many miles and points enthusiasts for years now. While Singapore Airlines and Emirates have rolled out new first class cabins in the last year and a half, Etihad led the way with some seriously spacious first class suites on its A380. There’s something special about having more space when flying that just makes everything better.
It probably comes as no surprise to you that we consider booking Etihad’s Apartments to be one of the best uses of American miles. However, the toughest part for many was understanding how to redeem American miles for flights on Etihad since the award space didn’t show on American’s site.
Well, that seems to have changed as American is now showing Etihad award space online.
How To Find Etihad Space On American’s Site
Previously, if you wanted to book Etihad award tickets with American miles, you had to search for “Guest” space on Etihad’s website. Once you found Guest space, you would then have to call American Airlines. If you wanted to book business or first class, you would have to call Australia or New Zealand when flying to/from the US, put the ticket on hold, then call the US call center to pay the taxes/fees.
Not exactly the most convenient way to book a flight.
However, SeeBuyFly noticed that you can now simply run a search on American’s site, select a date from the calendar of options, click through, pay the taxes/fees and you’re done. You might find it easiest to search a non-stop route from an airport such as Chicago (ORD), London (LHR), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), Paris (CDG), Washington Dulles (IAD) to Abu Dhabi (AUH).
In the search results, you’ll be shown a calendar of dates which you can sort by non-stop flights. By sorting this way, you can make it easier to find dates with award availability on Etihad. This is especially true if flying from the US as Etihad is the only airline that operates these routes. Once you have found dates with space on the long-haul, you can search for the complete route.
Don’t forget, American will let you hold an award for up to 5 days which is perfect if you are waiting for miles to post to your account or need to transfer Marriott Bonvoy points.
What This Means For Points Experts
For those who consider themselves experts in redeeming miles and points for flights, there’s bound to be some disappointment. Some will feel that this will make it more difficult for them to find award space as will now be easier for everyone else.
I get that. You put in the work to learn how to do these things and you want to reap the rewards. With limited business and first class award availability, you’re concerned you might not be able to find the seats you need for your trips.
Taking a slightly more optimistic view of things, I’d keep in mind how rare it is that people are trying to book the same flight on the same route in the same class of service. As an example, I haven’t seen complaints since American started allowing us to search and book Qatar Airways’ flights online. So, while I get the worry, perhaps it’s a little overblown.
Besides, there’s one thing that should make you happy about the current state of American’s ability to search for Etihad award space.
The One Snag In The Online Search
There is one snag in American’s ability to search for Etihad award space. Rather than being able to search up to 331 days from departure as it can with other partners, American can only search for award space on Etihad up to a month from departure.
See why we mentioned how to book over the phone?
For those who don’t usually book travel within a month of departure, you’ll need to use the “old” search method of using Etihad’s site then call American to hold/book the award tickets. Yes, this is annoying but it’s still a step forward for American’s search capabilities.
Make sure you check out our complete guide to redeeming American AAdvantage miles to learn where to find award space and how to book with each partner airline.
American’s online search capability has really improved in the last couple of years as you can now search for most partners. Considering the rumors of Etihad ditching its partnership with American Airlines for United, it’s a bit surprising to see American roll this out.
If anything, one might have expected American to add Cathay Pacific, LATAM or Japan Airlines before adding a non-Oneworld partner it might lose anyway. Whatever American’s reasons, we’ll take it.
For those who are worried about missing out on a flight because it’s easily searchable, just remember that most people are booking travel further out than a month and will still have to call. Besides, they probably didn’t want the same flight anyway!