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On Straight To The Points, I share great business and first class award flight opportunities to help you use your miles and points via my private Award Alerts newsletter. Today, I wanted to share a recent alert with readers of God Save The Points since I know you all love the Etihad Apartments. Since I sent this to my newsletter subscribers, at least 14 seats have been booked so some dates might not be availabl.e.

To receive alerts about premium cabin award flights for 4+ people that you can book with miles, make sure you sign up for Award Alerts. Right now, these alerts are focused on awards to/from the U.S. and Canada.

Before we dive into things, 2 quick requests.

I’m currently revamping Straight To The Points and would love to include your success stories. If you book a trip from one of my Award Alerts newsletters, please email me a little blurb about the experience and how the newsletter helped you book it.

If you’re an Instagram person, post a picture of you flying in style or having a blast on your trip, tag me (@straighttothepoints and #straighttothepoints) and I’ll share your post. If you’d like to use this as your success story, email me and I’ll link to your Instagram post from the site.

Now, let’s get into the good stuff!

Etihad Apartments For 2, Business Class For 4+

etihad f coverThe first award ticket I booked was the Etihad Apartments from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne. I signed up for a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card with a 60,000-mile bonus (learn more) specifically to help me book the flight.

I had noticed American only required 60,000 miles for first class from the Middle East to Australia vs 90,000 miles from the US to the Middle East. So, I booked it and figured I could find a way to the UAE. Probably not the typical starting point, but I’m okay with that.

Much has changed since that booking. American’s award chart was devalued and Etihad no longer flies an A380 to Melbourne. However, The Apartments are still a ton of fun and I regularly get emails from people wanting to try it.

So, if you’ve been wanting to fly The Apartments with a friend or loved one, this newsletter is for you! There are lots of dates with space for 2 in The Apartments next year. If business class is more your style, you’ll see even more dates and plenty with at least 4 seats.

Straight to the points:

  • Routes: JFK-AUH
  • Operating airline: Etihad Airways
  • Class of service: The Apartments and business class
  • Dates: January – June 2020
  • Seats available: The Apartments – 2, business class – up to 9
  • Cabin layout: The Apartments 1-1 and business class is 1-2-1
  • Book The Apartments with (per person, one-way):
    • American AAdvantage – 115,000 miles to the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent; 120,000 miles to Africa
    • Etihad Guest – 136,460 to Abu Dhabi (more if you connect)
  • Book business class with (per person, one-way):
    • American AAdvantage – 70,000 miles to the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent; 75,000 miles to Africa
    • Etihad Guest – 100,151 to Abu Dhabi (more if you connect)
  • Taxes/fees (per person, one-way):
    • JFK-AUH – ~$235 with Etihad Guest, ~$30 with AA
    • AUH-JFK – $275 with Etihad Guest, ~$69 with AA
  • Bank transfer partners: Amex/Capital One/Citi – Etihad Guest

Check out our complete guide to redeeming American miles if you’re curious about routing rules, change/cancelations fees, award rates and more.

Similarly, you can read up on Etihad Guest and check out a few sweet spots.

Let me know if you book The Apartments!

Details

Etihad lounge JFK

If you haven’t taken a look at The Apartments before, you’re in for a treat. Not only is there a privacy door but your seat is separate from the bed. Personally, I love the fact that the bed is something like 6’10” which is more than enough space for me at 6’3″. Being able to pace around your own space while flying really is also quite nice.

When it comes to meal, Etihad is really impressive. Not only can you eat when you want, but they’re happy to take to ingredients from their dishes and mix and match to your liking.

Last but not least, schedule your shower when you board. I prefer to get a shower as close to landing as possible after a long flight to/from the Abu Dhabi. Also, seriously, a shower in the sky is laughably unnecessary but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it!

Now, as to the dates available, you actually have plenty of options in 2020.

JFK-AUH EY Apts x2
January: 12, 15, 18-20, 22, 23, 26-28
February: 2, 6, 8-10, 12, 16-18, 22-25, 27, 29
March: 2, 4, 7-11, 14-17, 22-25, 28, 29-31
April: 2, 5, 6, 8, 14, 16, 19, 21-23, 25-28
May: 2-6, 9-14, 16, 17-21, 23, 24
AUH-JFK EY Apts x2
January: 25, 28, 30
February: 2, 4-8, 10-12
March: 4, 17, 20
April: 7-10, 14, 15, 19, 24, 28-30
May: 1, 2, 3-9, 11-15, 17-22, 25, 26, 28, 29

If you want to travel with more people or just don’t’ want to use as many miles, business class is still a great option. You’ll have a lie-flat seat, direct aisle access and there’s a lounge area that you share with first class passengers. Maybe you’ll make a new friend over a glass of wine.

I’ve noted in parentheses if a date has more than 2 seats. So, a date with 6 seats will be followed by (x6).

JFK-AUH EY J x2
January: 18, 19 (x6), 20,(x6) 21 (x6), 22 (x4), 23, 25, 26-28 (x4), 29 (x6)
February: 1, 2-5 (x4), 10-12 (x4), 15, 16-19 (x4), 22, 23, 24 (x4), 25 (x4)
March: 1, 2 (x4), 3 (x4), 4, 5, 9 (x4), 7, 8, 10 (x4), 11 12, 14, 15, 16 (x4), 17 (x4), 18-21, 23 (x4), 24 (x4), 25, 26, 29, 30 (x4), 31 (x4)
April: 1-4, 7 (x4), 11, 13-15 (x4), 16-19, 20-22 (x4), 23, 25-30 (x4)
May: 1, 2-7 (x4), 9-14 (x4), 15, 16-21 (x4), 22, 23 (x4), 24 (x4), 25-31
June: 1-4
AUH-JFK EY J x2
February: 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 19, 22, 23, 26, 27, 29
March: 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 18, 19, 23
April: 2, 5, 7-9, 12-16, 19-25, 27-30 (x9)
May: 3, 4-7 (x9), 8, 9 (x3), 10, 11-14 (x9), 15, 16 (x8), 17 (x5), 18-21 (x9), 23, 24-30, 31
June: 1-4

Best Ways To Book

Previously, I would have said Asiana Club is a great option at 80,000 Asiana miles if you have them. However, Asiana now explicitly states that the AUH-JFK route cannot be booked.

Since that’s the case, you’re left with American and Etihad miles. If you earn Amex Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Points and Capital One miles easily, Etihad could be your best bet even though you’ll need about 20,000 more than American requires (plus the surcharges)

On the other hand, I know plenty of people who have been waiting for a chance to use their American miles. At 115,000 miles, it’s not cheap but it’s a long flight and an amazing experience.

When it comes to business class, the difference is 25,000 miles and I’d be much more likely to use 75,000 American miles. Unless you can find Qatar Airways Qsuites space. You might want to book that instead. 🙂

If you want to connect to the Maldives, India, South Africa, Kenya, Jordan, Sri Lanka etc., the number of miles Etihad Guest requires will vary by destination. Fortunately, American’s region-based award chart keeps things simple so you’ll know how many you need before you even search.

Booking Process

Etihad Apartments Award Space

Let’s start with American as I think that will be the most popular option.

While you can search for Etihad space on American’s site now, I haven’t found it to be the most reliable. Award space that Etihad and Expert Flyer show will also show on American’s site but won’t be bookable. This doesn’t’ actually mean you can’t book it with American miles. You’ll just need to call.

I’d just go ahead and search on Etihad’s site. You’ll need to search for a round-trip booking AUH-JFK if you want to find award space from JFK to AUH. If you search JFK-AUH, the award space won’t show. However, you can search from AUH to JFK as a one-way without issue. Make sure Guest First space is available.

It’s annoying. I know.

You can run a search on American’s site and try to book, just in case, but I’m guessing this won’t work for many dates.

Once you find space, you can call American’s call center in Australia (+61-2-91011948) or New Zealand (+64-09-308-4014) to put a ticket on hold — it’s a 5-day hold. Once you have the ticket on hold, you can call the U.S. call center (1-800-433-7300) to pay the taxes and fees. If it can’t be booked online, American should not charge you a phone booking fee. You can let them know that the flight vanishes when you click through on their site if they try to charge you.

If you’re booking with Etihad Guest, you can book AUH-JFK online once you have the miles in your account. To book JFK to AUH with Etihad Guest, you can call 1-877-690-0767 after you run your AUH-JFK round-trip search. You should be routed to the Serbian call center. I’ve found them to be quite competent.

Bottom Line

Personally, I’d try to book with American miles if you have the miles to do so. There are just so many other great ways to use Amex Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Points and Capital One miles. Not to mention, you can save some cash.

If you plan to fly to Mumbai, check out these tips before you visit. For those booking a trip to Cape Town, here are some tips for that trip. If you’re curious about safety in Cape Town, here’s what you need to know.

Wherever you go, you can bet the Etihad Apartments will be fun. Have some champagne, snap some photos and brag to your friends.

Happy booking!

If would like me to keep an eye on award space to a particular destination or if you’d like to fly a particular first or business class product, let me know!

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
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