Etihad doesn’t belong to any alliance, but that hasn’t stopped them from assembling an impressive variety of partner airlines for earning and burning. Etihad Guest’s airline redemption options are simply staggering: there are no fewer than 23 different award charts for its 23 partners, some of which are zone-based, others distance-based and still others destination-based.
It takes a whole lot of clicking to open up all 23 award charts, so I took a couple of hours to compile all of them in one Excel which you can download here complete with commentary (who says The Milelion doesn’t have great weekends?).
Due to the sheer number of partner options, it’s not practical to do a deep dive of every single award chart. That said, there are some useful awards lurking within, so I thought I’d highlight a few that represent good value , especially to someone based in Singapore.
Hong Kong to Los Angeles/DFW in Business Class/First Class for 55,000 miles on American Airlines
Here’s something very strange about Etihad Guest’s American Airlines award chart. Look at the columns below. EO= Economy off-peak, EP= Economy Peak, B/F= Business/First and P=Premium. Let’s disregard economy class and just look at those last two columns. My initial impression was that where American Airlines flies two cabin planes, you’d use the Economy pricing plus B/F for whatever was one cabin above Economy. Where the plane has three cabins, you’d use P for First Class. That doesn’t appear to be correct, based on TPG’s interactions with the Etihad Guest call centre.
Instead, it appears that, at least for now, Etihad Guest call centre agents are pricing Business and First Class awards exactly the same. American is phasing out International First Class, but it’s still available on some of their 777-300ERs, the kind which operate some flights between LAX and HKG.
American Airlines doesn’t fly to Singapore (or anywhere else in South East Asia for that matter), but you can redeem the following awards (one-way prices):
- North America to Asia 2 (China, Hong Kong) in Business or First Class for 55,000 miles
- North America to Europe in Business Class or First Class for 50,000 miles
- North America to South Pacific (Australia, NZ) in Business Class or First Class for 62,500 miles
Getting from Hong Kong to the USA for 55,000 miles in Business Class is a fantastic deal, and if you snag a 777-300ER with First Class space that just sweetens the pot.
In comparison, flying HKG-SFO on Singapore Airlines Business Class costs 82,000 miles (88,000 miles if you start in SIN). Heck, if you were so inclined you could redeem a Singapore Airlines Business Class award from SIN-HKG for 27,500 miles before connecting to American Airlines for HKG-LAX/DFW and you’d still be paying a total of 82,500 miles, less than what you’d pay for flying SQ metal all the way.
Koh Samui from 7,500 miles in economy (10,000 in business) on Bangkok Airways
Here’s a fun fact about USM airport, aka Koh Samui. Its runway is roughly 2.1km long, which limits the types of aircraft it can receive. B737s (but not the 737-800), A319s and ATR72s are ok, but anything larger than that is too heavy and could only operate with payload restrictions so severe as to make the flight uneconomical.
Why do I bring this up? We know that Silk Air is transitioning towards an all Boeing fleet. It currently has 3 A319s which serve USM, but once those are replaced the airline will not have any aircraft that can land at USM. I don’t know how management plans to address that (maybe transfer the A319s to Scoot?), but it’s good to know regardless of what happens Bangkok Airways provides non-stop service to USM from SIN.
Bangkok Airways tickets can be very expensive, given their stranglehold on USM (the airline owns the airport, go figure). But award redemptions through Etihad Guest are actually very reasonable.
- One-way redemption from SIN to USM in economy class costs 7,500 miles, in business class 10,000 miles
And award space is good too. I can find numerous days with plenty of Bangkok Airways award space (KVS users: switch to JL-Oneworld search method, set airline to PG)
The caveat? The outbound timings aren’t great- you’re going to have to waste one night with these late departures. Also, there will be fuel surcharges on this ticket, which for a round trip economy redemption are S$108.80.
The rest of the award chart is pretty reasonable too for traveling within Thailand. Prices shown below are round trip.
Flying within Brazil from 3,000 miles in economy on GOL
If your travels ever take you to Brazil and you need to get around the country, Gol awards can be fantastic value. Yes, it’s a budget carrier, but you can’t beat these prices:
To give you some ideas, Sao Paulo to Rio would cost only 3,000 miles and Rio to Fortaleza 9,000 miles (all prices are one-way). It’s true that budget airfares in Brazil are generally cheap, but this can be helpful for peak periods when prices jump.
Gol award space can be found through the KVS Tool using the DL-Skyteam method with the airline field set to ‘G3’. Otherwise you can just search online using the Delta.com website.
Singapore to Seoul for 30,000 miles in Business Class or to North America for 88,000 miles on Asiana
You could fly from Singapore to the US for only 176,000 miles on Singapore Airlines (SFO/LAX, IAH/JFK would cost 184,000 miles), but that assumes Saver space is available. If not, it’s much better to look for alternatives before resorting to the much pricier Advantage awards.
Etihad Guest awards on Asiana are distance-based, and it’s worth noting that SIN-ICN-SFO, SIN-ICN-LAX and SIN-ICN-JFK would cost 176,000 miles in business class round trip, which is cheaper than the 195,000 miles you’d pay for the same award through the KrisFlyer Star Alliance partner chart.
|Distance||ECONOMY CLASS||BUSINESS CLASS||FIRST CLASS|
|100001 and above||83000||138000||276000|
It’s also worth noting that SIN-ICN is 30,000 miles in business class, versus 43,000 miles on KrisFlyer. Given that both SQ and Asiana operate angled flat business class products on this route, there really isn’t much you’re giving up by picking Asiana over SQ.
Asiana award space can be found through the United website, Aeroplan website or ANA website.
Singapore to Colombo in Business Class for 28,000 miles with Sri Lankan Airlines
Singapore to Colombo would normally cost 35,000 miles through KrisFlyer for a Business Saver award. That same route would cost 28,000 miles if you redeemed Eithad Guest miles instead on Sri Lankan Airlines.
The caveat here is that Sri Lankan typically operates narrowbody aircraft to Singapore. As per FlightRadar24, UL 303, 307 and 309 are operated by A320s and A321s. These aircraft have recliner seats (see above) which would be a pretty significant downgrade from the Singapore Airlines experience, even if you’re comparing them to SQ’s angled regional business class.
Occasionally, however, Sri Lankan deploys an A330-200 on this route. Sri Lankan has a few varieties of A332s- you might get one configured with recliners, but you might also get one with full flat Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration.
Another sort of interesting award option is to fly from Colombo to Male in Business Class for 7,000 miles one-way (which would allow you to enjoy both Sri Lanka and the Maldives on a honeymoon for cheap).
The award chart below indicates one-way pricing:
Sri Lankan award space can be found through any of the Oneworld search methods.
Flying around Europe from 5,000 miles with Air Serbia
If you’re exploring Eastern Europe, Air Serbia offers a whole lot of very cheap economy and business class awards. Just check out how many of these are below 10,000 (keep in mind that one-way economy and business class awards within Europe would cost you 12,500 and 27,500(!) miles respectively on the KrisFlyer partner award chart).
Air Serbia award space can be found through the KVS Tool using the AZ-SkyTeam method with the airline field set to “JU”.
Brussels to North America in Business Class for 44,000 miles on Brussels Airlines
One-way business class awards on Brussels Airlines between Brussels and North America (JFK, YYZ, IAD) cost 44,000 miles, which is a far cry from the 18,310 miles it used to cost (that’s not a typo, although previously only JFK was available for redemption) but still a deal compared to the KrisFlyer rates. It would cost you 65,000 KrisFlyer miles for a one-way business class ticket between Europe and North America.
Brussel Airlines award space can be found through any Star Alliance search option.
Singapore to Europe in Business Class for 55,610 miles with Czech Airlines (and Asiana)
Did you know there was a direct flight between Seoul and Prague operated by Czech Airlines using a leased Korean Air jet? Me neither, but it costs a mere 25,610 miles for Business Class and lasts 10 hours.
Again, it’s probably not worth the time and detour, but if you were so inclined it’d be cheaper to fly SIN-ICN-PRG via Singapore Airlines (43,000 miles) and Czech Airlines (25,610 miles) for a grand total of 68,610 miles versus paying the 85,000 miles it’d cost you via the KrisFlyer partner award chart.
FYI, if you did SIN-ICN via Ethiad Guest’s Asiana option (see above) instead of through KrisFlyer, that would cost 30,000 miles in Business Class for 55,610 miles total!
Czech award space can be found through KVS using the AF-SkyTeam or AZ-SkyTeam methods with airline field set to ‘OK’.
Casablanca to New York/Washington for 44,000 miles in Business Class with Royal Air Maroc
I’ve flown RAM a few times but mostly on short haul flights within Morocco or to Africa. I wasn’t by any means blown away by the airline (the lounge in Casablanca was a new definition of misery), but it’s hard to argue with 44,000 miles for Business Class between North Africa and the US if you ever find yourself in that part of the world.
RAM award space can be searched through the RAM website, but it’s such a horrid experience you’re better off calling up Etihad Guest and doing it over the phone.
Earning Etihad Guest Miles
Etihad is a transfer partner of Citibank, and Citi Miles or Thank You points transfer at the same ratio to Etihad as they would to any other airline. I’ve earned a good deal of Thank You points thanks to the current 8 mpd promotion with Apple Pay, and am seriously considering cashing them out to Etihad Guest to take advantage of a few of these awards.
One final point to note: I’ve been pretty mum on fuel surcharges for most of these flights because I haven’t called up to ask. My understanding is that none of these awards have crazy surcharges attached to them, but you should still factor those in when making your final decision (especially if you’re looking at a short haul flight where it might be cheaper to buy a budget flight than redeem miles + surcharge).
Here are three ways you can earn Etihad Guest miles. Cards applied for through the links in this article support The Milelion through an affiliate commission.
Citi Prestige Card
- Earn 1.3 mpd on local spending, 2.0 mpd on overseas spending, 10 mpd on Kaligo. A 5-30% relationship bonus is applied to your annual spending, depending on your tenure with Citibank
- Unlimited Priority Pass lounge access for you and a guest, 8 airport transfers a year, fourth night free at any hotel around the world, unlimited WiFi access worldwide via Boingo and a 24 hour concierge
- Get $200/$50 in Grab/NTUC/Taka vouchers for new/existing Citibank cardholders from SingSaver when you apply using the links below
- Also get ad-hoc exclusive Citibank promotions such as the 1 for 1 $100 Gourmet
- The Citi Prestige is one of the best cards in the $120-150K income range. Have a read of our comparison post here
$192.60 (First Year Free)
Citibank Rewards Visa
- Earn 4 mpd for all your online and offline shopping, capped at $12,000 of spend each card membership year. This includes purchases of bags, shoes and clothes as well as shopping at department stores
- New-to-bank customers get 10,800 bonus miles by spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
- Points have a 5 year expiry and Citibank has the widest range of airline partners in Singapore- SIA, Cathay, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Air France, KLM, Etihad, Thai, Malaysia Airlines, British Airways, EVA, Turkish Airlines and Garuda
- Citibank does not pool points among different cards. This means you will have to pay a separate conversion fee for each credit card when you want to cash out your points
$192.60 (First Year Free)
Citibank PremierMiles Visa
- For applications approved by 31 January 2019, earn 30,000 miles when you spend $7,500 in the first 3 months and pay the annual fee
- Earn 1.2 mpd on local spending, 2 mpd on overseas spending, 3 mpd on Expedia, 7 mpd on Agoda and 10 mpd on Kaligo
- The widest selection of partner airlines in Singapore- pick from KrisFlyer, Asia Miles, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Thai, EVA, Garuda, Malaysia Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Turkish Airlines, and KLM
- Get 10,000 miles when you pay your annual fee
- Note that Citibank points do not pool. If you earn points across different Citibank cards you'll need to pay separate conversion fees when you convert them to miles
If you’re curious about the KVS Tool which has been mentioned quite a few times in this article, consider attending our additional session on Power Award Searching on 29 June.