Airlines

Finding the sweet spots among Etihad’s 23 award charts

Etihad Guest has a veritable harem of partner airlines. Here are some sweet spots.

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.

Etihad Guest partner airline redemption options

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?).

Ads

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

Image result for american airlines business class
American Airlines 777 Business Class

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 First Class B777-300ER

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.

Check out my review of AA’s 777-200 Business Class product here. American Airlines award space can be found through any of the Oneworld search methods.

Koh Samui from 7,500 miles in economy (10,000 in business) on Bangkok Airways

Image result for bangkok blue ribbon airways
Bangkok Airways A319 Business Class, photo credit: Jetphotos.net and Hurricane PG

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.

Ads

The rest of the award chart is pretty reasonable too for traveling within Thailand. Prices shown below are round trip.

OriginDestinationEconomyBusiness
BKKUSM10,00015,000
BKKCNX10,00015,000
BKKHKT10,00015,000
BKKTDX10,00015,000
BKKTHS10,00015,000
BKKKBV10,00015,000
USMKBV10,00015,000
USMUTP10,00015,000
USMHKT10,00015,000
BKKLPQ15,00020,000
BKKPNH15,00020,000
BKKREP15,00020,000
BKKRGN15,00020,000
USMSIN15,00020,000
USMHKG25,00050,000
BKKMLE35,00060,000

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:

DistanceEconomyComfort Economy
0-50030006000
500-1000600012000
1001-1500900017000
1501-20001200023000
2001-30001700034000
3001-40002300045000
4001-50002800056000

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

Image result for asiana smartium business class
Asiana’s Smartium Business Class won’t win any points for the name, but it’s a decent flat bed product

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.

DistanceECONOMY CLASSBUSINESS CLASSFIRST CLASS
0-100060001000020000
1001-2000120001900038000
2001-3000180003000060000
3001-4000240003900078000
4001-5000290004800095000
5001-60003500059000117000
6001-100005300088000176000
100001 and above83000138000276000

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.

Photo credit: ronerone on Airliners.net

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. 

Sri Lankan Airlines A330-200 Business Class (Photo credit: Maremaru.com)

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:

OriginDestinationEconomyBusiness
ColomboTrivandrum50007000
ColomboTiruchirappalli50007000
ColomboCochin50007000
ColomboChennai50007000
ColomboBangalore50007000
ColomboMalé50007000
ColomboMumbai800015000
BangkokGuangzhou Baiyun800015000
BangkokHong Kong800015000
ColomboBangkok1200022000
ColomboKarachi1200022000
ColomboNew Delhi1200022000
ColomboKuala Lumpur1200022000
ColomboSingapore1200028000
ColomboMuscat1400028000
ColomboKunming Changshui1400028000
ColomboDubai1600029000
ColomboAbu Dhabi1600029000
ColomboDoha1700033000
ColomboGuangzhou Baiyun1700033000
ColomboDammam1700035000
ColomboHong Kong1900035000
ColomboRiyadh1900037000
ColomboKuwait1900037000
ColomboJeddah2300041000
ColomboShanghai2300046000
ColomboBeijing2300046000
ColomboNarita3000060000
ColomboRome3400067000
ColomboFrankfurt3600071000
ColomboParis3800074000
ColomboLondon3800076000

Sri Lankan award space can be found through any of the Oneworld search methods.

Flying around Europe from 5,000 miles with Air Serbia

Image result for air serbia business class
Air Serbia A320 Business Class

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).

OriginDestination Economy  Business 
BelgradePodgorica                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeSarajevo                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeBanja Luka                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeTivat                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeDubrovnik                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeBudapest                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeSkopje                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeSofia                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeSplit                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeBucharest                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeVienna                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeLjubljana                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradePula                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeThessaloniki                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeVarna                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeRome                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradePrague                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeTirana                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeZagreb                              5,000                              7,125
BelgradeWarsaw                              5,090                              7,253
BelgradeAthens                              5,120                              7,296
BelgradeIstanbul                              5,180                              7,382
BelgradeMilan                              5,410                              7,709
BelgradeStuttgart                              5,890                              8,393
BelgradeZurich                              5,910                              8,422
BelgradeBerlin                              6,070                              8,650
BelgradeFrankfurt                              6,550                              9,334
BelgradeMalta                              6,910                              9,847
BelgradeDusseldorf                              7,670                            10,930
BelgradeCopenhagen                              8,190                            11,671
BelgradeBrussels                              8,430                            12,013
BelgradeAmsterdam                              8,750                            12,469
BelgradeParis CDG                              8,790                            12,526
BelgradeLarnaca                              9,850                            14,036
BelgradeStockholm                            10,120                            14,421
BelgradeLondon Heathrow                            10,410                            14,834
BelgradeMoscow                            10,670                            15,205
BelgradeBeirut                            11,080                            15,789
BelgradeTel Aviv              11,780           16,787
BelgradeAbu Dhabi             21,594          45,918
BelgradeNew York               44,970       64,082
Ads

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

Image result for brussel airlines business class
Brussels Airlines Business Class

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)

Image result for czech a330 business class
Czech Airlines leased Korean Air A330 Business Class

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

Royal Air Maroc B787 Business Class (Photo credit: One Mile at a Time)

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.

Min Income
Annual Fee

$120,000

$535

Citi Prestige Card

A high end card that features an excellent host of benefits such as unlimited lounge access, airport transfers and the fourth night free at any hotel around the world
  • 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

more details

Apply Here
Min Income
Annual Fee

$30,000

$192.60 (First Year Free)

Citibank Rewards Visa

Get up to 22,800 miles by spending $3K within 3 months of signing up, and 4 miles per dollar on all your online and offline shopping.
  • Spend $3K in your first 3 months and get up to 22,800 miles (new-to-bank customers)
  • 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
  • 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

more details

Apply Here
Min Income
Annual Fee

$30,000

$192.60 (First Year Free)

Citibank PremierMiles Visa

A great sign up offer and the widest range of airline partners of any bank in Singapore
  • For applications approved by 31 Mar 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

more details

Apply Here

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.

Ads

18
Leave a Reply

avatar
14 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
AAaron WongLeninMarkBert Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Darn useful!! Love this article

freedom
Guest
freedom

For Sri Lanka Airlines, BA Avios may offer cheaper redemption for certain routes.

ginkoka
Member
ginkoka

Thanks for the hard work! For the SIN-ICN route, why do you say that there’s not much difference between redeeming on SIA and Asiana? SIA operates the flat bed biz too.

Bert
Guest
Bert

clicking on the citi prestige link https://milelion.com/recommends/citibank-prestige/ comes up with a wordpress error. fyi

Mark
Guest

Very interesting redemption options! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this haha must have take a lot of time!

Lenin
Guest
Lenin

Sadly, I don’t think Sri Lankan air offers the BKK-CAN and BKK-HKG routes anymore. It’s a non-stop flight between colombo and these cities now.

trackback

[…] covered Etihad’s myriad of award charts in this article, but since we’re talking about short haul awards I wanted to mention this […]

trackback

[…] airlines in Singapore, with 12 programs to choose from. Two useful programs they partner with are Etihad Guest and British Airways Avios– refer to the links for some ideas how to spend those […]

trackback

[…] Etihad Guest is quite a nifty program as it has many different airline partners like American Airlines and Bangkok Airways from which you can get excellent redemption value from them. […]

trackback

[…] airlines in Singapore, with 12 programs to choose from. Two useful programs they partner with are Etihad Guest and British Airways Avios– refer to the links for some ideas how to spend those […]

trackback

[…] airlines in Singapore, with 12 programs to choose from. Two useful programs they partner with are Etihad Guest and British Airways Avios– refer to the links for some ideas how to spend those […]

trackback

[…] airlines in Singapore, with 12 programs to choose from. Two useful programs they partner with are Etihad Guest and British Airways Avios– refer to the links for some ideas how to spend those […]

trackback

[…] has the widest selection of partner airlines available to any bank in Singapore, which includes some pretty useful FFPs like Etihad Guest, as well as British Airways Avios. Citi Miles do not […]

A
Guest
A

Hello.. Can advise for the taxes, if any card can earn 4mpd, aside from UOB VS? Thank you.