Later this week Etihad will finally begin service with their cutting edge new A380s. The inaugural flight will be from Abu Dhabi to London on December 27, and I can’t wait to be on it in the First Class Apartment.
As is often the norm when airlines take delivery of an aircraft with a new type of “product,” Etihad has up until now heavily restricted premium cabin award space on the plane.
Up until now they haven’t consistently been releasing any first or business class saver award space on the A380, and certainly haven’t released any saver award space in The Residence (I don’t expect that last part to change).
Anyway, Running with Miles has pointed out that Etihad A380 First Apartment award availability between Abu Dhabi and London is fairly readily available through the end of the schedule. Many flights even have two first class award seats.
You can search award availability on Etihad’s website, and if there’s “GuestSeat” space then you can also book it with American miles. Here’s a primer on searching Etihad award space.
Best of all, redeeming American AAdvantage miles for travel on Etihad between Europe and the Middle East is a heck of a deal, at just 40,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in first class. That allows connections within Europe or the Middle East as well, if you’d like.
If you’d like to redeem American miles for travel between the US and Middle East in first class (which allows you to route via Europe), that will run you 90,000 miles one-way.
Personally I’m a fan of booking that Europe to Middle East award separately, since I tend to think it’s a better value and you can have a stopover in Europe that way.
For what it’s worth, Etihad’s second A380 route will be between Abu Dhabi and Sydney, and I’ve yet to find saver A380 first class award space on it.
Personally I would assume this is a change in strategy and not a glitch. This product is only “special” for so long, and in reality having different award availability patterns than other aircraft isn’t necessary.
On the plus side, this means there are now two airlines on which you can easily redeem miles for showers (Emirates being the other airline)!
(Tip of the hat to Running with Miles)