While most of my travel originates in the US, some of the very best values on the American AAdvantage award chart are for travel to/from the Middle East. While traveling from the US to the Middle East is a bit pricey, at 90,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in first class (though certainly flying Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment takes the sting out of it!), there are several other awesome values when traveling to/from the Middle East.
Etihad A380 First Class Apartment cabin
What are the best values, in my opinion?
- Middle East to Europe: 40,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in first class
- Middle East to Asia 1 or Asia 2: 45,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in first class
- Middle East to Australia: 60,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in first class
It’s tough to beat redeeming American AAdvantage miles for travel to Europe or Australia, given that Etihad flies the A380 to both destinations. You can redeem miles for Etihad A380 first class to London, and starting later this month you can redeem miles for Etihad A380 first class to Sydney.
However, I think it’s also worth pointing out what an exceptional value award travel from the Middle East to Asia can be. Etihad operates a first class cabin on flights from Abu Dhabi to Seoul Incheon and Tokyo Narita, though as a general rule of thumb they don’t operate first class on other routes to Asia.
For example, last year I flew from Seoul Incheon to Abu Dhabi in first class, and despite a long delay, it was a fantastic use of 45,000 AAdvantage miles.
Which brings me to the reason for this post — Etihad is adding first class to a third Asian route starting this summer. Etihad Airways will begin flying the Boeing 787-9 daily between Abu Dhabi and Singapore as of August 1, 2015. Per airlineroute.net, the flight will operate with the following schedule:
EY470 Abu Dhabi to Singapore departing 10:00PM arriving 10:15AM (+1 day)
EY473 Singapore to Abu Dhabi departing 8:10PM arriving 11:45PM
As far as I know, this is the only Etihad destination in Southeast Asia which will feature a first class cabin.
While Boeing 787-9 first class isn’t as good as A380 first class, it’s still a very nice product.
And for 45,000 AAdvantage miles one-way without fuel surcharges, it’s a great value to boot. Award availability is generally quite good on the route in first class, with two saver level award seats on many flights. As a reminder, here’s a primer on searching Etihad award space.
I think a lot of people overlook some of the great values on American’s award chart for travel not originating or terminating in North America. The Middle East has an especially large number of “sweet spots,” so it’s nice to see an Etihad route to Southeast Asia with first class.