I’ve written in the past about how to redeem American AAdvantage miles for travel on Etihad, and about Etihad’s first class award availability trends.
Historically you can search Etihad award availability through Etihad’s website, and if there’s “GuestSeat” availability, then American miles can also be redeemed for the flight. You just have to call American to book.
However, for a couple of weeks people have been reporting issues with redeeming American miles on Etihad, whereby American agents can’t see Etihad award availability. There have been discussions about this in the Ask Lucky forum since mid-November.
I’ve received dozens of questions about this over the past couple of weeks. Many immediately assumed that this was some stealth devaluation of AAdvantage miles, given that the space seemed to be blocked starting around the same time American announced their award chart devaluation, which kicks in for bookings as of March 22, 2016.
I wouldn’t be so quick to draw conclusions. This isn’t the first time American has had issues booking Etihad awards. This year alone they had the same issue in January and June, and in both cases they were just IT issues which were eventually resolved. I have no reason to believe this is any different.
What makes this especially strange is that different call center seem to have access to different amounts of Etihad award space:
- I’ve found some Etihad award space bookable via American’s call center in the US (it’s not that American doesn’t have access to any Etihad award space)
- People have reported more luck using American’s UK call center for booking Etihad awards
- American’s Australia call center seems to have access to virtually all Etihad award availability
So while I don’t know what’s causing the availability discrepancy, booking via American’s Australian call center will do the trick for now. I still don’t necessarily believe this is intentional, but rather is some sort of tech issue. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is intentionally low on American’s list of IT issues to fix. 😉
If this award space is suddenly no longer bookable via American’s call center in Australia, then I’d assume it’s intentional.
This isn’t the first time American has had trouble booking Etihad award availability, so I believe it’s likely just a similar IT glitch. The good news is that for now you can get around the issues by calling American’s call center in Australia, as they seem to have access to full Etihad award availability.
Have you encountered this issue when trying to redeem AAdvantage miles on Etihad?