Etihad Is Now An Amex Membership Rewards Transfer Partner

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Just today the US American Express Membership Rewards has added Etihad Guest as a transfer partner. This means points earned on cards like The Platinum Card® from American ExpressAmex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, and Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express can now be transferred to Etihad at a 1:1 ratio, in thousand point increments.

Etihad-Membership-Rewards

Etihad Guest is the 16th airline partner of the US American Express Membership Rewards program. My other favorites include Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France/KLM FlyingBlue, ANA Mileage Club, Delta SkyMiles, and Singapore KrisFlyer.

Etihad-Amex

American Express is the second transferable US points currency to partner with Etihad Guest (the other being Citi ThankYou). Those points, earned with cards like the Citi Prestige® Card, can also be transferred to Etihad at a 1:1 ratio.

Citi-Etihad

Etihad is of course a great airline, with the incredible First Class Apartments on their Airbus A380 aircraft.

Etihad-A380
Etihad A380 First Class Apartment

Even their standard first class, available on many of their A340s and 777s, is top notch.

Etihad-First-Class-A340-38
Etihad A340 First Class

However, as any savvy mileage redeemer knows, the best way to redeem miles for the airlines you most want to fly often isn’t directly through their own program, but rather through a partner program.

Etihad doesn’t publish a single award chart, but rather has a mileage calculator on their website (access it by clicking the “GuestSeats” tab and then clicking the “By destination” heading), which shows how many miles you need to travel between various city pairs. The award chart is roughly distance based, though not exactly.

Just to give a few examples of one-way mileage requirements:

  • New York to Abu Dhabi — 88,391 miles in business class, 117,560 miles in first class
  • London to Abu Dhabi — 65,964 miles in business class, 87,732 miles in first class
  • Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi — 108,076 miles in business class, 143,741 miles in first class

Etihad-A340
Etihad Airways A340-500 in Abu Dhabi

So the rates are definitely on the high side, and I’d still prefer to redeem through the devalued American AAdvantage award chart, since they partner with Etihad. For one-way travel between the US and Middle East, American AAdvantage charges 70,000 miles in business class or 115,000 miles in first class, and that includes connecting flights.

That being said, it’s worth keeping in mind that the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card can earn 1.5x points on everyday spend (and up to 4.5x points on US supermarkets and 3x points on US gas), while the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express earns 3x points on airfare, and 2x points on US gas, US dining, and US supermarkets. In other words, you can earn points at a really fast pace.

If we ever see a transfer bonus (which we sometimes see from Membership Rewards to partners), then I could see this being a very good transfer option.

Etihad-A380-First-Class-4
Dinner in Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment

Bottom line

Ultimately more transfer partners are always a good thing. Now that we’ve seen devaluations across so many airlines, the gap in redemption rates between various programs is narrowing. If you’re looking to fly Etihad, Amex points transfers to Etihad Guest could indeed be the best option, especially if you’re earning points at an accelerated rate through your credit card, and if there’s a transfer bonus.

Do you see yourself transferring Membership Rewards points to Etihad Guest?


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Comments

  1. Do you know if there is anyway to extend soon to be expiring EY miles, for instance via this new Amex transfer?

    Also you haven’t mentioned all the partners that EY has where one can in theory redeem EY miles on. Can you comment if reports of it being almost impossible to take advantage of EY partner redemption awards are true?

  2. This is one partner that amex Canada already had that I didn’t realize the US didn’t. Now what would it take to have klm or Singapore for amex Canada?

  3. @Eugene — unfortunately you can’t extend EY miles. It is not like US programs where any activity in the account extends the life of all the miles — instead each individual mile has its own expiration date, and that can’t be extended. Though having transfer options like this could at least let you top up an account enough to be able to make a redemption.

  4. Some interesting AA redemption options on AA metal using EY points…… Go Figure. But don’t understand why the redemption chart has so many region options when AA doesn’t fly to any of them, especially the within country options where AA obviously only flies within the USA!

  5. @Nick, Yes and No. I have 25K Etihad miles expiring in 2 months and I have been trying to find award space on a weekend travel transatlantic to/from JFK on those Lie flat seats in AA. However the availabilty I see in AA is much better than the ones I see on BA website which is what Etihad sees. I guess its either a Hit or Miss scenario.

  6. Aeroman380 – “This is one partner that amex Canada already had”

    Say what now?

    We have BA, Aeroplan, Asia Miles, Delta and Alitalia. Cathay is not an Amex Membership Rewards Transfer Partner because we have to go through Asia Miles at a brutal ration of 1:0.75. The US Amex also has Asia Miles, but now they have a direct transfer (at a 1:1 ratio) to Cathay.

    I stand to be corrected on the timeline, but I don’t think Amex Canada hasn’t added any new airline transfer partners in over decade.

  7. Correction: I said Cathay when I meant Etihad. Etihad is not part of Asia Miles nor Amex Canada.

    (note to self: don’t type a response to a blog one one page and check flights to HKG on another)

  8. @Mileage Man. That sucks. I thought if it was available on AA then it could be booked. So you are saying AA releases more space to thier own program than to partners? Yhat makes sense but makes it much harder to find awards.

  9. Didnt realise EY was not a Transfer Partner for Amex in US as we already had it in Canada but at a low rate where 1,000 Membership Rewards points is equal to 750 Etihad Guest Miles. However they do have promos with 25% bonus occassionally.
    Now if only EK would become a Transfer Partner for Amex in Canada.

  10. Could anyone comment on how easy (or difficult) it is to get a free first class ticket using miles for someone who has had no activity on Etihad and whose miles solely come from Amex transfers?

  11. Ben–any idea how long transfer times are? Citi takes a very long time… Also does EY charge YK on award tickets? Some of the currency figures look high when I’ve searched for award availability but I’ve never bothered to do the conversion since I wasn’t booking with them.

  12. @Gaurav, MR transfers are instant or are generally less than 24 hours.

    SPG points seems to take a few days but reports vary.

  13. @Nick, thanks. I’ve found TY points to transfer pretty quickly as well but EY seems to be an outlier so was curious.

  14. @Todd
    Try this link – scroll down for Etihad Guest
    http://catalogue.membershiprewards.ca/l2Category.mtw?categoryName=ca_frequent_traveller_participants&parentCategoryName=ca_travel_1&newCategorySearch=true&linknav=ca:mr:vrp:shoppinglanding:travelmenu:cafrequenttravellerparticipants

    @AndyNYC I have had great success booking business class and also using miles to upgrade an economy ticket to business class

    @Gaurav I have seen MR credited to Etihad Guest within 48hours

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