Here’s The Best Value Transatlantic Business Class Award Out There

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Etihad Guest miles are becoming increasingly relevant, given that the program is now transfer partners with both American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou. This means points earned on great cards like the Citi Prestige® CardAmex EveryDay® Preferred Credit CardPremier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, etc. can be transferred to Etihad Guest.

At the moment, Amex even has a 30% bonus when you transfer points from Membership Rewards to Etihad Guest. Citi ThankYou has offered similar transfer bonuses in the past.

Etihad-Transfer-Bonus

Etihad Guest miles are of course valuable for redemptions on Etihad, which has one of the world’s best first class products.

Etihad-A380
Redeem Etihad Guest miles for travel in the A380 First Class Apartment

On top of that, Etihad has quite a few airline partners, many of which have great redemption rates. For example, I’ve written in the past about the great value of redeeming Etihad Guest for travel on American, as many of Etihad’s redemption rates reflect American’s pre-devaluation rates.

Etihad-Guest-American-1

Redemption rates can vary significantly depending on the partner airline on which you’re redeeming. Some partner redemptions are terrible deals, while others are great deals.

There’s one partner award opportunity which is outrageously generous. Specifically, redeeming Etihad Guest miles on Brussels Airlines is an incredible deal. The rates are so low that it almost doesn’t make sense. Here’s the Etihad Guest award chart for redemptions on Brussels Airlines, quoting roundtrip redemption rates:

Etihad-Guest-Brussels-Airlines
Etihad-Guest-Brussels-Airline-2

Again, the rates listed are for roundtrip travel (one-way travel isn’t permitted on some partner airlines). That’s right, a roundtrip business class award between Brussels and Paris will cost you just 1,550 miles.

Perhaps best of all, a roundtrip business class award between New York and Brussels will cost you just 36,620 Etihad Guest miles. Factor in the 30% transfer bonus from Amex Membership Rewards at the moment, and that’s like paying just 29,000 Membership Rewards points for the award.

Brussels-Airlines-Business-Class-1

That’s the cheapest roundtrip transatlantic business class award cost I know of.

Keep in mind Brussels Airlines has an extensive route network to Africa as well, and the rates there are largely equally good. Brussels Airlines isn’t a huge airline, but for the markets they serve, these redemptions represent an outstanding value.

Reader Sean shared the following experience he had with booking Brussels Airlines using Etihad Guest miles:

I can confirm JFK- Brussels round trip in J for 36,620 etihad miles. Booked today. If you travel with infant they only charge 10% of award miles not 10% of the normal fare. For myself, my wife and 1 yr old 60k MR points after 30% transfer bonus + $290 in taxes. Unbelievable deal for a business class product that I’ve heard numerous good things about.

As you can see, there are some surcharges, but they don’t seem too bad. You’ll have to call Etihad Guest to book these awards, which is always an experience, as their agents are quite hit-or-miss. Availability should match what’s available to other airlines, so I’d recommend using a Star Alliance award search tool to access space.

I’ve reviewed Brussels Airlines business class between New York and Brussels in the past, and it’s a solid product.

Brussels-Airlines-Business-Class-2

Bottom line

While a niche redemption, using Etihad Guest miles for travel on Brussels Airlines is a heck of a value, regardless of whether you’re looking at traveling in economy or business class. Brussels Airlines award availability isn’t great at the moment, though it does seem to go in waves. If you’re looking at traveling to/from Europe, this is an opportunity to consider.

(Tip of the hat to Mac)


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Comments

  1. Thanks for the tip Lucky! On a side note I have been searching for SQ F LAX-NRT and vice versa and basically can’t find a single seat available at the saver rate on any date in any direction. I remember in the past there used to be some availability, has something changed?

  2. @ anon @ Daniel — Yeah, it’s a bit odd. I assume it is in fact bookable but just not listed.

  3. @ DB — It is indeed very tough to come by. When there is space, it only seems to be available right as the booking window opens. Otherwise can’t hurt to try and waitlist the award in hopes of space opening up.

  4. which call center did he called to book brussels airlines?
    i called uk manchester usa australia no one had availbilty even if it was shown on other satr allinance partners

  5. Etihad does not have access to the usual award space that Star Alliance partners have. Lots of flyertalk threads confirm that it is almost impossible to book any of these awards

  6. @ chris

    i can confirm the same,
    i even had a etihad agent who was willing to create a pnr and wait for approval for x class (was 5 seats availble both directions) and it came back rejected

    i still dont belive that a person got 2 seats in business, might be and error by and agent

  7. This is unreal! Thanks so much. A few quick questions:

    1. Can multiple AmEx MR accounts all transfer into the same Etihad miles account? My spouse and I both have large MR balances, and we’d want to pool them in my account.

    2. We’ve never flown Etihad before — is it required to fly a segment with them before transferring in MR points?

    3. Are these Brussels partner redemptions so astonishing that they’re bound to vanish soon? And are they better than the redemption values flying Etihad metal?

    Thanks!

  8. Do you know if Etihad allows members to book awards for friends or relatives?

    I have a relative I’d like to give a ticket to if we can book awards tix for someone else.

  9. @John,

    Yeah, was kind of hoping Lucky would leave this one alone. Granted these awards are incredibly difficult to book due to lack of space, but still.

  10. @lucky yeah I figured, oh well. I’ll have to monitor it day to day. None the 773’s they fly between SFO-HKG feature the new suites correct?

  11. It is ALL BS, these are NOT bookable. “Reader” hahaha…

    Just lousy post pushing some Amex links…

  12. I’ve been intrigued by the upcoming Royal Air Maroc IAD-Casablanca service, as redemtion rates are pretty reasonable.

    Any way to determine, in the most general sense, what sort of award availability exists?

  13. I don’t believe it.

    This route almost is unbookable.

    Show the screen shot, or it is just BS!

  14. Lucky, this is why you are the best blogger there is. Others have written about this deal and ive challenged them on their own website asking for some kind of confirmation that J was indeed bookable. No one could, even though they wrote about the deal. Some try to beat around the bush and link me to a flyertalk thread that talked about this route in Y. At least you were able to confirm it works no matter how scarce the availability is.

  15. Before folks go dumping all their AmEx points into Etihad Guest, they should really investigate. Lucky, have you been able to book something?

  16. @ Frank — Haven’t personally tried to book, but going off of the comment left by a reader.

  17. @ jfhscott — I’ve called a few times for Royal Air Maroc, and they’ve never been able to find business class award space, unfortunately. I could just be unlucky.

  18. RAM space. Nothing available in biz or coach, from any route on any day the last five times I’ve called. Has anyone ever booked a RAM redemption flight? Doubt it!

  19. The booking is 100% real. Here is the entire story. I called into Etihad and an agent from Abu Dhabi answered. I asked ab dates and she responded that they weren’t showing any and that she’d have to email Brussels Airlines to see if that was in fact the case. She told me it can take 3 days to get a response and she said she would call with a yes or no. 3 days later an agent from the Manchester uk office called to notify that my dates were in fact available. During the time it took to hear back from Brussels I had a schedule change and would need to check on new dates about 2 weeks later. Sure enough (through email correspondence w agent from uk ) 3 days later I get the notification that the dates are available. The award is held (agent told me for a week) while i transfer me points to Etihad. Moral of the story yes I probably got lucky but I also had an agent who was willing to actually look a little deeper into real availablility since etihad system isn’t 100% correct.

  20. How come Gary and you end up having similar articles a few days apart. Boarding area bloggers are an incestuous group

    In any case etihad program is just horrible. They have lots of promotions all the time on which they renege from time to time. All the business is conducted over email. The last flight I took on etihad they ran out of food in economy so everyone was given a single entree choice even though they hand oUT this fine looking menu card at the beginning of each flight. So ……. think for yourself.

  21. I have read numerous websites where people have stated that it is virtually impossible to book Brussels Airlines flights using Etihad points. I tried myself recently to book an intra Europe flight for October and was told you can only book 14 days prior to your travel date.

    In addition to Brussels Airlines and ANA there are some other good redemption options on Etihad and I would use this website as a guide:

    http://www.headforpoints.com/2015/07/02/some-amazing-redemptions-using-etihad-guest-airline-partners/

    The Czech Airlines option between Seoul and Prague for just over 25,000 points in business doesn’t look bad. Also within Australia 6,900 points Sydney to Cairns one way in economy is pretty good value too and by all accounts booking for Virgin Australia flights is a lot easier to do.

  22. Was able to book SYD-LAX in F through Etihad. Showed same availablity as BA. Hope this helps someone

  23. i would have thought you would have used your own plane any jack, oops i mean Mr Trump

  24. Redeeming an Etihad Partner Award is a difficult affair – it’s really pot luck depending which agent you get on the phone. Some are just god damn awful and try to fob you off almost immediately, others just don’t really know what they are doing, but if you get lucky you’ll speak to one of the few compenent agents.

    It took me many calls to redeem some Etihad points for an ANA award (and I am and was an Etihad Platinum at that time). It’s rarely easy, but if you are willing to get HUCA’ing you eventually get there (I think it took almost eight phone calls, some very long ones, to finally achieve this).

    I’d agree though, that as soon as this starts seeing a volume of redemptions, Etihad will fix this up (there are plenty of mistakes in the redemption charts – it seems they got the work experience kid to write it).

  25. Just booked JFK-BRU r/t on Brussels Business Class for 36620 miles and $94.16 in taxes and fees. Called the 24 hour US line directly and was book immediately. Their accent is a bit difficult to understand but everything was book fairly easily. Excited to try out their product!

  26. Hmmm, when I look on UA, I see 70K awards in the Bus. Saver column for the Brussels Air non-stop from JFK to BRU. Is that the flight I am supposed to be looking for and then call Etihad?

    I am currently booked in coach on UA for a trip in June from Charleston to Copenhagen. I would much rather do the JFK – BRU in Business and worry later about Brussels to CPH.

    Let me know, please.

  27. @ John H Yes, you need to look at which class is available. The 70K saver awards are in I (i) class. However, in my experience, it does not match up at all with Etihad’s availability. You will have to call in to find out. Hopefully you’ll get the Manchester call center, they are much easier to understand. Also, since you are going to Copenhagen, their award chart shows that BRU to CPH is 4690 miles round trip in business class. The intra-europe availably seems much better than the transatlantic availability in Business.

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