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A couple of months ago, Etihad Guest was added as an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. Previously Citi ThankYou points could already be transferred to Etihad Guest, in addition to Starwood Preferred Guest points, so that means that three of the major transferable points currencies can now be converted into Etihad Guest miles.
However, one reason to transfer Amex points to Etihad Guest has been a 30% transfer bonus from Amex Membership Rewards to Etihad Guest since early May. That transfer bonus ends on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. So if you want to transfer Amex points to Etihad with a 30% bonus, you only have a couple more days to do so.
Historically I’ve always used American AAdvantage miles for travel on Etihad, though unfortunately many of those redemptions were devalued as of March 22, 2016. However, in conjunction with a transfer bonus (as we’re seeing for a couple more days), transferring Amex points could represent a great deal.
Here are some examples of the cost of premium cabin redemptions on Etihad using miles:
- 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
That means through this transfer bonus, 68,000 Membership Rewards points are enough for a business class award between New York and Abu Dhabi, and 91,000 Membership Rewards points are enough for a first class award between New York and Abu Dhabi. Given that American now charges 115,000 miles for first class between the US and the Middle East/India, I’d say that’s a very good redemption value under many circumstances. Do keep in mind that connections on either end would cost you extra.
This is an especially good value when you consider how easy it is for many to accrue Membership Rewards points. 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.
Also keep in mind that redeeming Etihad Guest miles on partner airlines can represent a great value.
For example, Etihad Guest miles can efficiently be redeemed for travel on American, typically at costs similar to what American charged before their devaluation.
Similarly, Etihad Guest miles can be redeemed at outrageously low costs on Brussels Airlines, which can represent a hell of a value. For example, a roundtrip business class ticket from New York to Brussels costs just 36,620 Etihad Guest miles.
Perhaps what I’m most tempted by, though, is redeeming Etihad Guest miles on Air Serbia’s new flight between New York and Belgrade, which launches next week. A one way business class redemption costs 64,082 Etihad Guest miles, meaning with the current 30% bonus you’d pay just 50,000 Membership Rewards points for the ticket.
With a bonus, transferring Amex Membership Rewards to Etihad Guest represents a very good deal. If you’ve been considering transferring miles from Membership Rewards to Etihad Guest, you only have a couple of days left to do so.
I probably wouldn’t speculatively transfer points to Etihad without a near term use in mind, given that a large part of the value of transferable points currencies comes from the flexibility of being able to use them for all kinds of things. I suspect we’ll see another transfer bonus at some point in the not too distance future. But if you are planning on redeeming for Etihad in the next six or so months, I’d probably go ahead and transfer some points.
Personally I’m tempted to transfer some points for the purpose of a redemption on Air Serbia between New York and Belgrade, so I guess it’s time I decide.
Do you plan on transferring Amex points to Etihad before the 30% bonus expires?