Etihad Guest Has Started Selling Miles

Buying miles when they’re on sale can be one of the best ways to get a deal on premium cabin travel. Programs like Alaska Mileage Plan, Avianca LifeMiles, etc., are known for the excellent value they provide when buying miles, and have allowed me to have lots of great first & business class travel experiences.

Now Etihad Guest has started selling miles as well, and they use points.com for processing the transactions.

Etihad-Guest

Etihad Guest now lets you buy at most 60,000 miles per transaction (in increments of 1,000), and up to 100,000 miles per account per calendar year. The cost to purchase miles is two cents each, regardless of how many you buy.

In and of itself that’s not terribly exciting. In some cases it could make sense to top off an account at the cost of two cents per mile. However, it’s probably not going to make sense to buy miles from scratch at that cost for the purposes of award travel.

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However, the reason I think this is worth mentioning is that this could be a very good deal if Etihad ever offers a bonus on purchased miles. The fact that they’re just now adding the ability to buy miles suggests to me that it’s something they see as a new revenue opportunity, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get more aggressive about it going forward. With a 50-100% bonus, buying Etihad Guest miles could represent an excellent value.

The most lucrative way to generate Etihad Guest miles is at the time you ticket an award, as I explained last October. If you’re booking an Etihad award through their website, you have the option of reducing the number of miles needed for the redemption in exchange for some cash. Often you can achieve a cost as low as 0.9 cents per mile, which is great. However, unfortunately this doesn’t work for partner redemptions, like redeeming on Air Serbia.

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So for now mark this as “developing,” though here’s to hoping there are some deals in the future.

(Tip of the hat to Points from the Pacific)

Comments

  1. You might want to let your readers know it is not a secure connection on their Server as when you enter your details on the points.com site that Etihad redirects to for payment it is not encrypted.

  2. Agreed its not too great, however it looks like 64000 points WOULD be enough for a first class ticket from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai (cheapest potential First Apartment one way looks to be about 32k miles as a guest seat vs 143k miles open seat) so its not TOO bad if someone wants to try the First Apartment this as its essentially about $1300 for the miles vs $2000 for the ticket price on the same route. Mind you the flipside is you’re going to have to deal with availability for the lowered price.

  3. Expensive F tickets on short haul inside the ME might work, depending on availability of course.

  4. what happens when you cancel a ticket that’s booked with miles + cash? do you get miles back or refund

  5. @No Name

    Yep, just for more details because there’s a lot of code share and operating flights run by Jet Airways in the case of something like Abu Dhabi to India I did a little more comparing. If you book via Jet Airways for the same flight I mentioned above it comes to about $1943 at current forex rates or $2250 if you book through Etihad directly. The miles option I mentioned above would come to about $1280 plus tax which is likely to be around 9% or about $115 PLUS when you book the flight the fees/surcharges that Etihad add which is about AED 685 or about $187. When you add it all together the $1280+115+187 = $1582 approx.

    So in this case particularly I would say it likely comes down to is the $400-700 extra worth issues with availability on the flight dates needed.

  6. I don’t think Qatar Airways have ever offered a bonus on purchased miles, so let’s hope Etihad do in the future!

  7. Its hilarious that they use the Souk Al Bahar in Dubai as a backdrop image for this promo 😀

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