It’s Not Just You: AAdvantage Unable To Issue Most Award Tickets On Etihad

Ruh-roh. There has never been a better time to redeem American miles for travel on Etihad Airways, given that Etihad is making First Class Apartment award space available from Abu Dhabi to London and from Abu Dhabi to Sydney.


Searching Etihad award availability through Etihad’s website is pretty straightforward, and in practice American AAdvantage members have access to the same saver level award availability that Etihad makes available to their own members.

However, I’ve received several reports from readers today that have tried to book book Etihad tickets using American AAdvantage miles, only to be told that there’s no availability. At first I thought it was an isolated incident, though after doing some research it appears as if it’s actually a widespread problem. American AAdvantage doesn’t seem to have access to most Etihad award availability right now.

Some Etihad routes remain bookable, while others aren’t. For example, when I called, the agent could see space on Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi but not on New York to Abu Dhabi. And the agent couldn’t see any space on London or Sydney to Abu Dhabi, despite it showing as available through Etihad.


For those flights that seem to be “blocked,” the flights don’t even show in the system when reservations agents are searching. So it’s not that the flights are showing correctly and just don’t show availability, but rather the flights altogether aren’t displaying. That means it’s not just first class that’s being blocked, but all classes of service.

In the middle of last year, there was a glitch whereby American AAdvantage couldn’t see Etihad award availability, and it took almost a month before that was fixed.

The way I look at it, there are three possible explanations:

  • This is a very temporary IT glitch, and it’ll fix itself within a day or two
  • This is similar to what happened last time, and could take a while to fix (we don’t actually know what happened last time, whether it was truly an IT glitch or what)
  • This isn’t a coincidence, and might be similar to what I suspect is going on between Alaska and Emirates

What concerns me most here is that it’s only some routes that don’t seem bookable, which is curious…

Anyway, I’ve reached out to a contact at American for clarification, and will report back. Here’s to hoping it’s just a temporary IT glitch.


Really the reason for the interim post on this is to confirm “no, it’s not you,” given the number of people that have contacted me to ask if they were doing something wrong when calling to book Etihad awards.


  1. Booked LHR-AUH-CAI F yesterday. Quick and easy. Seat 4A for the first leg, as recommended by you (thanks). Hope those having problem booking theirs manage to do so soon.

  2. Probkem must have started yesterday.
    I booked a Iad-Auh business class yesterday evening still has not cleared. Its in a “on request” mode. Has not been issued yet.

  3. @Samir, but when you called AA they found the etihad space. It also takes a day or two to issue tickets with AA partners so hopefully you’ll be fine.
    i think people calling AA today arent able to even make the request since the AA award ticketing agents can’t see the EY flights!

  4. Tried to get F for SYD-AUH in November. Two calls–no space in any class. As mentioned above, the agents can not see Etihad flights at all.

  5. Noooooooooooooooooooooo!

    I have been monitoring EY space for 1-2 months and was going to pounce on flights LHR-AUH-MLE to use my Hyatt 2 night certificate that is about to expire. Last night, I called to put something on hold with AA and she did not see availability either. I assumed it was a hang up, call back type of agent. Got distracted and planned to pick it up again today.

    Here’s to hoping they fix it ASAP otherwise I am stuck in HE (side note: QR should change their IATA to HE) or BA+YQ or burning my UR stash on SQ which I had been saving for LH FCT. Woe is me!

  6. It appears AA is having trouble seeing IB award availability, at least on the flights I want.

    IB shows availability on its website, but AA can’t see it. Alas, I have lots of AA miles, but not nearly enough Avios.

  7. Hi Ben, I think this is a stupid question, but can you book SYD – AUH – LHR in one ticket for 80K miles or EY? Or do you need one separate ticket from SYD – AUH and AUH – LHR?

  8. That’s incorrect. You can do it on one reservation, but you will be charged for both South Pacific to Middle East (60k) + Middle East to Europe (40k).

  9. @HansGolden, Wayne asked if he could do it for 80K, not 100K as per your post. Correct, you are incorrect.

  10. I’m on the phone with an AA agent right now trying to change a return flight on EY and the problem is cropping up. She says she can see the flight I want (KTM-AUH), but when she enters it in their system, she says it gives her Jet Airways flights instead through Delhi. Weird.

  11. Once my comment that is in moderation queue above yours is posted by Ben, it will make more sense. 🙂

  12. I can’t tell you how many times I forgot about that crazy rule, which is why I jumped in so quickly to help; I feel your pain! 🙂

  13. That’s why I posted in Ask Lucky yesterday about this. Dang it. Now I’m sad….I really wanted this award…

  14. @ Alvin — The Residence has been available on miles since the beginning but can’t be booked on partner awards (Guest First). And there are no easy way to get 2+ million of Etihad miles 🙁

  15. HansGolden, Maciej & anyone else: so is there a way to fly from EU to AUS/NZ on a single AA award ticket? apart from QF there are no ‘direct’ flights (even then this stops in DXB)… so are you allowed to transit ANY other region at all? or are you just limited to QF availability if you want to travel on a single ticket?

    if I’m reading the flyerguide wiki right, it says you can transit asia 2?! which could be say HKG via CX… seems like MEA would make more sense for as direct a route as possible to the south pacific… so why would they allow asia 2 (if they indeed do, which is great for other purposes) but not MEA even via QR?


  16. @ Trevor — Except with the US change nothing actually changed to the American system. Only the US Airways system had changes.

  17. @ Adam — Correct, you can either do the Qantas “direct” flight, or otherwise can route via Asia 2 on Cathay Pacific, British Airways, etc. Agree that routing via the Middle East should officially be allowed since it’s more direct.

  18. Problem appears to be resolved… AA agent was able to see Guest First space and book it for me using AA miles on the AUH-LHR 380 route 03/01/2015. It was booked at 9:15am CST. Yesterday, Guest First was showing available on same flight but no one at AA could see it.

  19. Same as Stephen, I got a ticket booked this morning that the agents could not see yesterday. AUH-LHR in first in October.

  20. Another data point,
    Just booked 2x JFK-AUH-MCT on Etihad F.

    I was on the phone with AS last night booking my return flight on CX F, when I read this post. So glad the situation resolved itself in a timely manner.

  21. @ Nick — Happy to hear you had luck, though only seems to be selectively resolved. Many routes still aren’t bookable.

  22. It seems bookable now.. It was not bookable when I booked 2 tickets from AMM to HKG for my friends.. so I was booking RJ instead of EY for my friends. When I called AA office here again due to no email for reservation , the AA agent was remembering my request, she said she is able to book EY flight.. so I rebooked my friends for EY flight..

  23. However I am having an interesting question about EY… My friends and I will go to Israel and Jordan and we will fly out of AMM with EY.. I think it shouldn’t be a problem for flying EY since landing car will be handed instead of Israeli Stamp on passport now.. sorry it is off-topic question..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *