It’s now less than a month until American’s award chart devaluation, which kicks in for bookings as of March 22, 2016 (even if travel is on subsequent dates). That means a lot of people are trying to lock in AAdvantage award tickets before the cost of many awards goes up.
One of the best uses of American miles is for travel on Etihad Airways, as many awards for travel on Etihad are going up in price substantially. To give a few examples of one-way first class award price increases:
- US to Middle East awards are increasing from 90,000 to 115,000 miles
- Europe to Middle East awards are increasing from 40,000 to 62,500 miles
- Australia to Middle East awards are increasing from 60,000 to 100,000 miles
Etihad has one of the world’s best first class products on their A380s, with their First Class Apartments. They fly these to London, New York, and Sydney, and soon to Mumbai and Melbourne. And it’s even quite easy to redeem American miles on these flights.
The best way to search Etihad award availability is through Etihad’s website. If they show “Guest” availability, it should also be bookable using American AAdvantage miles. American doesn’t show Etihad award availability online, so you have to call AAdvantage reservations to book.
However, for a few months now, American has had issues seeing and booking some Etihad award availability. It hasn’t been consistent, but certain availability on certain dates hasn’t been bookable through American.
Fortunately there has been a workaround — American Airlines’ call center in Australia has access to all Etihad “Guest” award availability, as it should be. Assuming you’re outside Australia, their phone number is +61-2-91011948, and the easiest way to phone them up inexpensively is through Skype or Google Voice. The call center is open 24/7, and the process shouldn’t take much longer than calling American’s US call center.
This workaround has existed for months, which leads me to believe it’s not intentional blocking, but rather some system glitch on American’s part, which is perhaps way down on their list of priorities to fix (perhaps they’ll get to it around March 23). 😉
In the meantime it’s probably almost good news for those of us “in the know,” since we’re able to book award space which others don’t have access to.
I get emails on an almost daily basis from people complaining about not being able to book Etihad award availability, so hopefully this workaround is helpful, as it should work consistently.
There has never been a better time to redeem American miles on Etihad, given the impending devaluation!
Have you used the Australia call center trick to book AAdvantage awards on Etihad?