Great Deal: Buy Miles At 1.2 Cents Each & Book American Airlines Awards


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Etihad has launched the best deal on miles that I have ever seen the airline offer and because Etihad Guest miles can be used to book American Airlines awards at a lower mileage cost than American prices its awards, this sale can be a fantastic way to fly in American Airlines’ First or Business Class cabin at a significant discount.

Etihad Guest Mileage Sale

The way the sale works is straightforward:

Buy 1,000+Etihad Guest miles by 7 April 2020 and get a 40% discount on the price (link to the Etihad miles sale)

Platinum members can purchase up to 150,000 miles/year while all other Etihad Guest members may buy a total of 100,000 miles/year.

Headline Terms & Conditions

  • Miles may be purchased for $0.02 USD per mile (does not include the 40% discount)
  • Additional GST/HST will be charged to Canadian residents.
  • The Maximum miles that a member can purchase in a calendar year will be based on their Membership Tier at the time of making a purchase.
  • Purchased miles are not refundable and are applicable towards all Etihad Guest awards.
  • Miles purchased using this option will post instantly, in some cases it can take up to 72 hours until the miles are credited.
  • Purchased miles do not count towards status upgrades.
  • All standard Etihad Guest program rules and conditions apply.

The Math

The price per mile doesn’t vary with the number of miles you buy so if you buy 1,000 miles…

…or if you buy 100,000 miles…

….you’ll still only pay 1.2 cents per mile.

That’s great news because it means you don’t have to buy more miles than you actually need.

Using Etihad Guest Miles On American Airlines

As I’ve shown in the past, a fantastic quirk of the Etihad/American Airlines relationship is that Etihad Guest miles can be used to book American Airlines saver awards for fewer miles than American Airlines sells the same awards – this is because Etihad uses an award chart which is very similar to an American Airlines award chart dating back before the big devaluation of 2016.

Here’s what the Etihad award chart for American Airlines redemptions looks like…

…and here are some of the highlights:

  • USA – Europe roundtrip Business Class award: 100,000 Etihad Guest Miles
  • USA – Europe roundtrip First Class award: 125,000 Etihad Guest Miles
  • USA – Australia/New Zealand roundtrip Business Class award: 125,000 Etihad Guest Miles
  • USA – China/Hong Kong roundtrip Business Class award: 110,000 Etihad Guest Miles
  • USA – China/Hong Kong roundtrip First Class award: 135,000 Etihad Guest Miles

Unfortunately, unless you’re an Etihad Guest Platinum level member you can’t purchase enough miles in the current sale for all of those awards but as Etihad is a transfer partner for Chase, Citi, and American Express it shouldn’t be too hard to top up an Etihad Guest account.

You could also just book a one-way award and use a different airline’s currency for the remainder of your trip.

American Airlines 777-300ER Business Class
American Airlines 777-300ER Business Class

Here’s how these awards would price up assuming a cost of 1.2 cents/mile (not including taxes and fees):

  • USA – Europe roundtrip Business Class award: $1,200
  • USA – Europe roundtrip First Class award: $1,500
  • USA – Australia/New Zealand roundtrip Business Class award: $1,500
  • USA – China/Hong Kong roundtrip Business Class award: $1,320
  • USA – China/Hong Kong roundtrip First Class award: $1,620

Taxes and fees would need to be added in but they should be insignificant for most flights to/from the US (unless you’re flying into a high-tax destination like the UK) so all of these deals are truly fantastic – even if you end up having to pay the high taxes that the UK charges your roundtrip Business Class fare would still only cost between $1,500 and $1,600.

Warning

As always, I have to point out that for the past few years American Airlines has been very poor at releasing saver awards for Business Class and First Class travel so nobody should be buying miles without first checking that the awards they want to book are available…but award availability for late 2020 and early 2021 is definitely better than usual on some routes right now.

There are days in January and February next year where American is offering up to 4 Business Class awards on its LA – London route and that’s almost unheard of.

I should also point out that I’m of the opinion that the American/Etihad relationship may not be around this time next year so while any awards booked now (while the relationship is intact) will be honored even if the travel dates are for after the relationship has ended, this is another reason not to buy miles without a plan for using them in the short-term.

Don’t Forget

Etihad sells its miles through Points.com so there’s no scope to earn a travel/flight/airline bonus by using a credit card that offers bonus points for shopping in one of those categories (e.g. the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, the refreshed Amex Green Card or the Platinum Card from American Express)

What this means is that this is a good opportunity to use a credit card on which you’re working towards a welcome bonus or to use a credit card that earns you more than a point/dollar in a valuable currency (e.g. the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express) or even a good cashback card (one that earns 2% or more).

Bottom Line

If you can find saver award availability on American Airlines this sale could offer a great way to book American’s premium cabin awards at rates we haven’t seen since the big devaluation of 2016.

There are plenty of other uses of Etihad Guest Miles too (here’s a link to the Etihad partner page) and, if you’re flying within Australia, you should be able to get good value by using Etihad miles for Business Class redemptions on Virgin Australia too.

Buy Etihad Guest Miles at just 1.2 cents each via this link

Featured image courtesy of Etihad

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