Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission which helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published. For more details please see the advertising disclosure found at the bottom of every page.
AAdvantage miles may have lost a lot of their lustre (and value) as American Airlines has made it harder and harder to book premium cabin awards on its own aircraft, but there are still good deals to be had when you book awards on a number of American’s partners.
One such partner is Etihad but, historically, booking Etihad awards using AAdvantage miles hasn’t been the easiest of tasks – you couldn’t see availability on AA.com and, even when you did find availability (using the Etihad website), it often required a call to an oversees call centre (e.g. Australia) to get the award booked as American’s agents in the US generally couldn’t see the awards on their system.
Well, something has changed.
SeeBuyFly (a Flyertalker) has noticed that AA.com is now showing Etihad award availability for travel between Male and Chicago (via Abu Dhabi):
I’ve had a look on AA.com myself and these awards are showing up very clearly (for Business Class as well as Economy Class)….
…and award availability is not just limited to the Male – Chicago route.
Here’s an Economy Class award showing up for travel between LA and Abu Dhabi….
…and, if you search for First Class awards for non-stop travel between Paris and Abu Dhabi, this is what you see for November/December:
I haven’t gone as far as to ticket one of these awards but AA.com lets you get to a point where you’re asked to input your credit card details to pay for the taxes the award booking attracts….
…and I’ve managed to put a LAX – Abu Dhabi Business Class award on hold too:
While this may be American Airlines testing the integration of Etihad Awards into AA.com as part of some middle-of-the-night IT work and while this functionality may disappear in a few hours, it looks as if we’re finally getting the ability to book Etihad awards with AAdvantage miles on American’s own website…..and this will be good news or bad news depending on what angle you approach this from.
The good news is obvious – AA.com shows award availability for an entire month on one screen so searching for Etihad awards should be a lot simpler and, if awards are bookable online, it will mean that there should be no further need to call Australia to get an Etihad award ticketed.
The bad news is that this may make Etihad awards more scarce.
While AA.com didn’t show Etihad award availability and while American’s US-based agents couldn’t really see award availability on their screens, most people would have been finding it hard to book Etihad awards using AAdvantage miles…..and that meant more availability for those of us who knew how to find and book these awards.
Now, anyone searching AA.com will be able to book and Etihad award with relative ease.
Overall I’m a little surprised to see American add the ability to book Etihad awards on AA.com because all the indicators we’ve been seeing have suggested that Etihad is moving towards a closer relationship with Star Alliance and that the AA/Etihad relationship is on very rocky ground (Aeroplan has been hinting at closer ties with Etihad, there have been rumors of Etihad joining Star Alliance for a while).
Still, this has to be seen as a very positive move (even if it makes Etihad awards harder to find) as it would appear to indicate that the ability to use AAdvantage miles on Etihad isn’t going away anytime soon….and that’s very good news indeed.