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Award Redemption CONSOLIDATED: Questions on booking Etihad First and Business with AA miles

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by Kathy, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. T.A.

    T.A. New Member

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    Hope someone can clarify this for me -
    Using AA miles I would like to book an award flight on Etihad in F from Johannesburg to the US via Abu Dhabi.
    I am confused whether this route can be done as one award or two separate awards? AA award chart shows 120,000 miles from Africa to the US in F. Would this routing qualify?
    Also - to slightly complicate things - Etihad does not have F cabin on JNB-Abu Dhabi leg; so the whole award will be charged as F while one leg will be in J - in this case, would it be better/cheaper to book as 2 separate awards?
  2. Tiffany

    Tiffany One Mile At A Time

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  3. Nash D

    Nash D New Member

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    I'm trying to figure out what might be the best points strategy to use for an upcoming award to/from the US to India on Etihad using AA miles. I'm looking at flying Etihad First Class from SFO/SJC-JFK-AUH-BOM, and business class on the return, BOM-AUH-LAX-SJC. It's myself and my wife, and our infant son (under 2).

    For this redemption, I have a couple of options at the moment:
    1. Transfer points to AA from Marriott (had a stash of Starwood points that converted to Marriott Rewards (MR) after the merger). I have 20k AA miles, meaning I have to transfer in 840k MR to get to 370k (350k factoring in the bonus, plus the existing 20k in the account).
    2. Buy AA miles, with the current AA buy miles promo going on, which looks like it would cost roughly $6k + taxes (buying 175k * 2 = 370k).
    Assuming a 0.9c/mile valuation for MR, the value of the reward seems to be $7560, and assuming a 1.4c/mile valuation for AA, the value of the reward seems to be $5180. Retail value for the award seems to work out to 25k for the outbound, 8k for the inbound, so $33k, which works out to 3.9c/mile for MR, and 8.9c/mile for AA.

    I'm not sure if that's the best way to compare, but what I'm trying to figure out is whether burning our entire stash of Marriott Rewards is a strategic use of points, or would I be better off doing it through AA miles (it's actually quite a lot of cash too, though). Perhaps split the difference, and do a combination?

    Also looked at Emirates+Alaska for the inbound, but that would cost more MR (82.5k Alaska miles per person, versus 70k for AA per person). Any other options that I might be missing?
  4. AlinVA

    AlinVA New Member

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    In general, I don't hoard miles with no planned use in mind. I suggest you consider how easy it will be for you to earn more airline/hotel points, and whether you anticipate a need for them in the next 18 months.
  5. Son of 2 Seniors

    Son of 2 Seniors New Member

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    Hi Ben & community,

    I think there may be an issue with AA being able to see Etihad seats. I tried reaching out to the Australia call center as well as the US one without any success.

    I need to book 2 seats in J for my parents from AMD-ROC at the end of Feb / beginning of Mar of 2021. As expected, the AA site shows no availability whatsoever. Neither does it show any EY availability for the AUH-ORD flights.

    On the Etihad site, 2 "Guest Seats" are available almost every day on EY289 (AMD-AUH) connecting to EY151 (AUH-ORD). Separately, AA shows at least 2 seats available on AA4049 (ORD-ROC). When I call to book this, one agent claimed that there are no seats on EY151 but EY289 is fine, while another said the reverse. The Australia call center saw neither -- in prior years, Australia agents often saw seats that US ones could not.

    Fortunately, my parents' travel date is quite some time in the future and I plan to keep calling. But this variance between Etihad and AA is frustrating.

    Is anyone else having issues finding EY availability? Any thoughts on my situation?
  6. Peter M

    Peter M New Member

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    Hey Ben, Tiffany, and others. I wanted to mention my latest issue (and resolution!) on booking Etihad F Apartment on AA. As we all know this has always had a checkered history of inability of AA agents to see EY award tickets. Well recently I decided to look for dates and found several options that showed availability from AUH to JFK in EY F with award availability on expert flyer. I dutifully called up AA reservations in the USA and they could not see availability. I also checked the website and no seats showed as available. I next relied on the old trick of calling Australia AA reservations, but still no luck. Then I tried the backup NZ call center and still no lucky. Finally a read a comment from years ago that people have had success calling the UK center. Sure enough, the UK agent was able to see the space and booked my awards (2 actually ;) with no issues. So if anyone is running into trouble call the UK center. As a bonus the agent was quite lovely to deal with.
    MidSouth Skier and rickyw like this.