November 27th, 2011

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TPG reader Chris writes:

I have 18,520 miles on Etihad that I accrued flying roundtrip Chicago to India. I have no future plans to travel on routes that Etihad offers so am at a loss as to what to do with these miles. I know that one can book flights on Etihad with American miles but not the other way around, which would be useful for me. Besides using the miles in their Reward Shop what can I do?

Actually, Etihad miles can be used for American Airlines flights: “To redeem miles for reward flights on American Airlines or any of its affiliates; members must contact the Etihad Guest Service Centre a minimum of 14 days prior to the intended date of travel. Rewards flight bookings will be confirmed subject to seat availability. Applicable taxes, surcharges and/or fees listed on the ticket will have to be paid at the time of ticket issuance. Flights that are both operated and marketed by American Airlines, American Eagle or American Connection are available for redemption. ”

AA redemption chart: It looks like AA redemptions mirror AA’s own award chart with off-peak one way to Hawaii ay 17,500 miles and domestic one-ways at 12,500.

Etihad domestic award chart for AA redemptions

If you want to redeem those miles for an Etihad flight, you might want to look into their  Miles plus cash redemption where you decide how many miles you want to use and contribute the rest in cash. You even earn miles on the actual cash spent on flights.

If you want to top-up your Etihad account, you can transfer Hilton points at 10,000 for 1,000 Etihad (not a good ratio in my opinion), Hyatt at 2,500 points for 1,000 miles (with a 5,000 mile bonus for transferring 50,000 points) which also isn’t a great deal and Priority Club at 10,000 points for 2,000 miles. Unfortunately, Starwood (with their generous airline transfer partner ratios) and Etihad are not transfer partners.

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