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Ah, Etihad’s The Residence: the most luxurious experience you can get in the skies — at least on a commercial flight. Available only on Etihad’s A380, The Residence gets you a living room, bathroom, bedroom and butler all to yourself for the length of the flight. And the onboard luxury is only part of the experience; you’ll be picked up by a private chauffeur (your bags get a chauffeur of their own), greeted by an entourage of Etihad employees at the airport and then relax in your own private lounge before the flight.
Can’t afford the current $22,029 one-way fare from New York’s JFK to Abu Dhabi (AUH)? Well, good news! You can currently book this luxury using Etihad miles:
That’s right, for 2,444,444 Etihad miles — plus $29.30 in taxes and fees — you can book your very own flight in Etihad’s The Residence. Interestingly, you’ll earn back 27,408 Etihad miles from booking this award flight. This means the net cost is “just” 2,417,036 miles.
With the current JFK-AUH one-way fares, this gets you just 0.91 cents of value per Etihad mile. This is a rather poor use of 2.4 million miles. Based on TPG’s latest valuation of Etihad miles, these miles are worth $33,839 — but could be redeemed for a lot more value when used for other first or business-class flights, such as:
- Washington (IAD) to Dakar (DKR) in business class round-trip on South African Airways for 106,667 Etihad miles + $592 in taxes and fees. This use of Etihad miles is 7x more valuable that the measly 0.9 cents in value you get when booking The Residence.
- New York (JFK) to Casablanca (CMN) in business class round-trip on Royal Air Maroc for 88,000 Etihad miles + $311 in taxes and fees. At 5.5 cents of value per mile, this is a much better use of Etihad miles.
- New York (JFK) to Belgrade (BEG) in business class round-trip on Air Serbia for 128,164 Etihad miles + $86 in taxes and fees. This booking gets us about 3.5 cents of value per Etihad mile.
If your Etihad Guest miles balance isn’t quite 2.4 million, you can utilize Etihad’s Miles Plus Cash option to utilize all of the Etihad miles you have and pay the remainder in cash. If I used all of my 44,040 Etihad miles, I could knock down the out-of-pocket cost to $21,633.
If I wanted to reduce this further, I could transfer points — with a 20% bonus now through October 30 — from Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest or one of Etihad’s other partners. However, doing so doesn’t get you much value from these points.
After all, the Miles Plus Cash option is giving me the option to effectively buy 2,400,404 Etihad miles (2,444,444 for the award flight less 44,040 in my mileage account) for $21,633 — a cost of just 0.9 cents per Etihad mile. This is a great rate to buy Etihad miles if you find the same option available on a more affordable award option.
Can’t afford the mileage or cash options for The Residence? You’re certainly not alone. For now, we will have to live vicariously through TPG’s incredible Etihad Residence experience:
Do you have enough Etihad miles to book The Residence?
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
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