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This week, Etihad launched its first A380 flight from the United States, flying daily from New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi. TPG was in The Residence on the inaugural flight, and even had a chance to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner en-route to Abu Dhabi. On this route, The Residence will run you a whopping $32,000, but it’s possible to have a similar experience in The Apartment for just 90,000 American AAdvantage miles each way (for the time being, at least).
Unfortunately, availability has been pretty hit or miss on Etihad’s flagship route from JFK, but the airline is currently releasing at least two first-class seats just a few days before departure. Currently, you can book two seats on Etihad’s A380 flight on Saturday and SEVEN seats on the airline’s flight this Sunday. Availability appears to match Etihad’s low-level first-class revenue fares, so if there is a “cheap” seat for sale it should open up for redemption within a few days of departure.
Note that round-trip fares for The Apartment start at $22,000, giving you roughly 12 cents in value for each AA mile (and even more value when you redeem for a one-way flight, which generally starts at $16,500 from JFK to AUH).
Here’s how to book:
- Search for “Guest First” availability on Etihad’s award booking site.
- Call American Airlines at 1-800-882-8880 (or one of the airline’s international call centers).
- Put your award on hold for free or ticket right away for 90,000 AAdvantage miles (note that this award will increase to 115,000 miles on March 22, 2016) and make sure the agent waives the telephone booking fee.
While availability has been tough to come by on Etihad’s new A380 flight from the US, it seems to be quite plentiful at the moment — if you’re able to book at the last minute, at least. Consider booking seats in economy or business (so you’re guaranteed a seat on the flight you need), then call AA to move up to first for free once a seat opens up. You can also change your dates and routing for free, as long as you’re not changing the origin or destination.
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