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For those on the fence about transferring points or miles to a program, bonuses provide a great incentive to finally pull the trigger. Well, good news for those looking to transfer points to Middle East-based carrier Etihad Airways: Now through October 31, you can transfer points from one of Etihad’s 16 transfer partners and get 20% bonus Etihad Guest Miles.
No registration is required to take advantage of this promotion; all you need to do is transfer points to Etihad before the deadline to receive the bonus. However, the terms and conditions of the offer note that bonus miles will be posted “within 15 days of the end date of the promotion.” So, you might need to wait until as late as November 15 to receive your extra miles.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the Etihad Guest program, Etihad miles have a unique expiration policy. While many airlines allow you to extend the expiration deadline with certain activity, Etihad miles expire 24 months after they are generated (longer for elites) — per Rule 188.8.131.52 of Etihad’s incredibly-complex terms and conditions. However, you shouldn’t transfer points to Etihad anyway unless you expect to redeem them in the near future, as programs are always subject to devaluations.
Note that Etihad’s promotion webpage has a discrepancy about the promotion deadline. At the top of the page, Etihad notes that the promotion runs through “30 October, 2016.” However, the Terms and Conditions note that the promotion is valid for “conversions made between 1 October and 31 October 2016 both days inclusive.” If you’re planning to take advantage of this promotion, we wouldn’t recommend gambling the 20% bonus by transferring on October 31.
Points transferred from the following programs are eligible for this promotion. All programs transfer 1:1 unless noted:
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Citi ThankYou Points
- Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints
- IHG Rewards Club Points (5:1)
- Hilton HHonors points (10:1)
- Radisson Club Carlson Gold Points (10:1)
- Hyatt Gold Passport Points (2.5:1)
- Marriott Rewards Points (10,000:1,500)
- Shangri-La Golden Circle Points
- AccorHotels Le Club Points (2:1)
- Heathrow Rewards Points
- ADCB TouchPoints (15:1)
- NBAD Stars (4:1)
- EIB Choice Points (8:1)
- Joyalukkas Golden Rewards Points (8:1)
- Boubyan Bank Select Points (34:5,000)
Is It Worth It?
This is highly dependent both on the program that you’d transfer points from and the value of your redemption. Generally, TPG values Etihad miles at 1.4 cents per mile, but you can often do better than that. The TPG team has made three recent business class redemptions with Etihad miles, clocking in between 3.5 and 6.5 cents of value.
On paper, the best transfer partner for this bonus would be Citi’s ThankYou program. TPG values ThankYou points at 1.6 cents per point — which is the value that you’d get toward booking American Airlines flights through next July. After the 20% bonus from Etihad, you’d end up with 1.68 cents worth of Etihad points per ThankYou point transferred.
Other programs don’t fare nearly as well. Fellow transferable point programs American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest can make sense in certain situations — especially if you transfer SPG points in multiples of 20,000 to get the 5,000 transfer bonus from SPG. You’re going to need to get between 1.6-1.7 cents per value from your Etihad redemption to make transfers from these partners worth it.
Transferring points from hotel programs is generally going to be a bad value proposition, as you need to transfer between 2.5 points (Hyatt) and 10 points (Hilton and Club Carlson) to get just 1 (or, in this case, 1.2) Etihad mile. If you have a stash of hotel points that you aren’t using — or are expiring soon — transferring points from these programs to Etihad could make sense. Otherwise, only consider this if you’re able to redeem for an incredible redemption, such as NYC to Brussels (BRU) in lie-flat business class for 36,620 Etihad Miles — that’s just over 30,500 Citi points!
Don’t transfer small amounts of Marriott points as part of this promotion. You’re going to get a better deal transferring Marriott points to SPG points at a 3:1 ratio and then transferring SPG points to Etihad. Not only will this open the possibility of getting the 5,000 bonus for transferring 20,000 SPG points, but you’ll also get a much better rate. Marriott transfers to Etihad at 10,000 points to 1,500 miles, but SPG transfers at 1:1 before bonuses.
That said, if you have enough Marriott points for a Nights & Flights package, consider redeeming Marriott points rather than Starpoints. Etihad is part of the Marriott’s Hotel + Air Package 2. If you transfer 270,000 Marriott points (equal to 90,000 Starpoints), you’ll get 85,000 Etihad miles and seven nights at a category 1-5 Marriott hotel.
After the 20% bonus is applied, you’ll end up with 102,000 Etihad miles. While there are more lucrative uses of Marriott points, this is a solid option if you have a great Etihad redemption in mind.
If you’ve been debating about taking advantage of one of the Etihad Guest Program’s fantastic redemptions, this transfer bonus makes those awards even more appealing. However, we certainly don’t recommend transferring points to Etihad unless you have a specific upcoming redemption in mind. Etihad miles expire 24 months after creation, so you’re much better off keeping your points in a transferrable program until just before you’re ready to book.
H/T: One Mile at a Time
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