Deal Alert: Etihad business class to Asia and Africa from $1,805 RT

Jun 12, 2020

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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.

Etihad offers one of the best business class products in the sky — when TPG’s Samantha Rosen reviewed it earlier in the year, she said the seat was spacious and comfortable, the food was good and the service was second-to-none.

That said, Etihad business class tickets don’t come cheap. You’ll usually pay more than $4,000 for a round-trip ticket from the U.S. to its hub in Abu Dhabi (AUH), or when continuing on to destinations beyond. While you can use your AAdvantage miles to book Etihad tickets, award space can be hard to come by.

However, Etihad is currently offering solid cash deals from the U.S. to cities in India, South Africa and various countries in Asia. As reported by The Flight Deal, tickets departing from Etihad’s U.S. gateways start at $2,826 in late 2020, and you can bring down the effective price down to as low as $1,884 when you take advantage of the airline’s 50% bonus on future travel credit.

This promotion offers a 50% bonus on all Etihad travel credit purchases between now and June 24. The only stipulation is that you can use this credit for travel commencing after Aug. 1, with the credit being valid for two years from the date of purchase.

While this is still a lot of money to spend on airfare, it’s a solid discount when compared to normal fares. In this article, we’ll give you a quick look at the routes you can book with this deal and discuss where to credit the miles. Let’s get started!

Should I book travel now?

Before we dive into this deal, it’s important to understand the risks of booking travel during the coronavirus outbreak. The first is that you may have to cancel the tickets you book. While the outbreak has shown signs of slowing in some parts of the world, there’s no way to guarantee that it will be safe to travel by the time you book.

If this ends up being the case, you may have to change or cancel your trip, so make sure you’re familiar with Etihad’s change and cancellation policies before you book your ticket. Unfortunately, there is generally a fee involved with doing this, unless the airline’s coronavirus travel waiver is extended.

Further, the travel industry as a whole is on rocky financial ground. The coronavirus outbreak dropped air travel demand to historic lows, plunging many airlines into financial turmoil in the process. To make matters worse, Etihad was having financial difficulties before coronavirus hit too.

While we’re confident in the future of Etihad, your ticket could be rendered worthless if the airline went belly-up in a worst-case scenario. With that in mind, only book these tickets knowing that there’s a small chance you could lose the money spent on the ticket. If you can’t afford to lose the money, we highly recommend steering clear of this deal.

A closer look at the deal

Now that we have the heavy stuff out of the way, let’s get to the fun part: the deal! As discussed in the intro, Etihad is selling business class tickets from the U.S. to major cities in Asia and Africa for as low as $2,823. When combined with the 50% bonus on future travel credit, this drops the price to $1,882 round-trip.

Here’s a look at some of the best deals. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, so you may be able to find deals to other cities for varying prices.

Washington-Dulles (IAD) to Mumbai (BOM) from $1,884

Washington DC to Mumbai in December on Etihad
(Image courtesy of Google Flights)

From the East Coast, you’ll find the best deal on flights from Washington-Dulles (IAD) to Mumbai (BOM) — this ticket costs $2,823 from the end of Aug. through Apr. 2021. When combined with the 50% bonus on travel credit purchases, your cost for this ticket comes down to $1,882.

New York-JFK to Delhi (DEL) from $2,117

New York to Delhi on Etihad
(Image courtesy of Google Flights)

New York-JFK has some good deals too. We’re finding tickets from New York to Delhi from $3,175 on Google Flights, and the price drops to just $2,117 with the travel credit bonus. Again, this price is available on select dates from Aug. through Apr. 2021.

New York-JFK to Johannesburg (JNB) from $2,186

New York to Johannesburg with Etihad
(Image courtesy of Google Flights)

New Yorkers dreaming of South Africa can book round-trip tickets to Johannesburg (JNB) for $3,278 in late 2020, with the effective price dropping to $2,186 with the travel credit bonus. These tickets can often be more than $5,000 round-trip, so the savings are pretty incredible.

New York-JFK to Male (MLE) from $2,605

New York to Maldives Etihad
(Image courtesy of Google Flights)

Planning a Maldives trip in 2021? The airline is selling tickets from New York to Male for $3,907 in early 2021, which drops to $2,605 when combined with the travel credit promotion. This is an excellent deal for a trip to the Maldives — especially when combined with one of these points-friendly hotels.

Related: The Maldives welcomes all tourists in July

Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Delhi (DEL) from $1,805

Chicago to Delhi with Etihad
(Image courtesy of Google Flights)

Midwesterners aren’t out of luck either. You can book Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Delhi from $2,708 on select dates, with the price dropping to just $1,805 when you factor in the 50% bonus on future travel credit.

Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Bangkok (BKK) from $1,958

Chicago to Bangkok with Etihad
(Image courtesy of Google Flights)

We’re also finding good pricing from Chicago to Bangkok (BKK) through the end of the year, with prices as low as $2,937 before the travel credit bonus. You can book these tickets as low as $1,958, which is a solid deal for a business class flight to Southeast Asia.

Related: 8 things to know before you go to Bangkok

Los Angeles (LAX) to Bangkok (BKK) from $2,587

Los Angeles to Bangkok with Etihad
(Image courtesy of Google Flights)

Flying from the west coast? Etihad is selling tickets from Los Angeles (LAX) to Bangkok for $3,880 on limited dates, which drops to $2,587 with the travel credit promotion. We’ve seen this route price out at over $10,000 in the past, so you’re scoring a huge discount.

Earning miles with your flight

Etihad Earning Chart AAdvantage
(Image courtesy of American Airlines)

American Airlines and Etihad have a non-alliance partnership that allows AAdvantage members to earn and redeem flights on Etihad flights (and vice-versa). Most of the tickets mentioned in this promotion book into the Z fare class, which earns 100% miles flown with American. A flight from New York to Johannesburg via Ahu Dhabi would earn 10,776 redeemable miles. Unfortunately, Etihad tickets don’t earn Elite Qualifying Miles on American.

Alternatively, you can credit Etihad flights to other useful programs like Asiana Club (130%), Korean Airlines SKYPASS (115%) or Etihad’s own Etihad Guest program (115%). Do your own research and find which works best for your future travel plans.

Maximize your purchase with a travel credit card

In order to book one of these deals, you’ll have to call Etihad to buy your promotional travel credit first. This purchase should code as airfare, so make sure you’re using a credit card that offers a bonus on travel and airfare purchases to maximize your points.

Your best bet is to pay with The Platinum Card® from American Express, which earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent (a 10% return based on TPG valuations) on airfare booked directly with the airline or via Amextravel.com. Alternatively, cards that earn on general travel purchases like the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x points) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x points) and American Express® Green Card (3x points) work well too.

Bottom line

Etihad’s travel credit promotion is a great way to fly Etihad business class on the cheap. It offers a way to fly one of the best business class products in the sky at a steep discount, all while earning a boat (plane?) load of miles in the process.

That said, only book this deal if you’re comfortable with the risks of booking travel during the coronavirus outbreak. There’s no way to tell when travel will return to normal, but we’re holding out hope for late 2020 and early 2021.

Feature photo by Dmitry Birin/Shutterstock

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