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New sale offers Etihad Guest miles for as low as 1.38 cents a piece — great deal for partner awards

May 23, 2022
7 min read
Etihad plane taking off in Istanbul
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Etihad Guest is back with another buy miles promotion, giving you an easy path to discounted flights on airlines like American Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Royal Air Maroc. Etihad Airways is based in Abu Dhabi, but its unique partnerships make Etihad miles extremely valuable no matter your destination.

This new promotion offers up to a 45% bonus on purchased miles, dropping the cost of Etihad Guest miles to as little as 1.38 cents per mile. The promotion was first reported by One Mile at a Time.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at the data and discuss whether you should take advantage of this sale. We’ll also show you a handful of ways you can redeem Etihad miles for maximum value. Let’s dive in!

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Buying Etihad Guest miles with a 45% bonus

Through June 1, 2022, you can buy Etihad miles with up to a 45% bonus. You’ll get the highest bonus when you purchase at least 41,000 miles — here’s a look at the breakdown:

  • Buy 4,000 to 20,000 miles and get a 15% bonus.
  • Buy 21,000 to 40,000 miles and get a 25% bonus.
  • Buy 41,000 to 100,000 miles and get a 45% bonus.

You must buy miles in increments of 1,000 but can purchase up to 100,000 miles per year not including the bonus (or 150,000 miles for Platinum members).

Etihad normally sells miles at 2 cents apiece, but this promotion will drop your effective price to 1.38 cents per mile at the 45% bonus tier. TPG values Etihad Guest miles at 1.4 cents each, which makes buying Etihad Guest miles during this promotion a good deal if you have a specific redemption in mind.

Related: Etihad Guest miles continue to fly under the radar

Should you buy Etihad miles?

(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

We don’t usually recommend purchasing miles speculatively. This is because loyalty program currencies are not a good long-term investment and have a tenancy to devalue over time. There’s nothing to stop a program from changing its award charts without notice, which could leave you with a balance of points or miles you can no longer use.

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Related: Guide to earning transferable points and why they’re so valuable

It's also important to note that you can quickly earn Etihad miles by transferring points from cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express. The following transferable points currencies transfer to Etihad Guest:

If you have a large balance in any of these programs, you should save your money and transfer points to Etihad Guest instead.

Related: Best ways to maximize Capital One miles

However, if you’ve got a particular flight in mind, purchasing miles can be a great way to effectively book your flight at a discount. This method is most useful if you’re eyeing premium-cabin awards like a fancy international business-class seat.

For example, you can reserve a one-way flight from Miami, New York City or Washington, D.C., to Casablanca, Morocco, in Royal Air Maroc business class for 44,000 miles. This is a solid deal, as the flight often costs more than $1,500 one-way.

By purchasing miles at 1.38 cents each, you’d pay roughly $607 for this flight. Using your purchased miles will allow you to fly for roughly half of what you’d normally pay. Just know that you won’t earn redeemable or elite qualifying miles on award flights.

(Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy.)

You may also consider reserving a premium-class flight to Europe on American Airlines. Etihad’s American award chart essentially maintains the award rates from before the 2016 AAdvantage devaluation, so you can book the following flights:

  • Business class: 50,000 miles one-way ($690 with the current promotion).
  • Flagship First class: 62,500 miles one-way ($870 with the current promotion, since you’d need to purchase 63,000 miles).

These flights regularly cost thousands of dollars, so this could represent a spectacular value. It can be tough to find American award space, so find award space before you purchase miles. You can do this with your favorite Oneworld search engine.

You can also travel from the West Coast to Japan in ANA business class for 54,000 Etihad miles one way. At a rate of 1.38 cents each, you’ll spend $745 on the miles you need for this flight. Business-class flights to Japan routinely cost $2,000 or more, so you’re securing at least a 50% discount by purchasing miles.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Make sure you check out our full guide to Etihad Guest partners for more inspiration. Other noteworthy partners include Air Canada, Brussels Airlines and GOL Airlines.

Regardless of which route you book, remember to compare the cost of your award ticket with other partners to ensure you’re getting the best deal. For example, you may find that you can get a better deal on Air Canada flights using the airline’s own Aeroplan loyalty program.

One last thing: You’re generally better off booking Etihad award tickets using American Airlines AAdvantage miles. You’ll spend roughly 100,000 Etihad Guest miles for a one-way business-class flight from New York to Abu Dhabi. This equals $1,380 when you purchase miles during this promotion, which is still better than paying cash. On the other hand, you can use just 70,000 American miles to book the same ticket.

Related: No, American and Etihad’s partnership is not ending

Use the right credit card

When you buy Etihad miles, your purchase is handled by, not Etihad. Transactions with don’t code as travel, so you won’t earn bonus rewards for using a card with airline spending as a bonus category.

Instead, consider using one of the best credit cards for everyday spending, such as The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Each of these cards earns more than 1 point or mile per dollar spent on all purchases, which gives you a better return than most cards.

Related: The best credit cards for everyday spending

Bottom line

Etihad Guest miles can bring massive value when you use them for partner flights. While this isn’t the best deal we’ve seen for Etihad miles, it can be worthwhile if you value Etihad status and want to book discounted travel later in the year. Know, though, that we’ve seen Etihad sell miles for as low as 1.2 cents apiece in the past, so you may be able to get a better deal by waiting.

Feature photo by Mehmet Eser/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

Featured image by Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.