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A mileage program that constantly flies under the radar is the Etihad Guest Program — it’s got great award charts for many of its partner airlines like American, ANA and Virgin Australia. And while it can sometimes be a lengthy process to book an award flight, it can definitely be worth the hassle considering its great rates.
That means that this new Etihad buy miles promotion could be your chance to score incredibly cheap business and first-class awards. Through Mar. 5, the program is running a promotion where you can earn up to a 20% bonus when purchasing miles. Here’s how this deal breaks down:
|Buy or Gift||Bonus|
|Buy 1,000 — 5,000 miles||No bonus miles|
|Buy 6,000 — 20,000 miles||10% bonus miles|
|Buy 21,000 — 40,000 miles||15% bonus miles|
|Buy 41,000 — 60,000 miles||20% bonus miles|
TPG values Etihad miles at 1.4 cents each — which is about average when it comes to airline miles. At standard rates, you’d have to pay 2.0 cents each for mile. But if you can maximize this promotion by purchasing at least 41,000 miles to receive the 20% bonus, you could be snagging miles for 1.67 cents apiece. By purchasing 60,000 Etihad miles with the 20% bonus, you’d net 72,000 miles for just $1,200. And there are no taxes or processing fees added onto that cost.
If that’s still too expensive for you, Etihad Guest partners with both Citi ThankYou Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, where you can transfer points into the program at a 1:1 ratio. Currently The Platinum Card® from American Express is offering a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months, while the new American Express® Gold Card will dole out 35,000 points after $2,000 in spend in the first three months.
But buying miles at this low of a price can lead to some great redemptions in premium cabins that will get you your money back and a whole lot more. Let’s take a look at what you can book with this bonus offer. (Note that the cash prices are equivalent if you maximize the promotion by purchasing at least 41,000 miles.)
One-way transcontinental flight on American’s A321T in business for 25,000 miles:
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One-way to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East in Royal Air Maroc business class for 44,000 miles:
One-way to Europe, Japan or Korea in American’s business class for 50,000 miles:
West Coast to Japan in ANA’s business class for 54,000 miles:
Cost: $900 from Seattle (SEA), slightly more from other West Coast cities
West Coast to Korea in Asiana’s business class for 59,000 miles:
Check out TPG contributor Richard Kerr’s post on maximizing Etihad Guest Miles, which delves into the many great redemptions you can make with the program. Read here for an updated guide on booking partner awards through Etihad.
Note that Etihad caps each person at purchasing 100,000 miles each calendar year and 60,000 miles per purchase. If you can’t get enough Etihad miles at this rate, you’ll want to buy two packages of 50,000 miles to score 120,000 miles — after the 20% bonus — at 1.67 cents each. You can purchase Etihad miles here.
Your purchase will be processed by Points.com, not Etihad. So, you won’t earn bonus rewards for using a card with airline spending as a bonus category. The one notable exception for this is the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, which earned 3x Ultimate Rewards points when we tested mileage purchases processed through Points.com.
Otherwise, you should use a card that offers a solid return on non-bonus spend, such as The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.
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The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), up to a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at Marriott and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,200 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees