Buy Etihad miles at a 40% discount, great for future business and first class awards
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Editor’s note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials note that the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing travel deals because we should all use this time to think about and plan our next adventures. TPG doesn’t advise booking trips for travel until the late spring or early summer – and even then be mindful of cancellation policies.
This is a recurring post, regularly updated with the latest promotion.
The Etihad Guest Program is back with another buy miles promotion, giving you an easy path to discounted flights on airlines like American Airlines, ANA and Royal Air Maroc. Etihad is based in Abu Dhabi, but its unique partnerships make Etihad miles extremely valuable no matter your destination. While now isn’t the time to travel to stop the spread of coronavirus, it could be a way to top up your balance before a redemption in the future.
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Through April 7, 2020, you can buy Ethad miles at a 40% discount, and unlike past offers — which are typically tiered — this promotion applies for any number of miles you’d purchase. Here’s a sample of the prices you’d pay:
- Buy 1,000 miles for $12 (reg. $20)
- Buy 20,000 miles for $240 (reg. $400)
- Buy 50,000 miles for $600 (reg. $1,000)
- Buy 100,000 miles for $1,200 (reg. $2,000)
You must buy miles in increments of 1,000 but can purchase up to 100,000 miles per year (or 150,000 miles for Platinum members). However, the terms of this promotion indicate that it only applies to a single purchase, so be sure to consider all of your redemption options before pulling the trigger.
Etihad normally sells miles at 2 cents apiece, but this promotion will drop your effective price to just 1.2 cents per mile — regardless of how many you purchase. Since TPG valuations calculate Etihad miles to be worth 1.4 cents each, this represents a notable discount. And if you know how to use and maximize Etihad miles, you can receive even more value.
Should you buy Etihad miles?
As noted at the outset, now is not the time to be traveling, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty as to when the airline industry will bounce back. In addition, we typically don’t recommend purchasing miles speculatively, as loyalty program currencies are not a good long-term investment. 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.
It’s also important to note that you can earn Etihad miles by transferring points from most flexible points currencies:
- American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 transfer ratio)
- Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1 transfer ratio)
- Capital One (2:1.5 transfer ratio)
- Marriott (3:1 transfer ratio)
This means that you can earn Etihad miles quickly by transferring points from cards like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express. If you have a large balance in any of these programs, you may prefer earning Etihad miles through transfers.
The information for the Venture Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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 could reserve a one-way flight from Washington-Dulless (IAD) or New York-JFK to Casablanca, Morocco (CMN) in Royal Air Maroc business class for 44,000 miles.
By purchasing miles at 1.2 cents each, you’d pay $528 for this flight. You’ll never find this seat for less than $1,600. By purchasing points, you’re flying for just a third of what you’d normally pay — though note you won’t earn redeemable miles for award flights.
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 could book the following flights:
- Business class: 50,000 miles one-way ($600 with the current promotion)
- Flagship First class: 62,500 miles one-way ($1,260 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. Just note that it’s no small task to find available premium-class award seats on American — but it is possible.
You can even travel from the West Coast to Japan in ANA business class for 54,000 Etihad miles one way. At a rate of 1.2 cents each, you’ll spend $648 on the miles you need for this flight. Again, business-class flights to Japan routinely cost $2,000 or more, so you’re essentially securing a massive discount by purchasing miles.
Read our post on the best strategies for Etihad Guest for a more thorough understanding of the power of Etihad miles.
Use the right credit card
When you buy Etihad miles, your purchase is handled by Points.com, not Etihad. Transactions with Points.com 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.
This discount expires on April 7, 2020, so if you want to jump on the promotion, you only have a few days to do it.
Featured photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy.
JT Genter contributed to this post.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.