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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 through the airline, it can definitely be worth it considering for its great rates.
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 doll out 25,000 points after $2,000 in spend in the first three months.
This new Etihad buy miles promotion could be your chance to score incredibly cheap business and first-class awards. Through Nov. 15, the program is running a promotion where you can earn up to a 25% bonus when purchasing miles. Here’s how this deal breaks down:
|Buy or Gift||Bonus|
|Buy 1,000 — 4,000 miles||No bonus miles|
|Buy 5,000 — 29,000 miles||15% bonus miles|
|Buy 30,000 — 49,000 miles||20% bonus miles|
|Buy 50,000 — 60,000 miles||25% bonus miles|
TPG values Etihad miles at 1.4 cents apiece, about average when it comes to airline miles, and without a promotion you’d be buying miles at 1.8 cents each. But if you can maximize this promotion by purchasing at least 50,000 miles to receive the 25% bonus, you could be snagging miles for 1.6 cents apiece.
By purchasing 60,000 Etihad miles with the 25% bonus, you’d net 75,000 miles for just $1,200 (excluding taxes).
And buying miles at that 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 50,000 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: $864 from Seattle (SEA), slightly 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. You can purchase Etihad points 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 an Alaska mileage purchase 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.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards