Book Your Etihad Guest Miles Awards Before the June 30 Devaluation

May 31, 2018

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Now’s the time to use your Etihad Guest miles if you’re looking to book Etihad award flights. Etihad just gave a one-month notice for a devaluation of awards taking effect June 30.

At this point, details are light. We only know that the current saver award booking rates — known as GuestSeats — will only be valid for award flights booked through June 30. After that date, GuestSeats award rates will be “moving from a fixed single rate for redemption bookings to variances in fares.” The rates for non-saver awards (OpenSeats) and upgrade awards won’t be impacted by the change.

The text of the announcement only mentions “economy and business class.” So, it’s unclear if first-class awards are being spared or just aren’t mentioned in this announcement:

On 30 June 2018 Etihad Guest will introduce variable pricing for redemption bookings on Etihad Airways marketed and operated flights. Moving from fixed single rate for redemption bookings to variances in fares within Economy class and Business class.

However, it’s sort of a moot point, as Etihad Guest miles aren’t the cheapest way of booking Etihad first-class awards, anyway. And, while finding saver first-class awards on Etihad on flights to/from the US are difficult to find, it’s worth the hassle since you’ll enjoy an ultra-luxurious experience:

How to Source Etihad Guest Miles

If you need to top off your Etihad Guest account to make a booking before the change, you’ve got plenty of options. Etihad Guest is a partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. You can also transfer points via Marriott’s Hotel + Air packages.

Membership Rewards is going to be your best bet for getting miles transferred quickly. In TPG testing, points moved over instantaneously. Citi ThankYou points took seven days to transfer to Etihad. Starpoints took the longest, taking eight days to transfer. However, each transfer of 20,000 Starpoints will net you 25,000 Etihad Guest miles.

A Great Award Option Not Being Devalued

In the FAQ about this change, Etihad confirms that it’s only making changes to saver awards on its own flights:

Changes to Etihad GuestSeat bookings only impact Etihad Airway’s marketed and operated flights.

That means Etihad Guest miles will continue to be a great value for partner awards — including American Airlines awards. Specific to American Airlines, you can score first-class transcontinental awards for 25,000 miles (vs. 50,000 AA miles), first class to Asia for 55,000 miles (vs. 110,000 AA miles) and first class to Europe for 50,000 miles (vs. 85,000 miles).

I’ve also gotten great value from using Etihad Guest miles on Etihad’s subsidiary Air Serbia. Flying from Germany to Belgrade cost just 5,890 miles one-way, and the short but expensive hop from Belgrade to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (SJJ) costs just 5,000 miles each way. From the US, you can also redeem from New York’s Kennedy (JFK) to Belgrade, Serbia (BEG) round-trip in business class for 128,164 Etihad miles — as a TPG intern did in mid-2016.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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