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You can earn Etihad status when you transfer in Amex points — but should you?

Nov. 15, 2021
5 min read
Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner landing
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available.

Etihad Guest has just launched an easy shortcut to elite status.

For a limited time, you can earn tier-qualifying miles when transferring points to Etihad Guest from a participating partner program. But, as with anything in life, there are some important rules to be aware of. Specifically, there's a limit to the number of tier tier-qualifying miles you can earn, and not all transfer partners are eligible.

In this article, we'll take a quick look at the promotion, discuss Etihad Guest elite-status benefits and help you decide whether this fast-track opportunity is right for you.

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Earn tier-qualifying miles when transferring points to Etihad

Etihad 787-9 business class (Photo by Javier Rodriguez / The Points Guy)

Now through Dec. 15, 2021, when you transfer points to Etihad Guest from a qualifying partner program, you can earn one tier-qualifying mile toward elite status per point transferred.

You must transfer a minimum of 5,000 points to be eligible for this promotion and you can earn up to a maximum of 20,000 tier-qualifying miles.

Here's the catch: the only U.S. transfer partner eligible for this promotion is American Express Membership Rewards. Although Etihad Guest is also a transfer partner of Capital One, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy, transfers from those programs will not earn tier-qualifying miles.

Per the terms of this promotion, only the following partners are eligible:

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"IMIA (Air Miles), AMEX MR (*All), Al Hilal Joud, Citibank UAE/Globa, Emirates Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, FAB Rewards, HSBC UK, ADCB TouchPoints, ADNOC, SHARE Rewards, Boubyan Bank, Saudi British Bank and National Commercial bank."

TPG has reached out to Etihad Guest to confirm whether "Citibank UAE/Globa" was a typo and should be global. For the time being, we'll assume Citi transfers are not eligible for U.S. members.

There's no registration required to participate in this promotion. Etihad says that the tier miles will post within 10 business days of when the promotion ends (Dec. 15, 2021), and as usual, transfers are irreversible.

Related: From reduced requirements to best-ever promotions: Why this is the year of easy elite status

Is it worth it?

(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

There are three elite tiers in the Etihad Guest program:

  • Etihad Guest Silver: 25,000 tier miles to earn, 20,000 to maintain
  • Etihad Guest Gold: 50,000 tier miles to earn, 40,000 to maintain
  • Etihad Guest Platinum: 125,000 tier miles to earn, 100,000 to maintain

Given the 20,000-mile cap, you won't be able to earn status solely by transferring in points. However, you can knock out 80% of the requirement for earning Silver status from scratch, which is significant.

Unfortunately, Silver status isn't all that valuable for U.S.-based travelers. The biggest benefits are free standard economy seat selection on Etihad flights, additional baggage allowance and lounge access at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

Higher tiers of status come with additional benefits like chauffeur service on business- and first-class awards, fast track immigration, premium check-in with partner airlines, worldwide lounge access, a 75% to 100% discount on in-flight Wi-Fi and Avis Budget tier match. Although higher tiers of status, also come with priority check-in with partner airlines, other benefits when flying partners are still quite limited.

It's worth noting that you must earn the tier miles required for an elite status tier within a 12-month period, so you can transfer points in now and still have 12 months left to earn the remaining tier miles required for your desired status tier. The 20,000 tier points you can earn from this promotion could be a good way to jumpstart your progress toward a higher status tier in 2022.

Related: Etihad Guest miles continue to fly under the radar

Bottom line

Overall, we'd recommend you treat this promotion like a transfer bonus and only transfer miles if you have a specific use for them in mind. Unless you're a frequent Etihad flyer and are just short of qualifying or requalifying for status, it likely won't be worth transferring miles solely for the sake of earning tier miles.

If you do decide to transfer points to Etihad, keep in mind that there are a number of great uses for these miles, besides just Etihad flights. For instance, Etihad miles can be great for booking cheap American Airlines and Royal Air Maroc flights.

Featured image by NurPhoto 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.