Buy Etihad miles at a 40% discount, great for future business and first class awards

Apr 3, 2020

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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 programme 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 7 April 2020, you can buy Etihad 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 (1.6p) 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 1.1p 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 travelling, 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 programme currencies are not a good long-term investment. There’s nothing to stop a programme 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, including:

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 London to Casablanca (CMN) in Royal Air Maroc business class for 20,000 miles.

By purchasing miles at 1.2 cents each, you’d pay $528 (about £430) for this flight. You’ll never find this seat for less than £1,300. 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.

(Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy.)

Also consider reserving a premium-class flight to the U.S. 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 London to Japan in ANA business class for 63,000 Etihad miles one-way. With this promo, you’ll spend $756 (£616) on the miles you need for this flight. Again, business-class flights to Japan routinely cost $2,000 (£1,630) or more, so you’re essentially securing a massive discount by purchasing miles.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

Read our post on the best strategies for Etihad Guest for a more thorough understanding of the power of Etihad miles.

This discount expires on 7 April 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.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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