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Etihad Airlines primarily flies to and from its hub in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t fly it to reach many destinations worldwide. And though Etihad isn't a member of any of the major airline alliances, it has a heavy-hitting list of airline partners that fly around the world.
Here’s what a strategic points collector needs to know and understand about Etihad Airlines and its loyalty program, Etihad Guest.
About Etihad Airlines
Here’s a quick overview of a few key features of the airline:
Fare types: Etihad operates economy class, business class and first class cabins. In economy, you can book Sale, Value, Choice, Choice Plus and Guest Seat fares. In business class, you can choose between Value, Choice, Choice Plus and Guest Seat fares. Flying first class offers two fare types only: First and Guest Seat.
Main U.S. routes: Etihad operates a handful of U.S. routes, including cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Points currency and loyalty program: Etihad’s loyalty program is called Etihad Guest, and the program's currency is simply called Etihad Guest miles. With its excellent partner redemption options, it may be one of the most underrated airline programs.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
How to earn Etihad Guest miles
The first step to start earning Etihad miles is to join the Etihad Guest program. Once you’re enrolled, you can earn miles when you fly with Etihad and any of Etihad’s partner airlines.
Earn by flying Etihad
The most straightforward way to earn Etihad Guest miles is by flying on Etihad Airways.
The airline's fare classes earn different rates of points. Earning rates for economy class tickets range from 25% of Etihad Guest miles for Sale fares to 100% Etihad Guest miles for Choice Plus fares. In business class, Value, Choice and Choice Plus fares earn 130%, 175% and 200% bonus Etihad Guest miles, respectively. First class offers an even bigger bonus: flyers will earn 275% Etihad Guest miles.
Guest fares in business and first class earn a 0% Etihad Guest miles bonus, while Guest seats in economy earn 10%.
Use the Etihad miles calculator to determine how many miles you can earn on your next trip.
Earn by flying partners
Fly any of Etihad’s partners and input your Etihad Guest account number to earn additional miles with its loyalty program. The robust list of partners includes:
Additionally, you will earn miles when you book through Etihad and fly on any codeshare partner, like Aer Lingus, Air Canada and Air France.
Similar to flying Etihad, the number of miles you can earn depends on the fare class you book.
Earn by spending on credit cards
Unfortunately, Etihad doesn’t have a co-branded credit card in the U.S. that allows you to rack up miles with everyday purchases. The good news is that you can easily earn transferable points from other credit cards (more below).
Earn by transferring rewards points
Etihad Guest is a transfer partner of American Express, Citi and Capital One. This means you can still earn Etihad miles with credit card spending, although you will have to make a transfer from the credit card rewards program to Etihad Guest.
Your best option for transferring points to Etihad is through American Express and Citi ThankYou Rewards, which both offer a 1:1 transfer ratio. You’ll get 10,000 Etihad miles when you transfer 10,000 points. This rate is quite an improvement over Capital One’s 2:1.5 transfer ratio. However, the program periodically offers transfer bonuses that make this option more valuable.
Transferrable rewards program
American Express Membership Rewards
Citi ThankYou Rewards
Capital One Miles
Marriott Bonvoy Points
Although the transfer ratio between Marriott Bonvoy points and Etihad Guest isn't ideal, you will get an extra 5,000 Etihad Guest bonus miles every time you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
Other ways to earn
Etihad shopping: Earn bonus miles when you shop with Etihad’s partners.
Hotels and car rentals: You can earn extra Etihad miles when you book hotels and car rentals through numerous travel partners, such as Booking.com, Marriott and IHG.
Buy points: You can purchase extra miles online to top off your account.
How to redeem Etihad Guest for maximum value
There are a few important things to know when redeeming Etihad Guest miles for maximum value.
For some travelers, it may make the most sense to redeem miles on Etihad flights, but for most, it will make sense to redeem miles for flights with partner airlines.
Etihad isn't part of the three major airline alliances. However, it does have a long list of partner airlines. This makes it possible to use your miles to fly to almost anywhere in the world.
Etihad Guest is among the remaining airline programs that still uses a fixed-price award chart; however, that doesn’t mean that the program doesn’t have its fair share of quirks. One is the fact that each partner has its own unique award chart, along with its own terms and conditions. While most of Etihad’s award charts are distanced-based, some are region- or city-based.
As you expect, without a region-based award chart, it often takes a bit of legwork to find which partner offers the best value when it comes to award flights. To book an award flight on one of Etihad’s partners, you’ll have to call Etihad’s guest service center. Similar to other airline programs, this can be a hit-or-miss experience.
There are some exceptional sweet spots that you’ll want to be aware of when redeeming Etihad Guest miles. These include:
Prague to Seoul in business class for 25,610 miles one way.
U.S. East Coast to Brussels in business class for 44,000 miles one way.
U.S. East Coast to Morocco (and potentially continue on to Europe) in business class for 44,000 miles one way.
The best of the rest
Etihad holidays: Use your miles to book a complete holiday package, in partnership with over 300,000 hotels worldwide.
Shopping: You can spend miles through Etihad’s shopping portal, but we generally don’t recommend this as you get less value per mile than if you redeemed miles on flights.
Pay for hotels and car rentals: Redeem miles to book a hotel stay or car rental.
Etihad Guest’s elite status program
Similar to other airline loyalty programs, when you frequently fly on Etihad, you can earn status that gives you extra perks and boosts your mile earnings.
Etihad has four status tiers that range from Bronze at the lowest level up to Platinum at the top level. When you join Etihad Guest, you automatically earn Bronze status, which, as you would expect, doesn't offer many tangible benefits beyond a 10% discount on inflight Wi-Fi.
How to earn elite status
Here’s how you can earn status, broken down by tier:
Elite status level
Attaining a tier
Maintaining a tier
Tier level expiry
Etihad Guest Bronze
Join the program.
Etihad Guest Silver
25,000 tier miles or 20 tier segments.
20,000 tier miles or 15 tier segments.
Etihad Guest Gold
50,000 tier miles or 40 tier segments.
40,000 tier miles or 30 tier segments.
Etihad Guest Platinum
125,000 tier miles or 60 tier segments.
100,000 tier miles or 48 tier segments.
Elite status benefits
Once you’ve earned status with Etihad Guest, you’ll start to enjoy benefits like earning bonus miles, getting upgraded, having lounge access and more.
Below is a comparison of the unique benefits that each status tier level offers. Bronze level gets you none of the benefits listed for the higher levels outside of a 10% Wi-Fi discount and instant upgrades with miles at the airport.
Etihad Guest Miles expire
Bonus miles earned
Guaranteed economy seat
48 hours in advance.
24 hours in advance.
12 hours in advance.
Instant upgrades with miles at the airport
Status holder can access:
Status holder and guest can access:
Status holder and guest can access:
Fast track immigration and baggage
Onboard Wi-Fi discount
Discretionary Gold status nomination
Excess baggage allowance (all cabins)
22 pounds (10 kilograms).
33 pounds (15 kilograms).
44 pounds (22 kilograms).
Excess baggage allowance on routes to/from U.S. and Canada
Avis/Budget status match
» Learn more: The beginner's guide to points and miles
If you fly Etihad Airways
Although Etihad Airlines may not be a household name for the average U.S.-based flyer, it’s still worth considering if you’re looking to maximize your credit card rewards points. Given that the program is a transfer partner of three major credit card rewards programs, it’s considerably easy to acquire enough miles to book an award flight.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card