AA Hits Etihad Redemptions Again

Etihad chauffeur

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AA Kills Free Chauffeur Service On Etihad Business/First Award Seats

One of the great perks of flying Etihad in business or first class, is the included free chauffeur service that they offer in all the major cities that they serve.  Far from a gimmick or indulgence, the complimentary service provides hassle free airport transfers, up to 100 miles in some cities.

For example if you are flying out of London/Manchester, Etihad will pick you up and return you to your home anywhere within 100 miles of the airport.  Flying into Abu Dabhi (AUH) is another notable example. The service will take you from the airport to a location anywhere in the UAE.  I’ve used it on several occasions arriving in AUH to transfer on to Dubai, a distance of over 100Km.  The car used each time was a well presented Audi A6. You could easily pay £100 each way for such a transfer.

etihad chauffeur distance
An excerpt of the mileage allowance chart

It’s a benefit that is also provided on Etihad tickets booked using miles.  And until recently it didn’t matter if you booked your Etihad flight with AA using AA miles, the complimentary service was offered.

No Longer Qualifying

But alas no more. Starting with flights on the 10th of August 2016 and beyond, Etihad biz/first class seats that you book using AA miles, no longer qualify for the complimentary chauffeur service. I’ve seen this confirmed on several forums and blogs. At this time Etihad haven’t indicated that they intend to remove it on seats booked with Etihad miles, but it would not surprise me if that happens too.

It’s always disappointing when a good redemption gets devalued. I reported a couple of weeks ago that AA has dramatically increased the AA mileage required for an Etihad award seat to the Maldives from the UK. This latest change adds more pain.  An Etihad  business class return, booked with AA miles from LHR to the Maldives via AUH with a few nights in Dubai as a stopover, could easily cost £400 in transfer expenses, which previously would have been complimentary.


  1. Adam says

    I just hope they do not devalue AA miles anymore against Etihad redemptions soon, ive only just Started collecting and got a long way to go.

  2. Ian Macky says

    AA is in the middle of implementing a raft of changes that they announced at the start of the year, so in theory there shouldn’t be any surprises from them for a while, but for points collectors, the potential for devaluation is something that comes with the territory.

    It’s one of the reasons why Amex and SPG points are rated to highly. Their ability to be transferred into a wide range of programmes gives them a certain immunity from devaluation.

  3. Jim says


    In lieu of this AA chauffeur benefit having being withdrawn, what would you now suggest is the most-efficient way – whilst, at the same time, somehow trying to retain a certain element of luxury 🙂 – of transferring from AUH to DXB?

    I ask mainly as my partner is Australian and we’ve long been thinking of redeeming AA miles for, firstly, an LHR-AUH Etihad Residennce ticket with a view, then, to taking a Qantas 1st flight from DXB-SYD. Now that the complementary chauffeur service is a thing of the past, I was just wondering what a good, reasonably-prices workaround might be in terms of getting from AUH to DXB that would afford a degree of luxury?



  4. Ian Macky says

    I’ve never had to arrange private transfers, so I can’t given a recommendation, but there is sure to be no end of people providing the service. The nice thing about using the airlines own service is that you are immune from issues resulting from delayed arrival, or the possibility of them not turning up.

    Picking one from google search at random, I see suntransfers.com quote from €100 to €180 Euro each way, depending on your required opulence 🙂

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