How to Fly on Etihad Airways Using Miles (Part 2)

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If you fancy the idea of flying on Etihad, but you want to continue beyond Abu Dhabi (ruling out AAdvantage) or find the Asian airlines just a bit too exotic, perhaps one of Etihad‘s European partners can provide some service.

 

Air Berlin TopBonus

Most Avios collectors might only think of Air Berlin when looking for no-surcharge uses of their Avios. The more adventurous amongst us might be Topbonus members aiming for instant status or a status match. But you can also collect Topbonus miles and spend them on Etihad rewards. Here is the TopBonus reward chart for partners. These figures are for a ONE-WAY reward.

It’s worth pointing out that Abu Dhabi is part of the “South/Central Asia + Gulf States” region, not the more commonly-assumed “Middle East” region. So, you will pay 35,000 Topbonus miles in Economy and 70,000 miles in Business Class to fly to Abu Dhabi. No First Class rewards are possible through Topbonus. However, the main attraction is likely to be connecting via Abu Dhabi to a destination further afield, with 80-90,000 looking much more reasonable for Asian destinations.

You must call Topbonus to book partner rewards. Topbonus will let you book Air Berlin economy flights connecting to an Etihad flight, but will then take advantage of the opportunity to tack on surcharges. I have also seen complaints on social media that it can be hard to find English-speaking call centre staff.

Alitalia Millemiglia

Ahh… the frequent flyer programme that, due to Italian law, must shut itself down every few years and cause all miles to expire, only to re-open the next day and (usually) give you your miles back. I fear that Etihad is tiring of the perennially loss-making Alitalia but for now it means possible to spend Millemiglia miles on Etihad rewards in Economy and Business Class. The figures below are in thousands of miles for a one-way reward.

60,000 miles for a one-way reward in Business Class from Europe to Abu Dhabi isn’t great, but at least you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Alitalia.

 

Summary

Unfortunately, neither Air Berlin Topbonus nor Alitalia’s Millemiglia offer cheap Etihad rewards. At those prices, you might as well look at Etihad Guest itself – at least you can convert Membership Rewards points there…

If you’re looking for a special treat – a First Class flight to the Maldives for example – then I suggest that you look at AAdvantage, Asiana or All Nippon Airways. And if I’ve missed an Etihad partner somewhere, please leave a comment so that I can take a look…

If you’re questioning why this all matters…

Business Class Reward on a Peak Date

 

First Class Reward on a Peak Date

For me it’s the principle of the thing… no matter how many 2-for-1 vouchers you have you’d still be paying more for an inferior product…

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