How to Fly Etihad First Class for ~£700(!), Business Class for ~£500

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I posted yesterday about how it is currently possible to buy American AAdvantage Miles for ~1p each, via SPG. You’re rarely going to come off too badly buying AA Miles for a penny, but the best value (in my view) is redeeming them for Etihad First Class!

The American award chart still has some good redemption values on partner airlines like Qatar and Etihad from Europe to the “Middle East” and “Indian Subcontinent” Regions, including First Class for 62,500 Miles one way:

62,500 Miles at 1p each works out at about £625. Clearly that’s not exactly ‘cheap’ for a one-way flight to the Middle East (and you would have to add taxes/airport fees on too, though there are no surcharges), but we are talking Etihad First Class here! The Etihad First Class Apartment in particular (on the Airbus A380 – check the aircraft type carefully!) is arguably the single most ‘aspirational’ product in the skies that you can (realistically) redeem Miles for, and it’s a lot less than a cash ticket.

As you can see above, Business Class would be 42,500 Miles and Economy 20,000 Miles.

One of the best things about the American award chart is that you can fly from Europe to the “Indian Subcontinent” Region, for the same number of Miles as to the Middle East. Options include:

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Kazakhstan
  • Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan

I just priced out a one way First Class award from Paris to Male in the Maldives (over the phone – call 020 7660 2300 – you can’t book Etihad award space on the AA site. To find award space yourself before calling, head to the Etihad website and look for “GuestSeat” award space) and was quoted 62,500 Miles + £89.70 in taxes/fees. If you were buying the Miles for a penny each, that would work out a little over £700 in total. Note that the Abu Dhabi – Male leg would be in Business Class though, as there is no First Class cabin.

Bottom line

Whether you’re looking for a relatively affordable way to fly Business Class for a honeymoon or anniversary in the Maldives (etc), or just really want to try out the Etihad First Class Apartment, taking advantage of the current SPG Starpoint sale and AA transfer bonus is one of the very best-value ways to do it!

Anyone else tempted?


  1. DG says

    Fantastic tip 🙂 Are there any routing rules to be aware if wanting to use AA Miles to do Etihad First but say to another region (e.g. Central America)?

    • Craig Sowerby says

      You can’t. Well, you can. But you will be charged for an award from Europe to the Middle East and a separate award for the Middle East to elsewhere. So Etihad isn’t really workable using AA miles except to/from the countries Joe mentioned.

  2. Flyer68 says

    There is first class on Abu Dhabi – Male during peak season (certainly during February and March) – there is a three class A330 rostered in addition to the two class A321.

  3. Amar says

    Hi , please note A380 does not offer service to India subcontinent . Most flights are A330 & A320 . Kindly note

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