Around a month or two ago, American Airlines started allowing Etihad awards to be bookable from Asia through to Europe, which was great news for us living in Hong Kong, since we can book Etihad awards the same way we can book Qatar Airways awards. This was particularly good news, since Etihad award space between Hong Kong and most of Europe is usually wide open in business class, and not too bad in first class.
Unfortunately Etihad award space wasn’t bookable through the aa.com website, and I’d always have to call American Airlines to book a flight on Etihad. Well, that changes today.
Etihad Airbus A330 Hong Kong Airport
Previously, the best way to find Etihad award space was to do so on their website, where you could do an award search and find award space. As long as there was GuestSeat award space, you’d be able to book it on partner mileage redemptions, such as AAdvantage. Unfortunately the hard part was that after this, you’d have to call the AAdvantage office – some routes aren’t even open to the HK/North American offices, but rather you’d have to call the Australian AAdvantage office in order to secure your booking (I don’t know why, but…)
Fortunately, you don’t have to call anymore. As of May 2, 2019, Etihad awards are bookable on the AAdvantage website. This includes awards between Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi/Europe, as well as a few other destinations, and many direct routes to Abu Dhabi.
This, however, does not include routes that are not viewable to American Airlines’ American desk agents, such as those I talked about above. For example, you still have to book an Abu Dhabi to New York segment in first class by calling AAdvantage’s Australian office, as it doesn’t show up on the website. Fortunately this problem doesn’t exist for any of the Hong Kong routes, or any of the Hong Kong to Europe routes I’ve seen so far.
This is absolutely a positive change for most people who have had issues booking on Etihad in the past. It certainly will be a welcome addition to my university options when I start jetting back and forth between Hong Kong and London. Unfortunately it also means space is a little less exclusive, and there’s much more competition for AAdvantage award seats on Etihad, which isn’t good news for savvy travelers.
The good news about this is that while Qatar Airways and British Airways (the two airlines you’ll most likely be flying on an AAdvantage redemption between Hong Kong and Europe) can be quite conservative with award space at times, Etihad award space is almost as abundant as Malaysia Airlines’ award space through the calendar, which is saying a lot.
I’ve talked about wanting to try Etihad business class in the past, so will probably have a chance to do so with my AAdvantage miles sometime in the near future, which is exciting.
Are you planning on booking any Etihad awards online using your AAdvantage miles?