American Express added Etihad Guest miles as its 17th airlines transfer today.
Etihad Guest is already a 1:1 transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Points. In November 2015, we saw a 25% transfer bonus from many programs including Citi ThankYou Points to Etihad Guest miles. I expect if we see a future transfer bonus like that, American Express Membership Rewards would be included.
Uses of Etihad Miles
Etihad Guest miles are NOT good for booking Etihad flights. Here is my post on Sweet Spots of the Etihad Guest Program.
I think the best current awards are to fly American Airlines flights with Etihad miles at prices identical to the old pre-devaluation American Airlines award chart. For instance, you can fly AA flights to Europe seven months a year for 20,000 Etihad miles each way and no fuel surcharges.
I’ve also written about how you can fly to Europe in a flat bed for 36,620 Etihad miles + $94.70 in taxes in Brussels Airlines Business Class. This is technically still speculative, as I eventually found an Etihad Guest agent who found a Business Class award seat on this flight but I did not actually carry out the booking.
The only award I’ve booked myself with Etihad miles was Belgrade, Serbia to Bucharest, Romania on Air Serbia for 4,550 Etihad miles (now 5,000 miles) plus taxes. Air Serbia flights can only be booked with Etihad miles, award space is wide open, miles prices are cheap, and some of its routes are expensive. I recently transferred another 5,000 ThankYou Points to Etihad miles to be ready to book another Air Serbia flight this summer.
Last year, my Etihad miles took seven days to post after transferring from ThankYou Points. This week, the same transfer took five days to post.
That’s my best guess for the speed of American Express Membership Rewards transfers, though I will look for reports of people’s transfer times to see if they differ from ThankYou Points.
While there is no way around the risk that your award space disappears before your miles arrive, Etihad allows awards to be put on hold for 24 hours, so take advantage of that while your points are transferring between accounts.
Other Top Transfer Partners of American Express Membership Rewards
My other favorite AMEX transfer partners are:
- Aeroplan for a cheap award chart, two stopovers per roundtrip, and no fuel surcharges on many partners
- Flying Blue for Promo Awards starting at 12,500 miles one way to Europe
- British Airways for awards starting at 4,500 miles one way with no fuel surcharges
- Delta for some fairly priced awards with no fuel surcharges (though these are in the minority of awards offered)
- Iberia for a program very similar to British Airways but occasionally with lower miles prices or fuel surcharges
- Singapore to be able to book Singapore Suites or for cheap award prices to Hawaii
- Virgin Atlantic for these Sweet Spots
American Express Membership Rewards now transfer 1:1 to Etihad miles. This is great news–not to fly Etihad First Class–but to fly Etihad partners like American Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Air Serbia.------------------------------------------------------------
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Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.