With this promotional offer, you’ll get an up to 30% discount on purchases of Etihad Guest miles until 23 December. As far as I know, this is the first time the program has offered a discount—rather than a bonus—when buying miles.
In this guide, I outline what you can use Etihad Guest miles for, how to make a purchase, and why you should only ever buy 75% of the Etihad Guest miles you need for an Etihad flight redemption.
- Bonus: 10-30% discount on purchases of 6,000+ miles
- Valid until: 23 December
- Best-value redemption: domestic and short-haul international Virgin Australia Business Class flights priced at 13,800 miles
- Book awards online: for Etihad flights
- Book awards over the phone: for other partners, including Virgin Australia (phone number here)
- Link: buy Etihad Guest miles
Compared to the regular purchase price of 2 US cents per mile, this promotion offers a price of 1.4 US cents per mile with the discount:
- 1,000-5,000 miles = no discount
- 6,000-20,000 miles = 10% discount
- 21,000-40,000 miles = 20% bonus
- 41,000-60,000 miles = 30% discount
This is the best price I’ve seen on Etihad Guest miles ever, i.e. in the past two years since they started these promotions.
|Date||Bonus (%)||Discount (%)||Price per point (US cents)|
What can I use Etihad Guest miles for?
Redeeming Etihad Guest miles on Virgin Australia flights
Redeeming your Etihad Guest Miles for travel on Virgin Australia is often a low-fuel-surcharge option for domestic flights within Australia. However, note that the booking process is not straightforward, requiring a phone call.
You will see in the table below that it generally makes more sense to buy Economy Class tickets on Virgin Australia with cash and Business and Premium Economy Class tickets with miles.
The sweet spot in this table is Virgin Australia Business Class redemptions priced at 13,800 Etihad Guest miles and you can access the full list of those routes here.
|Route||Cabin||Airline||Etihad Guest miles required||Cost buying miles (USD)*||Average cash fare (USD)|
|Canberra - Sydney/Melbourne||Economy||Virgin Australia||6900||$96.6||$75|
|Perth - Adelaide/Melbourne||Economy||Virgin Australia||10900||$152.6||$130|
|Cairns - Sydney||Business||Virgin Australia||13800||$193.2||$630|
|Sydney - Queenstown||Business||Virgin Australia||13800||$193.2||$660|
|Hobart - Brisbane||Business||Virgin Australia||13800||$193.2||$600|
|Brisbane - Port Vila||Business||Virgin Australia||21800||$305.2||$510|
|Melbourne - Nadi||Business||Virgin Australia||33800||$473.2||$580|
|Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane - Los Angeles||Premium Economy||Virgin Australia||90000||$1260||$2200|
|Melbourne - Paris||Business||Etihad||162501||$2275.014||$4500|
|Brisbane - Johannesburg||Business||Etihad||166253||$2327.542||$3000|
|Sydney - London||First Apartment||Etihad||223999||$3135.986||$7500|
*All redemption prices are in USD, one-way, and do not include booking fees, taxes and other charges
However, if you have got access to both points currencies, it is worth comparing Etihad Guest miles vs Velocity Points for your next Virgin Australia flight redemption.
Some readers have shared issues with booking international Virgin Australia flights with Etihad Guest miles. It seems that the Manchester call centre (+44 3456 081225) is the most helpful and it may require special permission from a supervisor to book one of these flights.
Redeeming Etihad Guest miles on Etihad flights
Etihad Guest miles can, of course, be used on Etihad flights. Again, it is the premium cabins that you will get the most value out of.
Redeeming Etihad Guest miles on Etihad partners
Etihad Guest miles can also be redeemed for travel on 20+ airline partners, including American Airlines, ANA and Hainan Airlines.
- You can buy a maximum of 60,000 miles (excluding the bonus) per transaction and 100,000 in a calendar year
- Points post within 24 hours
- The regular cost is 2 US cents per mile
- Points purchases are managed by points.com, meaning this will not qualify as a travel purchase for credit cards with bonus points categories
How to buy Etihad Guest more cheaply if you already have some in your account
A method to make your Etihad points stretch further—at least when booking online—is to use the option to pay in part miles and part cash, meaning you can ‘buy’ miles for as low as 0.9 US cents each, which is much better value than buying them outright at up to 2 US cents a pop.
But that is only if you already have at least 75% of the required miles for the redemption and it is only for Etihad-operated flights.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can buy up to 100,000 Etihad Guest miles per calendar year. Miles cost 2 US cents each, however, you can get a cheaper price by buying them during promotions. These promotions tend to run 2-4 times a year.
Etihad Guest miles expire after 18 months of inactivity. Make sure to earn miles or use them on a redemption every 18 months so to keep your account balance active.
My take is that it is not worth buying Etihad Guest miles speculatively. However, if you are looking using cash for a Business Class seat on a domestic or Trans-Tasman Virgin Australia or a long-haul Etihad flight, it is probable that you can save money by exploring this route.
This buy miles option can also be useful when needing to top up for a specific redemption but if you already have 75% of the required miles and are looking at an Etihad flight, then make sure to use the part-miles, part-cash trick to buy the miles more cheaply.
Have you had any wins buying Etihad Guest miles? Share in the comments below!