Tip: Etihad Guest offers the ability to top up miles at an acceptable price when booking award flights

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Easy
TIME TO READ: 3 minutes
POSTED: March 13, 2017
UPDATED: June 2, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Etihad Guest
STATUS: Changes to the Etihad Guest Miles is scheduled to take effect from 30 June 2018. Read more here.

Etihad Guest is one of the more left-field programs for Australia points collectors – while their partnerships are limited, it is still a very useful program for the ability to easily redeem for Etihad flights, even if the cost in miles is fairly high.

One way to make your Etihad points stretch further – at least when booking online – is to use the option to pay in part miles, part cash. The best part – Etihad Guest miles are sold to you fairly cheaply when you do so.

Etihad A380 Business Class

Earning Etihad Guest miles is pretty straightforward, with program partnerships with flybuys, American Express Membership Rewards and Citi Rewards (for Citi Prestige Visa cardholders).

Example – Sydney to Venice in Business Class

With an example redemption for four people in Business Class, one way, to Europe, I was offered the following pricing:

Paying the full amount:

  • 600,624 Etihad Guest miles plus $1,240 in taxes (total, for four people)

Paying with the full discount:

  • 450,468 Etihad Guest miles plus $3,142.12 in taxes and additional charges for the ‘purchased’ miles

This equates to a difference of just over 150,000 miles being sold for a little over $1,900, or 1.26 cents per Etihad Guest mile. Note that probably would fluctuate a little depending on the exchange rate, either with the AED or USD.

In recent valuations I pegged the maximum price at which I’d pay for Etihad Guest miles at 1.2c per point, so this is by no means an absolute bargain.

However – it is remarkable, and worth remembering, because:

  1. Frequent flyer programs in this part of the world rarely sell points in large amounts directly
  2. When they do, the price is usually far too costly

This is not the case here.

Etihad A380 First Apartment

How this works

To take advantage of this option, you’ll need:

  1. A balance of Etihad Guest miles which you are lining up for an Etihad flight redemption – these can be transferred from flybuys, or from a partner credit card program
  2. At least 75% of the total miles required for your target redemption in your Etihad Guest account
  3. To be booking an Etihad operated and coded flight that you can find availability for online on the Etihad Guest website

Assuming your booking and mileage balance meets these criteria, as you go about your online booking you’ll be offered the opportunity to buy up to the total amount of miles you need.

If you do have more than enough Etihad Guest miles to make your booking, then you can choose to save some of your miles by paying additional cash instead.

This option only appears on the last page of the checkout flow – so if you don’t have enough Etihad Guest miles in your account, you can’t check the final price in either cash, or points. But it should show.

Summing up – why top up 25% of an Etihad Guest redemption

This is worth doing when you don’t have enough miles in Etihad Guest, are close enough to making a redemption, and have found availability that you want to lock in.

It’s also worth doing if, to earn your Etihad miles, you are transferring points from a credit card program or flybuys but have a higher value redemption in mind for those points elsewhere – buying the miles from Etihad instead would make sense so you can use your points in a high value way for another trip.

And because the option is hidden until the end of the booking process on the Etihad website, I often forget that it exists.

Tip: Etihad Guest offers the ability to top up miles at an acceptable price when booking award flights was last modified: June 2nd, 2018 by Keith