You are currently viewing Guide to Etihad Guest: Redeem reduced GuestSeat fares, upgrade to The Residence and more

Guide to Etihad Guest: Redeem reduced GuestSeat fares, upgrade to The Residence and more

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with the latest information.

Though Etihad is not part of the three major airline alliances — SkyTeam, Oneworld and Star Alliance — the carrier has individual partnerships, making its loyalty program valuable for award redemptions. Plus, its luxurious three-room suite known as The Residence on its A380 aircraft is a dream-worthy splurge for any traveler.

In March 2023, Etihad’s loyalty program, Etihad Guest, introduced a consolidated award chart for partner flights. With all partners following a single award chart, the sweet spots we formerly loved instantly disappeared. Then, in February 2024, Etihad announced major changes to its award redemptions in addition to silently devaluing its partner award chart.

Let’s look at what you need to know about Etihad Guest to decide if it’s a program worthy of your hard-earned transferable points.

How to earn Etihad Guest miles

Etihad business class Boeing 777-300ER side

There are many ways to earn Etihad Guest miles. Here are some popular options.

Earn with a credit card

Etihad doesn’t have a U.S.-based cobranded credit card. For a quick influx of Etihad Guest miles, you can transfer rewards from the following programs at a 1:1 ratio:

In our tests, transfers from these programs to Etihad Guest are generally instantaneous.

Remember, for fully transferable Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards points, you’ll need to have select credit cards, like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, the Citi Premier® Card (see rates and fees) and the Citi Prestige® Card.

Check out our guide to the best travel credit cards for more options.

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Earn by flying

You can earn Etihad Guest miles by flying Etihad or any of its 24 partner airlines. Its North American partners include Air Canada and American Airlines.

Earn by staying in hotels or renting cars

Etihad Guest has its own hotel and car rental portals.

You’ll earn at least 1,000 miles per night stayed at over 300,000 hotels. A three-night weekend stay in July at the Kimpton George Hotel in Washington, D.C., earns 8,900 miles.

Etihad hotels DC

If you book this way, be prepared to not receive IHG One Rewards elite status benefits. You also won’t earn points and elite nights when booking through Etihad Guest. Because of this, we generally don’t recommend booking this way.

On the car rental side, you’ll earn at least 250 miles per rental day, but don’t expect to earn rental car rewards or elite benefits if you book through Etihad Guest. Compare rental car prices to ensure you’re getting a competitive rate.

You can also convert Marriott Bonvoy points to Etihad Guest miles at a 3:1 ratio. Marriott gives you 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred.

Earn by buying miles

You can buy up to 100,000 Etihad Guest miles per calendar year at 2 cents apiece. Platinum members can buy up to 150,000 miles per year.

Related: Buy bonus points and miles with these promotions

How to redeem Etihad Guest miles

Etihad Aqua di Parma business amenity kit

The loyalty program has an award calculator for Eithad, American Airlines and Virgin Australia flights. Often, the award rates shown on the calculator are far less than what you’ll actually need to spend for an award flight.

Redeeming on Etihad

In February 2024, Etihad reduced GuestSeat fares by up to 30% on economy, business- and first-class award tickets. Most notably, you can now book a first-class ticket from New York to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Etihad’s 787-9 plane starting at 160,000 Etihad Guest miles. However, if you’re looking to fly on Etihad’s A380 plane, which features ultra-luxurious first-class Apartment seats, a one-way ticket will cost you at least 200,000 miles.

Here’s a look at Etihad’s published one-way award chart, including the recent changes the introductory mileage rates underwent in February 2024.

Zone Distance  Economy (before Feb. 22/now) Business (before Feb. 29/now) First (before Feb. 29/now)
1 0-500 7,000/5,000 20,000/15,000 40,000/30,000
2 501-1,000 11,000/10,000 25,000/20,000 50,000/40,000
3 1,001-1,500 13,000/13,000 30,000/30,000 60,000/55,000
4 1,501-2,000 17,000/15,000 45,000/35,000 90,000/80,000
5 2,001-2,500 22,000/20,000 50,000/45,000 100,000/90,000
6 2,501-3,000 27,000/25,000 60,000/60,000 120,000/110,000
7 3,001-4,000 32,000/30,000 70,000/70,000 140,000/120,000
8 4,001-5,000 37,000/37,000 75,000/75,000 150,000/135,000
9 5,001-6,000 45,000/45,000 100,000/95,000 200,000/140,000
10 6,001-plus 60,000/60,000 120,000/120,000 220,000/160,000

Remember, the above chart shows introductory mileage rates. For example, we’ve found wide-open availability flying from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Abu Dhabi’s Zayed International Airport (AUH) in Etihad’s 787-9 first class for 160,000 miles.

If you’re looking to fly in Etihad’s Apartment first-class seats, make sure to check the details of your flight to confirm you’re flying on the A380. We’ve found one-way award flights starting at 200,000 miles, but keep in mind that on some days, the amount of miles needed to fly in these seats can cost up to 1 million miles.

Redeeming on partner airlines

According to Etihad’s website, members can directly book an award flight on American Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Air Canada, Air France, KLM, Royal Air Maroc and Virgin Australia through Etihad’s site using miles. For other partner airlines, bookings can be made through the airline’s call center.

In 2023, Etihad began using the following single partner chart for all partner flight redemptions.

Distance (in miles) Miles needed in economy Miles needed in premium economy Miles needed in business class Miles needed in first class
0-500 6,000 7,500 10,000 14,000
501-1,000 12,000 13,000 20,000 27,000
1,001-1,500 15,000 19,000 30,000 40,000
1,501-2,000 23,000 25,000 40,000 54,000
2,001-2,500 28,000 31,000 50,000 67,000
2,501-3,000 34,000 37,000 60,000 80,000
3,001-4,000 45,000 49,000 80,000 107,000
4,001-5,000 60,000 62,000 100,000 134,000
5,001-6,000 67,000 74,000 120,000 160,000
6,001-plus 75,000 90,000 140,000 200,000

However, Etihad silently released a new partner award chart that shows an increase in one-way business- and first-class award tickets. Remember, this chart shows introductory one-way rates, so the miles needed could be significantly more. Check out the 2024 partner award chart below.

etihad partner chart

Etihad increased its business and first-class award prices for most of its short-haul flights. For example, in 2023, flights in first class that were under 500 miles would start at 14,000 Etihad Guest miles. Now, with the latest devaluation, first-class flights under 500 miles start at 35,000 miles; this is a 150% increase. Luckily, long-haul flights, as well as economy and premium economy partner flights, did not increase in price.

For those looking to book The Residence, which features a private bedroom, a separate living area and an ensuite shower room, Etihad members can now upgrade their first-class ticket on the A380 and book this three-bedroom suite with either cash or miles.

Before transferring your miles to Etihad Guest, you’ll want to confirm award space availability and pricing.

Other redemption activities

You can redeem Etihad miles for hotels and car rentals. While your redemption rate may vary, expect around 0.7 cents per mile if you use this option. That’s significantly below TPG’s valuation of Etihad miles at 1.2 cents apiece.

Other uses of Etihad Guest miles include online raffles and Pointspay purchases. Pointspay lets you redeem miles for online shopping. Note, though, that many of the participating merchants are located in Abu Dhabi.

Depending on the day of travel, you can redeem your miles for access to Etihad’s business-class or first-class lounge at AUH, though you’ll have to speak with the lounge staff for pricing and availability.

Lastly, you may be able to pool up to 50,000 miles each year at no cost. This can be helpful when you have multiple family members with Etihad Guest miles and want to consolidate miles into one account for an award ticket.

Related: Your ultimate guide on how to search award availability for the major airlines

Bottom line

With the changes Etihad made to its program by reducing GuestSeat fares by up to 30% on economy, business- and first-class award tickets, members can try to maximize their Etihad Guest miles on popular long-haul flight routes, such as New York to Abu Dhabi.

If you want to fly in Etihad’s luxurious first-class Apartment or book an upgraded ticket in The Residence, be ready to spend a lot of miles for its world-famous product and hospitality.