You Can Now Book Etihad Awards Using Aeroplan Points — Including 'The Apartment'

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In June 2020, Etihad Guest and Air Canada Aeroplan launched an exciting new partnership. Now, members can earn Aeroplan points while flying Etihad, earn Etihad miles while flying Air Canada, and—most importantly—redeem both types of miles for travel on the other. This has opened the door to several exciting new redemption possibilities, including potentially Etihad's iconic first-class ‘Apartment' product — if it ever returns to the skies.

When we first published this post in mid-2020, the travel landscape was a bit—different. As you'd expect, much has changed since this partnership was first announced. Among these, perhaps even more important than the challenges of Covid-19 is the fact that Air Canada launched a completely revamped Aeroplan in November 2020.

With the new program came a new award chart. As you'd expect, this carried heavy implications for all Aeroplan redemptions, including those with its newest partner. So, we are revisting this post to better reflect the revamped Aeroplan program and its relationship with Etihad.

Redeem Aeroplan Points on Etihad

Let's cut right to the chase. Perhaps the most exciting development to come from this partnership is the ability to use Aeroplan points to fly on Etihad—and the terms don't disappoint:

  • Award flights on Etihad will be subject to the same region- and distance-based hybrid pricing model as every other partner. You can figure out how many points are required for any points of departure and arrival using Aeroplan's Points Predictor Tool.
  • Aeroplan points can be used to book award flights on all available routes, without region restrictions.
  • Etihad flights can be combined with Air Canada and any other international partners (including other Star Alliance airlines) on the same itinerary.
  • There will be no carrier-imposed surcharges (“fuel surcharges”) on Etihad redemptions.
  • Redemptions on Etihad are bookable via Aeroplan.com or Aeroplan's Contact Centre.

Example Redemption Rates

Here is the simplified, North America-centric portion of Aeroplan's hybrid award chart:

And here is how Aeroplan defines its award regions:

To know how many points are required, you need to know the distance between your point of departure and arrival. You can find this by plugging your departure and arrival airport codes into a tool like Great Circle Mapper.

For example, the above route between New York City (JFK) and Abu Dhabi (AUH) is just under 7,000 miles total. That means if there's award availability, this route should cost:

  • 55,000 Aeroplan points in Economy
  • 85,000 Aeroplan points in Business Class
  • 120,000 Aeroplan points in First Class

A business-class flight to the Middle East for 85,000 points ain't too shabby!

A couple of other redemption rates that stuck out to me include:

  • Dublin (DUB) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) for 45,000 points in business class or 65,000 points in first class
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to the Maldives (MLE) for 70,000 points in economy class or 100,000 points in business class

Interestingly, this partnership also opens the door to a couple of other, less straightforward redemptions due to Etihad's Abu Dhabi hub location. You can now redeem Aeroplan points between the mainland U.S. and:

  • Sydney (SYD) via Abu Dhabi (AUH) for 130,000 points in first-class Apartments
  • Tokyo (NRT) via Abu Dhabi (AUH) for 75,000 points in business class or 110,000 points in first-class Apartments 

With that said, it's important to note that Etihad's CEO recently said “it's very likely that we won't see [A380s] operating with Etihad again.” And unfortunately, only Etihad's A380s feature the Apartment. So, make sure to double-check what product you're booking.

Aeroplan doesn't appear to display itineraries like this online, but that doesn't mean they aren't bookable with a phone agent. If you find partner availability for all the individual Etihad segments, give Aeroplan a call. The ability to take advantage of these amazing opportunities is worth the CAD$30 (US$24) phone booking fee.

Redeem Etihad Guest Miles on Air Canada

While Etihad isn't part of any alliance, it has numerous one-off partners that you can book using Etihad miles.

  • To book partner awards with Etihad Guest miles, you have to call Etihad's Guest Service Centre.
  • Partner awards must be booked at least 24 hours before the intended travel.

Etihad Guest uses a separate award chart for each of its partners. Like most of Etihad's other partners, Aeroplan awards are subjected to a distance-based award chart. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be bursting with value.

These represent one-way prices. Round-trips are double the mileage requirement.

A couple of potential redemptions could be:

  • Toronto (YYZ) to London (LHR) for 47,000 miles in economy or 94,000 miles in business class
  • Vancouver (YVR) to Sydney (SYD) for 85,000 miles in economy or 170,000(!) miles in business class

It is worth noting that some very short hops could be potentially lucrative, as flights under 500 miles in distance only cost 5,000 or 10,000 miles in economy or business class, respectively. A couple of sample flights would be:

  • New York LaGuardia (LGA) to Toronto (YYZ)
  • Toronto (YYZ) to Montreal (YUL)
  • Calgary (YYC) to Kelowna (YLW)

Earn Aeroplan Points on Etihad Flights

Aeroplan loyalty members can also earn Aeroplan points for flying on Etihad. Aeroplan awards points based on the number of miles flown and the booking class of your itinerary:

*This chart represents mileage accumulation rates for travel on or after December 16, 2020.

While the terms and conditions are relatively straightforward, it's important to note that Aeroplan points earned on eligible Etihad Airways flights will not count towards Air Canada Altitude status.

Earn Etihad Guest Miles on Air Canada Flights

Etihad Guest members can likewise earn Etihad miles on Air Canada flights—with a few important terms and conditions:

  • Flights marketed by Air Canada and operated by a third-party carrier other than Air Canada Airlines or Etihad Airways will not be eligible for Etihad Guest miles accrual.
  • Flights taken on Air Canada are not eligible to earn Etihad Guest Tier Miles and therefore, do not contribute to earning or maintaining your Etihad Guest Tier.
  • Travelers can claim missing miles up to six months from the actual date of travel.
  • The following booking classes are not eligible for mileage accrual: I, X, F, R.

Etihad bases the earn rate on the booking class and total distance flown. You can find the full-sized table here.

Bottom Line

This is a fantastic development for award travelers, especially when it comes to using Aeroplan points for Etihad flights. Aeroplan's customer-friendly terms—including no carrier surcharges and innovative award charts—combined with the ability to transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards (1:1), Capital One Miles (2:1.5), and Marriott Bonvoy Points (3:1) could make it much easier to book yourself into one of Etihad's stellar premium-class products.

What are you going to do with Aeroplan and Etihad's partnership?

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Comments

  • Avatar

    Not bad the possibility of booking Etiad with Aeroplan miles.
    Let’s hope Air Canada will not devaluate its programme (at least for the next 2-3 years).

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    Andrew Luter says:

    I hope they put the A380’s back in service soon!

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    Wassim Cornet says:

    Is it even worth it though? I’ve seen so many trip reports about how the Etihad experience has gone downhill in recent years…

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    qofmiwok says:

    Sounds great, but how about some tips for how to find these? Looking on Aeroplan doesn’t seem like the answer, it would take forever to look for availability since you can’t sort out mixed cabins or by carrier on the availability calendar. Do you find saver awards on Etihad’s site and those are what should be available on Aeroplan? All I’m seeing there are way more miles plus a lot of surcharges.

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    While this is probably great news for many, I hope this doesn’t hurt EY award availability too much.

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    Wonderful. In my opinion, Etihad is one of the best airlines. Planning a trip now to UAE in December and will definitely use this to book on direct flights.

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    Availability is the key. Has anyone actually ever travelled in the apartment with reward redemption?

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    Thanks appreciate the information including the lack of fuel charges for an inexpensive redemption.

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    U.S – Europe via Abu Dhabi first-class apartment award for 70,000 miles would be insane!

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    I’ll never accrue a single Aeroplan mile because I will never fly them for the rest of my life after how they handled US cancellations due to Coronavirus. I hope they go bankrupt – which ironically they won’t because they’re not giving refunds and many travellers won’t be able to use the credit.

    • Avatar

      Their position on this is crazy. They literally have their legal team replying to customers with an interpretation that contradicts the DOT statements. I doubt they will step up on their own here. Hopefully they are forced to do the right thing.

  • Avatar

    And no fuel surcharges. Unlike using Aeroplan on Air Canada.

  • Avatar
    Maryjane says:

    This is a very interesting development. I’m usually not a fan of Aeroplan points but this would be a great use! (If I could ever find availability.)

  • Avatar

    When I go to canadam i usually fly with Air Canada. However I was looking into WestJet recently but now there is no need to. I will go with Air Canada. Great Article!

  • Avatar

    seems like one of the best ways to use aeroplan miles!