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Etihad just launched an intriguing new buy miles promotion. Through December 22, 2020, members can buy Etihad Guest Miles and receive up to a 20% bonus. Moreover, for the length of this promotion, members will also earn one Tier Mile for every five Guest Miles purchased.
This promotion not only allows members to snag Etihad miles for as little as 1.67¢ each, but it also brings those chasing elite status closer to their next tier. Considering the fabulous premium-class redemptions possible with the Etihad Guest program, this has the potential to be an incredible deal. Let's dig a little deeper to show why it's worth considering.
A Note on Buying Miles
First, we need to address the elephant in the room. Now is not a great time to be speculatively buying miles or planning travel. In fact, we never recommend buying miles speculatively. Programs can devalue at any time, long-term travel plans can change, and the last thing anybody needs is a substantial investment in a currency they can't use.
However, that doesn't mean buying miles is always a losing proposition. If you're right at the cusp of being able to book your next redemption, buying miles can be an easy (and affordable) way to make it happen. Additionally, buying miles can sometimes be a fantastic way to book premium-cabin travel at a significant discount compared to paying cash. This is especially true with Etihad Guest, where partner award charts are full of sweet spots to leverage.
- Buy miles promotion is valid through December 22, 2020
- For every five Guest Miles purchased (excluding any applicable bonus miles), members earn 1 Tier Mile
- Etihad Guest members (excluding Platinum members) can purchase a maximum of 100,000 miles annually
- Platinum members can purchase up to a maximum of 150,000 miles annually
- For this promotion, Etihad has reset all individual member annual limits to zero
- Purchased miles typically post instantly, although some purchases may take up to 72 hours
- Mile purchases are non-refundable
This promotion operates on a tier system, offering a different bonus depending on the number of miles you purchase:
- Buy 0 – 19,000 Miles, receive a 0% Bonus
- Buy 20,000 – 39,000 Miles, receive a 10% Bonus
- Buy 40,000 – 100,000 Miles, receive a 20% Bonus
When Does It Make Sense to Buy Etihad Miles
One of the interesting things about Etihad is that it doesn't belong to any of the major airline alliances—such as Oneworld, SkyTeam, or Star Alliance. Instead, Etihad maintains individual partnerships with 24 other airlines, each with its own rules and award charts. As we alluded to before, a few of these partner award charts present distinct opportunities for attaining outsized value for your Etihad Guest miles.
Let's go through a few of these sweet spots to demonstrate how buying enough Etihad miles for an award redemption could save you a boatload compared to paying the cash fare.
Seattle — Tokyo in ANA Business Class
- Mileage Rate: 53,000 miles each way
- Typical Cash Price: $6,551 round-trip
- Redemption Rate: 6.18 cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles: $1,780 round-trip
Dallas — London in American Airlines Flagship First Class
- Mileage Rate: 62,500 miles each way
- Typical Cash Price: $10,825 one-way
- Redemption Rate: 17.3 cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles: $1,060 one-way
New York City or Washington D.C. — Casablanca in Royal Air Maroc Business Class
- Mileage Rate: 44,000 miles each way
- Typical Cash Price: $5,229 round-trip
- Redemption Rate: 5.9 cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles: $1,480 round-trip
New York City — Brussels on Brussels Airlines Business Class
- Mileage Rate: 44,000 miles each way
- Typical Cash Price: $7,786 one-way
- Redemption Rate: 17.7¢ cents per mile
- Cost to Purchase Necessary Miles: $800 one-way
Maximizing Your Purchase
Purchases of Etihad Guest miles are processed by Points.com. So, the purchase won't qualify for any applicable travel category bonus offered on some credit cards. With that in mind, the best option would be to use this purchase towards a minimum spend requirement or to use a great ‘everyday spending' credit card.
Here are some of the best cards to buy miles with:
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: 2X Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners (applies to first $50,000 spent each year, then 1X)
- Citi® Double Cash Card: Earn 2% cash back on purchases 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®: 1.5% on all other purchases, or 1.5X Ultimate Rewards when points are combined with a qualifying card.
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card: 1.5% cashback on all purchases, with a 25-75% bonus for cardholders with Bank of America Preferred Rewards status
Other Ways to Earn Etihad Miles
While this is a spectacular buy miles offer, you don't have to buy Etihad miles to take advantage of these sweet spots. Etihad Guest miles are pretty easy to come by. Other than flying on cash fares or buying miles, Etihad is a transfer partner of four of the major transferable currencies:
- Amex Membership Rewards — 1:1 transfer ratio (transfers process immediately)
- Citi ThankYou Points — 1:1 transfer ratio (transfers typically take 3 to 7 days)
- Capital One Miles — 2:1.5 transfer ratio (transfers process immediately)
- Marriott Bonvoy Points — 3:1 transfer ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points (transfers typically take 3 to 5 days)
Etihad Guest has recently introduced the ability for loyalty members to share miles with one another. So, whether you're just short of your next redemption or your friend doesn't have enough miles to use, you can initiate a transfer with a small fee. Just keep in mind that:
- To give miles via a transfer, accounts must have at least 1,000 miles.
- Etihad levies a 10% service fee for mile transfers. For example, if you want to transfer 50,000 miles, Etihad will charge an additional 5,000 miles as a fee.
This is a useful way to pool miles between friends and family. Now, you don't have to worry about accounts with small numbers of miles collecting dust, or worse, expiring needlessly. Even better, when you and a partner travel together on a cash fare, you can both earn miles for the same flight and pool them together.
Paying 1.67¢ per Etihad mile is a deal, especially considering all the possibilities for outsized value. But, it's not the best promotion we've seen. Etihad sold miles for 1.2¢ apiece as recently as April 2020. Still, if you have a redemption in mind, this promotion could save you quite a bit of money.
Moreover, earning Tier Miles for purchasing Guest Miles is a nice perk if you're chasing Etihad elite status. However, it's not all that enticing for those who don't reside in the middle east or fly Etihad on a regular basis.
Are you buying Etihad miles at 1.67¢ a piece?
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