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Etihad has just launched a new buy miles promotion, offering up to 60% bonus miles on purchases through June 18, 2020. This gives members the ability to pick up Etihad miles for as little as 1.25¢ each. That's an amazing deal considering some of the fabulous premium-class redemptions possible. 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 the best 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 between June 14, 2020 and June 18, 2020
- 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
- Purchased miles typically post instantly, although some purchase may take up to 72 hours
- Purchased miles do not count towards status upgrades
- Mile purchases are non-refundable
This promotion operates on a tiered bonus system, awarding the best bonus for purchasing at least 41,000 miles.
- Buy 1,000 to 5,000 miles — 0% Bonus (2¢ per mile)
- Buy 6,000 to 20,000 miles — 20% Bonus (1.67¢ per mile)
- Buy 21,000 to 40,000 miles — 40% Bonus (1.43¢ per mile)
- Buy 41,000 to 100,000 miles — 60% Bonus (1.25¢ per mile)
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: $1,340 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: $820 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: $1,100 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: $640 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, we typically recommend making purchases like this with a great ‘everyday spending' credit card.
However, there is a caveat in this case. Since Etihad is headquartered overseas, point purchases could possibly process as a foreign transaction. If you want to be sure not to incur a foreign transaction fee, some of the best credit cards to use include:
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
- Discover it® Miles
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 with 4 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)
Paying 1.25¢ per Etihad mile is a bargain, especially considering all the possibilities for outsized value. But, believe it or not, it's not the best promotion we've seen. We saw Etihad sell miles for 1.2¢ apiece as recently as April 2020. Overall, if you have a perfect redemption in mind, this promotion could save you quite a bit of money.
Are you buying Etihad miles at 1.25¢ a piece?
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