Etihad's New Buy Miles Promotion Drops Purchase Price to 1.25 Cents Each

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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.

Key Terms

  • 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

ANA's new business class ‘The Room'
  • 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

AA Flagship First
  • 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

Royal Air Maroc's 787-9 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

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:

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:

Bottom Line

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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Comments

  • Normally I would have considered it, as their first class Apartment is such a great deal (flew it from Australia once on AA miles) but since they are not using their A380 for a while and there is even a risk of a total restructure of the airline looming, I’ll pass.

  • Nice deal there. Still doesn’t beat the $200 round trip mistake fare I bought a few years ago from the US to Abu Dhabi. Let’s get another one of those!

    • I remember that mistake fare and being frustrated that my schedule didn’t allow me to take advantage of it. I’ve gotten other ones though,

  • JFK-BRU is a really cool redemption, but Brussels Airlines hardly releases award seats on this route IME.

  • This airline is good , actually their on board service very good compare to the many garbage airlines like united delta american etc…

    The problem with Etihad is when you want to use your points(miles) say between JFK-AbuDhabi-JFK, the rate they want is over 750,000

    They might as well add one kidney (for one way) both kidneys for round trip …..PATHETIC !!

    • Standard award rates have really gotten out of hand. In case you aren’t aware, they have a subset of awards called SaverGuest that are much more reasonably priced—but they have limited availability. You might also want to look at partner airlines. Etihad has a great lineup of partners and the pricing is also quite good with many of them.

  • the bonus miles seems to be a good deal. they give ample amount so thats good. Never flown with Etihad before, so I am looking forward to it

  • I’ve always wondered if these purchase deals were worth it. Thanks for the great write up!

  • Although this might be a good deal for redemptions right now, and I would love to experience their in flignt offerings, I just don’t think it is worth the risk.

  • Is this applys in wich countries?

    • JT Genter says:

      This promotion doesn’t seem limited to particular countries. Let us know if you see something different!