Etihad First/Business Class is incredible. The airline features an amazing First Class Apartment on their Airbus A380 aircraft, which they fly to New York, London, Paris, Sydney, and Melbourne. I’ve flown Etihad First Class around five times already on all of their A380 routes and all I can say is that I’m always left in awe. The product is truly stunning and nothing like it exists – an apartment in the sky. Plus, the catering is delicious and the flight attendants are beyond friendly… and who doesn’t want to take a shower at 38k feet?

The best way to redeem miles for Etihad First/Business Class flights has been using American Airlines AAdvantage. However, due to last year’s AAdvantage devaluation, the cost to fly Etihad First/Business Class went up substantially in some cases. American used to charge just 40k miles for First Class between the Middle East and Europe and now they charge 62.5k. If redeeming miles for Abu Dhabi to London or Paris, the best way now is to book using Asiana Airlines Asiana Club – it will cost you just 40k miles (or 35k SPG points).

Etihad Airways First Class A380

Etihad Airways First Class A380

In the past when redeeming AAdvantage miles for travel in Etihad First/Business Class, the trick was to call American Airlines Australia as those agents could see all of the premium Etihad space that was released – the U.S.-based agents for some reason couldn’t. A few weeks ago, the Australia “trick” was “devalued” in that some Australian agents couldn’t see some of the Etihad First/Business award space that was actually available. Well, I don’t know what the status is on Australia, but I am happy to report that U.S. AAdvantage agents see more Etihad First/Business award space now!

I was just booking a few Etihad awards in First and Business Class for clients and friends and for some reason I couldn’t get through to the Australian call centre and I decided to try the American one.. and it actually worked. I was able to successfully ticket and hold a few different routes including:

  • London to Abu Dhabi
  • Abu Dhabi to Paris
  • Abu Dhabi to Melbourne
  • New York to Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways Business Class A380

Etihad Airways Business Class A380

Some of those were in First Class and others in Business, but on all occasions, the U.S. AAdvantage agents were able to confirm the same amount of space that Etihad’s website was showing. Yay! I don’t know whether or not this is temporary (let’s hope not), but I was pleasantly surprised that the U.S. AAdvantage agents were able to confirm the same award space that I was able to find online. If you were going to book Etihad First/Business Class, I would call as soon as possible and put the flights on hold because it seems like the U.S.-based agents can see much more award space than they previously could.

Be sure to check out some of the awesome Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Hotel Rewards Credit Cards, and Point Rewards Credit Cards that are available and will earn you lots of miles and great travel benefits!