WOW: Aeroplan Adds Partnership with Etihad Airways! Ricky June 3, 2020

WOW: Aeroplan Adds Partnership with Etihad Airways!

Well this came out of the blue!

Air Canada and Aeroplan have today announced the introduction of Etihad Airways as a brand-new airline partner. Starting today, Aeroplan members may now earn and redeem Aeroplan miles on flights operated by the Abu Dhabi-based UAE flag carrier.

With Etihad being one of the most highly-regarded premium airlines around the world with one of the most sought-after First Class products, this is a groundbreaking – dare I even say, earth-shattering – development for those of us who collect Aeroplan miles. 

Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartments

Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartments

Redeem Aeroplan Miles on Etihad Airways

The most exciting part of this equation is no doubt the ability to redeem Aeroplan miles for aspirational flights in Etihad Airways business class and First Class.

Etihad Airways slots in seamlessly alongside the other 34 Aeroplan partner airlines, which means that:

  • Etihad flights will be subject the Aeroplan Reward Chart, available here.

  • Members will be able to book Etihad flights online at Aeroplan.com as well as via the contact centre.

  • Etihad flights can be combined with flights operated by Air Canada and other international partners on the same ticket.

  • Fuel surcharges will not apply on Etihad operated flights.

Etihad award space has already been loaded into the Aeroplan search engine, and the award availability across all cabins (including First Class on the Boeing 777, Boeing 787, and Airbus A380 Apartments) seems to align with the award space that’s available to Etihad themselves and their other partners.

Get ready for the Etihad Apartments, everyone!

Perhaps even two seats on the way back from Australia? 

Or perhaps a 16-hour-25-minute ride in the Etihad Business Studio?

Or a direct flight into Toronto?

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 10.07.36 AM.png

When searching for availability, instead of searching one day at a time on the Aeroplan search engine, remember that you can use ExpertFlyer to search an entire week’s worth of dates at a time as well. 

While the space is showing up online, many search results lead to the following screen when you actually try to book, which suggests to me that the booking functionality on Etihad is still being rolled out gradually, and I’d expect these issues to resolve themselves shortly.

Better yet, call centre agents will be able to access Etihad Airways space when piecing together itineraries, which means that you’ll be able to book things like New York JFK–Abu Dhabi–Sydney for a total of 27 hours on the A380 First Class Apartments for only 110,000 Aeroplan miles one-way! 

In fact, the quirk of the award chart means that flying to Sydney actually saves you miles, because a direct First Class flight between New York JFK and Abu Dhabi (in the Middle East & North Africa region) would actually cost 115,000 Aeroplan miles.

And what about New York JFK–Abu Dhabi–Baku, which is in Europe 2, for only 80,000 Aeroplan miles in a mix of First Class and business class?

For those concerned that Etihad might be phasing out their Airbus A380s – and the famous single-aisle First Class Apartments cabin – due to the effects of COVID-19, you can rest easy in the CEO’s declaration that the airline’s A380s will certainly take to the skies again

I had the pleasure of flying Etihad Airways First Class on both the 787 and the A380 back in March, and I’m looking forward to publishing those reviews.

You can look forward to a dazzling onboard product on the A380 Apartments with a separate seat and lie-flat bed, a pseudo-Double Bed in the Sky, and genuinely world-class food and drink. 

Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartments

Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartments

That’s in addition to the First Class Lounge on the ground in Abu Dhabi as well, where you can expect to be treated to à la carte dining, a spectacular bar, and even a fitness centre in the lounge! 

Etihad Airways First Class Lounge

Etihad Airways First Class Lounge

Prior to this development, Etihad was a relatively tough airline for Canadian travellers to book. You could book via the airline’s own Etihad Guest award program, but you’d be subject to very high mileage costs and fuel surcharges on top of that. Meanwhile, you could also book via American Airlines AAdvantage, but it was rather tough to accumulate a meaningful quantity of AAdvantage miles for a high-value reward.

Not only do Aeroplan miles now represent the single best way for Canadians to try the Etihad Apartments and Etihad’s other premium products, but I’m convinced that Etihad Airways is now the single most valuable use of Aeroplan miles full stop. 

I bet those of you who purchased miles under the recent 115% bonus are now jumping for joy! 

Earn Aeroplan Miles on Etihad Airways

As something of an afterthought in comparison to the new redemption opportunity, Aeroplan members may now also earn miles when crediting their paid Etihad flights to the program.

The earning rates for Etihad flights are as follows:

So hey, those of you who regularly book The Residence to get to your destination can now look forward to earning 250% Aeroplan miles on your flight. For most of us, though, I imagine we’ll be busy putting our Amex MR points and Aeroplan miles to work on this incredible new opportunity to book with Etihad Airways. 

Conclusion

So, who’s going to be stuck in their Apartments in 2020 in a whole new way?! 😉

Aeroplan has let us know previously that they’re hard at work setting up the program for its relaunch later this year, and the introduction of Etihad Airways as a brand-new partner has turned up the heat significantly. Etihad’s Business Studio, 787 and 777 First Class, and A380 First Class Apartments are now significantly easier to book than before, and I’m sure many of us are mad-dashing to search for availability as we speak. 

This isn’t the end, either: Aeroplan has indicated that we can expect further announcements about additional airline partners in the coming weeks, and if Etihad’s arrival is anything to go by, I think it’s safe to say that we can all be very excited. 

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38 Comments
  1. Avatar
    H

    Hi Ricky,

    I can’t seem find availability for 2 biz or first from jfk or lax for 2021. Tried using ethihad site and expert flyer and don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Any pointers?

    Thanks

  2. Avatar
    dub

    I just bought 60k AP @1.15 AND received my MR pers plat sign up bonus. Stop, I can only get so hard

  3. Avatar
    confused

    Can you book ORD-AUH-SYD? Is there an MPM for oneway flights?

    1. Avatar
      Alykhan Lakha

      And miss out on the A380 apartments or bar if just business class? Definitely book through JFK for the full experience!

  4. Avatar
    Eric

    I keep getting the "unable to complete booking" error message on the particular dates I want even though both EF and Etihad is showings availability. Any idea how long it’ll take for this to resolve (if at all)?

  5. Avatar
    Elle

    Are the MPM issues still happening? What if we were to somehow do a round trip from JFK-SIN (stop)-SYD then return via AUH-JFK? Based on the Expertflyer MPMs it seems like I’m over on both directions

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      The MPM issues are still happening and a fair bit of hanging up and calling again is required to find the right agent.

      More on this later.

  6. Avatar
    Alykhan Lakha

    Istanbul seems to be over the MPM though (8756 vs max mpm of 8275). I called and they also verified that it is over. Am I wrong here?

    1. Avatar
      Alykhan Lakha

      I made a mistake it should go through. Sorry

    2. Avatar
      Ricky

      You’re actually correct, this is my mistake. Try Baku, Azerbaijan instead.

      1. Avatar
        Alykhan

        Thanks a lot! I needed a one way back to YYZ from East Europe This will do nicely with a new country to boot!

  7. Avatar
    Fernand

    As soon as I saw the title, Ricky’s video theme song played in my head. Can’t wait to watch it (we know it’s coming)… hope the other rumoured airlines present even more ops.

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      ♫ du du du… ♫

  8. Avatar
    Dave

    Booked SYD-AUH-JFK all in F. $110K What a deal!

    1. Avatar
      Elle

      Nice! Was it by calling in? Can’t seem to figure out how to do that on aeroplan website

      1. Avatar
        Ricky

        Yes, this needs to be called in.

        1. Avatar
          Tom

          When did you guys book for? Just booked mine for the end of March.

          1. Avatar
            Ricky

            Mid-April for me.

            1. Avatar
              Tom

              Nice! I’m late March :D. Hopefully there’s a vaccine by then and travel is back to normal.

          2. Avatar
            Dave

            Late February

    2. Avatar
      Ricky

      Same 🙂

    3. Avatar
      Dave

      I had to call in. I was also able to include EWR-YYZ-YVR on the tail end of it. This was in J of course, but at least the last leg is on the 777. I booked for late February. This is too good of an offer to forgo.

      1. Avatar
        Nanojo .

        SYD-AUH-JFK-EWR-YYZ-YVR all for 110k AP?

        1. Avatar
          Dave

          Correct. Unreal!

          1. Avatar
            Nanojo .

            How much did the total tax come to?

          2. Avatar
            AT

            Wow! So you booked SYD-AUH-JFK first, then called back to add EWR-YYZ-YVR? Or it was all done in one go?

      2. Avatar
        Mike

        How was this not over MPM for a 1x way? Awesome routing / booking!

      3. Avatar
        Jeff

        What flight was the EWR-YYZ-YVR? Was there anything for JFK-YYZ-YVR?

  9. Avatar
    Eric

    Can we add Etihad flights in a mini-RTW itinerary? That would open a lot of doors. 🙂

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      Yes we can!

  10. Avatar
    Sean

    You should also write a post on redeeming Etihad guest miles on AC shorthaul flights. Seems like a good deal to spend 5k for Y / 10k for J for short haul trips. Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington DC, Montreal, Quebec city from Toronto all fit that threshold. Not quite sure about surcharges/taxes

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      Ooh great suggestion. Thanks Sean.

  11. Avatar
    JL

    While Etihad is a cool new partner, I wish Aeroplan would have added Emirates instead.
    Etihad’s network is very limited, and not everyone wants to fly to Sydney to maximize the value of the miles.

  12. Avatar
    Danny

    That’s great!
    Wondering if there is any news on being able to transfer Etihad points to Aeroplan?

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      I doubt that. The way that these partnerships generally work is that miles can be earned and redeemed on each other’s flights, not that they can be freely transferrable between programs.

  13. Avatar
    Tommy

    Great news for Canadian for sure. But can you book the residence through aeroplan or it will "just" be the apartment?

    1. Avatar
      Peter

      To book a Residence award, you’re going to need Etihad Guest miles since these awards are not open to partners programs.

    2. Avatar
      Ricky

      Considering that Etihad Guest themselves charge something like 2,000,000 miles for the Residence, I think that’s a long shot 🙂

Ricky

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