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Buy Etihad Guest Miles from 1.7 Singapore cents each

With a wide range of partner redemption options, is it worth buying Etihad Guest Miles for 1.74 Singapore cents each?

EXPIRED This article relates to an offer or promotion which has now expired.

A380 Apartment (Etihad Airways)

With COVID-19 uncertainty it remains a strange time to be buying frequent flyer miles. Nonetheless this week Etihad has become the latest to launch a short five-day promotion, offering up to 60% bonus when you buy its Etihad Guest Miles between now and Friday.

While you might think that’s of little interest, the potential value here is not for redeeming Etihad flights themselves, but rather in the airline’s large array of partner carriers including Asiana, ANA, Bangkok Airways and Oman Air.

The Etihad Guest program also unlocks the airline’s First Class Apartments and Business Studio cabin products, assuming we see their Airbus A380s back in service soon, though it’s unfortunately not good value to secure these using their own miles.

The June 2020 offer

Earlier this month the airline started offering a 50% bonus when you bought its travel vouchers valid for two years (an equivalent 33% discount), and now it’s Etihad Guest Miles on sale for up to 60% bonus (a 37.5% discount).

60 Promo Jun20

EYtrans

Etihad Guest Bonus Miles
Miles Bonus USD SGD
1,000 – 5,000 No bonus 2.00¢ / mile 2.78¢ / mile
6,000 – 20,000 20% 1.67¢ / mile 2.33¢ / mile
21,000 – 40,000 40% 1.43¢ / mile 1.99¢ / mile
41,000 – 100,000 60% 1.25¢ / mile 1.74¢ / mile

SGD based on approximate exchange rates as of 15th June 2020

To tap in to the best rate here, you’ll have to purchase at least 41,000 miles, which will give you 65,600 miles including the 60% bonus.

At the top end, purchasing 100,000 Etihad Guest miles will give you 160,000 in total with the same 60% bonus.

What are Etihad Guest Miles worth?

Like with any frequent flyer programme, it depends on how you use them, or intend to use them.

To that extent miles valuations are always slightly arbitrary and also personal, but to give you an idea One Mile at a Time values Etihad Guest miles at 1.2 US cents each (1.7 Singapore cents), whilst The Points Guy settles on a 1.4 US cents each (2 Singapore cents) valuation.

With the ability to purchase a fairly reasonable number of miles in this promotion at 1.25 US cents each, close to the general valuation, this proposition is therefore worth a look provided there are good value redemption options you can take advantage of when travel picks up again.

Etihad isn’t good value

The strange thing about Etihad Guest Miles is that they aren’t particularly good value when used to redeem Etihad flights.

EY A380 In Flight 2 (Airbus)
Etihad flights themselves aren’t where the value lies in the Etihad Guest programme. (Photo: Airbus)

The key to this programme is the superior value you’ll get when redeeming on the airline’s many partners.

Nonetheless here are some examples of the miles rates you’ll pay when redeeming Etihad flights from Singapore:

EYtrans

Route / Miles Effective cost buying at 60% bonus
Singapore to Abu Dhabi
First Class
96,334
miles
S$1,676
Singapore to Abu Dhabi
Business Class
84,867
miles
S$1,511
Singapore to London
First Class
181,981
miles
S$3,166
Singapore to London
Business Class
158,034
miles
S$2,750

As you can see, there is absolutely no sense in buying Etihad Guest Miles to redeem on the airline’s own flights to and from Singapore.

The effective cost is more or less what you’d usually pay in cash for a typical fare.

Partner airlines

The key to value in this programme is the wide range of 24 partner airlines, each of which has its own award chart when redeeming Etihad Guest Miles for redemption tickets.

Partners

Check here for links to the individual award charts.

American Airlines

No Singapore option here, but there are a few Etihad Guest Miles deals on American Airlines that may interest our readers.

AAtrans

Route / Miles Effective cost buying at 60% bonus
Hong Kong to New York
Business Class
50,000
miles
S$870
Sydney to Los Angeles
Business Class
62,500
miles
$1,088
Frankfurt to Dallas
Business Class
50,000
miles
$870

ANA

Using Etihad Guest Miles to fly ANA Business Class is great value on several routes, including from Singapore to Tokyo.

NHtrans

Route / Miles Effective cost buying at 60% bonus
Singapore to Tokyo
Business Class
43,000
miles
S$748
Tokyo to Seattle
Business Class
54,000
miles
$940
Tokyo to Sydney
Business Class
54,000
miles
$940
NH 787 J (ANA)
ANA Boeing 787 Business Class. (Photo: ANA)

It’s also possible to redeem most domestic flights in Japan for 6,500 Etihad Guest Miles in Economy Class or 8,500 miles in Business Class, excellent value under this promotion and much better value than using KrisFlyer miles.

Air Serbia

JUtrans

You can take intra-Europe flights on Air Serbia from as little as 5,000 Etihad Guest Miles one-way in Economy Class.

Asiana

Redemptions on Asiana using Etihad Guest Miles are only available for return itineraries on Asiana, however there are still some competitive rates on offer.

OZtrans

Route / Miles Effective cost buying at 60% bonus
Singapore to Seoul
(return)

Business Class
60,000
miles
S$1,044
Singapore to Los Angeles
(return)

Business Class
176,000
miles
$3,062
Asiana A350 J Overview (Asiana)
Asiana Airbus A350 Business Class. (Photo: Asiana)

Singapore to Seoul return in Business Class is particularly good value, the equivalent of 30,000 Etihad Guest Miles each way.

Bangkok Airways

Most of our readers know that the Singapore – Koh Samui duopoly (comprising Bangkok Airways and SilkAir) makes for expensive fares on this short but popular route.

PGtrans

Route / Miles Effective cost buying at 60% bonus
Singapore to Koh Samui
Economy Class
7,500
miles
S$131
Singapore to Koh Samui
Business Class
10,000
miles
$174

Using Etihad Guest Miles to redeem on Bangkok Airways, which has better timings than SilkAir for minimising your leave days, is a very cheap option from around S$130 each way (cash fares in Economy are often S$350+).

Brussels Airlines

Crossing the Atlantic will set you back 72,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles between Manchester and Houston or Frankfurt and New York.

Etihad Guest has an alternative that sounds almost too good to be true.

SN

Route / Miles Effective cost buying at 60% bonus
Brussels to New York
Business Class
44,000
miles
S$766
SN A330 New J Span (Brussels Airlines)
Brussels Airlines Business Class. (Photo: Brussels Airlines)

Korean Air

One-way itineraries are allowed under the Etihad Guest programme, a rarity when flying on an award ticket with Korean Air.

KEtrans

Route / Miles Effective cost buying at 60% bonus
Singapore to Seoul
Business Class
49,000
miles
S$853

Unfortunately this is more miles than Singapore Airlines is charging on the route (47,000), so it’s unlikely to be the best use of your Etihad Guest Miles unless award space is better on Korean Air.

Oman Air

We’re big fans of Oman Air’s ‘Apex Suite’ Business Class product, flying on almost all the airline’s long-haul routes.

We tried it out last year and found this rare product to be a spacious experience more akin to First Class, with ample opportunity for either privacy or socialising depending on your preference.

Unfortunately the airline no longer operates from Singapore but Etihad Guest miles offer good value from Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok to both the Middle East and Europe (via Muscat).

WYtrans

Route / Miles Effective cost buying at 60% bonus
Kuala Lumpur to Muscat
Business Class
39,000
miles
S$679
Bangkok to Munich
Business Class
72,000
miles
$1,253

Virgin Australia

The future size and shape of Virgin Australia has yet to be determined, however assuming the airline returns in its previous guise there are some very competitive award rates using the Etihad Guest programme.

VA

Route / Miles Effective cost buying at 60% bonus
Bali to Perth
Business Class
21,800
miles
S$379
Bali to Sydney
Business Class
33,800
miles
S$588
Sydney to Queenstown
Economy Class
6,900
miles
S$120
Sydney to Queenstown
Business Class
13,800
miles
S$240
VA 738 J Cabin Side (Virgin Australia)
Virgin Australia Boeing 737 Business Class. (Photo: Virgin Australia)

Searching and booking award space

Unfortunately the Etihad website only shows award availability for the airline’s own flights. All bookings for partners must be done over the phone.

Searching award space in advance is therefore a good idea. To get an idea of partner award availability, we recommend:

Do Etihad Guest Miles expire?

Yes, Etihad Guest Miles are valid for 2 years from the date they are earned for Etihad Guest members. That’s a little longer if you hold status in the programme:

  • 2.5 years for Etihad Guest Silver members
  • 3 years for Etihad Guest Gold and Etihad Guest Platinum members

Unused Etihad Guest Miles will expire on the last date of the month in which they are due to expire, at 23:30 (GST time, which is 19:30 GMT).

In November 2019 Etihad announced that its miles would no longer expire provided one eligible transaction is made every 18 months, however it’s all gone quiet on that front and the new policy does not appear to have taken effect yet.

Deadline: 19th June 2020

The offer closes at 11.59pm PDT on Thursday 18th June 2020, which is 2.59pm on Friday 19th June 2020 Singapore time.

We would therefore recommend making your purchase before approximately 2pm on 19th June in Singapore if you’re interested, just in case you have any issues or the payment doesn’t go through first time.

Click here to buy Etihad Guest Miles

The maximum bonus will reduce to 30% when the offer ends on Friday.

Change and cancellation fees

If you make a date change to an award flight booked through Etihad Guest it will cost you AED 100 (S$38).

For cancellation there is no fee, but instead Etihad will retain 10% of the miles you used to redeem.

For example on a Singapore to Seoul return flight in Business Class with Asiana (SIN-ICN-SIN) for 60,000 Etihad Guest Miles, you’ll be refunded 54,000 miles if you cancel, 6,000 less than you used (10% penalty).

Taxes and fees will be fully refunded.

Which card to use

If you are going to buy in this promotion, and assuming like most of our readers you are based in Singapore, you’ll want to achieve the maximum number of credit card miles for the purchase itself when buying Etihad Guest Miles.

The transaction itself happens in US dollars (i.e. non-SGD) and is processed by points.com.

Pointsdotcom

You can earn the most extra miles for the purchase transaction by using one of the following Singapore issued credit cards if you can:

Card Miles per S$1 Notes
Citi Rewards MC 2019Citi Rewards Visa / MasterCard
(see our review)
4.0 4 mpd on all online spend in a statement period, capped at S$1,000 per card.
Card.pngDBS Women’s World Mastercard*
(see our review)
4.0* 4 mpd on all online spend in a calendar month, capped at S$2,000.
Card.pngUOB Visa Signature
(see our review)
4.0 4 mpd on all overseas spend of at least S$1,000 in a statement period, capped at S$2,000.
image_standard-chartered-visa-infinite@2x02.pngStandard Chartered Visa Infinite
(see our review)
3.0 For non-SGD spend, provided total card spend (any currency) is S$2,000 or greater in the same statement cycle.
UOB-PRVI-MC.pngUOB PRVI Miles (see our review) 2.4 All non-SGD spend.
Card.jpgOCBC Voyage Visa
(see our review)
2.2 All non-SGD spend.
Card2019.pngCiti PremierMiles (see our review) 2.0 All non-SGD spend.
Card2019.pngCiti Prestige (see our review) 2.0 All non-SGD spend.

* Note: It’s been reported that using the DBS WWMC card via points.com does not automatically award the higher 4 mpd earn rate. You must usually appeal and claim the miles later.

Credit card transfers

You can also accrue Etihad Guest miles by transferring credit card points in Singapore from:

  • Citi Miles: 10,000 miles ➔ 10,000 miles
  • Citi ThankYou Points: 25,000 points ➔ 10,000 miles
  • Standard Chartered: 3,000 points ➔ 1,000 miles

Summary

Etihad Guest Miles can can be a useful frequent flyer currency due to the airline’s wide range of partners, opening up redemptions like Bangkok Airways flights to and from Koh Samui for the equivalent of around S$130 plus taxes, or Asiana return to Seoul in Business Class for around S$1,000.

There’s still lots of uncertainty at the moment due to the COVID-19 situation, so it’s up to you whether you see buying Etihad Guest miles at approximately 1.7 Singapore cents each as a good deal or not.

This might be a good way to top up your balance for an award ticket, and remember you can also transfer into Etihad from Citi and Standard Chartered credit cards in Singapore, so the risk of ending up with ‘orphan’ miles is hopefully limited.

(Cover Photo: Airbus)

4 comments

    1. Award space is usually good, though of course for public holiday weekends etc you’ll want to book well in advance and it may be blocked.

      Etihad CSOs are good in our experience, based on Eastern Europe I recall and they have very good English. In some situations you’ll have to HUCA.

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