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Booking AA Award travel on Etihad / EY (master thread July 2017 onwards)

Old Jan 14, 2016, 5:43 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: medellinfein
Booking Award Seats on EY / Etihad Airways Using AA / AAdvantage Miles

Also see: Earning AA Miles EQM / EQD / EQS on EY / Etihad (master thread)

This thread is about how to book Etihad / EY award seats using AA AAdvantage miles, and sharing success stories. This wiki is new, so anyone with 90/90 who wishes to add helpful information is, of course, urged to do so.

NOTE:AA has removed most EY and QR award access from aa.com due to a glitch booking these:

From One Mile at a Time (link)

Bottom Line

For the time being youíll have to call American if you want to ticket AAdvantage awards on Etihad & Qatar that arenít for travel to & from the US or Canada. It makes sense that American took these awards ďoffline,Ē and now it also makes sense why so many passengers have been having issues with checked bags on awards.
  • You can now search or book awards for travel on EY (Etihad) on www.aa.com.
  • You can search award availability on EY's website. Look only for seats on flights operated by Etihad Airways that are labeled as "GuestSeats". You can also search on ExpertFlyer
    • Note: You may see more availability if you search on EY's website using itineraries that do not originate in the US. In other words, to potentially see more availability on a USA-XYZ segment, search for XYZ-USA-XYZ. Expertflyer does not report this additional availability (if any), and US-based agents probably will not be able to see or book it (but see further below for Fiji).
    • To expand on this point a bit, it seems that even if you only want to fly USA-AUH (or to other foreign destinations, since they route through AUH), due to an EY website quirk you need to search AUH-USA-AUH in order to find available USA-AUH routes.
  • You no longer have to call AA to book them. You may need to request the AA agent to look up the inventory one segment at a time in order to find the inventory in their system. OR:
  • It is often or even typically the case that for first and business class awards US agents cannot see the award space that you see on Etihad's site. Your best bet, then, is to call AA Australia (+61 2-9101-1948 ) then press 3 - or the New Zealand number (+64 09-308-4014) (actually South African contractor Mindpearl in Fiji) or Singapore (+65 6349-8444) as an alternative - what you need is the specific call center which is actually in Suva, Fiji (I believe it's our old South African agency friend Mindpearl) or, according to recent reports, in Trinidad (since there have been some reports that the Fiji center has closed). You can put the EY segments on hold so you can flesh out the award afterward and/or pay the fees in USD through the US call center, or simply buy it through non-US call center if you think you won't be making subsequent routing changes (such as adding AA connecting flights within the USA) that would incur fees. (NOTE: calls may get picked up by the local Brisbane office, or rerouted to Trinidad or the USA. As noted, there are reports that the Fiji call center has closed, but people have still been able to book some of the time, particularly if they reach the Trinidad center since that seems to be the call center that yields the greatest success in late 2017 and 2018 - with the big caveat that there are at least as many failures as successes in calling there, including repeatedly. To increase the chances of success, you may have to call several times, since for some reason a given customer service representative at a given time won't see availability even if it shows at the EY site, but another CSR at the same center may be able to do so even a few minutes later. It's conceivable that this difference is due to some CSRs knowing how to search for award availability better than others do, but that's simply a matter of speculation at this point.)
    • Note: EY award holds only last 72 hours...irrespective of what AA reservation hold email states
  • Booking connections via AUH / Abu Dabhi using one award is now allowed.
  • Get both AA and EY reservation codes/numbers: Upon booking with AA, make sure to get the EY reservation number as well as that of AA from the AA CSR, as without the EY number it will be difficult or impossible to deal with EY, such as for checking or managing your reservation online. And of course, if there is another airline involved in the reservation as well (such as BA), get its reservation number.
  • A handy EY route map is here: http://flights.etihad.com/routemap.
  • The applicable AAdvantage miles award chart is the oneworld and partner airlines award chart.
  • Award routing rules are in the wikipost of this thread.
  • If you find EY inventory from your continent but not your city of choice, as usual you can include any other AAdvantage award airlines in order to complete the itinerary. E.g. LHR-xAUH-DEL-xAUH-CDG on EY connecting to CDG-LHR on BA.
  • WARNING: While this trick is great for new bookings (especially if you have patience to get lucky for call to be routed to Fiji office), modifying booking on partner airlines is always risky especially when an overseas center is involved, Your original seats are immediately released and while new reservation is supposedly confirmed, it may actually not the case until ticket desk actually issues ticket after approval of the partner liaison. Weekend/Holidays/Time-Difference can delay issuance of ticket and if something goes wrong, there is always risk of being SOL. (Mistakes by agents are rare but not unheard of).
  • SEAT ASSIGNMENTS: You cannot choose seats until after ticketing. Even then, the regular web site will not allow seat assignments to be made for AAdvantage award bookings. The mobile site (which can be reached with either a mobile or a desktop browser) may work in some cases. Calling EY to make seat assignments always works, as long as you can give them the EY record locator, and as long as AA has issued the ticket (which can take a few days, you will get e-mail). Call 1-877-690-0767, press 1 for English, then 2 for First/Business, then 2 for existing bookings, then they will tell you the call is ending - but it's not: they have added "press 1 to speak to an agent", so finally, press 1 to continue the call. After this, you should have someone on the line quickly to help you. They will ask you a series of questions such as "What class are you traveling in?" and "Where are you going?" Alternatively, you can choose your seats on the Etihad website and app by using the EY record locator to find your award itinerary.
  • Availability: EY award availability using AA miles can be fairly good, including in business and first class - IF you get past the big, aforementioned challenge of actually booking award seats that the EY site shows as available but that AA agents have trouble finding. But it ebbs and flows quite a bit in at least two respects (in addition to the general rule that the further in advance you seek availability, the better, as well as reports that availability is easier to find from one to three weeks before a flight): 1) availability showing at the EY site and 2) even if availability shows at the EY site, the ability of non-US call centers (especially the "least bad" ones for finding availability, which might have been Fiji and might now be Trinidad) to find that availability. So if the EY site is not showing availability for a given day or week, and if you have flexibility, check other dates. And if availability seems to be particularly constrained across many dates, particularly if you are searching many months in advance, check again periodically to see if this has changed (or arrange an alert via ExpertFlyer, if it provides such a service for EY flights).
  • "Baby-sit" your tickets: Though this advice could apply to many award bookings, EY's systems can be glitchy and the airline apparently is going through some financial challenges. So it makes sense to check online or via phone occasionally with EY to make sure everything remains in order, particularly if there have been even minor changes in things like your flight times. And if there seem to be problems, including with checking in online or other procedures, the EY forum here at FT can be a source of useful advice about whether or not those problems are worth worrying about.
  • Itinerary: You can use https://www.virtuallythere.com/new/login.html to enter your EY record locator and last name to 1)display your complete itinerary 2)save a pdf 3)add to outlook/ical 4)view ticket # and different times the ticket has been reissued
  • AA lounge access: If you book a premium cabin itinerary on EY with domestic connections on AA, you will not be able to access the Admiral's Club during your domestic layovers because EY is not a member of OW.

Please see the archived threads for previous experiences: NOTE: From AUH to the USA you will receive full USCBP Pre-Clearance in Abu Dhabi and will arrive in the USA as a domestic flight. However, AA and at least some other airlines (AS) will still demand International to Domestic MCT be met for ticketing purposes.
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Booking AA Award travel on Etihad / EY (master thread July 2017 onwards)

Old Feb 16, 2020, 5:16 am
  #1516  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: PHL
Programs: AA Gold, AF apologist
Posts: 207
Originally Posted by anabolism
Congratulations, that's great. I think non-US flights have always been easier, so that may have helped. As a data point, how far out did you book?
booked end of January for late June travel. I assumed it was phantom availability and it wouldn't go through via the website, but it did.
mapboyPHL is offline  
Old Feb 16, 2020, 5:19 am
  #1517  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: PHL
Programs: AA Gold, AF apologist
Posts: 207
Originally Posted by zzrayzz
is this route on one 1 award?
115K per person for the LHR-AUH-SYD, so I think that is one award, but not 100% sure
mapboyPHL is offline  
Old Feb 16, 2020, 11:40 am
  #1518  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: 718
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum, IHG Diamond
Posts: 981
Originally Posted by mapboyPHL
115K per person for the LHR-AUH-SYD, so I think that is one award, but not 100% sure
Yes it is! thanks
zzrayzz is offline  
Old Feb 18, 2020, 9:40 pm
  #1519  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Programs: AA (EP), Hilton (Diamond), Marriott Bonvoy (Titanium)
Posts: 8,946
Originally Posted by gruss
Over the past couple days I called the US EXP number (4x), UK (2x), Australia (1x), NZ (2x), Singapore (1x), Trinidad (1x) without luck on any of them. Got one snooty agent at the EXP line that told me I was wasting my time trying to call other call centers as they're all on the same system. Also told me it was silly to use any other tool to check availability as that's not what they use to determine availability.
Congratulations on getting it booked! Your experience with the agents' comments shows that nothing is gained by telling the agents that you are calling multiple call centers or checking availability on different systems. Best to just end the call politely and move on to the next country.
anabolism is offline  
Old Feb 19, 2020, 6:16 am
  #1520  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 140
Originally Posted by phant0m
Just booked my flights for the 27th of December. It looks like each day, Etihad releases saver seats so I've been waiting for mine since last week. They release early morning Abu Dhabi time. I saw the availability online at AA.com but it kept erroring me out so I called into the US AAdvantage booking center and they were able to book it for me and also waive the phone booking fee because of the error.

EDIT: Also want to add that it has been ticketed.
What route did you book? Iíve been trying to book JFK-AUH for sometime late December, but they havenít opened up saver availability in weeks - normally a new date becomes available every day, but now availability seems to have stopped at a certain date.
pennystinkard is offline  
Old Feb 19, 2020, 9:16 am
  #1521  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 1,036
Originally Posted by pennystinkard
What route did you book? Iíve been trying to book JFK-AUH for sometime late December, but they havenít opened up saver availability in weeks - normally a new date becomes available every day, but now availability seems to have stopped at a certain date.
AUH to LHR. Was also monitoring AUH to CDG. It's pretty wide open on those routes with a new date available each day.
phant0m is offline  
Old Feb 20, 2020, 10:06 am
  #1522  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 3,955
Originally Posted by phant0m
I saw the availability online at AA.com but it kept erroring me out so I called into the US AAdvantage booking center and they were able to book it for me and also waive the phone booking fee because of the error.
Has there ever been a phone booking fee for these partner flights that canít really be easily booked online?
pazza2000 is offline  
Old Feb 20, 2020, 2:51 pm
  #1523  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: DCA
Programs: MR Plat; AA Gold; UA Silver
Posts: 352
Just booked IAD-AUH rt for 80,000 miles in mid-November for the Dubai 2020 Expo! Sucks that I don't get the 10% miles back anymore but still a worthwhile use of miles (I had almost 150k). My first time flying EY.

Looks like pretty open Y availability on this route anytime. I have never seen anything in J or F.
jlb3 is offline  
Old Feb 20, 2020, 3:31 pm
  #1524  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: DCA/IAD & BUF
Posts: 1,490
Does anyone know why Eithiad seems to remove all First/Business awards on SYD-NBO, from April 1st forward?

It seems like a blanket removal, particularly for F. The flights are available for purchase, but no awards. For J, SYD-AUH and AUH-NBO awards are available post April 1, but not as a single award SYD-NBO.
cmtlatitudes is offline  
Old Feb 20, 2020, 4:13 pm
  #1525  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 44,976
Originally Posted by pazza2000
Has there ever been a phone booking fee for these partner flights that canít really be easily booked online?
Before EY became available online there was no telephone booking fee charged
Now it is online, then an offline booking fee is generally due
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Feb 21, 2020, 1:07 am
  #1526  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 3,955
Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Before EY became available online there was no telephone booking fee charged
Now it is online, then an offline booking fee is generally due
Is that the case for when bookings include two partners that can not be booked online, ie. BA connecting to EY?
pazza2000 is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 10:53 am
  #1527  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 160
datapoint: I just saw 2 first class on AA.com, got the error message. Called US, didn't see it. Called Singapore office, they booked it (I gave them CC info too) and now tickets are on request (she said wait 48 hours for email)

when I log into AA.com it saws call AA to pay for flights. Do I need to do that? Or will it deduct? To clarify, I booked the tickets I didn't just ask them to put it on hold.
bdubs7 is offline  
Old Feb 23, 2020, 12:55 pm
  #1528  
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That is the normal misleading message - if it shows 'on request' then all is good ; just wait 48 hours and if not ticketed, call back and get agent to speak to ticketing to get it completed
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Dave Noble is offline  
Old Feb 24, 2020, 3:54 pm
  #1529  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 160
thanks. Should i be worried that my fiance had her account deducted within a couple hours (I booked her ticket first) but mine still hasn't (~30 hours). She hasn't gotten a ticketed email yet though.
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Old Feb 24, 2020, 8:33 pm
  #1530  
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Originally Posted by bdubs7
thanks. Should i be worried that my fiance had her account deducted within a couple hours (I booked her ticket first) but mine still hasn't (~30 hours). She hasn't gotten a ticketed email yet though.
I wouldnt worry - once 2 days passes, I would call and follow up and the agent will probably then be happ to follow up and find out what caused it not to ticket automatically - my experience is that it is common not to happen automatically like it should, but easy to get fixed
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Dave Noble is offline  

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