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

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

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Old Sep 17, 19, 5:18 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
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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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.[/left]
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Old Feb 6, 18, 11:10 pm
  #151  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: LAX
Programs: AS 75K, Hilton Diamond, SPG Gold, IHG Platinum
Posts: 1,169
How early does EY open up its awards? I am looking at going early next year from LAX to AUH and then MLE and wondering when I should start looking for award space in business or first.
jediwho is offline  
Old Feb 7, 18, 2:17 am
  #152  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Programs: AAdvantage, UR
Posts: 18
You'll want to start looking a year out. It varies, but I found for the apartments it released a little later than other availability. YMMV
tcormier is offline  
Old Feb 9, 18, 1:06 pm
  #153  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Programs: AA MM, AS MVP, MR Plat
Posts: 780
Problems changing awards

Australia held my award and USA office ticketed it last month. Now the short haul segment has J availability. I expect to upgrade the segment with no exchange in miles. Though itinerary is same, taxes may be different.

I seem to recall challenges changing awards this way. Any advice?
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Old Feb 9, 18, 3:53 pm
  #154  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: MLB
Programs: DL DM/2.5M, *A Gold
Posts: 222
Originally Posted by eethan View Post
Australia held my award and USA office ticketed it last month. Now the short haul segment has J availability. I expect to upgrade the segment with no exchange in miles. Though itinerary is same, taxes may be different.

I seem to recall challenges changing awards this way. Any advice?
I've never had a problem doing what you're trying to do. I'm pretty sure the only way you'd see any noticeable change in fees is if the leg you were upgrading involved a departure from LHR. Otherwise, the fees should remain the same. Should be a quick phone call.
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Old Feb 9, 18, 5:35 pm
  #155  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Chicago, IL
Programs: AA Platinum, Hyatt Diamond, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 211
Data Point(s)

Called OZ number 2x, with no luck. Called NZ number and was able to secure 2 seats in F for JFK-AUH on first try. Tickets showing as 'on request' on my AA account so all seems good to go.
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Dsm2m2 is offline  
Old Feb 10, 18, 5:22 am
  #156  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: MLB
Programs: DL DM/2.5M, *A Gold
Posts: 222
Originally Posted by Dsm2m2 View Post
Data Point(s)

Called OZ number 2x, with no luck. Called NZ number and was able to secure 2 seats in F for JFK-AUH on first try. Tickets showing as 'on request' on my AA account so all seems good to go.
Congrats! As always, knowing when you are traveling is really helpful info, particularly for this route. Don't need specific dates, but month of travel would be appreciated.
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Old Feb 10, 18, 8:07 am
  #157  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Chicago, IL
Programs: AA Platinum, Hyatt Diamond, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 211
Originally Posted by NecessaryIndulgences View Post
Congrats! As always, knowing when you are traveling is really helpful info, particularly for this route. Don't need specific dates, but month of travel would be appreciated.
This was for early December. Additionally I received the confirmation email from AA this morning around 3:30a CST.
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Old Feb 12, 18, 5:53 pm
  #158  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Programs: AA Gold, IHG Spire
Posts: 10
What is the exact time EY opens award availability that can be booked with AA miles? I don't want to take any chances when those first class seats become available!
earn_burn is offline  
Old Feb 13, 18, 7:13 pm
  #159  
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 6
Lap Child

Can I add a lap child using Etihad miles instead of cash to an existing EY booking made with AA miles?
Lnavigator800 is offline  
Old Feb 13, 18, 7:36 pm
  #160  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Chicago, IL
Programs: AA Platinum, Hyatt Diamond, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 211
Originally Posted by earn_burn View Post
What is the exact time EY opens award availability that can be booked with AA miles? I don't want to take any chances when those first class seats become available!
330 days for EY economy and business, approx 300-315 for EY First (at least for the A380).
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Old Feb 13, 18, 8:12 pm
  #161  
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Originally Posted by Lnavigator800 View Post
Can I add a lap child using Etihad miles instead of cash to an existing EY booking made with AA miles?
This is a question for the EY forum
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Dave Noble is offline  
Old Feb 13, 18, 10:08 pm
  #162  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: YQT
Programs: AC, US, AA, UA, BA, QF, DL...
Posts: 430
Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
That is correcr. There will be one award for UK-Middle East and one award for Middle East to South West Pacific

The only way to avoid it, is to book with another carrier on a rpermitted routing for UK-Australia ( via Doha on QR , via Dubai on QF or via Asia )
I believe QF have discontinued their DXB flights. They now fly the A380 from SYD and MEL to SIN with only the SYD flight carrying on to LHR. There’s good award space between Australia and SIN but not between SIN and LHR. I guess you could always connect on BA/MH/etc. to Europe instead.

The second set of LHR slots was reassigned to the new MEL-PER-LHR service. I assume PER-LHR would be a valid routing since there is no transit in a third region.
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Old Feb 13, 18, 10:20 pm
  #163  
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Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post


I believe QF have discontinued their DXB flights. They now fly the A380 from SYD and MEL to SIN with only the SYD flight carrying on to LHR. There’s good award space between Australia and SIN but not between SIN and LHR. I guess you could always connect on BA/MH/etc. to Europe instead.

The second set of LHR slots was reassigned to the new MEL-PER-LHR service. I assume PER-LHR would be a valid routing since there is no transit in a third region.
Currently there are flights operated by QF via DXB and the details were correct at time of posting

A direct service will have no 3rd region issues
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Old Feb 15, 18, 7:10 am
  #164  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: SUX
Programs: BA Silver; HHonors Gold; SPG Gold; Points but dirt with everyone else
Posts: 8,050
If you're booked on EY101 AUH-JFK, you might want to check your booking. EY has done a slight schedule change (moved up departure by 20 minutes and arrival by 10), which resulted in the computer yanking me over to EY103, probably because of my long transit from CMB. In reality, I actually wound up on a waitlist for EY103 even though there was award space on EY101 still, so it was a real head scratcher. I called Australia and got them to put me back on EY101, since it still had award space. (I noticed something was awry by seeing my seat unoccupied on the EF seat map. I then opened the AA app and saw that my flight had changed. Looking on aa.com, it wouldn't even show me the details of my booking when I clicked on it. The agent I reached by calling the Australian number was the one who mentioned that I was actually waitlisted for the flight that they were showing me on.)
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Old Feb 15, 18, 7:31 am
  #165  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 198
I called the Australia number, was on the phone with them for about 20 minutes and she was no help. She kept putting me on hold, or said she couldn't see anything. I called the US number twice, once to check what was available and again to book. They were super helpful, super friendly, and did everything I needed quickly and efficiently. I'd suggest trying to US number first before running up your Int'l phone bill. Our flights are AUH-LHR, and we booked 2 first class suites with a couple of date options.
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