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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 Jan 6, 18, 1:12 am
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 9
I'm trying to go SEZ > JFK in F. I can find AUH > JFK availability, but it looks like the problem is SEZ > AUH. J is available from SEZ > AUH, however. Would AA be able to combine the F and J segments and price this out as a first class one way redemption for 120K AA (I'll take the downgrade on the SEZ>AUH segment), or would two separate awards have to be booked?
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Old Jan 6, 18, 2:04 am
  #17  
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Originally Posted by entmodonata View Post
I'm trying to go SEZ > JFK in F. I can find AUH > JFK availability, but it looks like the problem is SEZ > AUH. J is available from SEZ > AUH, however. Would AA be able to combine the F and J segments and price this out as a first class one way redemption for 120K AA (I'll take the downgrade on the SEZ>AUH segment), or would two separate awards have to be booked?
It will be charged as 2 awards regardless of availability

SEZ is in Africa and there is no exception that permits transit in Middle East unless connecting from QR to QR
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Old Jan 6, 18, 7:52 am
  #18  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
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All indications point that this is true. You cannot travel through the Middle East from Africa to North America on one award. There is one exception if you fly Qatar Airways and connect via Doha. Of course being on this forum, you obviously want to fly Etihad.

I read that there actually is no official routing chart with these restrictions. They have just been gleaned through trial and error. If it were me, I would try to call and book it. See if they will let you. If not, and you don't have enough points for two awards, you can always try Qatar.
Also, yes you can voluntarily downgrade a segment if first class awards are not available.

Last edited by mharlan100; Jan 6, 18 at 7:54 am Reason: Additional information
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Old Jan 6, 18, 10:05 am
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by mharlan100 View Post
All indications point that this is true. You cannot travel through the Middle East from Africa to North America on one award. There is one exception if you fly Qatar Airways and connect via Doha. Of course being on this forum, you obviously want to fly Etihad.

I read that there actually is no official routing chart with these restrictions. They have just been gleaned through trial and error. If it were me, I would try to call and book it. See if they will let you. If not, and you don't have enough points for two awards, you can always try Qatar.
Also, yes you can voluntarily downgrade a segment if first class awards are not available.
This isn't a HUACA situation - it will never price as one award as its hard-coded in the system and also would have to make it by the ticketing desk.
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Old Jan 6, 18, 12:21 pm
  #20  
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Originally Posted by mharlan100 View Post
All indications point that this is true. You cannot travel through the Middle East from Africa to North America on one award. There is one exception if you fly Qatar Airways and connect via Doha. Of course being on this forum, you obviously want to fly Etihad.

I read that there actually is no official routing chart with these restrictions. They have just been gleaned through trial and error. If it were me, I would try to call and book it. See if they will let you. If not, and you don't have enough points for two awards, you can always try Qatar.
Also, yes you can voluntarily downgrade a segment if first class awards are not available.
There is a routing chart which lists the exceptions, just that AA does not publish it ; copies of the details have been posted on FT

There is no point repeatedly calling to try to get USA-Africa via AUH priced as a single award ; if wanting to go on EY, then need to accept that it will be 2 awards

Want to go via Middle East with a QR-QR connection, then that will be fine ; otherwise need to go via Europe
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Old Jan 7, 18, 4:21 pm
  #21  
 
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I was able to book 2x JFK-AUH in J by calling the NZ call center. The agent said she was in Australia. She asked if I was calling from the States and why it showed her as coming from NZ. I said the US agents had trouble booking EY. Seemed like news to her.

I had previously called the Aus call center, and they could only see what was reflected on ExpertFlyer (which wasn't what I needed, it was more than 30 days out and the Aus agent only saw one seat). I didn't catch where they were based.

From what I can tell, EY does release more availability about 30 days, and that's reflected on EF.
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Old Jan 7, 18, 5:01 pm
  #22  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Originally Posted by mharlan100 View Post
Did you ever try the New Zealand number to see if you would have any luck or where that routed you to?
I tried but couldn't dial thru to NZ using either skype or landline.

When I ticketed, the experienced US agent searched for and saw the AUH-CAI segment in J. However, llike other agents, she couldn't get it. Her explanation - AUH-CAI was available when booking that segment, but became unavailable for booking if married to another segment. That's news to me - I've only heard of additional availability caused by marrying segments, not availability disappearing on a segment when you marry it to another one.

Airlines have enough tools to destroy this game for us in the long run.
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Old Jan 7, 18, 7:49 pm
  #23  
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Originally Posted by eethan View Post
I tried but couldn't dial thru to NZ using either skype or landline.

When I ticketed, the experienced US agent searched for and saw the AUH-CAI segment in J. However, llike other agents, she couldn't get it. Her explanation - AUH-CAI was available when booking that segment, but became unavailable for booking if married to another segment. That's news to me - I've only heard of additional availability caused by marrying segments, not availability disappearing on a segment when you marry it to another one.
.
That is perfectly normal with married sectors. May have availability only when married just as easily as having availability when only standalone

For a normal revenue ticket I have had to put a stopover into a trip due to there only being availability when standalone but not when married
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Old Jan 7, 18, 8:01 pm
  #24  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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I have this reservation on hold - FCO-AUH-BOM on etihad arriving BOM at 7PM.
I want to meet someone at BOM and then travel to CCU. So I thought if I add BOM-CCU for AM flight next day, I will not have to pay anything extra.
When I called, they said it will be additional 10K miles to add BOM-CCU. Are they correct?
Also, they mentioned some 9 west airlines for BOM-CCU that I have never heard of. Does anyone know the AA partner airlines for inter-india travel.
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Old Jan 7, 18, 8:11 pm
  #25  
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Originally Posted by coolmuke View Post
I have this reservation on hold - FCO-AUH-BOM on etihad arriving BOM at 7PM.
I want to meet someone at BOM and then travel to CCU. So I thought if I add BOM-CCU for AM flight next day, I will not have to pay anything extra.
When I called, they said it will be additional 10K miles to add BOM-CCU. Are they correct?
Also, they mentioned some 9 west airlines for BOM-CCU that I have never heard of. Does anyone know the AA partner airlines for inter-india travel.
Looking at EY's routing rules, FCO-AUH-BOM-CCU is a valid routing as long as BOM-CCU is on 9W (Jet Airways) or EY, so would have not expected there to be an additional mileage cost

I would have expected there to be a $150 change fee though
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Old Jan 7, 18, 8:22 pm
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
Looking at EY's routing rules, FCO-AUH-BOM-CCU is a valid routing as long as BOM-CCU is on 9W (Jet Airways) or EY, so would have not expected there to be an additional mileage cost

I would have expected there to be a $150 change fee though
My reservation is on hold. So they were wrong and should not charge additional 10K miles. They also said that Jet is not their partner anymore.
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Old Jan 7, 18, 8:26 pm
  #27  
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Originally Posted by coolmuke View Post
My reservation is on hold. So they were wrong and should not charge additional 10K miles. They also said that Jet is not their partner anymore.
The agent is correct in that 9W is no longer a partner. I must have missed it, but https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...et-airways.jsp does indicate that 31 Dec was last date on which awards could be booked for travel on 9W

Looking at BOM-CCU, EY only has codeshares on 9W between BOM and CCU

It looks like the agent was correct that this cannot be done as a single award

What partner airline has service between BOM and CCU? Looking at the schedules, I cannot see any flights operated by an AA partner, so would expect that there is no way to do the flight as an award booking even standalone
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Old Jan 10, 18, 8:14 am
  #28  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
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How long does it generally take to ticket EY awards?

I had a reservation on hold that I called in to ticket about 12 hours ago, but it's still "On Request".
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Old Jan 10, 18, 8:25 am
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Originally Posted by discstickers View Post
How long does it generally take to ticket EY awards?

I had a reservation on hold that I called in to ticket about 12 hours ago, but it's still "On Request".
Mine took 2 days before it was issued. (miles were debited on 12/29, and the ticket was issued 12/31)
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Old Jan 10, 18, 8:38 am
  #30  
 
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Originally Posted by lizakramer View Post
Mine took 2 days before it was issued. (miles were debited on 12/29, and the ticket was issued 12/31)
Hmm, my miles haven't even been debited yet, nor has the charge hit my credit card.
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