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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 you’ll have to call American if you want to ticket AAdvantage awards on Etihad & Qatar that aren’t for travel to & from the US or Canada. It makes sense that American took these awards “offline,” 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 Sep 7, 2018, 3:01 pm
  #616  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,642
Originally Posted by captainamerica
I'm a bit confused on the warning for modifying bookings in the wiki. I have a round trip JFK-AUH F class trip and plan to change the date on my return ticket. Since the JFK-AUH date isnt changing will they still release my JFK-AUH booking and rebook it?
The wiki is talking about making a change to a segment---the cancellation of the flight you no longer want is immediate but confirmation of the new flights takes time and things could get screwed up. But it does not say anywhere in the wiki that making a partial change will cause your entire booking to be canceled and rebooked, including the parts that are unchanged.

Last edited by SeeBuyFly; Sep 7, 2018 at 3:10 pm
SeeBuyFly is offline  
Old Sep 7, 2018, 3:05 pm
  #617  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,642
Originally Posted by mak101
Can you change the date without incurring any fees?
This question is about general AAdvantage rules, not about booking Etihad specifically. You can easily look up the change rules directly on AA's web site: https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-p...l.jsp#changing
SeeBuyFly is offline  
Old Sep 11, 2018, 12:16 pm
  #618  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Austin, TX
Programs: AA Plat Pro, Marriott Ambassador, Hyatt Globalist, United Platinum
Posts: 24
Originally Posted by flguy
F award availability JFK AUH
I use to see awards open up 30 days out, now nothing has opened, last avail F award I see if Sept 24, I was looking around Oct 10 so now if seems 40 days out and nothing new opened
Do you think they are done with F awards now that they are down to 1 flight a day?
Thanks
I've been keeping an eye on close in bookings and I can't find any pattern between seats available and released Guest First availability. It's a total mystery to me.
ATX1989 is offline  
Old Sep 11, 2018, 12:26 pm
  #619  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: LAX
Programs: UA Silver, AA, WN, DL
Posts: 4,110
Originally Posted by SeeBuyFly
The wiki is talking about making a change to a segment---the cancellation of the flight you no longer want is immediate but confirmation of the new flights takes time and things could get screwed up. But it does not say anywhere in the wiki that making a partial change will cause your entire booking to be canceled and rebooked, including the parts that are unchanged.
I believe I may have misunderstood this as well... does this mean then if I am only changing my AA segment (LGA-LAX to JFK-LAX) that my AUH-JFK segment is kept (i.e. it is not released and then rebooked entirely)? This sounds more practical.

TIA.
luv2ctheworld is offline  
Old Sep 11, 2018, 1:45 pm
  #620  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: New York
Programs: AA EXP, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 262
Booked a mixed-itinerary award: JFK -> AUH -> MLE, with the first leg in Business and the second leg in Economy. Will I get lounge access at all in AUH if my second leg is not in business?
Martellus is offline  
Old Sep 16, 2018, 6:08 am
  #621  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 644
Booked DFW-ORD-AUH-HYD business for all legs and the agent at DFW allowed only 1 bag for 70lbs and said the other bag has to be less than 50lbs or I would have to pay 300$. Is this accurate?
Stivelio is offline  
Old Sep 16, 2018, 6:17 am
  #622  
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 44,976
Originally Posted by Stivelio
Booked DFW-ORD-AUH-HYD business for all legs and the agent at DFW allowed only 1 bag for 70lbs and said the other bag has to be less than 50lbs or I would have to pay 300$. Is this accurate?
It doesn't sound correct - on your itinerary/e-ticket receipt, there will be the baggage allowance specified - what does it state
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Sep 17, 2018, 3:18 am
  #623  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 246
I just tried booking
J - MLE-AUH
J - AUH-JFK
F - JFK-LAX

At the F saver rate. They quoted 165k/pp. I put it on hold but shouldnt it price out a 115k pp?
Plan is to upgrade the AUH-JFK leg to F if it opens up.

Thanks
beastieb is offline  
Old Sep 17, 2018, 6:04 am
  #624  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 159
What are some interesting destinations outside of India and Male that are bookable with AA's routing rules for EY?

edit: From North America
calmasahinducow is offline  
Old Sep 17, 2018, 3:07 pm
  #625  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: UK
Programs: AA Platinum Pro, HHonors Diamond
Posts: 174
So AA (or EY?) keep changing the first leg of my trip (in economy) from the early afternoon LHR > AUH flight to the later evening one... This obviously has the effect of reducing my connection time in Abu Dhabi which would be fine most of the time but I'll have access to the First lounge and wanted to make the most of it. Any ideas on why it keeps happening and what to do to stop it happening again if I'm able to change back to my original itinerary once more?
DangerM55 is offline  
Old Sep 17, 2018, 5:01 pm
  #626  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 192
Anyone ever remove a leg from your etihad flight without incurring a change fee? I'm trying to remove the AUH-MLE leg from my JFK-AUH-MLE ticket. A year ago I was actually able to add a leg to my ticket without incurring a change fee. Does it just depend on the rep you get and if they feel like charging you or not?

Also, it would actually be cheaper for me to cancel the tickets (2 tickets on same record) and rebook but I'm worried the cancelled tickets wont be re-released as award spots. I noticed when I changed the dates on a JFK-AUH flight my old date never reopened the award seats I gave up. So is paying the extra fee to "change" the ticket that just drops a segment better than cancelling and rebooking? I assume they don't go through the same mechanism and changing is safer because it wont actually drop you from any segments you are keeping.
captainamerica is offline  
Old Sep 17, 2018, 5:02 pm
  #627  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 192
Originally Posted by beastieb
I just tried booking
J - MLE-AUH
J - AUH-JFK
F - JFK-LAX

At the F saver rate. They quoted 165k/pp. I put it on hold but shouldnt it price out a 115k pp?
Plan is to upgrade the AUH-JFK leg to F if it opens up.

Thanks
The JFK-LAX most likely wasnt on saver award
captainamerica is offline  
Old Sep 17, 2018, 8:24 pm
  #628  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 192
Originally Posted by captainamerica
Anyone ever remove a leg from your etihad flight without incurring a change fee? I'm trying to remove the AUH-MLE leg from my JFK-AUH-MLE ticket. A year ago I was actually able to add a leg to my ticket without incurring a change fee. Does it just depend on the rep you get and if they feel like charging you or not?

Also, it would actually be cheaper for me to cancel the tickets (2 tickets on same record) and rebook but I'm worried the cancelled tickets wont be re-released as award spots. I noticed when I changed the dates on a JFK-AUH flight my old date never reopened the award seats I gave up. So is paying the extra fee to "change" the ticket that just drops a segment better than cancelling and rebooking? I assume they don't go through the same mechanism and changing is safer because it wont actually drop you from any segments you are keeping.
FYI I was able to have them remove the AUH-MLE segment for no additional charge. My guess is they don't really consider it a change if you're removing a leg instead of adding/changing the destination.
captainamerica is offline  
Old Sep 17, 2018, 10:38 pm
  #629  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,642
Originally Posted by captainamerica
FYI I was able to have them remove the AUH-MLE segment for no additional charge. My guess is they don't really consider it a change if you're removing a leg instead of adding/changing the destination.
No, that's not it. There is a specific rule about when a first or last leg can be dropped without charge---It's not published or publicized though, and I don't have the link to the relevant FT posts. I did think it has to be within the same AAdvantage zone and these days Middle East and Indian subcontinent are different zones so I am not sure what the exact rule is.
SeeBuyFly is offline  
Old Sep 18, 2018, 3:40 pm
  #630  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 246
Originally Posted by captainamerica
The JFK-LAX most likely wasnt on saver award

called back in. you are right it wasn't on saver even though when booking confirmed everything was. they fixed it and made it 115k.
Thanks
beastieb is offline  

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