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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 youll have to call American if you want to ticket AAdvantage awards on Etihad & Qatar that arent 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.
Print Wikipost

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

Old Oct 12, 2018, 1:39 pm
  #676  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NYC suburbs
Programs: UA LT Gold (BIS), AA LT Plat (CC SUBs & BD), Hilton Dia (CC), Hyatt Glob (BIB), et. al.
Posts: 3,428
Originally Posted by sethMCOflyer
...Yours hasn't ticketed yet has it? ...
Im working on 2 or 3 different tickets, a dozen different calls to one of the international AA numbers over the past week. First ticket was put on put on 5 day hold about 1 week ago via Australia or Singapore phone number routed to and answered by an agent in (as per my phone history) Turks and Caicos or Cocos Keeling Islands. I called the USA phone number 4 days later to provide credit card info and purchase the ticket, was told it could take up to a week. Called USA phone number again 2 or 3 days later to ask the status of the ticket, I was put on hold for 2-3 minutes and then told the EY segment had been confirmed and the BA segment was just confirmed and the ticket would be issued in the next few hours. I checked AA account and credit card account about an hour later; AA indicated Ticketed, the charge was pending on my credit card account. (These 2 calls to the USA phone # were different from my call to the highly knowledgeable agent I described above.)

Originally Posted by sethMCOflyer
... I'm still waiting on this EY award to ticket as well as some JL tickets I booked in the past couple weeks.
If its been 2-3 days, I suggest calling AA. I watch all flight reservations frequently and carefully, especially a rare coveted front cabin international award on a partner airline. Ive already confirmed that I can see the ticket and seat assignment on the BA website and the EY website and also one time by phone with each airline. For these flights which are 2-3 months away and operate only once every 24 hours, my plan is to check weekly until a week or 2 prior, then every 2-3 days, and then almost daily in the few days prior to the flight. Too many stories about lost reservations and different seat assignments and passing the buck (e.g. UA said check with Air China, Air China said check with UA).
Dr Jabadski is offline  
Old Oct 12, 2018, 3:22 pm
  #677  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 523
Those who booked recently, do you guys check availability on EY first? and leg by leg? Or do you guys just call AA?
mak101 is offline  
Old Oct 12, 2018, 9:36 pm
  #678  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Westchester county, NY
Programs: DL DM, MAR gold
Posts: 176
I checked on EY website, then called the US center which could not find availability, then called the Australia center which was able to find the same inventory as Guest Seats. However, after calling to ticket I am at about 42 hours into “on request.” I have called three times and was told that there was a ticketing backup due to the hurricane.
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Old Oct 13, 2018, 12:22 am
  #679  
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 44,972
Originally Posted by essexnyc
I checked on EY website, then called the US center which could not find availability, then called the Australia center which was able to find the same inventory as Guest Seats. However, after calling to ticket I am at about 42 hours into on request. I have called three times and was told that there was a ticketing backup due to the hurricane.
If you booked and paid through Australia, then in a day's time, phone up and you will be able to get it completed if it doesn't process before
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Oct 13, 2018, 7:16 am
  #680  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Westchester county, NY
Programs: DL DM, MAR gold
Posts: 176
I had the Australia center hold the tickets, then a few days later I called the US center to ticket. Has now been almost three full days “on request.” I will keep calling the US and maybe try Australia too.
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Old Oct 13, 2018, 10:27 pm
  #681  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Chicago
Programs: AA Gold, UA Gold, HH Gold, Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 342
hey guys, so i decided that i want to upgrade my ticket from Y to J from MLE-AUH-ORD. However, on my travel date, AUH-ORD is not showing any availability but AUH-JFK is (there is 1 seat left). EY 101 (AUH-JFK) lands at 16:10 and the only flight to chicago from JFK leaves at 17:05 (or something like that). im totally fine with adding the connection in JFK, but I was wondering if anyone has had any experience in doing so with a short connection... IAD is also an option but there are no direct flights from IAD-ORD.

i dont know how it usually works with EY, but do they generally release more J award space a little bit closer to departure date?

thanks in advance guys, this forum has been a huge help!
rvlcr is offline  
Old Oct 14, 2018, 10:14 am
  #682  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: US Air, UA BA LH AI DELTA MARRIOTT CHOICE SGP
Posts: 9,883
Originally Posted by rvlcr
hey guys, so i decided that i want to upgrade my ticket from Y to J from MLE-AUH-ORD. However, on my travel date, AUH-ORD is not showing any availability but AUH-JFK is (there is 1 seat left). EY 101 (AUH-JFK) lands at 16:10 and the only flight to chicago from JFK leaves at 17:05 (or something like that). im totally fine with adding the connection in JFK, but I was wondering if anyone has had any experience in doing so with a short connection... IAD is also an option but there are no direct flights from IAD-ORD.

i dont know how it usually works with EY, but do they generally release more J award space a little bit closer to departure date?

thanks in advance guys, this forum has been a huge help!
I have faced this. The alternatives were to travel to LGA or EWR if you want to avoid hotel in NYC>
HMPS is offline  
Old Oct 14, 2018, 6:58 pm
  #683  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 15
Do you have to recheck bags prior to the Etihad flight at JFK if you have previous segments on AA?
kjc313 is offline  
Old Oct 14, 2018, 8:27 pm
  #684  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Chicago
Programs: AA Gold, UA Gold, HH Gold, Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 342
Originally Posted by HMPS
I have faced this. The alternatives were to travel to LGA or EWR if you want to avoid hotel in NYC>
ok, thanks. at this point, i feel like switching airports would be even more of a hassle and id rather either keep the Y ticket or wait for a J ticket to open on AUH-ORD. has anyone had experience with J guest tickets on AUH-ORD opening up closer to departure? my fight is on April 9th and nothing between december and mid april shows any availability on the etihad website which seems kinda crazy.
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Old Oct 15, 2018, 5:05 pm
  #685  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: UA 1K, AA Plat Pro, Marriott Plat, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 1,053
quick data point here: I saw on Etihad's website two seats in F for LHR-AUH-CMB (AUH-CMB in J). I called the US line and was able to put the flight on hold on the first try. Called back a few days later to ticket. Guess I got pretty lucky. Of course, the flight has not actually ticketed, so we will see what happens in a few days.

Updated to add: After calling to book this ticket late on 10/12, I just received the email this morning that my reservation was actually ticketed. I had called twice in-between to confirm that everything was ok and on the second of the calls was told that they are training some new people and backed-up. Anyways, just glad that this worked out.

Last edited by uclabruin82; Oct 25, 2018 at 9:48 am Reason: updated information
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Old Oct 27, 2018, 7:51 am
  #686  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,174
When to buy lap infant seat

folks

I booked my award ticket using AA but I've been told it's cheaper to buy the lap infant seat directly from etihad in business. IS there any particular time that it's best to purchase or those rates don't fluctutate much and I can simply buy it 2-3 days before departure

Also what's the usual upgrade price from AUH-JFK from economy to business (have another family member that could not secure a business seat)

thanks
sam007 is offline  
Old Oct 28, 2018, 5:54 pm
  #687  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,174
Originally Posted by sam007
folks

I booked my award ticket using AA but I've been told it's cheaper to buy the lap infant seat directly from etihad in business. IS there any particular time that it's best to purchase or those rates don't fluctutate much and I can simply buy it 2-3 days before departure

Also what's the usual upgrade price from AUH-JFK from economy to business (have another family member that could not secure a business seat)

thanks
anybody?
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Old Oct 28, 2018, 5:58 pm
  #688  
Moderator: American AAdvantage
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: NorCal - SMF area
Programs: AA LT Plat; HH LT Diamond, Matre-plongeur des Muccis
Posts: 62,946
Id hesitate to wait too long to contact EY to determine whether the infant price is lower than AA or can be purchased from EY.

As to the Etihad policies on upgrades, they might be better asked in the Etihad forum.
JDiver is offline  
Old Oct 30, 2018, 8:27 pm
  #689  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Programs: Aegean Gold
Posts: 14
Thanks to this thread, I was able to book 2 business class one ways from LAX-AUH. Call to NZ center was quick and easy, and award was ticketed next day. Called Etihad to assign seats.

On a side note, I know business award tickets are not eligible for chauffeur transport to Dubai, but I can't seem to book a coach bus online either. Is that the case?
dvdsl is offline  
Old Nov 3, 2018, 11:46 am
  #690  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 697
Anyone experience this? My first segment from MLE to AUH in Business class, but my ticket is in F the whole way from AUH to JFK. I saw F space available for MLE to AUH on Etihad as Guest award. I tried US AA first and of course they could not see it. So I tried OZ, NZ and Singapore and they said they don't see the F seat for that segment when trying to modify my reservation. However, if they just look at MLE to AUH itself without touching my reservation, then they saw the F space. What's going on? Any tips and tricks regarding to this matter?
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