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

Old Jan 14, 2016, 5:43 am
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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.
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Booking AA Award travel on Etihad / EY (master thread July 2017 onwards)

Old Nov 3, 2018, 3:21 pm
  #691  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: LAX
Programs: United Silver, Marriott Lifetime Titanium, Hilton Diamond, IHG Diamond
Posts: 994
Anyone know about lap infant fees? I'm assuming they should go to Etihad since they are the operating carrier, but after numerous back and forth between AA and EY, they are pointing at each other saying the other party must issue the ticket and take the payment for taxes/fees. AA was able to add the lap infant so his name is on the booking, but the problem is paying for his portion of the ticket.

I just went through this with AS and EK and finally succeeded, but it's so frustrating that neither carrier usually has a clear answer...
chongl is offline  
Old Nov 3, 2018, 3:28 pm
  #692  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 139
Originally Posted by chongl
Anyone know about lap infant fees? I'm assuming they should go to Etihad since they are the operating carrier, but after numerous back and forth between AA and EY, they are pointing at each other saying the other party must issue the ticket and take the payment for taxes/fees. AA was able to add the lap infant so his name is on the booking, but the problem is paying for his portion of the ticket.

I just went through this with AS and EK and finally succeeded, but it's so frustrating that neither carrier usually has a clear answer...
is this for a premium or economy award or cash ticket? Etihad will try a 20% of cash rate of infant while AA is 10%. Try calling an international AA number and get them to ticket an a Etihad award infant fee at 10%? Any DPs from anyone else here?
SLINKYTRAVEL is offline  
Old Nov 3, 2018, 6:39 pm
  #693  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: LAX
Programs: United Silver, Marriott Lifetime Titanium, Hilton Diamond, IHG Diamond
Posts: 994
I just called back and forth another few times to EY and AA and finally got someone at AA who was willing to expend every resource to help me. Unfortunately, after he escalated to multiple managers and supervisors, the way the ticket was booked would not allow for adding the lap infant. He asked whether I had inquired about it during booking, to which I said I was advised to wait for the reservations to ticket before calling back to add my son. After he personally reached out to Etihad and talked to a supervisor and contacted multiple resources at AA, he just wasn't able help me any further (no fault of his own). After 1 hour and 30 minutes with this agent, I opted to cancel the reservation since there wasn't a way to rebook with EY only releasing 2 seats (the exact 2 seats I had reserved), and with US agents not being privy to booking the segment on Apartments. They reimbursed the mileage and obviously waived the cancellation fee. As frustrating as the experience was, it's nice to see agents that will do everything possible to attempt to push it through.

An earlier conversation I had with an Etihad agent revealed that they used to be able to add the infant in their system, but as of a few months ago, that ability was taken away. There is no way for them to add an infant to an AA award even if they wanted to (or so they claim).

I hope this information helps somebody else out. Luckily, I'm not traveling until July 2019 so I can see if the inventory reappears. If not, I'll fly EK F instead.
Marco159 likes this.
chongl is offline  
Old Nov 8, 2018, 6:05 am
  #694  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Westchester county, NY
Programs: DL DM, MAR gold
Posts: 176
Will someone please confirm if I can voluntarily downgrade class of service on an AA award ticket on Etihad without paying a change fee? I know this is possible for upgrade, but I couldnt find anything on downgrade. I am hoping for two business-class seats on a certain date and am booked in business the day after. The apartments are available on the less-ideal date, and am debating upgrading but would want to take business on the ideal date if it opens up.
essexnyc is offline  
Old Nov 9, 2018, 1:40 am
  #695  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Brisbane
Programs: QF gold, HH Diamond, VA plat, Aegean Gold
Posts: 715
Is it correct that Australia to Europe is treated as 2 seperate awards?
wtcmor is offline  
Old Nov 9, 2018, 5:37 am
  #696  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 122
Originally Posted by wtcmor
Is it correct that Australia to Europe is treated as 2 seperate awards?
Yes, that is correct. You can only do Aus - Europe via Qatar, Asia or direct.
rinipiyan is offline  
Old Nov 11, 2018, 8:38 am
  #697  
 
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
Called in to the US center and a very nice lady was able to reserve BOM-AUH-JFK-MCO without any trouble. Seems like this is out of the ordinary with everyone calling Singapore.
Originally Posted by Dr Jabadski
Correct. I have minimal personal experience, 2-3 calls to AA USA phone # in the past 2 weeks, every time the phone agent said they could not search or see EY award space. The Wiki at the top of this thread and several blogs all recommend calling an AA international phone # to book EY awards, usually after finding availability on the EY website.

FWIW, I called the AA USA number last night, spoke with a terrific agent in Arizona who looked at many different EY award possibilities. I mentioned that in the past my experience was that USA based AA phone agents had NOT been able to look up EY award space, the agent was surprised, said maybe it was based on call center location.

Maybe AA is changing what their phone agents can see and book?
FWIW, several more calls over the past 2-3 weeks, each to the USA phone number where the phone agents were able to search and/or book an EY award. I asked one agent (again) if that was something new in their system, he said no, but maybe some agents arent very good with it. Based on a dozen calls or so, I sense a big difference from 1-2 months ago.
Dr Jabadski is offline  
Old Nov 16, 2018, 7:33 am
  #698  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 179
Anyone else having trouble booking MLE - JFK in biz. If I search separately MLE-AUH / AUH-JFK it shows as available BUT if I search MLE-JFK it says invalid redemption. Doesn't even know guest seat sold out so this isnt the married segment issue.
mikewhyatt is offline  
Old Nov 16, 2018, 5:19 pm
  #699  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 246
What exactly do you mean when you say trouble? I had trouble when I booked MLE-AUH-JFK-LAX. It took several calls to the various international call centers. You have to find the more competent CSRs. The trouble I had was finding a CSR who could actually do it. I ended up with MLE-AUH in J and then AUH-JFK in F apartments and then JFK-LAX in AA F. The whole ordeal probably took well over an hour on the phone.
beastieb is offline  
Old Nov 21, 2018, 1:31 pm
  #700  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Programs: TK Elite, BA Gold, Skyteam Elite Plus, IHG Spire AMB, HHonors Diamond
Posts: 172
I got the confirmation from American that its not longer possible to add infants on AA award bookings with Etihad....
Marco159 is offline  
Old Nov 22, 2018, 10:27 pm
  #701  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 248
Interesting development.... I was able to get AA to add an infant to my booking as recently as August so this must have been a very recent change...

Originally Posted by Marco159
I got the confirmation from American that its not longer possible to add infants on AA award bookings with Etihad....
bjywong is offline  
Old Nov 30, 2018, 5:04 pm
  #702  
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: En Route
Programs: Many
Posts: 6,798
AAgents unable to see EY (Etihad) avail?

I just tried two agents. Looked to book MCT-AUH-JFK. They have no problem with MCT-AUH, but they keep telling me no F seats available on AUH-JFK even though EY website and expert flyer show O = 2 for my date and the 3-4 days right before it. They tell me no F seats for the entire month. Solutions?
GetSetJetSet is offline  
Old Nov 30, 2018, 5:45 pm
  #703  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,728
Spend some time looking through this thread. Multiple solutions.


Originally Posted by GetSetJetSet
I just tried two agents. Looked to book MCT-AUH-JFK. They have no problem with MCT-AUH, but they keep telling me no F seats available on AUH-JFK even though EY website and expert flyer show O = 2 for my date and the 3-4 days right before it. They tell me no F seats for the entire month. Solutions?
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777lover is offline  
Old Nov 30, 2018, 7:01 pm
  #704  
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: En Route
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Posts: 6,798
Originally Posted by 777lover
Spend some time looking through this thread. Multiple solutions.



Called Australia and got it booked. Anyone ever figure out why US AAgents can't see the seats?
GetSetJetSet is offline  
Old Dec 2, 2018, 11:29 pm
  #705  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,175
First class

guys how tough is it to find first class on BOM-JFK route
Im seeing virtually no availability in dec or feb, plenty in business

thx
sam007 is offline  

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