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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 youíll have to call American if you want to ticket AAdvantage awards on Etihad & Qatar that arenít for travel to & from the US or Canada. It makes sense that American took these awards ďoffline,Ē 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 Jan 3, 2019, 7:44 pm
  #736  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: New York
Posts: 39
Does anyone know if you can book an award ticket in J and then upgrade to F? If yes, Is there any cost to upgrading? Need to fly in the apartment for the honeymoon.
I have an itinerary in mind and there is open J space but no F. I don't want the J availability to go away. I may put the J space on hold and see if F opens up.
milehighflyer88 is offline  
Old Jan 3, 2019, 7:49 pm
  #737  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 255
Originally Posted by milehighflyer88
Does anyone know if you can book an award ticket in J and then upgrade to F? If yes, Is there any cost to upgrading? Need to fly in the apartment for the honeymoon.
I have an itinerary in mind and there is open J space but no F. I don't want the J availability to go away. I may put the J space on hold and see if F opens up.
Yes, you can upgrade J to F at a later date. No, there is not a charge for this. If you were downgrading cabins, AA would charge you, though.
rumboj is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2019, 1:51 pm
  #738  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 246
Originally Posted by milehighflyer88
Does anyone know if you can book an award ticket in J and then upgrade to F? If yes, Is there any cost to upgrading? Need to fly in the apartment for the honeymoon.
I have an itinerary in mind and there is open J space but no F. I don't want the J availability to go away. I may put the J space on hold and see if F opens up.
I did this. That being said for me it was much more difficult finding an international call center to switch my AUH-JFK leg from J to F than it was making the initial booking. Took multiple calls at different times of the day to finally find someone to do it.

Last edited by beastieb; Jan 4, 2019 at 2:02 pm
beastieb is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2019, 1:57 pm
  #739  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,642
Originally Posted by beastieb
I did this. That being said for me it was much more difficult finding an international call center to switch my AUH-JFK leg from J to F than it was making the initial booking. Too multiple calls at different times of the day to finally find someone to do it.
I'm not sure where you are that you need an "international call center". If you have internet access, Skype is a great way to call AA in the US from anywhere in the world, because calls to US toll-free numbers are entirely free via Skype.
SeeBuyFly is online now  
Old Jan 4, 2019, 2:04 pm
  #740  
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Posts: 10,845
Originally Posted by beastieb
I did this. That being said for me it was much more difficult finding an international call center to switch my AUH-JFK leg from J to F than it was making the initial booking. Too multiple calls at different times of the day to finally find someone to do it.
Originally Posted by SeeBuyFly
I'm not sure where you are that you need an "international call center". If you have internet access, Skype is a great way to call AA in the US from anywhere in the world, because calls to US toll-free numbers are entirely free via Skype.
What beastieb might be referring to is not calling AA in the USA but rather the need to call/skype AA's non-USA international call centers from the USA (or from anywhere, for that matter) because AA's USA call centers usually can't see Etihad F or J award availability, even if Etihad's site accurately indicates such availability. And even then, it can take multiple calls at different times to different AA international centers to find a CSR who can find the availability.
beastieb likes this.
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2019, 2:06 pm
  #741  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,642
Ah, of course. Never mind.
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Old Jan 4, 2019, 11:21 pm
  #742  
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Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 480
Originally Posted by rinipiyan
Yes, that is correct. You can only do Aus - Europe via Qatar, Asia or direct.
What about Australia to Africa or more specifically JNB > AUH > SYD. Is this going to price out at 100k for an F award or 155K for 1 J award and 1 F award? My understanding it was the 100K.
tpsmith82 is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2019, 11:58 pm
  #743  
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Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 480
Wait..I may have just realized a huge blunder on my part. Trying to read through the 3rd region routing rules and am getting confused.

I was planning on the awards as follows:

VIE > DOH > CPT all on QR metal in J - I thought was 55k AAdvantage
then
JNB > AUH > SYD all on EY metal. Mix class booking, 1st segment in J, 2nd segment in F. - I thought was 100K AAdvantage

Do I have this wrong? Are both of these redemptions considered separate booking since I would be transiting a 3rd region in each case? So,

VIE > DOH - 42.5K
DOH > CPT - 55K
JNB > AUH - 55K
AUH > SYD - 100K

For a total of 252.5K and NOT the 155K I was thinking?

Please help.
tpsmith82 is offline  
Old Jan 6, 2019, 9:16 am
  #744  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 20
Scenario
Booked an Etihad flight to Maldives starting March 30 2019 with the route DCA - JFK - AUH - MLE all in first.
My AUH - MLE flight was originally on EY 278 leaving at 0840 on 1 APR. This flight now leaves at 0915.
However, most likely due to the schedule change, I was put on the earlier EY260 fight leaving at 0100 in business since there is no first class cabin.
I'd like to be put back on the original EY278 flight since I don't want to arrive in MLE at 0620. It's too early.
I still see two first award seats on EY278 available on the Etihad site.

Attempted Remedies
1. Called the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore AA customer service lines to see if they can put me back on the original flight. They say my original flight is no longer operational, they see the new EY278 leaving at 0915, but that there are no award seats available. I asked if they can contact Etihad and they said no. They also have a record of my previous calls and mentioned it on my most recent call to Singapore.

2. I used twitter to reach out to Etihad and they say because it is AA award stock, they cannot help.

Question
Is there any other group I can contact to get my flight changed back or any other key words to drop in my future calls to AA? The only thing I can think of is to see if any of the AA agents can start a new reservation just from AUH - MLE and see if they can see my original flight with F award availability, and then someone get them to merge.

Appreciate the help!
dmd149 is offline  
Old Jan 6, 2019, 12:03 pm
  #745  
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Posts: 44,976
Originally Posted by tpsmith82
Wait..I may have just realized a huge blunder on my part. Trying to read through the 3rd region routing rules and am getting confused.

I was planning on the awards as follows:

VIE > DOH > CPT all on QR metal in J - I thought was 55k AAdvantage
then
JNB > AUH > SYD all on EY metal. Mix class booking, 1st segment in J, 2nd segment in F. - I thought was 100K AAdvantage

Do I have this wrong? Are both of these redemptions considered separate booking since I would be transiting a 3rd region in each case? So,

VIE > DOH - 42.5K
DOH > CPT - 55K
JNB > AUH - 55K
AUH > SYD - 100K

For a total of 252.5K and NOT the 155K I was thinking?

Please help.

You do have it wrong. There is no exception that permits travel via Doha for Europe to Africa and no exception that permits travel via Doha for Africa to South Pacific. As such you will need 4 awards for that itinerary
Dave Noble is offline  
Old Jan 7, 2019, 1:32 pm
  #746  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: UK
Programs: AA Platinum Pro, HHonors Diamond
Posts: 174
HI all,
Having a significant panic moment... I'm due to fly etihad with an aa award booking on Wednesday this week (LHR > AUH > SYD). The booking had some timing changes, but these always showed up fine on the etihad website and apps and were reflected in the AA app too. On trying to check in half an hour ago online it wouldnt allow me to and told me to call Etihad. Etihad have told me there's an issue with my tickets in tht after a change made by AA to the itinerary they haven't reissued the tickets - they say theres nothing to do and to contact American and that at the moment i wont be flying...

I'm on hold to American at the moment, but having a bit of a flap as obviously have been looking forward to this for many months and have spent a load on accommodation etc, and it's the girlfriends birthday!

Anyone got any advice in the meantime?
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 1:48 pm
  #747  
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Posts: 10,845
Originally Posted by DangerM55
HI all,
Having a significant panic moment... I'm due to fly etihad with an aa award booking on Wednesday this week (LHR > AUH > SYD). The booking had some timing changes, but these always showed up fine on the etihad website and apps and were reflected in the AA app too. On trying to check in half an hour ago online it wouldnt allow me to and told me to call Etihad. Etihad have told me there's an issue with my tickets in tht after a change made by AA to the itinerary they haven't reissued the tickets - they say theres nothing to do and to contact American and that at the moment i wont be flying...

I'm on hold to American at the moment, but having a bit of a flap as obviously have been looking forward to this for many months and have spent a load on accommodation etc, and it's the girlfriends birthday!

Anyone got any advice in the meantime?
Oh my, so sorry to hear about this. Can you get any more clarity from Etihad re what the specific issue is? That might help in trying to sort it out with AA.

You might also call back EY to double check on this. I had a more minor problem crop up several years ago, and got different info from different CSRs there.

If you can't sort it out, one thing you might do is see if there are any last-minute award tix available using AA (or other miles you might have) on BA, Qatar, CX, etc. (Or see if you can somehow get to Australia via USA.) It's a long shot, but sometimes they do open up. Awardnexus.com and a few other similar sites are good ways of checking a whole bunch of possible availability options at once. If you do have to check, it's often best to check one long flight at a time rather than the entire route.

Hope it all works out.
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Jan 7, 2019, 2:25 pm
  #748  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 64
So I was able to use AA points for two first class tickets on Etihadís A380 from JFK to Abu Dhabi Nov 2019. Called Australia and Singapore call centers until they found availability. The problem is, even though I see business saver availability for the domestic flights online and have no issue putting them on hold, they canít see them. They say they canít be added with the Etihad flight, which I assume is married segment crap. They were able to find economy saver and after HUCA a few times I just had them ticket that. I assumed that since itís a first class award for ~115k points/person I could get exit row or main cabin extra seats and suck it up but itís saying I have to pay for seat selection on the domestic flights. Iíve never been charged for seat selection on a mixed cabin award before with AA so that confused me. No AA status to help me there unfortunately.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to move forward? Either with finding business saver availability in the future or at least getting main cabin extra seats? All of these phone calls after the original to get put the Etihad flight on hold have been with the US call center. Would there be any difference if I called Singapore again?

My current routing is ABQ-DFW-JFK-AUH. Because I canít search Etihad online on AAís site, I have no way to see when the domestic segments have business saver availability when combined with the Etihad flight. If I search them as ABQ-DFW and DFW-JFK or ABQ-JFK, they do show up with business saver availability
Lobonomnom is offline  
Old Jan 7, 2019, 3:02 pm
  #749  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: UK
Programs: AA Platinum Pro, HHonors Diamond
Posts: 174
Originally Posted by Thunderroad
Oh my, so sorry to hear about this. Can you get any more clarity from Etihad re what the specific issue is? That might help in trying to sort it out with AA.

You might also call back EY to double check on this. I had a more minor problem crop up several years ago, and got different info from different CSRs there.

If you can't sort it out, one thing you might do is see if there are any last-minute award tix available using AA (or other miles you might have) on BA, Qatar, CX, etc. (Or see if you can somehow get to Australia via USA.) It's a long shot, but sometimes they do open up. Awardnexus.com and a few other similar sites are good ways of checking a whole bunch of possible availability options at once. If you do have to check, it's often best to check one long flight at a time rather than the entire route.

Hope it all works out.

Thanks.
So, AA said they'd reissue the tickets and I had a confirmation email through from them that they'd done that... But it only lists me on the Itinerary... Called them back and they said they see both of us on there, but only my ticket was reissued so far and apparently my partners was lined up to be done and id get an email once it was completed... That was best part of an hour ago and no email.

I tried Etihad again who said that they show both of our tickets as 'OK' but that we will have to check in at the airport, not online as it's an AA issued ticket... Is this usual? The lady said it was, but it seems strange to me. I'm just not convinced that everything is alright with it and am going to be incredibly nervous about it the next couple of days..! I'd like some better way to confirm everything is alright, or not so that at least then I'd know to ditch my tickets and buy something else.

Thanks again.
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Old Jan 7, 2019, 4:48 pm
  #750  
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Join Date: Jan 2002
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If both tickets are showing as OK to the Etihad agent, then I would not worry. Just get to the airport and check in
Dave Noble is offline  

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