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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.
Print Wikipost

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

Old Jan 11, 2019, 4:35 pm
  #766  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 64
Originally Posted by dmd149
Yup the AUH - MLE leg is for April 1st.

I see the first seats as well. AA was able to see to see them when i asked them to start a new award booking for AUH-MLE. THen when I asked them to swap out my flight on my original booking, they can no longer see it.
I had a similar problem a couple days ago but instead of it being the EY segment that couldn't be attached to the JFK-AUH flight it was two AA positioning flights that were available as business saver. Even though the space was available on their own, they were not available when in the same itinerary as the EY flight. The help desk was never helpful at getting the segments to work together. After HUCA six times, the CSR had me put the flights I wanted on hold, then got a supervisor to process an exchange on the ticket, keeping the F seats on EY by releasing the positioning economy seats, then transferring in the biz saver seats that I had on hold.

If you can get the US call center to see the AUH-MLE F segment you can ask them to put them on hold for you, then see if a supervisor can swap in the AUH-MLE F segment you have on hold.
Lobonomnom is offline  
Old Jan 11, 2019, 4:40 pm
  #767  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by dmd149
Yup the AUH - MLE leg is for April 1st.

I see the first seats as well. AA was able to see to see them when i asked them to start a new award booking for AUH-MLE. THen when I asked them to swap out my flight on my original booking, they can no longer see it.

Currently on hold with the US line to sort it out.

One interesting thing I notice is that when I search that itinerary as a cash flight on Etihad they don't display it. However, I can generate it in google flights and continue to book on Etihad.
AA unable to update my itinerary even though they saw the seats on the new reservation for AUH - MLE.

Frustrating as I was originally on that flight but when there was a schedule change they bumped me.
dmd149 is offline  
Old Jan 11, 2019, 10:43 pm
  #768  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 113
Originally Posted by JDiver
Did you follow the suggestionsgiven in the Wikipost atbthe top of the page?
Apologies - I did a cursory search before I posted my issue as a new thread and for whatever reason it didn't lead me to this thread, so I hadn't read the wiki.

After reading the Wiki I did as follows:

- Call the Australian number - diverted to Trinidad call center - no availability
- Call the New Zealand number a few minutes later - diverted to Trinidad call center - availability(!) but for one seat only so I booked it
- Call the New Zealand number again a few hours after that - diverted to Trinidad call center - availability for the other seat and booked it

So things pretty much panned out as detailed in the Wiki. Never did get transferred to Fiji (does it still exist?), Brisbane, or the US, but fortunately it worked out. Thanks as always FT community for your help!

Last edited by danwer930; Jan 11, 2019 at 11:34 pm
danwer930 is offline  
Old Jan 12, 2019, 10:39 am
  #769  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by Lobonomnom
I had a similar problem a couple days ago but instead of it being the EY segment that couldn't be attached to the JFK-AUH flight it was two AA positioning flights that were available as business saver. Even though the space was available on their own, they were not available when in the same itinerary as the EY flight. The help desk was never helpful at getting the segments to work together. After HUCA six times, the CSR had me put the flights I wanted on hold, then got a supervisor to process an exchange on the ticket, keeping the F seats on EY by releasing the positioning economy seats, then transferring in the biz saver seats that I had on hold.

If you can get the US call center to see the AUH-MLE F segment you can ask them to put them on hold for you, then see if a supervisor can swap in the AUH-MLE F segment you have on hold.
Just tried your technique.

AA (US Line) put the EY278 flight in F on hold. I did not mention an existing reservation.

After that was done, I had the CSR see if she could swap out the segment.

She had to get in touch with another AA rep who had to speak with the Etihad liaison.

Apparently the root cause of the issue is a schedule synchronization issue between Etihad's systems and AAs. Ostensibly, other reservations are affected.

The reps noted everything in my account and said to call back Monday evening (today it is Saturday afternoon) and hopefully Etihad will have had a chance to resolve the issue by then (this is what they were told by EY).

For now, I have my ticketed reservation going DCA - JFK - AUH - MLE and then another reservation on hold for AUH - MLE.

Will report back early next week.
dmd149 is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2019, 5:51 am
  #770  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by dmd149
Just tried your technique.

AA (US Line) put the EY278 flight in F on hold. I did not mention an existing reservation.

After that was done, I had the CSR see if she could swap out the segment.

She had to get in touch with another AA rep who had to speak with the Etihad liaison.

Apparently the root cause of the issue is a schedule synchronization issue between Etihad's systems and AAs. Ostensibly, other reservations are affected.

The reps noted everything in my account and said to call back Monday evening (today it is Saturday afternoon) and hopefully Etihad will have had a chance to resolve the issue by then (this is what they were told by EY).

For now, I have my ticketed reservation going DCA - JFK - AUH - MLE and then another reservation on hold for AUH - MLE.

Will report back early next week.
Update.

AA CSR responsible for contacting Etihad laison gave me a ring yesterday to confirm that I wanted to swap out one segment on an existing itinerary.

Woke up this morning to an e-mail from AA confirming my desired itinerary.

So to summarize, if anyone has the problem of AA not being able to swap out a segment within an existing reservation that they can see as an independent award, ask them to

1. Hold the flight as an independent award
2. Ask them to lookup your existing itinerary and to swap it out
3. Let the CSR realize the problems themselves
4. If they arrive at the conclusion that they need to talk to the EY liaison, great! If not, suggest it
5. Follow up later if you haven’t seen results

Thanks for everyone’s help!
dmd149 is offline  
Old Jan 13, 2019, 7:36 am
  #771  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: US Air, UA BA LH AI DELTA MARRIOTT CHOICE SGP
Posts: 9,883
A positive data point. Back in August booked a one way for two in J desired was BOM AUH ORD. Instead had to settle for BOM AUH JFK LGA ORD. Meaning I would have to tranfer from JFK to LGA with five pieces of luggage to LGA and onto ORD. Adding 8 hours to total travel time.

Called AA USA . Wait time was 42 minutes but agent found me two seat BOM AUH ORD in J for two days later. Sometimes it works !
HMPS is offline  
Old Jan 15, 2019, 5:14 pm
  #772  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: New York
Posts: 39

I booked an EY flight from MLE to JFK in J. I then saw award space open up in F. I tried calling to upgrade and the agents at AA Australia could only see the seats when booking a new reservation. They could not see it when trying to upgrade one leg of the flight.

Long story short I put a separate reservation on hold, then cancelled my old reservation in J. Aa was able to waive the change fee as this was a technical issue with their system.

However I am told, the taxes for the original reservation (booked in AuD) cannot be refunded to my credit card. I have to go to an AA counter and ask for cash compensation. This is bizarre.
Does anyone have a similar experience with an AA Australia award booking?
milehighflyer88 is offline  
Old Jan 16, 2019, 5:48 am
  #773  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 179
I put an award ticket on hold and the agent (even though I phonetically spelled it out) misspelled the middle name. I noticed this when I pulled up the record locator. When I called back and tried to get it fixed the agent said the change wasnt taking and Etihad system kept spitting it out. Upon followup she said she noted it in the oneworld system and we would have no issues when checking in even though it does not match my SO passport. Should this actually be fine? I'm more concerned regarding global entry/security/gate agents who might think otherwise and ruin our trip. If not I guess my option is to cancel the hold and try to rebook. What would you do?
mikewhyatt is offline  
Old Jan 16, 2019, 7:47 am
  #774  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Austin
Posts: 4,630
Originally Posted by mikewhyatt
I put an award ticket on hold and the agent (even though I phonetically spelled it out) misspelled the middle name. I noticed this when I pulled up the record locator. When I called back and tried to get it fixed the agent said the change wasnt taking and Etihad system kept spitting it out. Upon followup she said she noted it in the oneworld system and we would have no issues when checking in even though it does not match my SO passport. Should this actually be fine? I'm more concerned regarding global entry/security/gate agents who might think otherwise and ruin our trip. If not I guess my option is to cancel the hold and try to rebook. What would you do?
Personally I would (and have) cancel rather than fly international with a record name that did not match my passport. I know that sucks.
millionmiler is offline  
Old Jan 16, 2019, 7:54 am
  #775  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 600
I noticed that it used to be (maybe 2-3 months ago) easily book 4 seat in biz from USA-AUH but now the availability is very limited I see 2 seats max and most of the days are not available. Is this the recent trend?
lincoln boy is offline  
Old Jan 16, 2019, 7:11 pm
  #776  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 33
Originally Posted by lincoln boy
I noticed that it used to be (maybe 2-3 months ago) easily book 4 seat in biz from USA-AUH but now the availability is very limited I see 2 seats max and most of the days are not available. Is this the recent trend?
Ive also only been seeing 2 seats released in Dec 2019, mostly only in ORD to AUH. it looks like all the saver awards have disappeared past Dec 15th. Is it because they are not releasing the space anymore?
shadowlines is offline  
Old Jan 16, 2019, 7:23 pm
  #777  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: LAX
Programs: UA Silver, AA, WN, DL
Posts: 4,100
Originally Posted by lincoln boy
I noticed that it used to be (maybe 2-3 months ago) easily book 4 seat in biz from USA-AUH but now the availability is very limited I see 2 seats max and most of the days are not available. Is this the recent trend?
Originally Posted by shadowlines
Ive also only been seeing 2 seats released in Dec 2019, mostly only in ORD to AUH. it looks like all the saver awards have disappeared past Dec 15th. Is it because they are not releasing the space anymore?
I am getting concerned about EY's financial condition The past few months have indicated a steady decline from a financial perspective (route cancellations, pilot layoffs, bad/questionable investments in AZ, AB, 9W, etc.).

I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it, possibly hoping they'll sell the seats instead of offering them up as awards.

More importantly, hoping they don't cut more services before my flight in July
luv2ctheworld is offline  
Old Jan 16, 2019, 11:16 pm
  #778  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,636
Originally Posted by shadowlines
Ive also only been seeing 2 seats released in Dec 2019, mostly only in ORD to AUH. it looks like all the saver awards have disappeared past Dec 15th. Is it because they are not releasing the space anymore?
Dec 15, 2019 is past the 330-day mark as of the date of your post.
SeeBuyFly is online now  
Old Jan 18, 2019, 6:59 am
  #779  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 33
Does anyone know what the protocol is if etihad airways were to dissolve and I had an award booking with them through AA. Looking to fly with them in December, but given the layoffs etc, im not sure if I should risk it. Would AA put me on a oneworld carrier or just cancel my ticket.
shadowlines is offline  
Old Jan 18, 2019, 11:24 am
  #780  
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Austin
Posts: 4,630
Originally Posted by shadowlines
Does anyone know what the protocol is if etihad airways were to dissolve and I had an award booking with them through AA. Looking to fly with them in December, but given the layoffs etc, im not sure if I should risk it. Would AA put me on a oneworld carrier or just cancel my ticket.
Etihad is not going to collapse in that timeframe or any time in the near to medium term. Even if it became near collapse in the future and only after multiple retrenchments then history predicts that either the airline or its assets and its customers would be sold.

I think its safe to say that Etihad will continue to reduce routes and service. Geography would suggest who the buyer will at some point in the future be.
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