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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 Jan 19, 2019, 4:53 pm
  #781  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 467
Originally Posted by nash_d
I had AA agents tell us they used to have a service that could generate infant fares for them on award tickets operated by Etihad, but it no longer exists.

Interesting.. when I booked my infant ticket through AA back in the summer, they had to make a separate call to the ticketing office to get a quote and then it was issued.
Any newer developments? Surprised and disappointed to learn I'll have to cancel these awards since I can't add infant to the reservation, neither from AA end nor EY end.

So it's now impossible to have a lap child on EY via an AA award?

Last edited by slice; Jan 20, 2019 at 8:25 am
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Old Jan 20, 2019, 5:11 pm
  #782  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Programs: Aegean Gold
Posts: 14
I was told that the Etihad coach from AUH to Dubai is not free for AA award tickets. Do I really need a bus reservation, or can I just to show a boarding pass to get on the bus?
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Old Jan 22, 2019, 12:09 pm
  #783  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 200
I am looking to Book Etihad F JFK-AUH in late November via AA. I searched AUH-JFK-AUH on Etihad.com and I see 2 seats JFK-AUH. Tried calling US, Australia, and Singapore and none of them could see the seats. Anything I'm doing wrong here?
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Old Jan 22, 2019, 12:25 pm
  #784  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 64
Originally Posted by dcht
I am looking to Book Etihad F JFK-AUH in late November via AA. I searched AUH-JFK-AUH on Etihad.com and I see 2 seats JFK-AUH. Tried calling US, Australia, and Singapore and none of them could see the seats. Anything I'm doing wrong here?
What date are you looking at? There are 2 seats available for November 20, 21, 24, 25, 26 and 28, . I called AA Singapore this morning and they had no issue seeing availability for me on 12/5. I haven't had any luck with US or Aus seeing availability but Singapore can see it every time. Maybe try calling them again to try a different CSR?
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Old Jan 22, 2019, 12:26 pm
  #785  
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Originally Posted by dcht
I am looking to Book Etihad F JFK-AUH in late November via AA. I searched AUH-JFK-AUH on Etihad.com and I see 2 seats JFK-AUH. Tried calling US, Australia, and Singapore and none of them could see the seats. Anything I'm doing wrong here?
Unfortunately, I don't think so. You might tell the group here what times of day you're calling. That conceivably could affect which offices you're connecting to (since for Australia, I believe, you're actually getting connected to an off-site location in Fiji or Trinidad...I've lost track of that information), and in turn whether the phone reps can see the flight availability. You may just have to try again at different hours, particularly for Australia. Hope it all works out.

Edited to add: Hadn't seen Lobo's very useful comment when I posted. You're best bet indeed might be to keep trying different CSRs with different calls.
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Old Jan 22, 2019, 12:32 pm
  #786  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 200
HUCA'd with Singapore and was able to find seats. Success!
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Old Jan 22, 2019, 5:52 pm
  #787  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Programs: AA (EP), Hilton (Diamond), Marriott Bonvoy (Titanium)
Posts: 8,946
Originally Posted by 777lover
Yes. Long figured out. Point of sale.
I'm not convinced, because EF uses a US point of sale for all award searches, and EF can show EY F/J availability, but US-based AA agents often can't see it. Further, US-based agents seem to have no problem seeing and booking EY F/J for flights that are not to/from the US, and also no problem booking EY F/J for flights to/from the US within 30 days. I would think that if it was a simple point-of-sale issue, that US-based AA agents could always see and book what EF shows (the other oddities could be explained as EY PoS availability, but not the mismatch between EF and US-based AA agents). I suppose there might be a point-of-sale issue that only manifests via AA's direct-access interface, not through a GDS, but that seems unlikely.

Last edited by anabolism; Jan 22, 2019 at 6:16 pm
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Old Jan 23, 2019, 8:52 am
  #788  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Originally Posted by millionmiler
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.
Agree. Etihad is in hot and heavy negotiations to increase its stake in India's Jet Airways (9W) from 24 to 49 %. Stock price offered may be the deal breaker.
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Old Jan 23, 2019, 10:01 am
  #789  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 64
Same problem from a couple weeks ago is back again.

Currently have MLE-AUH-LAX-ABQ booked as a J award. F availability opened up on the AUH-LAX route. Called US, Australia & Singapore and none of them could see the F availability when trying to modify the existing reservation. HUCA a few times with Singapore with no success. Asked for them to search it independently and they see availability which i put on hold with its own record locator.

Two weeks ago after 6x HUCA I was able to get a CSR to talk to a supervisor who was able to do a ticket exchange to bring together flights in two separate record locators when making my reservation to Abu Dhabi. I've tried calling 3x today and each rep looks at the record locators, calls the help desk, then tells me they can't do anything. They say they can't bring them together without either cancelling the MLE-AUH segment in one locator or the AUH-LAX in the other with no guarantee that they will get returned back to inventory.

I'll try calling again later. I might just try to build the flight itinerary the next day in F. Over the past few weeks there have been several people, myself included, that have had a difficult time upgrading EY award tickets after the reservation was made. The CSRs are seeing limited availability on alternative flights when trying to modify the existing reservations but can see all of it in a new independent reservation.
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Old Jan 25, 2019, 1:16 pm
  #790  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Programs: TMTL
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Going from JNB to CDG via AUH requires/prices 2 award bookings? I was quoted around 95K miles to book this. Thanks!
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Old Jan 25, 2019, 2:05 pm
  #791  
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Originally Posted by SeaGal24
Going from JNB to CDG via AUH requires/prices 2 award bookings? I was quoted around 95K miles to book this. Thanks!
Correct. Booking from Africa to Europe does not allow travel through a 3rd region
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Old Jan 25, 2019, 9:25 pm
  #792  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
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Thanks Dave!
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Old Jan 26, 2019, 7:07 am
  #793  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Posts: 536
Hey guys,

I am currently facing some major problems with adding an infant to my EY ticket. Before I ticketed the flight, I double checked with AA if they can add an infant and both agents assured me that it is possible (if we cannot then EY should be able to do it anyways) or in the worst case, I can always book a 3rd award ticket. Since EY was reluctant to add an infant and AA can't seem to price out the itinerary since its a partner flight, I called AA to book another award seat and the agent told me that's not possible to book a seat for infant with miles. Now I am stuck with 2 award tickets, but no-one is able to add the infant to ticket (10% of the fare) or book an award seat for her.

What shall I do now? Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks a lot!
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Old Jan 26, 2019, 10:06 am
  #794  
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If there is award availabiliry, i believe that the agent should be able to book an awaed ticket, but will be at the same cost as an adult and the infant will have his or he own seat

With the removal of YY fares, getting an infant booked is more challenging. Even EY's most expensive fare has the restriction "TICKETS MUST BE ISSUED ON THE STOCK OF EY OR HR " , so AA cannot sell them. I think that you are going to have to go to EY to get an infant ticket. If it will not sell it, may be an issue
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Old Jan 26, 2019, 10:07 am
  #795  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 600
Does anybody know what time Etihad releases award space each day?
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