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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 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 Feb 5, 2019, 11:01 am
  #811  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,642
Originally Posted by tpsmith82
Well, this seems to have even gotten a bit stranger. I have called AA several times at several locations( US, Trinidad, Australia...) but always no luck. Never did they once say they were putting me on a wait list for my preferred flight.

Today I woke up and had an email from EY stating my flight had been changed to...you guessed it my preferred EY653 flight!
AA cannot put you on any waitlist, because there is no capability to waitlist. If EY changed your flight, it was for their own operational reasons, not as a favor to you. It may take a day or two for aa.com to update.
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Old Feb 5, 2019, 1:40 pm
  #812  
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Originally Posted by SeeBuyFly
AA cannot put you on any waitlist, because there is no capability to waitlist. If EY changed your flight, it was for their own operational reasons, not as a favor to you. It may take a day or two for aa.com to update.
Well, then this truly is amazing. Cant hardly believe EY happened to switch my flights for no reason and switched me to the flight I wanted. When I look on the EY website the original flight I was booked is still available for purchase and not sure why they would have switched me. But happy still.

What do you suppose an operational issue would have been if the flight is still available?? EF still showing J7 for flight EY655 my original booking,
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Old Feb 6, 2019, 9:42 pm
  #813  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Originally Posted by tpsmith82
Today I woke up and had an email from EY stating my flight had been changed to...you guessed it my preferred EY653 flight! So good news, but a bit strange. So I logged into my AA account to get a look and now it is unable to show my itinerary booked with AA, says to call in. Checked the EY website and still shows everything correct including my new preferred flight. So I'm a bit shocked that my entire flight was changed without my approval, but happy none the less. I will certainly give AA a call today to try and confirm everything is ok and I will most definitely keep an eye out on this ticket.

Also a bit strange I have not received an email from AA??? Hopefully this ends well.
It seems that you got very lucky. EY changed your flight for their own reasons. (There have been reports here of EY changing people from their preferred flight to a non-preferred one and being unable to get back on what they want.) Because you are on an AA ticket, EY updated the reservation but cannot reissue your ticket. So your reservation and your ticket no longer match, and possibly your old flight and new flight are both in there, the old flight with a status other than confirmed, which can cause the AA web site to get confused and refuse to display the itinerary. You should call AA and have them reissue your ticket. The sooner the better, in my opinion.

AA sometimes sends email when a flight has changed, but in my experience only some of the time and only after their system has reissued the ticket.
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Old Feb 7, 2019, 12:41 pm
  #814  
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Originally Posted by anabolism
It seems that you got very lucky. EY changed your flight for their own reasons. (There have been reports here of EY changing people from their preferred flight to a non-preferred one and being unable to get back on what they want.) Because you are on an AA ticket, EY updated the reservation but cannot reissue your ticket. So your reservation and your ticket no longer match, and possibly your old flight and new flight are both in there, the old flight with a status other than confirmed, which can cause the AA web site to get confused and refuse to display the itinerary. You should call AA and have them reissue your ticket. The sooner the better, in my opinion.

AA sometimes sends email when a flight has changed, but in my experience only some of the time and only after their system has reissued the ticket.
Exactly as you stated. Called AA and had them look at the reservation. They said both flights were still in there and that was why the website could not show my ininerary. So she reissued tickets and I got an e-mail confirming everything in a few hours.

So it looks as though I was quite fortunate in the EY switch. Lets just hope they don't decide to switch this again, my flight isn't until late April!! lots of time for weird things to happen.

Thanks for all the help everyone!!!!
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Old Feb 7, 2019, 4:55 pm
  #815  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 805
Does EY ever release F award seats close in to the departure date? Most airlines do but I can't see any on EY.
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Old Feb 9, 2019, 3:21 am
  #816  
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Does EY use married segment logic?

I can see guest F space JFK-AUH (as the 2nd half of a round trip)
I can see guest J space AUH-BOM (operated by EY)
But I can't see JFK-BOM, even as the 2nd half of a round trip.

Is it even worth calling repeatedly until someone can see the JFK-AUH? Is there any chance that they will be able to tack on AUH-BOM?
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Old Feb 9, 2019, 7:49 am
  #817  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler
Does EY use married segment logic?

I can see guest F space JFK-AUH (as the 2nd half of a round trip)
I can see guest J space AUH-BOM (operated by EY)
But I can't see JFK-BOM, even as the 2nd half of a round trip.

Is it even worth calling repeatedly until someone can see the JFK-AUH? Is there any chance that they will be able to tack on AUH-BOM?
If EY doesn’t sell a JFK-AUH-BOM ticket then I don’t believe AA can book it for you. That being said your issue on the EY site may just be a business/first search issue since one leg is a different class than the other. AA should be able to do the mixed class itinerary though you will pay the miles fare for the highest class of service.
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Old Feb 9, 2019, 9:48 am
  #818  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 805
Originally Posted by VegasGambler
Does EY use married segment logic?

I can see guest F space JFK-AUH (as the 2nd half of a round trip)
I can see guest J space AUH-BOM (operated by EY)
But I can't see JFK-BOM, even as the 2nd half of a round trip.

Is it even worth calling repeatedly until someone can see the JFK-AUH? Is there any chance that they will be able to tack on AUH-BOM?
I booked this exact trip a few months ago with the US reservation line, I just told them the exact flights I wanted and they were able to put it together. It may be worth calling again until someone is able to put it together for you.
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Old Feb 10, 2019, 6:41 pm
  #819  
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If I do this (JFK-AUH in F; AUH-BOM in J since that seems to be a 2-class configuration now) will I have F lounge access in AUH? Or only the J lounge? The website (https://www.etihad.com/en-us/experie...ounge-and-spa/) simply says that "First Class Guests" have access but it doesn't specify departng / arriving / connecting passengers .

I may opt for a slightly longer connection if I have F lounge access (since there are 3 AUH-BOM flights per day)
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Old Feb 10, 2019, 7:28 pm
  #820  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler
If I do this (JFK-AUH in F; AUH-BOM in J since that seems to be a 2-class configuration now) will I have F lounge access in AUH? Or only the J lounge? The website (https://www.etihad.com/en-us/experie...ounge-and-spa/) simply says that "First Class Guests" have access but it doesn't specify departng / arriving / connecting passengers .

I may opt for a slightly longer connection if I have F lounge access (since there are 3 AUH-BOM flights per day)
Last time I did it, it was the case that arriving on a long-haul EY in F and connecting to a shorter flight in J granted access to the EY F lounge in AUH. I have not done this recently so I can't say if it has changed. You might try tweeting EY, or check in the EY forum on FT.
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Old Feb 10, 2019, 8:57 pm
  #821  
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I found 5 days with guest F availability on every day but the AA agent couldn't see any of them. I'll try the Australia number...

EDIT: aaaand after 15 min on hold they can't see it either. Good thing GV is only 1c/min

Is this likely to be a POS issue, or is it really only available for the return leg of a round trip?

Edit Again:

New Zealand was able to see the JFK-AUH F segment but not the AUH-BOM J segment (??) I put a hold on the F segment but I'm really not sure what to do with it. The US agent was able to see AUH-BOM -- will they be able to add a segment that they can see or do they need to be able to see the whole thing?

Last edited by VegasGambler; Feb 10, 2019 at 11:59 pm
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Old Feb 11, 2019, 12:39 pm
  #822  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
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Was able to book a one-way J flight to AUH by calling the Singapore call center. The Australia call center could not see the space. The space was also not shown in EF, but you could see it on Etihad's site if you do the "reverse routing" trick.
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Old Feb 11, 2019, 4:10 pm
  #823  
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Originally Posted by mpeterson78
Was able to book a one-way J flight to AUH by calling the Singapore call center. The Australia call center could not see the space. The space was also not shown in EF, but you could see it on Etihad's site if you do the "reverse routing" trick.
I was going to try Singapore after New Zealand. New Zealand calls were cheaper than Singapore (using GV) so I tried them first.

Australia couldn't see mine either.
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Old Feb 11, 2019, 11:31 pm
  #824  
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I'm so confused.

I have JFK-AUH (F) held. No agents (US, Australia, New Zealand) can see space for AUH-BOM (or anywhere else to India) in J, despite there being tons of availability (2-6 seats on each flight) showing on etihad.com and EF.

I'm going to try Singapore next.

EDIT: Agent confirmed that he can see space as separate itinerary but it won't allow it to connect. This appears to be the problem mentioned in the FAQ

In some but not all cases AA may be unable to book a single itinerary with multiple segments (e.g. ABC-AUH-XYZ) even though it shows up as available on eithad.com, and even though ABC-AUH and AUH-XYZ can be booked separately. You may encounter this either when making a new booking or when trying to change an existing booking. The result is to favor passengers traveling from or to AUH. There is no known solution other than booking the segments separately at a higher miles cost.

Last edited by VegasGambler; Feb 11, 2019 at 11:57 pm
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Old Feb 15, 2019, 8:46 am
  #825  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 31
Hi guys, question regarding lounge access. I read the wiki and it says that I won't have any admiral lounge access due to EY not OW member.

so I guess if I am flying MLE - AUH - JFK - DCA - DTW and fly AA metal on F from JFK - DCA - DTW, does that mean I can use Admiral lounge or since this is a domestic flight I will have no access to the lounge regardless whether I fly F or Y?

Thank you for this community for providing great information!
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