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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 Feb 24, 2019, 11:34 pm
  #841  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 68
Originally Posted by aktchi
Of course, there are multiple ways for Citi to do anything it wants with its own points. However, I suppose your question is if they will do it for you on an urgent basis; that I don't know. Though unlikely, it can't hurt to call and ask.
Thanks. Btw does AA typically do "system updates" that dont allow agents to search for award bookings? I just called the Singapore call center, and thats what the agent told me.
Might try to call again.
westsai is offline  
Old Feb 24, 2019, 11:40 pm
  #842  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: MIA
Posts: 501
Originally Posted by westsai
Thanks. Btw does AA typically do "system updates" that dont allow agents to search for award bookings? I just called the Singapore call center, and thats what the agent told me.
Might try to call again.
Australia CC took an hour just now. Couldnt see JFK-AUH but could see AUH-SYD
sgan317 is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 12:11 am
  #843  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 68
Originally Posted by sgan317
Australia CC took an hour just now. Couldnt see JFK-AUH but could see AUH-SYD
Trying to book JFK-AUH as well. Let me know if you have any progress!
westsai is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 1:19 am
  #844  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by saaveraward
Can anyone please tell me the current taxes and fees each way (booked as one ways) for JFK-AUH and AUH-JFK in apartments?

Was surprised to see EK charge a difference of $311 USD depending on if you leave from the US or UAE, although that's booking through their own program.
I just ticketed a couple days ago. JFK-AUH in Apartments. It was $39.70 USD per person. I originally put on hold via NZ, then transferred Marriott points to top up my AA account (remember, transfer in max increments of 20k marriott points, max 60k per transfer, to maximize the bonus), and called US center to ticket.
optostar is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 8:45 am
  #845  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Upstate
Programs: HH Diamond-IHG Plat-AA Gold
Posts: 215
Originally Posted by sgan317
Australia CC took an hour just now. Couldnt see JFK-AUH but could see AUH-SYD
Got through to the NZ# just moments ago with no wait at all. No system upgrade issue either, and the agent was able to send an on-hold o/w J itinerary (jfk-auh-mle) for ticketing without issue. Waived the phone booking fee too. Now just waiting for the confirmation email.
kiltedflyer is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 10:33 am
  #846  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Upstate
Programs: HH Diamond-IHG Plat-AA Gold
Posts: 215
Originally Posted by kiltedflyer


Got through to the NZ# just moments ago with no wait at all. No system upgrade issue either, and the agent was able to send an on-hold o/w J itinerary (jfk-auh-mle) for ticketing without issue. Waived the phone booking fee too. Now just waiting for the confirmation email.
...and confirmed.
kiltedflyer is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 1:32 pm
  #847  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 4
Also just got through with no wait to the NZ call center, and as promised they found MLE->AUH->IAD availability that US call center couldn't find earlier today. Expertflyer and the Etihad site were giving a bunch of errors when searching today, but no problems once I was on the phone.
CBreezy17 is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 1:37 pm
  #848  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: NY
Programs: DL DM, Ex-AA EXP, HZ Pres, MRT AMB/LTP
Posts: 130
Originally Posted by CBreezy17
Also just got through with no wait to the NZ call center, and as promised they found MLE->AUH->IAD availability that US call center couldn't find earlier today. Expertflyer and the Etihad site were giving a bunch of errors when searching today, but no problems once I was on the phone.
I'm unable to search anything on EY website. I just gave up. Did you know there was availability already and just wanted to book it?
krakendown is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 1:57 pm
  #849  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 4
Yeah I had been prowling Expertflyer for a while to get availability, then called it in.
CBreezy17 is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 2:17 pm
  #850  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Upstate
Programs: HH Diamond-IHG Plat-AA Gold
Posts: 215
Originally Posted by krakendown
I'm unable to search anything on EY website. I just gave up. Did you know there was availability already and just wanted to book it?
Same here with the etihad site error-ing out... it's ticking me off because I wanted to search the return more, after locking in the outbound.
kiltedflyer is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 2:39 pm
  #851  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 68
Originally Posted by kiltedflyer
Same here with the etihad site error-ing out... it's ticking me off because I wanted to search the return more, after locking in the outbound.
Try different browser and/or incognito.
westsai is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 2:51 pm
  #852  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Upstate
Programs: HH Diamond-IHG Plat-AA Gold
Posts: 215
Originally Posted by westsai
Try different browser and/or incognito.
Did. Different browsers pc and laptop, couldn't get a result any time I tried this morning and earlier this afternoon. As of right now, site seems to be working though.
kiltedflyer is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 3:39 pm
  #853  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: NY
Programs: DL DM, Ex-AA EXP, HZ Pres, MRT AMB/LTP
Posts: 130
Originally Posted by kiltedflyer


Got through to the NZ# just moments ago with no wait at all. No system upgrade issue either, and the agent was able to send an on-hold o/w J itinerary (jfk-auh-mle) for ticketing without issue. Waived the phone booking fee too. Now just waiting for the confirmation email.
This was all on one redemption? JFK-AUH-MLE. I would like to the same trip.
krakendown is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 4:18 pm
  #854  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Upstate
Programs: HH Diamond-IHG Plat-AA Gold
Posts: 215
Originally Posted by krakendown
This was all on one redemption? JFK-AUH-MLE. I would like to the same trip.
Yes, it was a single itinerary; 70k miles + $17USD per pax.
Over the course of the weekend, I had checked JFK-AUH & AUH-MLE (EY100-EY278) F & biz availability on the Etihad website using the R/T routing trick.
I called US reservations and unsurprisingly the agent could not see the seats... but she did check other routings and was able to find ORD-AUH-MLE for the nearly the same dates (EY150-EY278) and was able to add an AA positioning flight to the booking and put everything on hold.
Not fully satisfied with that, on Sunday I called Australia, possibly routed to UK based on the accent of the agent, and agent could not see the JFK space.
Then I called NZ, likely routed to Trinidad, again, based on the accent of agent. This agent could see JFK-AUH seats, but got an error when requesting tax calculation. She asked me to phone back indicating that she would need to re-boot her system. (So close and yet so far.)
Then I called NZ again and got a NZ agent; no mistaking a Kiwi accent. This agent could see the seats, and had no trouble putting the JFK-AUH-MLE itinerary on hold.
And then this morning I called the NZ# back to ticket, no issue, but the agent definitely did not have a NZ accent.
none of the agents ever could see F on our dates, I kept asking.
More than you wanted to know, I'm sure... but keep calling, and if you can see the space, eventually you should be successful; good luck!

Last edited by kiltedflyer; Feb 25, 2019 at 4:23 pm
kiltedflyer is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2019, 4:33 pm
  #855  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: NY
Programs: DL DM, Ex-AA EXP, HZ Pres, MRT AMB/LTP
Posts: 130
Originally Posted by kiltedflyer
Yes, it was a single itinerary; 70k miles + $17USD per pax.
Over the course of the weekend, I had checked JFK-AUH & AUH-MLE (EY100-EY278) F & biz availability on the Etihad website using the R/T routing trick.
I called US reservations and unsurprisingly the agent could not see the seats... but she did check other routings and was able to find ORD-AUH-MLE for the nearly the same dates (EY150-EY278) and was able to add an AA positioning flight to the booking and put everything on hold.
Not fully satisfied with that, on Sunday I called Australia, possibly routed to UK based on the accent of the agent, and agent could not see the JFK space.
Then I called NZ, likely routed to Trinidad, again, based on the accent of agent. This agent could see JFK-AUH seats, but got an error when requesting tax calculation. She asked me to phone back indicating that she would need to re-boot her system. (So close and yet so far.)
Then I called NZ again and got a NZ agent; no mistaking a Kiwi accent. This agent could see the seats, and had no trouble putting the JFK-AUH-MLE itinerary on hold.
And then this morning I called the NZ# back to ticket, no issue, but the agent definitely did not have a NZ accent.
none of the agents ever could see F on our dates, I kept asking.
More than you wanted to know, I'm sure... but keep calling, and if you can see the space, eventually you should be successful; good luck!
More details the better. Thank you for the response. Once you get to the airport theres one more puddle jumper you have to take. Would love to hear the whole story when you get back. What are your travel dates if you don't mind me asking?
krakendown is offline  

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