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

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

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Old Sep 17, 19, 5:18 am   -   Wikipost
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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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.[/left]
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Old Jan 18, 18, 8:02 pm
  #76  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 515
Originally Posted by foxtrotlima1 View Post
Sadly the JFK-DCA segment is in Y. Itís an anytime award versus a mile saver.

AUH-IAD would solve all my problems. Alas, did not find availability on that flight. AUH-DFW ceases to be an option after March 25th. I had a little of that plane geek going on as well. Part of the reason I targeted traveling AUH-JFK is because the family had never been on an A380, and have been wanting to go on one for years.

That said, it may have to be another time if I canít get these awards to line up the way I want.
Based on what I'm seeing for April you should be able to relatively easily make this happen, but it might require a connection. JFK-BOS-DCA or JFK-CLT-DCA or a myriad of spoke to spoke connections. I would do it. You just need to go on AA.com and find flights that work for your day and time then call AA and spoon feed them those flights on top of the AUH-JFK flights. Might require to do 3 in Y, 1 in F or some other combination, but you should be able to get it done.

There could be some routing issues that others could comment on, but on the surface this looks very doable.
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Old Jan 19, 18, 4:31 am
  #77  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Originally Posted by navatwal View Post
I am travelling for the first time using Eithad from Abu Dhabhi to SFO via NYC on the A380 Apartment ( I usually fly EK direct)

My connection at JFK with AA to SFO is currently 3 hours, there is another flight available which departs 1.5 hours after my arrival into JFK which is my preference to take if it works.

Is this suitable to transfer at JFK?

I have never had to connect at JFK and would think 1.5 hours is doable as US Immigration is performed at AUH on Departure.
We just made a similar connection last week. Our layover at JFK was closer to your current 3 hours, so we went to the DL lounge at around gate B31 in T4 to shower and relax for awhile before going to T8 to catch our connecting AA flight. From the time we left the DL lounge (which is a pretty long way out there in T4) to the time we reached gate 36 in T8 was 40 minutes - at least 10 min of which was spent at the ticket counter in T8 getting our boarding passes re-printed w/Pre-check on them (stupid, I know, but I hate taking all my crap out/off). So we could have made it reliably in 30 min.

EY does a decent job with on time performance these days AUH-JFK, primarily because they have padded their schedule so dang much that it's almost impossible for them not to be on schedule or early. So, personally I would take a 90 min connection, especially given that you have options if you miss the earlier flight.

Several times, however, AA has refused to allow us a connection of less than 2 hours, which apparently is their MCT for I-D from a partner airline at JFK. I did the whole "pre-clearance, basically a domestic arriving flight" thing until I was blue in the face, and they wouldn't budge. On DL, I think I could have gotten them to bend the rules, but I have no status w/AA. You may have better luck. If so, I would (personally) go for the earlier connection.
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Old Jan 19, 18, 6:44 am
  #78  
 
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Originally Posted by navatwal View Post
I am travelling for the first time using Eithad from Abu Dhabhi to SFO via NYC on the A380 Apartment ( I usually fly EK direct)

My connection at JFK with AA to SFO is currently 3 hours, there is another flight available which departs 1.5 hours after my arrival into JFK which is my preference to take if it works.

Is this suitable to transfer at JFK?

I have never had to connect at JFK and would think 1.5 hours is doable as US Immigration is performed at AUH on Departure.
It's definitely doable, but I don't believe AA's MCT rules allow for it since it still shows up in their system as a I --> D transfer, even though EY arrives as a domestic flight at JFK.
cmd320 is offline  
Old Jan 19, 18, 7:20 am
  #79  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
It's definitely doable, but I don't believe AA's MCT rules allow for it since it still shows up in their system as a I --> D transfer, even though EY arrives as a domestic flight at JFK.
Yeah I don't think you could do this on a revenue fare. Could be ripe for a situation where you get in early and sweet talk the agent into getting on the earlier departure.
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Old Jan 19, 18, 10:07 am
  #80  
 
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AA have said that as per rules the I - D connection needs to be at least 2 hours... Clearly not taking into account any pre-clearance.

I can try calling them after ticketing but reckon they will not budge on this silly rule.
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Old Jan 19, 18, 10:36 am
  #81  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by NecessaryIndulgences View Post
I did the whole "pre-clearance, basically a domestic arriving flight" thing until I was blue in the face, and they wouldn't budge.
Originally Posted by navatwal View Post
I can try calling them after ticketing but reckon they will not budge on this silly rule.
Agents have no discretion on the matter of MCT. You're wasting your time, their time, and also our time (by increasing hold times). You can only do what the computer allows, and the computer does not allow.
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Old Jan 19, 18, 1:13 pm
  #82  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
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Originally Posted by foxtrotlima1 View Post
Sadly the JFK-DCA segment is in Y. Itís an anytime award versus a mile saver.

AUH-IAD would solve all my problems. Alas, did not find availability on that flight. AUH-DFW ceases to be an option after March 25th. I had a little of that plane geek going on as well. Part of the reason I targeted traveling AUH-JFK is because the family had never been on an A380, and have been wanting to go on one for years.

That said, it may have to be another time if I canít get these awards to line up the way I want.
Thank you everyone for your assistance, but an especially big note of thanks to @fedechat.

I was able to call into AA and have them "complete my itinerary" and add in the JFK-DCA segment without having to split the award segments.

What I discovered is that in order to get the additional hop within the same partner award, their typically has to be "mileage saver" inventory available for that segment. If there is not mileage saver inventory, that is when the award gets split.

I am now booked and TICKETED!!! I appreciate everyone weighing in, and offering great suggestions
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Old Jan 19, 18, 6:56 pm
  #83  
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Originally Posted by FlyerTalkUserName View Post
... but it might require a connection. JFK-BOS-DCA or JFK-CLT-DCA or a myriad of spoke to spoke connections.
Glad to hear that you got what you needed.

If my only choice was a connection like these, I'd be inclined to go to Penn Station and take the Acela Express.
aktchi likes this.
Dr. HFH is offline  
Old Jan 20, 18, 4:57 am
  #84  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
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Originally Posted by coolmuke View Post
When I try to access this website through my phone it keeps redirecting to some spam amazon gift card website.
I know its off topic for this thread... but has anyone figured this out... Same thing happens to me as well, and it is super annoying..
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Old Jan 20, 18, 5:00 am
  #85  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH View Post
Glad to hear that you got what you needed.

If my only choice was a connection like these, I'd be inclined to go to Penn Station and take the Acela Express.
Don't think I had not considered this as well... I had looked up Amtrak pricing during the course of my booking saga. I even went as far as booking a one way rental with Avis as a plan b. In the end, I am glad it all worked out with the flights.
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Old Jan 20, 18, 6:00 am
  #86  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
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Originally Posted by foxtrotlima1 View Post
I know its off topic for this thread... but has anyone figured this out... Same thing happens to me as well, and it is super annoying..
Thread here: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/technical-support-feedback/1885655-report-disruptive-2018-ads-your-mobile-device-please-post-screen-shots-10.html

In short the only solution is to switch to safari on mobile and down load a d g u a r d. This is controversial because a d s are what keep FlyerTalk free and most of us are ok with them for this reason. Gotta do something when the ads make it unusable though.
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Old Jan 20, 18, 6:56 pm
  #87  
 
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Really excited I was able to secure two seats for the wife and I in the First Apartments, all the way through from JFK-AUH on the 380 and then AUH-SIN on the 787..
We do have a ~11 hr layover while in AUH which we don't really mind since I'm reading that there is a gym, food is great, showers are nice and there is a spa. But not sure if we want to stay in the lounge the entire time...
My question is - how should we best make use of our time during the layover? We've never been to Abu Dhabi and I think we get chauffeur service right to/from so could we theoretically take advantage of the car service to get us into town for some sight-seeing and then back to the airport? If so, any left luggage facilities we can leave our carry ons? Thanks!

Edit: Forgot to mention that I booked this using AA miles, called the Aussie # but I'm not sure if I was routed somewhere else. Cost us 115k JFK-AUH and then 50k AUH-SIN for each of us. Will get back 10% of those miles with the AAviator Credit Card.

Last edited by vivrant; Jan 20, 18 at 7:12 pm
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Old Jan 20, 18, 7:07 pm
  #88  
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Originally Posted by vivrant View Post
We've never been to Abu Dhabi and I think we get chauffeur service right to/from so could we theoretically take advantage of the car service to get us into town for some sight-seeing and then back to the airport?.
EY no longer provides chauffeur service on AA award tickets.
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Old Jan 20, 18, 7:08 pm
  #89  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Originally Posted by vivrant View Post
Really excited I was able to secure two seats for the wife and I in the First Apartments, all the way through from JFK-AUH on the 380 and then AUH-SIN on the 787..
We do have a ~11 hr layover while in AUH which we don't really mind since I'm reading that the showers are nice and there is a spa.
My question is - how should we best make use of our time during the layover? We've never been to Abu Dhabi and I think we get chauffeur service right to/from so could we theoretically take advantage of the car service to get us into town for some sight-seeing and then back to the airport? If so, any left luggage facilities we can leave our carry ons? Thanks!

Edit: Forgot to mention that I booked this using AA miles, called the Aussie # but I'm not sure if I was routed somewhere else. Cost us 115k JFK-AUH and then 50k AUH-SIN for each of us. Will get back 10% of those miles with the AAviator Credit Card.
You will only get 10% of those miles back up to 100K, i.e. max of 10K miles back.
No chauffeur service on award tickets. However, taxis into town (e.g. to see the Grand Mosque) are not too expensive (I think my ride was around 20USD equiv)
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Old Jan 20, 18, 7:50 pm
  #90  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Originally Posted by vivrant View Post
Really excited I was able to secure two seats for the wife and I in the First Apartments, all the way through from JFK-AUH on the 380 and then AUH-SIN on the 787..
We do have a ~11 hr layover while in AUH which we don't really mind since I'm reading that there is a gym, food is great, showers are nice and there is a spa. But not sure if we want to stay in the lounge the entire time...
My question is - how should we best make use of our time during the layover? We've never been to Abu Dhabi and I think we get chauffeur service right to/from so could we theoretically take advantage of the car service to get us into town for some sight-seeing and then back to the airport? If so, any left luggage facilities we can leave our carry ons? Thanks!

Edit: Forgot to mention that I booked this using AA miles, called the Aussie # but I'm not sure if I was routed somewhere else. Cost us 115k JFK-AUH and then 50k AUH-SIN for each of us. Will get back 10% of those miles with the AAviator Credit Card.
When is your trip? is not easy to find JFK-AUH a couple of months in advance.
Since you are paying the price of 2 awards, I will recommend you to stay 1 or 2 extra days in AUH if your itinerary allows it, or at least a full day, Grand Mosque in the morning and city tour after that.
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