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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 Feb 27, 19, 9:04 am   -   Wikipost
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Booking Award Seats on EY / Etihad Airways Using AA / AAdvantage Miles

Effective immediately, the Electronic Devices ban has been lifted for Etihad flights to the USA. (July 5, 2017)


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 cannot 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 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) 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 many 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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 is 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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Old Feb 28, 18, 8:15 am
  #961  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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I have called AU/OZ at all hours of the day and night at least 40 times and have yet to reach the non-Trinidad desk. I see two business class seats IAD-AUH (only when searching for AUH-IAD-AUH roundtrip) that none of these agents can see. Any tips for how to reach a desk that CAN see this space, now that Fiji is supposedly gone?
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Old Feb 28, 18, 8:24 am
  #962  
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Originally Posted by callmedtop View Post
I have called AU/OZ at all hours of the day and night at least 40 times and have yet to reach the non-Trinidad desk. I see two business class seats IAD-AUH (only when searching for AUH-IAD-AUH roundtrip) that none of these agents can see. Any tips for how to reach a desk that CAN see this space, now that Fiji is supposedly gone?
This is odd (though no odder than some folks' other experiences with trying to book EY using AA miles) in that I thought the Trinidad desk was the one we want to reach. My own recent, successful experience booking JFK-AUH tix many months in advance was through the Trinidad desk. FWIW, I called the NZ that time immediately after having no success with a Trinidad agent I reached through the Australia number, though I can't imagine that making a difference. Regrettably, I don't know what to suggest beyond trying to call yet again, trying other international call centers or trying other dates to see if perhaps there's a problem with the particular ones you have in mind.
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Old Feb 28, 18, 9:16 am
  #963  
 
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Well from my own experience in the last couple of days, I think sometimes the US agent can see the inventory, but it may work if you already have an existent reservation.
I had MLE-AUH in J for Jan 2019 that I made it with a US agent (we all know that they can see it), then another reservation for AUH-JFK in J that I placed on hold with the AU number, but when I tried to add the MLE-AUH segment at a later time (after canceling the first reservation), the US agent was unable to see it as MLE-AUH-JFK, but he confirmed he could see the single segment MLE-AUH.
decided to cancel both reservations and I called AU number again, this time the agent was only able to see just 1 seat on my desired flight and 2 for the later flight but when checking as single segment 2 seats were available but unable to combine. I did the reservation anyway and after that I called the US agent, this time the agent was able to see both segment but still just 1 seat for the whole trip. I did ask him to check other days and he was able to see it too, probably because he had my PNR loaded in the system? who knows but this was J, when I asked him to check just AUH-JFK segment alone, he said zero. I did the same for the F seats, I reserved the first segment, then another reservation on the second segment (and change the date at a later time as soon they released it), then I canceled the first reservation but this time they (AU#) were able to add the short flight (MLE-AUH) to the main flight (AUH-JFK).
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Old Feb 28, 18, 10:03 am
  #964  
 
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
This is odd (though no odder than some folks' other experiences with trying to book EY using AA miles) in that I thought the Trinidad desk was the one we want to reach. My own recent, successful experience booking JFK-AUH tix many months in advance was through the Trinidad desk. FWIW, I called the NZ that time immediately after having no success with a Trinidad agent I reached through the Australia number, though I can't imagine that making a difference. Regrettably, I don't know what to suggest beyond trying to call yet again, trying other international call centers or trying other dates to see if perhaps there's a problem with the particular ones you have in mind.
Yeah, I'm beginning to think its my specific dates. I can't really think of what else it could be, even though EY's website clearly shows 2x Guest Business seats when searching as a return trip. I've only ever booked Apartments on the JFK-AUH route through the AU/OZ trick, never any others.
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Old Mar 3, 18, 11:29 am
  #965  
 
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.
Following up on this, IAD-AUH availability seems to be nonexistent as opposed to ORD or JFK. Has anyone had any success finding Etihad availability at IAD?
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Old Mar 4, 18, 9:45 am
  #966  
 
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CDG-AUH-MLE booking

I called the USA number Sunday AM USA time and put CDG-AUH-MLE on hold for November. Agent could see F on the CDG-AUH segment but only business on the second segment despite F showing on the Etihad site. Agent had what sounded like a Caribbean accent but I could hear what appeared to be a US accent in the background - forgot to ask where she was. About an hour later I called the Australia number and got someone at the Trinidad call center who could see F on the second segment and added it. Now waiting for ticketing.

Update - ticketed 1.5 hours later, seats chosen via EY mobile site.

Last edited by Slickw; Mar 4, 18 at 11:03 am
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Old Mar 4, 18, 12:35 pm
  #967  
 
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Originally Posted by Slickw View Post
I called the USA number Sunday AM USA time and put CDG-AUH-MLE on hold for November. Agent could see F on the CDG-AUH segment but only business on the second segment despite F showing on the Etihad site. Agent had what sounded like a Caribbean accent but I could hear what appeared to be a US accent in the background - forgot to ask where she was. About an hour later I called the Australia number and got someone at the Trinidad call center who could see F on the second segment and added it. Now waiting for ticketing.

Update - ticketed 1.5 hours later, seats chosen via EY mobile site.
Congrats! Iím looking to book a similar trip mid feb. I havenít heard anyone boating about originating in Lon/cdg lately. just to clarify this was 62.5 AA + what on surcharges? Did you find A380 out of CDG?

Would anyone happen to lnow if I could add a BCN leg before CDG-AUH-MLE on one award?
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Old Mar 4, 18, 1:37 pm
  #968  
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Originally Posted by eidreezy View Post


Congrats! I’m looking to book a similar trip mid feb. I haven’t heard anyone boating about originating in Lon/cdg lately. just to clarify this was 62.5 AA + what on surcharges? Did you find A380 out of CDG?

Would anyone happen to lnow if I could add a BCN leg before CDG-AUH-MLE on one award?
There are no surcharges payable for redemptions on EY, just taxes.

Travel from LHR-MLE would have approximateky £208 in taxes

EY's routing rules for BCN -MLE do not allow for travel via Paris, so would doubt it would be permitted

Last edited by Dave Noble; Mar 4, 18 at 1:45 pm
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Old Mar 4, 18, 3:55 pm
  #969  
 
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Originally Posted by eidreezy View Post


Congrats! Iím looking to book a similar trip mid feb. I havenít heard anyone boating about originating in Lon/cdg lately. just to clarify this was 62.5 AA + what on surcharges? Did you find A380 out of CDG?

Would anyone happen to lnow if I could add a BCN leg before CDG-AUH-MLE on one award?
Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
There are no surcharges payable for redemptions on EY, just taxes.

Travel from LHR-MLE would have approximateky £208 in taxes

EY's routing rules for BCN -MLE do not allow for travel via Paris, so would doubt it would be permitted
I've done AMS-LHR-AUH-BOM before and I believe I added AMS on BA after it was ticketed and besides the AA change fee there was no additional mileage charged so you might be able to add BCN, So yes, 62.5K and $158 USD in taxes. A380 to AUH.
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Old Mar 4, 18, 4:55 pm
  #970  
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Originally Posted by Slickw View Post
I've done AMS-LHR-AUH-BOM before and I believe I added AMS on BA after it was ticketed and besides the AA change fee there was no additional mileage charged so you might be able to add BCN, So yes, 62.5K and $158 USD in taxes. A380 to AUH.
Going via London is a permitted routing from AMS-BOM though

It may be possible to do BCN to MLE via CDG and AUH, but be prepared that there is a decent chance that the extra flight will be chargeable separately
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Old Mar 6, 18, 5:11 pm
  #971  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
Going via London is a permitted routing from AMS-BOM though

It may be possible to do BCN to MLE via CDG and AUH, but be prepared that there is a decent chance that the extra flight will be chargeable separately

Would best practices be to ticket then add Bcn, or place a hold, then add.

IF it makes a difference, I could fly through Lon over cdg, whichever opens up first.
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Old Mar 6, 18, 6:13 pm
  #972  
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Originally Posted by eidreezy View Post



Would best practices be to ticket then add Bcn, or place a hold, then add.

IF it makes a difference, I could fly through Lon over cdg, whichever opens up first.
Simplest practice would surely be to just book the whole thing that you want and see what the award cost is. If there is an extra mileage cost then choose whether to drop the unwanted segment
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Old Mar 8, 18, 7:21 pm
  #973  
 
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This is what the wife has to report from her experience earlier today:

Upon my advice, she called AA Oz to book EY J JFK-DEL One Way flying in August. This was inventory that was seen available as Guest Business as part of a RT search. Wouldn't show up as OW. She had tried previously with the US agent who could not see this inventory, but the agent in Australia found it and just when she was about to book, her line got disconnected.

She called minutes later and asked if she could speak to the previous agent who was helping her. This new agent put her on hold, and when he came back he already knew what my wife was calling for and proceeded to help her. Within not more than five minutes of her first speaking to the previous agent, the seats she was about to book then were now gone. Or at least couldn't be seen as available anymore.

Notable was that this particular call center seems rather small for agents to be able to talk to each other about customers. The wife wanted to HUCA but decided to wait, perhaps irrationally, since these agents were so close together, and she assumed a risk of running into the same agent again. Instead, she called the US number, found a great agent who checked dates/ flights on several different One World options, but could find nothing other than BA (with its super high taxes and fees) available on that route.

The US agent could also not see the CX availability that I saw on the AsiaMiles page.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 10:11 am
  #974  
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Looking at booking these two via AA (hopefully on EY)

Have been advised that SIN-AUH-CDG is two awards on EY. Is that correct? Would JFK-AUH-SIN on EY be valid? Would the same awards on QR work?
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Old Mar 9, 18, 10:24 am
  #975  
 
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Originally Posted by onlysuites View Post
Looking at booking these two via AA (hopefully on EY)

Have been advised that SIN-AUH-CDG is two awards on EY. Is that correct? Would JFK-AUH-SIN on EY be valid? Would the same awards on QR work?
No, you can not connect to a third region with AA awards, there are some exceptions but none from USA to ASIA1 or 2 trough the Atlantic.
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