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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 May 13, 19, 12:58 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
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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 Jun 24, 19, 7:47 pm
  #1141  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Charlottesville, Va. USA
Posts: 1,388
I know what you are saying . My problem is hat the mixed award is showing up on AA.com. When I try to book it it says "flights not available pick different flights.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 9:17 pm
  #1142  
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Originally Posted by jmj9905 View Post
I know what you are saying . My problem is hat the mixed award is showing up on AA.com. When I try to book it it says "flights not available pick different flights.
This , I think, is just aa.com having looked per segment ( where it is available ) but when it goes to confirm it, then the married segment availability issue kicks in and you are unable to get them confirmed

If you book business class the whole way, I expect that it will confirm the booking without issue
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Old Jun 25, 19, 8:26 am
  #1143  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 134
Originally Posted by jmj9905 View Post
I know what you are saying . My problem is hat the mixed award is showing up on AA.com. When I try to book it it says "flights not available pick different flights.
I think you're still going to have to call AA in New Zealand or something. The aa.com only "sees" what the US Call centers can see. I ran into something similar when trying to book JFK to MLE. aa.com refused to see the segments all the way through. Got a call into AA New Zealand and they saw everything and booked it.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 10:30 am
  #1144  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: CLT
Programs: AA
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Originally Posted by luv2vacay View Post
I think you're still going to have to call AA in New Zealand or something. The aa.com only "sees" what the US Call centers can see. I ran into something similar when trying to book JFK to MLE. aa.com refused to see the segments all the way through. Got a call into AA New Zealand and they saw everything and booked it.
Ran into issues booking a routing that both AA and EY websites showed as available but errored out on the AA website and US call center. Part of the issue seemed to be EY was offering the availability as a married segment but not segment by segment as AUH originating. With hold time spent 45 minutes on the line with the Australia call center and with the assistance of a "help desk" got it booked. Excellent agent that knew EY awards well.
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Last edited by firemandan9; Jun 25, 19 at 10:41 am
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Old Jun 25, 19, 3:31 pm
  #1145  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Charlottesville, Va. USA
Posts: 1,388
Can you give me the Ausrralia and New Zealand call center numbers? I am on the east coast with easgter daylight time. What time should I call theM/

Thanks everyone for all tge help. I really appreciate it.
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Old Jun 25, 19, 3:52 pm
  #1146  
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The Australia number is answered at all times. The phone number is +61 2 9101 1948
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Old Jun 25, 19, 7:49 pm
  #1147  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Programs: AA (EXP), Hilton (Diamond), SPG (lowly Gold)
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
There is still no availability in 1st class for a through award though
I am not sure what your point is. You can use an F award for a mixed-class itinerary.

Originally Posted by jmj9905 View Post
I know what you are saying . My problem is hat the mixed award is showing up on AA.com. When I try to book it it says "flights not available pick different flights.
I suggested calling AA, and suggested which locations to call, and in what order. Have you tried any of that?

Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
This , I think, is just aa.com having looked per segment ( where it is available ) but when it goes to confirm it, then the married segment availability issue kicks in and you are unable to get them confirmed

If you book business class the whole way, I expect that it will confirm the booking without issue
Married segments usually affect booking the same inventory on connecting legs. Booking I on one leg and O on a connecting leg where each leg shows the desired inventory as available individually is usually not affected by married segments.

Originally Posted by luv2vacay View Post
I think you're still going to have to call AA in New Zealand or something. The aa.com only "sees" what the US Call centers can see. I ran into something similar when trying to book JFK to MLE. aa.com refused to see the segments all the way through. Got a call into AA New Zealand and they saw everything and booked it.
The AA web site is not definitive. It may match what US call center agents can see, or may not, and it may or may not be successful at booking what it sees. The fact that @jmj9905 sees the flights as available on the web site is all the more reason to call. It's really pointless for us to endlessly speculate on what be the problem before @jmj9905 has tried calling even the US call center.

Last edited by anabolism; Jun 25, 19 at 9:10 pm Reason: Fix typo in FT handle
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Old Jun 25, 19, 8:43 pm
  #1148  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by jmj9905 View Post
Can you give me the Ausrralia and New Zealand call center numbers? I am on the east coast with easgter daylight time. What time should I call theM/

Thanks everyone for all tge help. I really appreciate it.
This thread does have a wiki.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 12:19 am
  #1149  
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Originally Posted by anabolism View Post
I am not sure what your point is. You can use an F award for a mixed-class itinerary.
The desired sector had no 1st class availability regardless of class of service of other sector.

Originally Posted by anabolism View Post
Married segments usually affect booking the same inventory on connecting legs. Booking I on one leg and O on a connecting leg where each leg shows the desired inventory as available individually is usually not affected by married segments.
Yes it is - do a check for I and O for the through journey and you will get the I and O availability applicable for the through journey. It still uses the same availability pool regardless of same class or mixed class
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Old Jun 26, 19, 5:52 am
  #1150  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 11
I just successfully booked BA and Etihad business class seats from WDH - JNB, JNB - AUH, then AUH - JFK. Based on this forum's excellent advice, I first searched Etihad to ensure that JNB - AUH and AUH - JFK BC award seats were available. There were two bc seats available on each flight. This was for the very end of the schedule, on the day the flights opened up. I then searched AA for award availability. I was able to see WDH - JNB (on BA) and JNB - AUH. However, AUH - JFK was not there. I called AA in the US, they could see the first two legs, but not AUH - JFK. I put the first two legs on hold, then called the Australian call center. The agent I reached did not sound Australian but more like someone in Fiji. She saw the AUH - JFK flight with no trouble, added it to my itinerary, and when I checked back a short time later, the entire itinerary was in my account on hold. I called AA to pay for the flights, and within a short time, received confirmation from AA that it was ticketed. I did not see a ticket number in the AA record, but I had asked for the record locators for both BA and EY, and on the EY site, I could see the ticket number with all of the legs.

I would like to sincerely thank all of you knowledgeable volunteers who maintain this site and provide us with such excellent advice. I am quite sure that without your help, I would not have been able to book this flight.

On another note, BA is charging fairly high fees for the WDH - JNB flight, almost as much as it would cost us to pay for the flight (in economy) outright. However, in the grand scheme of things, we can accept that.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 9:00 am
  #1151  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Charlottesville, Va. USA
Posts: 1,388
anabolism I have called the aa us call center several different times and they can't see the auh/iad in either I or O. I will check the wikis and get he Australia and New Zealand call center phone numbers.

Again, thanks all for the help.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 11:41 am
  #1152  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 50
MLE to AUH to LAX is 70K AA miles for Etihad business. I can book this online on AA.com

Is it possible to book BKK to AUH to LAX for 70K miles in business or SIN to AUH to LAX? It is not showing up on AA.com even though there is availability. Or is that invalid routing and AA would want to us to go through pacific (via HKG Cathay or NRT JAL)?
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Old Jun 26, 19, 11:46 am
  #1153  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by sowhatwegetdrunk View Post
Or is that invalid routing and AA would want to us to go through pacific (via HKG or JAL)?
Yes.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 11:55 am
  #1154  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: RDU <|> MMX
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Originally Posted by sowhatwegetdrunk View Post
MLE to AUH to LAX is 70K AA miles for Etihad business. I can book this online on AA.com

Is it possible to book BKK to AUH to LAX for 70K miles in business or SIN to AUH to LAX? It is not showing up on AA.com even though there is availability. Or is that invalid routing and AA would want to us to go through pacific (via HKG Cathay or NRT JAL)?
You can book this but it will require 2 awards, 40k for BKK-AUH + 70k for AUH-LAX.

An award from Asia 2 (BKK/SIN) to North America (LAX) cannot connect in the Middle East.
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Old Jun 26, 19, 12:03 pm
  #1155  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 50
Thanks guys. That is what I thought, but wanted to make sure : )
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