How to Fly in Etihad’s ~$16,000 First Class Apartment Suites Using the Best Travel Credit Cards!
Etihad’s First Class Apartments sit at the top of many mile collecting enthusiast’s bucket lists. The Etihad’s First Class Apartment isn’t a typical airplane seat…instead, it’s 1-room suite on select Airbus A380 routes.
Million Mile Secrets contributor Avery recently flew in Etihad’s First Class Apartment from Abu Dhabi to New York (JFK) using Marriott / Starwood points which he converted to Asiana Airlines miles. You can also book Etihad First Class Apartments by transferring American Express Membership Rewards points or Citi ThankYou points to Etihad, or by redeeming partner American Airlines miles!
You can use your miles and points earned from the best travel credit cards to book an Etihad First Class Apartment. A flight in Etihad’s First Class Apartment from Abu Dhabi to New York can run for ~$16,000. But we’ll teach you how you can fly in the Apartment using points!
Why Etihad’s First Class Apartment Is on Everyone’s Bucket List!
Etihad’s First Class Apartments are private suites with a sofa that converts into a full bed, a reclining chair, an onboard shower, vanity mirror and toiletries, and personalized chauffeur service (only in Abu Dhabi). This is all enclosed in Etihad’s private First Class cabin, where the apartments are closed off by sliding doors to give you privacy during your flight. Etihad First Class Apartments are one of the most luxurious flights you can book with miles. Booking one of these flights is a once-in-a-lifetime, dream trip for many!
It sounds like these flights are a lot of money. And they are. When I searched for a flight in Etihad’s Apartment suite from New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi, tickets cost ~$16,000 one-way.
Not only is the Etihad First Class Apartment pricey, but it is only available on the A380 aircraft, which flies between the following destinations:
- London and Abu Dhabi
- New York City (JFK) and Abu Dhabi
- Paris and Abu Dhabi
- Sydney and Abu Dhabi
Etihad has made changes to its A380 routes in the past few years, including discontinuing services to both Mumbai AND Melbourne, and cutting one of its daily flights to New York.
How to Book Etihad First Class Apartments With Miles & Points
There are several miles & points programs that you can transfer into Etihad miles.
- American Express Membership Rewards points
- Citi ThankYou points
- Marriott / Starwood points
Transferring American Express Membership Rewards Points and Citi ThankYou Points to Etihad Miles
The Etihad website is the easiest way to search for award flights. Etihad miles are pretty easy to earn because you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points and Citi ThankYou points into Etihad miles at a 1:1 ratio.
There’s a lot of travel flexibility with the AMEX Membership Rewards points because they have so many airline and hotel partners. When you open The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 on purchases with your new card in the first 3 months.
There is an annual fee of $550, but we’ve learned that the benefits of the AMEX Platinum can make this worth the money!
With the Citi Premier℠ Card you can earn 50,000 Citi ThankYou® points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Those 50,000 points are redeemable for ~$625 in airfare on nearly any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the Citi ThankYou travel portal. This card has a $95 annual fee that is waived the first 12 months.
When you transfer both 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points and 50,000 Citi ThankYou points into Etihad miles, you’ll have 110,000 Etihad miles (60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points + 50,000 Citi ThankYou points).
How to Book Etihad First Class Apartments Using Etihad Miles
Etihad has tiers of awards: “GuestSeats” and “OpenSeats”, which are equivalent to Saver and Standard seats. Booking the OpenSeats using Etihad miles is incredibly expensive. You’ll want to keep your eye on the GuestSeat.
One-way GuestSeat bookings using miles cost:
- Abu Dhabi to New York — ~136,000 Etihad miles plus taxes and fees
- Abu Dhabi to London — ~88,000 Etihad miles plus taxes and fees
- Abu Dhabi to Paris — ~85,000 Etihad miles plus taxes and fees
- Abu Dhabi to Sydney — ~136,000 Etihad miles plus taxes and fees
Flying the route between Abu Dhabi and New York is over 14 hours in the air, so for ~136,000 Etihad miles you’ll want the most comfort for your trip. Flying between Abu Dhabi and Sydney is similar in length, at around 13 hours airborne.
While the London and Paris routes between Abu Dhabi are a lower price when paying with miles, we feel like you won’t get the full First Class experience because both of these routes are under 8 hours. We would save the Etihad First Class Apartment experience for the long routes! You can fly much cheaper in Business Class on Air France between Abu Dhabi and Paris for 45,000 miles.
We recommend getting the most out of your miles and booking the New York or Sydney routes on the A380. But there are better ways to get the most out of your points!
Booking the Etihad Apartment by Transferring Marriott / Starwood points to Asiana Airlines
It costs just 80,000 Asiana Airlines miles for a one-way First Class Apartment ticket on Etihad between New York and Abu Dhabi. Asiana Airlines doesn’t add surcharges on award tickets, so you’ll only pay ~$80 in taxes and fees per person.
You can earn Marriott / Starwood points directly from cards like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, and Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card.
Note: Transfers from Marriott / Starwood can take over a month. While Asiana Airlines will hold award seats for a few days, they will not usually hold it for the time it takes to transfer. Make sure you’re flexible with your travel dates if you decide to transfer Marriott / Starwood points.
Booking Etihad First Class Apartments Using American Airlines Miles
This method involves extra work when booking these flights, but when you pay with miles it is actually cheaper to use American Airlines miles!
- New York to Abu Dhabi for ~115,000 American Airlines miles plus taxes and fees
- Paris or London to Abu Dhabi for ~62,500 American Airlines miles plus taxes and fees
- Australia to Abu Dhabi for ~100,000 American Airlines miles plus taxes and fees
Find your desired seat on Etihad.com, then call American Airlines to book. Some American Airlines US-based ticket agents can’t see Etihad’s awards on their end, but we recommend to call, keep trying, and hopefully get lucky and book these seats!
American Airlines miles are easy to collect, and a great way to use these miles is by booking First Class flights on Etihad. So we recommend trying and most importantly, being flexible with your departure/arrival cities and travel dates.
You can use the 70,000 American Airlines miles sign-up bonus from the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 4 months and the up to 50,000 American Airlines miles sign-up bonus from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®; 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and 10,000 miles after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first 12 months.
Your preferred method of booking is going to depend on your travel plans, how flexible you are with your dates, and what points you have.
We would recommend booking the seats using First Class Apartment flight by transferring Marriott / Starwood points to Asiana Airlines at a 3:1 ratio because you get the most for your points. The one downside is that Marriott / Starwood points can take up to a month to transfer. This is why we’d only recommend this method if you’re flexible with your travel dates.
It costs just 80,000 Asiana Airlines miles to fly First Class Apartment on Etihad between New York and Abu Dhabi. They also don’t add fuel surcharges, so it will only cost ~$80 in taxes and fees per person. This is the best use of your points to book the Etihad First Class Apartment.
The Etihad Apartment is one of the most extravagant ways to travel, and you don’t need thousands of dollars to fly in style! By transferring American Express Membership Rewards points or Citi ThankYou points to Etihad, Marriott / Starwood points to Asiana Airlines miles, or using American Airlines miles, you can fly in Etihad’s First Class Apartment too!