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The most exciting thing happening this summer in the miles and points world is Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi bringing back their incredible Airbus A380 aircraft with the ultra-luxurious First Class Apartment on the upper deck (a shower is available for First Class passengers). It has certainly been a wild three years and many people believed Etihad would never bring back the A380 as many other airlines have made that decision – however, the A380 and the luxurious First Class cabin is what truly put Etihad Airways on the map and made it worth flying. Etihad does have First Class on other planes, but that product is not even close to being as nice as their A380 First Class Apartment.

Etihad’s First Class A380 Apartment on AUH-London Route

Previously, Etihad Airways operated the Airbus A380 to a number of international destinations such as London, Paris, Seoul, Sydney, and Melbourne. However as of right now, they will only be flying the Airbus A380 to London-Heathrow as of later this summer. When booking a flight, be sure to keep an eye on your itinerary and the aircraft type as they could always swap it last minute and while Etihad’s other First Class product is very nice, there is nothing like the A380.

fly Etihad's A380 Apartment to London

fly Etihad’s A380 Apartment to London

Flying Etihad’s A380 Apartment with Miles

Redeeming miles and points for Etihad’s First Class A380 Apartment is one of my favorite aspects about this miles and points hobby. These First Class tickets can easily cost over $10,000+ and therefore it is amazing that we can redeem miles and pay just the taxes/fees for the flight. Etihad does release First Class availability, however due to the popularity of the Airbus A380, it will be tougher to book these awards.

Many frequent flyers, including myself, have been monitoring Etihad’s award availability for the Abu Dhabi – London – Abu Dhabi route and as soon as a First Class award is released, it tends to be booked up quickly. I haven’t been lucky to book a seat yet, but I am keeping a close eye on availability and it is my ultimate goal to fly this product this summer.

You can redeem miles and points from Etihad’s partner airlines (or with Etihad directly) to fly the A380 Apartment if there is award availability. Etihad does offer their own frequent flyer members more award availability at the higher, dynamic levels – which is rarely worth it. You will want to check for award availability on Etihad’s website directly and if the price is under around 200k miles, that usually means the seat is bookable with partner airlines – it has to be under the “GuestSeat” award type and there must be availability in First “O” Class.

Redeem 40k Asiana Airlines Miles

Asiana Airlines and Etihad Airways are partners which means you can use miles from one airline on the other. Asiana Airlines charges just 40k miles for a one-way First Class award flight from Europe to the Middle East. You cannot book this online and must call them – so be sure to do your research and find availability before calling. Asiana agents are competent so you should have no issues booking the flight if there is award space.

The only way to transfer in points to Asiana Airlines is from Marriott Bonvoy – the transfers do take a few days. Be sure to read Asiana’s website carefully as there are other restrictions and requirements when booking award tickets with Asiana Club.

Redeem 62.5k American Airlines Miles

American Airlines AAdvantage charges 62.5k miles for a one-way First Class award ticket between Europe and the Middle East region – you can have up to 4 flights total on a one-way booking so you can add on connections to/from London on British Airways or other partners and you can do the same in Abu Dhabi – just make sure the layovers are under 24 hours.

Etihad’s premium cabin award space rarely shows up on, so you will have to search for the award space with Etihad or other partners and then call American Airlines to book the award flight over the phone. You can put the flight on hold for 5 days and transfer in points from Marriott Bonvoy (the only major transfer partner available).

Redeem 65k Air Canada Miles

Etihad Airways and Air Canada are partner airlines and therefore you can also redeem Aeroplan miles for travel in Etihad First Class. Aeroplan miles are easy to earn as you can transfer in from American Express, Chase, and others. While in theory you can book Etihad on Aeroplan’s website directly, not all award space shows up (especially premium cabin space) and therefore you might have to call to book.

Air Canada’s Aeroplan has a ton of airline partners all around the world so you can easily mix partners on one award ticket, and that means you can add on connections on Star Alliance and other partner airlines easily before or after your Etihad flight. More complex itineraries can be booked over the phone and Aeroplan does not allow ticket holds – but most of the major transferable points from bank programs transfer instantly.

Etihad Airways is based in Abu Dhabi

Etihad Airways is based in Abu Dhabi

All in All

The easiest way for many to book the Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment will be either using American Airlines or Air Canada miles since those are both relatively easy to earn. Those with a lot of Marriott Bonvoy points could speculatively transfer to Asiana Airlines Asiana Club and hope that award space opens up and then book the flight at a fantastic rate. Remember that since the A380 flights are really popular, award space will be tough to find, though not impossible if your dates are very flexible and you constantly monitor availability. Remember that you could also redeem miles from Etihad’s other partner airlines for flights on Etihad – you aren’t limited to the airlines mentioned above.

Travel Miles 101 has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel Miles 101 and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.