Using Etihad miles to fly Jet Airways around India

One of the most attractive award charts out there for travel around India, is that of Etihad Airways, which offers some sweet redemptions on Jet Airways. Check out this PDF here which lists the routes and mileage requirements per sector.

I have had the intention to use this chart to book tickets on Jet Airways, but never had any sectors to try it out on, since revenue tickets are usually cheap enough. Recently, however, I was in a situation where I needed to book up family for an up coming trip, and revenue tickets were expensive, and this was the perfect time to try out this method.

I call the Etihad award chart sweet, because it has some real gems in terms of redemption values. For instance, a Lucknow-Mumbai one way economy class redemption, which costs 8,500 JPMiles or 9,500 Air India miles for travel on the respective airlines (apart from taxes on both airlines), comes out at 5660 Etihad Guest Miles for a one way economy ticket, and only taxes need to be paid, so you come out ahead in terms of the number of miles required.

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How do you look up for tickets?

The easiest way to look for award inventory is to look up on the JetPrivilege site to see if award inventory exists on your particular route, and you will be able to find out the flights there itself. In my limited experience so far, availability for Etihad Guest members matches the availability for JP’s own members.

Call up Etihad Guest to book your tickets

With Etihad, you can’t book tickets online for your Jet Airways redemption seats, hence you need to call them in. In my case, I asked the agent for available flights on the sector required, and it turned out to be the same as the one I had checked on the JP website earlier. So, I gave them the name of the passengers, which enabled them to create the PNR. I was subsequently informed about the mileage requirements and the amount of taxes I had to pay, which again matched the Jet amount, or was rather slightly lesser than that.

Etihad duly sent me a copy of the PNR, and informed me that I would receive a callback to collect the taxes on my credit card and issue the tickets. While the call did not come in the 1 hour period promised, it did come a few hours later and I gave them all the details for my credit card and they were able to charge it and issue the tickets for me.

Watch out for these

You can only book tickets 14 days or more out for flights on Jet Airways. Yesterday, I tried booking a redemption for next week, and Etihad declined my request. Also, tickets booked are non-refundable, so you forfeit your miles in case you can’t travel on those tickets. You can change dates of course, subject to availability. For the first date change, it is free. For the second date change onwards, you need to pay 100 UAE Dirhams per passenger to get it executed.

So, only try this as long as you have a great amount of certainty that your plans won’t change, and you would be able to land a great deal on some award tickets for yourself.

Do remember, Etihad Guest is a transfer partner with Citibank (Prestige & PremierMiles) and American Express in India, and if you complete a transfer by 30 Nov 2014 to Etihad Guest, you get a bonus from Etihad.

I fid this to be a great way to use Etihad Guest miles. Have you booked any tickets on 9W with your EY miles yet? Do share your experiences here.

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Comments

  1. @Ajay: Just few key points on Etihad redemption:
    1. Make sure you get Jet Airways PNR. I recently had issue where Etihad provided me with EY PNR and ticket number but it was never fully confirmed on Jet Airways (there was no Jet Airways PNR – Red Flag). EY website kept showing as ticket valid where as Jet Airways had cancelled the award ticket. The airport staff of EY/9W were of no help.
    2. To get around 14 days advance booking rule, you can book a 14+ date award ticket and with “one free date change”, change the date to within 14 day date. (as long as the award seats are available on your date of travel).
    3. Etihad agents are pathetic. Long hold times and sometimes clueless agents so be prepared with your research for award pricing and taxes.

    • A few observations on Etihad Jet redemption…

      1. There is no consistency in information given by agents. I planned an itinarary based after speaking to an agent but decided to book the ticket next day. When I called up the next day to actually book the ticket, the other agent said that he is not able to see the flights / routing in his system.. Whereas I could see the availability oN JP inventory.

      2. The hold time in my case was over 90 mins once when I called at 9 pm. Remember they have 24HR service.

      3. They have a funny rule that you can’t redeem on Jet Konnect. Yesterday I called them to find out for business class on Chandigarh to Delhi. Jet operates 4 flights..2 ATRs by Jet Airways, so no business class and 2 Boeinf 737 by Jet Konnect with business class. But you cannot book Business class using EY miles.
      4 Last month I changed a booking from Economy to Business class, Etihad sent me an upgrade voucher E mail, but at Delhi Aiport 9W declined to accept this voucher as they did not recognised it. 9W staff was clueless. Fortunately business class difference miles were not deducted from my account.

      A lot of learning in last 3 months,,!

  2. Hi Ajay!

    Just seeking one clarity for my understanding.

    In 9W website, a GOI IDR sector ticket for miles redemption is saying 10000 miles whereas the same in EY is 4012 miles.

    What’s the catch? Isn’t it supposed to be the same amount of miles burned? Or if my understanding is correct, booking thru EY website actually makes my travel a lot lot lot sweeter! In fact, travelling by business class also makes sense in that case..

    Please advice and thanks in advance..

  3. AJ,

    Etihad agent told me that I can change my travel date any number of time and they do not charge 100 UAE Dirhams for a second change. Since I was not sure of my travel date, he kept assuaging me that there will be no fees for date change.

  4. Wonderful. Just booked two tickets on 9W using Etihad miles.
    Got 20% bonus for Citibank PM transfer.

    @Ajay: Etihad asked for CC details including CVV, expiry date which should and is against norms and practices.

  5. Ajay, I must say this is a great find. To take it further, have you tried doing this with a Star Alliance member? I was wondering if it would be possible to have Premier Miles transferred to krisflyer & booking tickets on Air India for travel within India thru it? However, the Star Alliance Roundtrip pdf (http://www.singaporeair.com/pdf/ppsclub_krisflyer/charts/StarAlliance_RoundTrip_Aug14.pdf) doesn’t list India in any zone. Any idea about this?

  6. @Varun – I was referring to another blog that Ajay posted few days back about 20% bonus miles + 6000 additional miles on transferring 20,000 miles into Etihad account.

  7. Hi AJ,

    Another very important point… Etihad miles expire within 12 Months. I transferred my miles last month to Etihad Guest account and My account shows that these miles will expire in October 2015. So unless you are sure that you are going to use up these miles you may end up loosing them.

    • @Krishnakumar as per the Etihad website, base members miles expire 2 years from date of activity. Silver guests 2.5 years. Gold and Gold Elite are 3 years from the date of activity. You should get in touch with Etihad if your account shows otherwise

  8. Hi AJ,

    Just a small piece of info. I do not have a Eithad FF ac.

    I do have some miles on my Citi PM. I have a questions if you can help me on that.

    If i create a new Etihad ac and transffer PM into that, will i be able to book reward tickets, or would I need to first travel on Ethihad and only then book award ticket from the transffered miles.

    Thanks

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