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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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 14 Comments

One of the key reasons for me to have signed up with the Citi Prestige Credit Card which was launched in India earlier this year, was the plethora of status it comes with in terms of travel. Some of it I need, some of it I don’t.

One of the first requests I filed in to get a Status upgrade was on Etihad. Etihad offers Gold status, which is their second-from-top status to Citi Prestige Members. This could be useful for members in India since you are getting an alternative to Jet Airways’ Gold status, and it comes with pretty much similar benefits on Jet Airways as Jet Airways’ Gold status, apart from being useful on other airlines such as Etihad, Virgin Australia and their other partners.

Now, Etihad has a specially generous offer for Citi Prestige Card holders. You get Gold Status, and you get 5,000 Etihad Miles as well just to get started, which is a ticket on Jet Airways for free.

Also, you get another 6000 Etihad Miles for being able to transfer 20,000 miles to Etihad within the first 6 months of signing up for the Prestige Card, which makes it a nice 30% bonus. If like me, you’re coming from the PremierMiles card, you are basically converting 10,000 PremierMiles to 26,000 Etihad Miles which is a 1->2.6 conversion ratio.

I made my request somewhere in August, and early September, I was informed about the upgrade going through. With Etihad, they always take a very very long time to get you your membership kit. The surprise was, when yesterday the package really arrived. It stated that my membership was valid all the way uptil March 2016. Wow! For me, I expected it to last 12 months from the date of the upgrade, but this is much more than that!

This means I do get lounge access with Jet Airways and all the other Etihad Airways Partners if I get to fly them, along with Priority Boarding and handling as well.

Have you requested your Etihad Gold status yet?

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 2 Comments

Etihad Guest is the loyalty program of Etihad Airways, and I am trying to get a hang of it ever since they have been associated with Jet Airways. The thing is, Etihad is not such a great program on its own for mileage earning and burning, because the burn on Etihad’s own flights is dynamic and too darn expensive.

However, Etihad Guest offers some hidden gems for those of us in India. Etihad, just like for all their Etihad partners, offers a redemption chart of Etihad Guest miles on Jet Airways as well. Here is the chart in PDF for Domestic and International Routes. This can be a pretty useful chart since you get to travel with lesser number of miles than Jet Airways’ own JP program. For instance, for Mumbai – Delhi, the redemption offer on EY’s program is 5459 Etihad Miles + taxes (in economy) while on Jet Airways’ own program you would pay 8500 JP Miles + taxes. Downside is that you need to make bookings manually and contact the call center at least 14 days out to be able to do these reservations.

Etihad’s bonus offer

Etihad Guest has been a partner with Citibank (PremierMiles, Prestige and other Citi credit cards in India) as well as with American Express Membership Rewards for conversion to Etihad Guest Miles.

Remember, 2 Membership Reward points / 1 Citi PremierMile / 0.25 Citi Prestige points convert to 1 Etihad Guest mile.

However, Etihad is running a bonus offer at the moment, where if you convert your points to Etihad Guest miles by 30 November 2014, you get an extra 20% miles on all points transferred. The 20% bonus will hit your account within a week after the original miles are transferred.

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Not to forget, with the Citi Prestige, if you transfer 5000 points to convert to 20,000 miles within the first 6 months of the card activation, you also get another 30% bonus from Etihad Guest (6000 bonus miles). I am trying to see if a double-dip can happen, and just asked for my points to be transferred to Etihad from Citibank, and I will report back on the results shortly.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 15 Comments

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | One Comment

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