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.
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.