I’ve been a big believer in the power of JPMiles for the longest time. For someone in India, they were unquestionably the best mileage programme to be a part of, given their access to the inventory of Jet Airways, and as a sweetener, the 20 other airline partners as well, which allowed them to give you a redemption ticket on most continents, apart from Antartica of course.
With the shutdown of Jet Airways a couple of months ago, however, most of those partnerships dried up immediately, given the lack of access to the IATA BSP system. JetPrivilege did launch a new redemption system for domestic and international flights, but the value you get out of those tickets is lesser than the value from the original proposition where you could redeem for award seats.
The only airline you can still use for redeeming your JPMiles for a reasonable value, for the time being, is the part owner, Etihad Airways. However, unlike the process for Jet Airways redemptions, where you could see the inventory online, to get an Etihad redemption, you need to go through a process, which is offline.
A few things to know before we get started with JPMiles Redemption on Etihad. To redeem an Etihad Airways ticket with your JPMiles, you need to contact the JetPrivilege Contact Centre, at least 14 working days before the date of travel. Secondly, Etihad Airways redemptions need the payment of surcharges.
How to spot availability?
The inventory available for redemption broadly matches the inventory that Etihad Guest provides its members, so instead of depending on JetPrivilege to come back to you with options, you can shorten the process, and any disappointment, by checking out the inventory availability yourself.
To find out what seats, and how many seats are available, you can head to the Etihad Guest website, where you can spot the inventory for yourself. You don’t need to have an Etihad Guest number to do this. Head over to EtihadGuest.com and under the “Book” tab, plonk in your requirements. You can search for a one-way ticket, as well as a round trip as well. If the Miles option is Grayed out, it means it is not a route operated entirely by Etihad Airways.
For example, I looked for tickets between Delhi and Dublin for July 2019 in Business Class.
I instantly got back results. From Delhi to Dublin, there were three seats open on the day of departure in Business Class in Etihad GuestSeats, and on the way back, there were three flights to choose from.
Many important things to note here. First, Etihad Guest’s website shows you inventory for the entire week in one go. So, as you can see, availability is excellent for the whole week (same number of miles per seat required through the week).
Second, the only inventory available for the saver level counts towards access by partners such as JetPrivilege. Like you can see, a family of three is comfortable to squeeze through for the trip, in Business Class of course. On the way back, you can fly in a 787 or a 77W, and build in a long layover as well, if you would like to experience the Etihad Lounge at Abu Dhabi for longer.
Bottom line is if you don’t spot inventory here, JetPrivilege will also not be able to offer you those seats.
Assessing the number of miles you need
The number of miles you need is not the same as reflected on the Etihad Guest website, and you cannot convert your JPMiles to Etihad Guest miles. So, the best you can do is to use the JetPrivilege partner award chart for making these redemptions. Here is the latest Award chart.
The miles displayed are JPMiles for travel in Economy Class, one way, and exclude applicable taxes and surcharges payable in cash. For Business Class flights, double the miles are required, and for First Class flights, triple the number of miles is required.
Here is how each zone is defined. If you are originating in India, it counts as Zone 4.
In the case of our example, for travelling between Delhi and Dublin, we need to look at the award chart between Z04 and Z08 and double the number of miles for Business Class. So, one-way flights between the two cities will need 84000 JPMiles for one-way travel, and for a round trip, will need 168000 JPMiles.
Making the booking
To make a reservation with your JPMiles, now you know if you have enough JPMiles and if the award availability is there or not. Subsequently, you need to write an email to JetPrivilege at [jpredemptions @ jetprivilege.com] from your registered email address. To achieve the quickest turn around time, you should send the most amount of information in the first go itself.
This should include the origin/destination of travel, date of travel, the account from which JPMiles need to be debited, names of all the passengers travelling, along with a copy of their passports. Once your request is a part of the system, you should receive a return email with a 9-digit Request ID assigned to your correspondence. This number is how your request will be tracked within the system.
You should ideally wait for 24-48 hours for a reply from the concerned department. JetPrivilege likes to call a lot, rather than email, so you should be ready to accept calls from their call centre where they will validate your request, before putting it out on email. In a recent redemption request, I could not pick their calls since I was travelling abroad, and, err, the seats got knocked off, and had to be restored. In the process, my business class seat went away, and I had to do with an Economy class seat.
After a verbal confirmation, they will send you an email, which lists the segments you will be flying, along with a PNR which can be cross-checked on the Etihad Airways website, to make sure everything is all correct. This email also includes the amount of taxes and surcharges you are supposed to pay. It is essential to cross-check the PNR because once the process is completed, you cannot change your plans and your JPMiles cannot be refunded once the ticket is issued.
Once you give your go-ahead, JetPrivilege will send you a payment link to collect the taxes and other charges from you. This is also followed by an SMS to you. Again, this is a time-limited link, so be careful as to make good the payment within time. Also, be careful to open the link on a stable browser, since the link expires after one-time use, even if your payment is unsuccessful. I had to call and request another link to be sent to me recently, given the tickets were supposed to be issued by 6 PM, and the link was to expire by 4 PM but in my attempt to pay the browser hung up, and then the link was not going to be used again.
Once the entire process is completed, you should expect the miles to be debited from your account as the last step, and tickets issued subsequently. You should expect to receive your tickets within a couple of hours after payment is completed. Alternatively, you can also check on the Etihad Manage my Booking section with your PNR to retrieve the tickets now.
Etihad has a fantastic Business Class and First Class product and service, even on their older aircraft, and this makes for great use of JPMiles. I’ve even flown them in Economy between Mumbai and the United States, and the A380 product in Economy Class was also very good. So, if you are looking for some good options to fly with your JPMiles, you should look to redeeming them for travelling on Etihad Airways.
How have you utilised your JPMiles over the last couple of months?
Any other questions, shoot away in the comments section.