As a huge fan of the Etihad premium experience (Etihad Business and First really is as good as it gets), I do what I can, whenever I can, to ease my way to the front of their planes.
My standard plan involves cash payment for Economy flights, that I then upgrade to Business using my Etihad Guest miles (whether earned via flying, or transferred over from Membership Rewards points I have earned via my Amex Gold).
Given that there’s a substantial cash payment involved here, I’m always on the look-out for a solid Etihad deal, and there’s a couple of easy things you can do to reduce your Etihad spend.
Etihad Saving Tip 1: The Amex Promo
First up, there’s the return of the Amex 10% off promo. I love this promo: you simply go to this page, plug in the first four letters of your Amex card (I have the Amex Gold, BA Amex and SPG Amex, all of which work fine) and you’ll be presented with a range of flights for your chosen dates with 10% slashed from them. Here’s a random example for an Economy flight from London to Bangkok (the starred flights earn the discount):
“Aha Tom! But the cheapest flight isn’t discounted”, I hear you say.
You’d be quite right, but the key point here is that cheapest flight cannot be upgraded with miles, whereas the £325 Economy Saver can. So, in line with my “Buy Economy, Upgrade With Miles” strategy flagged above, this is a genuine 10% saving.
Etihad Saving Tip 2: Cashback
This is as straightforward as it gets. Simply book your Etihad flight via Topcashback and you’ll get 2% cashback. On a flight likely to cost several hundred pounds, that is likely to be significant.
What’s more, if you’re not already a TopCashback member, sign up via this link and you’ll get £10 bonus cashback when you spend £10+ (a target which I’d confidently submit the booking of any Etihad flight is going to hit).
Other cashback sites are available! If you prefer Quidco, you can actually get 2.5% cashback for Economy flights, 2% in other classes.
Plus sign up via this link for a £5 sign-up bonus.
Yes. Bear in mind my strategy of cash Economy flights plus upgrades with miles that I flagged above is not always the most cost-effective option. There’s a couple of possibilities that may, depending on your cash/miles balances, work better for you:
Option 1 – Heavily discounted Business Class travel: While you’ll rarely get ultra-cheap Business Class deals from London (you need to reposition your starting point from the EU for that), you will at least find that Etihad occasionally offer some decent value Business Class cash flights, occasionally dipping under the £2k mark for long-haul return.
The key here is giving your Etihad Guest miles a reasonable value based on your circumstances (I value mine at an approximate penny each) and then working out whether the cash Economy + upgrade option is better value than the pure cash option.
Obviously, this calculation is heavily dependent on your mileage balance: if you have vast numbers of Etihad miles you need to burn, then that’s a factor to bear in mind. If, however, as is often the case with me, you would need to transfer in miles from Amex Membership Rewards to make the redemption, it may well be worth looking closely at any heavily discounted Business Class cash option.
Option 2 – Flights from Abu Dhabi using miles: Very often, the “big hit” on any miles redemption is the tax. It can be somewhat dispiriting when that flight you’ve so meticulously saved your miles for ends up costing you a small fortune in taxes and fees.
With Etihad, that’s where Abu Dhabi comes in!
Reward flights departing from Abu Dhabi will often cost you very little in fees and taxes, from as little as AED 490 (£100) for Abu Dhabi to London in Business Class, for example. Therefore, if you can combine that with the lower level mileage redemptions available, you can get a very good deal. For example, AUH-LHR for 66k miles plus £100: