Buy Etihad Guest miles and redeem for discounted Virgin Australia Business Class
Buy Etihad Guest miles and redeem for discounted Virgin Australia Business Class

Etihad Guest miles are a unique currency because they can be redeemed for flights on 24 partner airlines. Etihad’s partner airlines span all three airline alliances. There are also many partner airlines that aren’t in an alliance, and therefore aren’t otherwise easily accessible to Australians.

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Buying Etihad Guest miles can be lucrative if you plan to redeem them for Business class flights on airlines such as Virgin Australia, Air Serbia, Brussels Airlines, Czech Airlines, American Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and GOL Airlines.

How to Buy Etihad Guest Miles

You can buy Etihad Guest miles on the Etihad Guest website. The normal price is USD20 (~$28) per thousand.


There is a purchase limit of 60,000 miles per transaction (excluding any bonus miles) and 100,000 miles per calendar year (or 150,000 miles for Platinum members). Etihad’s website states that miles will normally credit to your account within 24 hours of purchasing them. In our experience, it can take 24-48 hours.

Special Deals on Buying Etihad Guest Miles

Unlike frequent flyer programs such as Avianca LifeMiles (which has been known to offer up to 145% bonus miles), Etihad Guest is not known for generous bonus mile promotions or discounts. But Etihad does regularly offer up to 30% bonus miles on purchases during limited-time promotions, which typically take place every 2-3 months.

The current offer is better than usual. Currently, Etihad Guest is offering up to 60% bonus miles on purchases of miles from 14-18 June 2020. The amount of bonus miles depends on the purchase amount:

  • Buy 6,000 to 20,000 Etihad Guest miles to receive 20% bonus miles
  • Buy 21,000 to 40,000 Etihad Guest miles to receive 40% bonus miles
  • Buy 41,000+ Etihad Guest miles to receive 60% bonus miles

During the previous promotion in April 2020, Etihad was offering a 40% discount on all purchases. That was the best promotion we’ve seen so far from Etihad.

Redeeming Etihad Guest Miles

Etihad Guest is a bizarre frequent flyer program. But that’s why we love it! Redemptions on each partner airline are subject to completely different award charts. On some airlines, award flights are superb value. On others, they are ridiculously expensive!

Here are the Etihad Guest partner airlines as of April 2021:

Etihad Guest partners April 2021

 

Virgin Australia awards

Naturally, we’re interested in redeeming miles for awards that are good value! As it happens, redeeming Etihad Guest miles for Virgin Australia flights can be very lucrative. Here is the award chart for Virgin Australia awards:

Route distance  Examples Economy Premium Economy Business
0 – 1,250 miles Sydney-Queenstown

Brisbane-Port Vila

6,900 miles N/A 13,800 miles
1,251 – 1,750 miles Perth-Melbourne

Brisbane-Nadi

10,900 miles N/A 21,800 miles
1,751+ miles Sydney-Denpasar 16,900 miles N/A 33,800 miles
International long-haul Brisbane-Los Angeles 60,000 miles 90,000 miles 120,000 miles

The sweet spot is mid-length domestic and shorter international flights. In particular, routes just under 1,250 miles in length are exceptional value. It will cost you just 13,800 miles to fly routes including:

It’s also just 21,800 miles to fly from Melbourne to Perth or Brisbane-Nadi in Virgin Australia Business Class.

Velocity’s carrier charges do not apply when booking Virgin Australia flights with Etihad Guest miles.

During just a 20% bonus miles promotion, it would cost a maximum of USD1,160 to buy 69,000 Etihad Guest miles. That’s enough miles for 5 one-way Virgin Australia Business Class flights up to 1,250 miles in length, e.g. Sydney-Queenstown. Depending on the route, that’s around a third of the usual price!

Other Etihad Guest partner airlines

Other Etihad Guest sweet spots include:

How to book Etihad Guest award flights

The Etihad website can only be used to book award flights operated by Etihad Airways. To book award flights on any partner airline, you’ll need to call Etihad Guest. The Australian contact number is 1300 532 215.

We recommend calling in the late evening or early in the morning as you’ll be more likely to speak to somebody in the Belgrade call centre – which provides much better service than some of Etihad’s other call centres. Partner airline award flights must be booked at least 24 hours in advance.

 

Want to learn more about buying points for cheap premium cabin flights?

Frequent Flyer Solutions offers a comprehensive training program which includes an entire course on buying points for discounted premium travel! This course covers 8 frequent flyer programs in detail, including Etihad Guest. View course →

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]

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