Etihad Airways will begin flying its flagship Airbus A380 to Melbourne from June next year. The A380s, which already fly daily to Sydney, offer a more comfortable journey in all classes of travel. But First Class passengers can expect to be especially pampered. The A380 is equipped with “apartments” in First, as well as on-board showers!

The new A380 service will supplement Melbourne’s second daily Boeing 777 flight to Etihad’s Abu Dhabi hub.

Even though the route has just been announced, a number of lucky AFF members have already been able to secure First Class Apartments on the new A380 flights, using frequent flyer points!

Managed to sneak 2 x apartments lhr – mel on 3 June yay!

Of course, any frequent flyer redemptions are subject to limited availability. But at this stage there have been positive reports of seats being available – even in First class – on these new flights.

Etihad Guest miles can be used to book a seat, but a round trip from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi will cost almost 250,000 Etihad miles plus around $500 in taxes. Virgin Australia Velocity points can also be redeemed, but the cost is a similarly high 288,000 points for a return trip in First class.

The most lucrative option is actually to redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles. Just 120,000 American AAdvantage miles – plus a minimal amount of taxes – is enough to fly to Abu Dhabi and back in First Class! From Abu Dhabi it is also possible to travel onwards to London on the A380 for an extra 40,000 miles in First. That is a truly fantastic deal!

Booked BNE-MEL-AUH-LHR 100K + $AU91.

Took less then 10 min to book over the phone (called AA SYD number). Flights in July, hope I’ll be able to use them.

If you’d like to use points to try out Etihad’s “apartments”, then clearly AAdvantage miles are the best option. It is possible to earn American AAdvantage miles in Australia through certain credit cards, and of course by flying. But perhaps the easiest method is to simply buy them. If bought during a current “buy miles” promotion, the miles required for a one-way First Class flight to Abu Dhabi would cost well under $2,000!

The Etihad A380 is also home to “The Residence”, the airline’s luxury 3 bedroom private “cabin”. But unfortunately this cannot be booked using frequent flyer points; and a return flight from Sydney or Melbourne to Abu Dhabi in the Residence would set you back around $70,000!

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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]