Frequent Flyer Programs

How to book Etihad Business Class with miles and points from India?

This article explains how to book Etihad Airways Business Class using miles and points. It covers different reward programs, such as Etihad Guest, Aeroplan, American Airlines, and Asiana Club, and provides information on how to earn and transfer miles.

Etihad Airways is undeniably one of the most luxurious airlines in the world, offering travelers a premium travel experience like no other. Etihad offers a range of cabin classes, including Economy, Business, and First Class. While all of their cabins are known for their exceptional quality, their premium classes are particularly noteworthy.

Etihad’s New Business Class on their Airbus A350.

While their First Class cabins, in the form of The Apartments and The Residence onboard their A380s, are very aspirational and coveted, their Business Class is also one of the best premium products in our skies.

There are two different variants of business class seats that Etihad offers. Their latest business class offering can be found on their A350-1000s, which feature the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats in a reverse 1-2-1 configuration with sliding doors that provide excellent levels of privacy. The A350s have 44 of these seats, and as shown on the seat map below, there is just one massive single cabin.

seatmap of etihad a350 business class
Etihad A350 Business Class Seat Map

The second and inferior product is what they call the Business Studio. These can be found on their 787s, which feature 28 of these seats in a 1-2-1 layout with some of the seats close to the windows and others closer to the aisle. Some of these seats also face backward, and they have no sliding doors.

Image of Etihad 787 Business Studio
Etihad Business Class (Studio) on their 787

Overall, Etihad’s latest business class offering on their A350s is a significant improvement over their Business Studio on the 787s. The Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats provide excellent comfort and privacy, and the reverse 1-2-1 configuration ensures that every passenger has direct aisle access. The sliding doors also add an extra layer of privacy, making it an ideal choice for business travelers who want to work or sleep during their flight.

Now, let’s talk about booking Etihad Business Class using miles and points. With a little bit of strategy and some knowledge of the various reward programs, you can fly in Etihad’s Business Class without breaking the bank.

Booking Etihad Business Class using Etihad Guest Miles

Unfortunately, due to the recent brutal devaluation of Etihad’s frequent flyer program, Etihad Guest, the mileage requirement to fly Etihad Business Class has significantly increased. In my opinion, it is not one of the better options available. However, it is still the easiest and most straightforward option.

Etihad Guest uses a distance-based award chart with the mileage requirement as follows:

image of etihad award chart

However, premium redemption fares will be applied based on demand and availability. Therefore, there is little chance that you will ever see these mileage requirements in action.

For example, a Mumbai (BOM) – London Heathrow (LHR) via Abu Dhabi (AUH) itinerary covers a distance of 4,658 miles, falling in the 4000-5000 mile range per the table. This theoretically requires 75,000 Etihad miles for business class. However, I have not seen any mileage requirements lower than 100,005 in the next 6 months.

Etihad BOM - LHR Award Chart
Etihad Award Availability BOM – AUH

Similarly, Mumbai (BOM) – New York (JFK) via Abu Dhabi (AUH) is 8,093 miles, falling in the highest distance band of 6000+ requiring 110000 Etihad miles for business class however I have never seen them below 140000 Etihad miles.

Etihad BOM - JFK via AUH
Etihad BOM JFK

Additionally, Etihad also adds significant carrier-imposed surcharges. Therefore, the above examples of BOM – LHR would include over ₹44,000 in taxes and surcharges, and BOM – JFK would include over ₹72,000 in taxes and surcharges.

The silver lining is that there are plenty of opportunities to earn and transfer Etihad miles in India. First and foremost, SBI offers two Etihad Co-Branded credit cards that can earn Etihad Guest Miles on spending, and they also come with a 5000 welcome bonus for the premier card. These cards have a very impressive sweet spot, which we will discuss later. In addition to these cards, Etihad is also a transfer partner for the following cards:

Bank/CardTransfer Ratio
Citi Premier Miles2:1
Citi Prestige1:4
Axis Atlas1:2
Axis Magnus, Reserve, Burgundy Private5:4
Axis Select & Privilege10:1
Axis (other cards)20:1
HDFC (DCB & Infinia)2:1
American Express2:1

The transfer timelines to Etihad Guest from the transfer partners is as follows:

Transfer PartnerTransfer Time
Axis EdgeRewards & EdgeMilesInstant
Citi5-7 Days
American ExpressInstant

The best way to use your Etihad Guest Miles is to combine them with the companion voucher that comes with the SBI Etihad Premier Credit Card. This will provide the most compelling value.

Book Etihad Business Class Using Air Canada Aeroplan

Aeroplan’s extensive partnerships in the Middle East, including Etihad, Emirates, and Oman Air, make it an attractive option for Indian frequent flyers looking to book premium cabins on Etihad. Additionally, Aeroplan does not pass on any carrier-imposed surcharges on Etihad award bookings. With Aeroplan’s recent partnership with both Axis and HDFC cards, it may be the best program for Indian frequent flyers to book Etihad premium cabins.

You can book an Etihad business class flight on the Mumbai (BOM) – London Heathrow (LHR) via Abu Dhabi (AUH) using 60000 Aeroplan miles. The taxes are relatively low as fuel surcharges and carrier-imposed charges are not passed on.

Aeroplan miles required for bom-lhr

Similarly, you can book Etihad business class on Mumbai (BOM) – New York (JFK) via Abu Dhabi (AUH) route for 90000 Aeroplan miles.

Another great thing about Aeroplan is that for just 5000 miles, you can add a stopover. This means you could fly a route like BOM – AUH – LHR, with a stopover in AUH for 65,000 miles.

Redeeming Aeroplan miles to book Etihad flights is usually hassle-free, as you can complete the entire transaction through Aeroplan’s website. However, at the time of writing this post, Aeroplan has limited the option to view or search for any award flights in or out of India to anywhere except North America. This means that if you are trying to book an Etihad award flight from BOM – LHR via AUH or LHR – BOM via AUH, it will not show up on the Aeroplan website. However, if you only search for AUH-LHR or the reverse, it will appear.

We do not know if or when Air Canada plans to fix this issue. Currently, the only option is to call Air Canada and complete the booking over the phone. However, the process can be challenging. The wait times are excruciatingly long, and even if you reach an agent, you will be charged an additional $30 CAD in fees for booking over the phone.

Book Etihad Business Class Using American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

This is my favorite program to book premium cabins on Etihad because I can earn AA miles on my Citi (US) American Airlines co-branded card. However, from an Indian perspective, it may not be very exciting since the only way to earn/transfer to AA is via Marriott. Keep an eye out for transfer bonuses that Marriott offers from time to time. For example, last year there was a promotional offer in which you could receive a 25% bonus on miles when transferring Marriott points to AAdvantage.

American Airlines Partner Award Chart
AAdvantage Partner Award Chart

If you have American Airlines (AA) miles, there are some excellent sweet spots available. For example, you can book a flight from India to anywhere in Europe for just 42,500 miles and less than $30 USD in taxes and charges.

Keep in mind that AA does not display Etihad award space on its website. Therefore, you will need to call them to book and preferably speak to one of their non-US agents. There seem to be some restrictions on the point-of-sale (POS) availability for these awards, which means that US agents often cannot see them. Personally, I call Australia or Singapore for assistance.

Book Etihad Business Class Using Asiana Club Miles

Asiana Club, the frequent flyer program of Asiana Airlines, is likely the most affordable way to fly Etihad business class. However, Indian frequent flyers can only earn and transfer miles to Asiana Club through Marriott.

For instance, flying from BOM to LHR requires 55,000 Asiana Miles in business class.

Asiana Etihad Partner Award Chart
Asiana Etihad Partner Award Chart (Round Trip Requirements)

To redeem your miles, you must call Asiana, as redemption is only possible over the phone. Before transferring your points from Marriott, confirm award availability with the agent. If the agent is unable to hold, HUCA.

How to search for Etihad Award Space

Etihad does not have a predictable schedule for releasing award availability, so it is best to start searching as early as possible.

image showing how to search etihad award seats on

The best way to search for Etihad award space is through Etihad’s own website, even if you plan to book through a partner. Not all Etihad award seats are available to partners, so you need to look for “GuestSeats” explicitly.

image showing etihad guestseats
Only GuestSeats Awards are available to partners.

To search for award seats, visit, enter the route you are looking for under the “book” option, select your desired cabin class, and toggle the “Book with miles” option. In the search results, look for award seats that say “GuestSeats.” These offer the maximum value when booking with points and are the only ones available to partners.

If you are unable to find the award seats you are looking for, you can use to set alerts.

For example, if you are looking for award seats between BOM – LHR with a connection in AUH, follow these steps on

  1. Enter BOM – AUH as the first sector and do a search.
  2. On the subsequent page, filter out only the Business class seats.
  3. To view only GuestSeats availability, adjust the slider to show availability that costs less than 100,005 miles. This is based on the previous search on, which showed that the mileage requirement for GuestSeat award seats on this route is 100,005 miles.
image showing how to search for etihad award availability using SeatSpy

Because Seatspy only permits one direct leg alert, you must create two alerts: one for BOM – AUH, and another for AUH – LHR. Additionally, ensure that award availability opens up on both dates before booking.


In conclusion, booking Etihad Business Class using miles and points can be a great way to experience luxury air travel without the high price tag. By utilizing reward programs strategically and staying up to date on promotions and transfer bonuses, you can make the most of your miles and points and enjoy a world-class experience in Etihad’s Business Class. So, start planning your next trip and get ready to indulge in the ultimate luxury air travel with Etihad Airways.

Happy travels!

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