Buy Etihad Guest miles with a 20% bonus: useful for Virgin Australia Business Class flights

Guide to buying Etihad Guest miles for travel on Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, American Airlines and more.

GUIDE: Buying Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 4 minutes
POSTED: May 24, 2019
UPDATED: May 24, 2019
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Etihad Guest

Back in May 2017, Etihad Airways joined the likes of American Airlines, Alaska, United, and Avianca in selling miles for their frequent flyer program, Etihad Guest.

In this promotional offer, you can earn an up to 20% bonus on purchases of Etihad Guest miles until 31 May.

In this guide, I outline what you can use Etihad Guest miles for, how to make a purchase, and why you should only ever buy 75% of the Etihad Guest miles you need for an Etihad flight redemption.

Buy Etihad Guest miles with a 20% bonus: useful for Virgin Australia Business Class flights was last modified: May 24th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt

We also have a guide on the best uses of Etihad Guest miles for travellers in New Zealand.

Current offer

  • Bonus: 10-20% on purchases of 6,000+ miles (tiered)
  • Valid until: 31 May
  • Best value redemptions: short-haul international or Australian domestic Virgin Australia Business Class flights priced at 13,800 miles – this includes flights between Auckland and Nuku’alofa, and Queenstown and Sydney
  • Book awards online: for Etihad flights
  • Book awards over the phone: for other partners, including Virgin Australia (phone number here)
  • Link: buy Etihad Guest miles

Compared to the regular purchase price of 2 US cents per mile, this promotion offers a price of 1.67 US cents per mile at the highest tier:

  • Buy 6,000-20,000 miles = 10% bonus
  • Buy 21,000-40,000 miles = 15% bonus
  • Buy 41,000-60,000 miles = 20% bonus

The bonus is below average, with higher bonuses of up to 30% having been offered in the past.

Note: Etihad Guest Miles expire after 24 to 36 months from the time the miles are earned depending on your membership status.

Offer History

DateBonus (%)Price per point (US cents)
May 2019201.67
February 2019201.67
December 2018301.54
November 2018251.6
November 2017201.67
Average23.00%1.60

What can I use Etihad Guest miles for?

Prices found in the tables below are based on points purchases at the highest tier.

Virgin Australia flights

Redeeming your Etihad Guest Miles for travel on Virgin Australia is often a great option for South Pacific, Trans-Tasman and Australian domestic flights, but note that the booking process isn’t straightforward, requiring a phone call.

Virgin-Australia

You will see in the table below that it will generally make more sense to buy Economy Class tickets on Virgin Australia with cash and Business Class tickets with miles.

The sweet spot in this first table are the Virgin Australia Business Class redemptions priced at 13,800 Etihad Guest miles and you can access the full list of those routes here.

OriginDestinationEtihad Guest Miles
required for Economy
Etihad Guest Miles
required for Business
Cost buying miles Economy (USD)*Cost buying miles Business (USD)*
AucklandNuku'alofa690013800$115.23$230.46
QueenstownSydney690013800$115.23$230.46
AucklandSydney1090021800$182.03$364.06
AucklandCoolangatta1090021800$182.03$364.06
AucklandBrisbane1090021800$182.03$364.06
AucklandMelbourne1090021800$182.03$364.06
ChristchurchSydney1090021800$182.03$364.06
ChristchurchBrisbane1090021800$182.03$364.06
ChristchurchMelbourne1090021800$182.03$364.06
DunedinBrisbane1090021800$182.03$364.06
WellingtonBrisbane1090021800$182.03$364.06
QueenstownBrisbane1090021800$182.03$364.06
AucklandApia1690033800$282.23$564.46
AucklandRarotonga1690033800$282.23$564.46

*All redemption prices in the tables are in USD, one-way, and do not include booking fees, taxes and other charges

However, if you have got access to both points currencies, it is worth comparing Etihad Guest miles vs Velocity Points for your next Virgin Australia flight redemption.

Some readers have shared issues with booking international Virgin Australia flights with Etihad Guest miles. It seems that the Manchester call centre (+44 3456 081225) is the most helpful and it may require special permission from a supervisor to book one of these flights.

On Air New Zealand

Based on how much flights with Air New Zealand usually cost, I can see little to no value in purchasing points to use on any of the routes below.

OriginDestinationEtihad Guest Miles
required for Economy
Etihad Guest Miles
required for Business
Cost buying miles Economy (USD)*Cost buying miles Business (USD)*
Domestic NZDomestic NZ1300026000$217.1$434.2
AucklandNoumea1300026000$217.1$434.2
AucklandNuku'Alofa1300026000$217.1$434.2
BrisbaneNorfolk Island1300026000$217.1$434.2
QueenstownSydney1300026000$217.1$434.2
SydneyNorfolk Island1300026000$217.1$434.2
AucklandMelbourne1700034000$283.9$567.8
AucklandSydney1700034000$283.9$567.8
AucklandBrisbane1700034000$283.9$567.8
AucklandGold Coast1700034000$283.9$567.8
AucklandSunshine Coast1700034000$283.9$567.8
AucklandNiue Island1700034000$283.9$567.8
AucklandNadi1700034000$283.9$567.8
ChristchurchMelbourne1700034000$283.9$567.8
ChristchurchBrisbane1700034000$283.9$567.8
ChristchurchSydney1700034000$283.9$567.8
ChristchurchGold Coast1700034000$283.9$567.8
QueenstownMelbourne1700034000$283.9$567.8
WellingtonMelbourne1700034000$283.9$567.8
WellingtonSydney1700034000$283.9$567.8
WellingtonNadi1700034000$283.9$567.8
AucklandAdelaide4500090000$751.5$1503
AucklandCairns4500090000$751.5$1503
AucklandPerth4500090000$751.5$1503
AucklandApia4500090000$751.5$1503
AucklandRarotonga4500090000$751.5$1503
AucklandTahiti4500090000$751.5$1503
AucklandHonolulu4500090000$751.5$1503
AucklandDenpasar4500090000$751.5$1503
ChristchurchPerth4500090000$751.5$1503
ChristchurchNadi4500090000$751.5$1503
RarotongaLos Angeles4500090000$751.5$1503
SydneyRarotonga4500090000$751.5$1503
AucklandBuenos Aires105000210000$1753.5$3507
AucklandHouston105000210000$1753.5$3507
AucklandSan Francisco105000210000$1753.5$3507
AucklandLos Angeles105000210000$1753.5$3507
AucklandVancouver105000210000$1753.5$3507
AucklandLondon105000210000$1753.5$3507
AucklandHo Chi Minh105000210000$1753.5$3507
AucklandSingapore105000210000$1753.5$3507
AucklandHong Kong105000210000$1753.5$3507
AucklandShanghai105000210000$1753.5$3507
AucklandTokyo105000210000$1753.5$3507
AucklandOsaka105000210000$1753.5$3507
Los AngelesLondon105000210000$1753.5$3507

Etihad flights

Etihad Guest miles can, of course, be used on Etihad flights and, again, it’s the premium cabins that you’ll get the most value out of. Unfortunately for Kiwis, Etihad still don’t fly direct from any New Zealand airport to Abu Dhabi. This means you can only redeem Etihad Guest Miles on Etihad Airways if you are commencing your journey from Australia, so you would need to organise a positioning flight from New Zealand to Australia separately.

Etihad-1

Etihad A380 Business Class

Etihad-2

Etihad A380 First Apartment

Other airline partners

Etihad Guest miles can also be redeemed for travel on 27 airline partners – the ones that fly to New Zealand include:

  • Air New Zealand
  • American Airlines (seasonal)
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Philippine Airlines

Important notes

  • You can buy a maximum of 60,000 miles (excluding the bonus) per transaction and 100,000 in a calendar year
  • Points post within 24 hours
  • The regular cost is 2 US cents per mile

How to buy Etihad Guest more cheaply if you already have some in your account

A method to make your Etihad points stretch further—at least when booking online—is to use the option to pay in part miles and part cash, meaning you can ‘buy’ miles for as low as 0.9 USD cents each, which is much better value than buying them outright at up to 2 US cents a pop.

But that’s only if you already have at least 75% of the required miles for the redemption and it’s only for Etihad-operated flights.

How else can I get Etihad Guest miles?

Earning Etihad Guest miles is pretty difficult from New Zealand, with no current direct earn or transfer credit card partners for everyday spend.

If you have an American Express Membership Rewards card, you can transfer your points to Marriott Bonvoy and then to Etihad Guest.

See our full guide to earning Etihad points here.

Summing up

My take is that it isn’t worth buying Etihad Guest miles speculatively.

However, if you are looking at sinking some cash into a Business Class seat on a domestic or Trans-Tasman Virgin Australia or a long-haul Etihad flight, it is possible that you can save money by exploring buying miles instead.

This buy miles option can also be useful when needing to top up for a specific redemption but if you already have 75% of the required miles and are looking at an Etihad flight, then make sure to use the part-miles, part-cash trick to buy the miles more cheaply.

As usual, make sure you confirm award availability before buying!

Have you had any wins buying Etihad Guest miles? Share in the comments below!

Buy Etihad Guest miles with a 20% bonus: useful for Virgin Australia Business Class flights was last modified: May 24th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt