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I’m a creature of habit, and by habit, it means that I typically fly Coach/Economy. Why is that? I have a big family, so we budget and save our points so we could travel more as a family.

The catalyst

I saw a post from @MilesTalk on Instagram – JFK to LAX via American Airlines Flagship first class, one way, lie-flat seats right around $1,500. If booked directly with AA, it would cost 50K AA miles per ticket. I’ve flown to/from NYC many times, but have never tried flying first class or biz…some things are about to change.
Image courtesy of American Airlines
According to AA, this transcontinental flight services are available between:
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – JFK
  • LAX – Miami (MIA) – traveling on Boeing 777-300 aircraft only

Check AA, book via Etihad

This is what I did to book my one-way ticket from JFK to LAX

  • Go to AA Website 
  • Enter the airport info, one way, nonstop, redeem miles.
  • It has to be a flight requiring AA miles = 50K
  • It has to show First, Booking Code Z (see screenshot)
  • If you find a flight matching this criteria, save the flight information, date time, flight #
Image courtesy of American Airlines

Call Etihad Airlines

  • If this is your first time booking with Etihad, create a free Etihad account, have that info ready.
  • Also, make sure to link your Amex account with your Etihad account. Do all of these BEFORE calling Etihad.
  • Call 1-877-690-0767, choose the option that will get you to Etihad Guest
  • Give the rep the flight info (I also did mention first class, and that I found seats with booking code Z)
    • American Airlines
    • Route (in my case, it was JFK to LAX)
    • Flight #
    • Date/Time
    • Booking Code Z – first class
  • If the rep finds the flight for you, confirm the cost to book this first class one way booking = 25,000 Etihad points + $15.48 in fees.
  • I needed 2 seats, so the rep confirmed there were more than 2 seats available.
  • Give the rep your Etihad account #
  • Ask the rep to give you a few minutes while you transfer points from your American Express Membership Rewards account to Etihad (if you do not have any points in your Etihad account).
  • It’s a 1:1 transfer, and you have to transfer in 1,000 increments.
  • You will need to initiate the transfer from your Amex account to Etihad. You can do this while the rep is on the other line. If done correctly, the points transfer to Etihad is instant.
  • Since this was my first time to call Etihad, they also needed to get my passport info (even though my booking was for US domestic). I do not remember them asking for my passport # or expiration date, just needed my full name as shown in my passport

The damage? 25,000 Amex MRs + $15.48 per person

  • Once the traveler’s information was confirmed, the Etihad rep booked our flights. The cost for the 2 of us 50K Amex MRs + $30.96 in fees total.
  • While on the phone, the rep will send email confirmation.

It was that easy. Again, I thank @MilesTalk, Dave Grossman, for sharing how he booked this first class flight via American Airlines Flagship A321.

Which credit cards offer American Express Membership Rewards

These are the following credit cards that earn you American Express Membership Rewards

The Business Platinum Card from American  – Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card

The Platinum Card from American Express (personal) – Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

American Express Gold Card – Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

American Express Business Gold – Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

American Express Green Card – Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.

American Express Everyday Preferred Card – Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards Points back after they spend $1,000 in purchases on their new Card in their first 3 months

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Editorial Disclosure – The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

 

By Jason

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