How I booked first class flights via Etihad from Maldives to Abu Dhabi to Washington DC (value over $20,000)

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I kinda did a thing – this happened…all for “research”

Remember the time when I booked $20,000 worth of first class flights via Etihad? Yeah? Me neither! Well, I finally pulled the trigger. I’ve been jonesing for this booking on our return trip from the Maldives back to the US.

The backstory

We are headed to Maldives next year. I want to experience different types of aircraft for “research”. For the trip to Maldives, we will fly Qatar Airways and fly the best business class in the sky – Qsuites. The damage? Just 70K AA Miles + $15 in fees. We got two tickets, making it a total of 140K AA miles + $30 in fees.

How do we get back home?

So now that we booked our QSuites to the Maldives, we actually could’ve booked another QSuites flight back to LA, but again, for “research” I held off, and was determined to try and book Etihad or Emirates.

I failed at first

I tried doing this before our trip to Maui, and transferred 299K points to Aeroplan, and the booking failed. No one from Aeroplan knew why they couldn’t book it. It’s rare for Aeroplan to refund points back from where it came from, but after over 2 weeks of waiting, the 299K were returned to me.

If at first you don’t succeed…

I woke up this morning and noticed the 299K were refunded back. I was determined to book and get this done. I called Aeroplan, and was given the options. I wanted First Class from Abu Dhabi to DC, and if Biz or First Class was available for Male to Abu Dhabi, I’d take that too. Unfortunately, only coach was available on points from Male to Abu Dhabi. Fine. I was trained for this. I have coach in my blood. I can do coach for 4 hours to Abu Dhabi. And from Abu Dhabi, our plan was to stay there for a few days, visit Dubai, and then fly from Abu Dhabi to DC first class via Etihad 787.
Imagine us? FIRST CLASS, baby!!!!

The cost of booking this itinerary using points

  • 12,500 x 2 = 25,000 (Coach from Male to Abu Dhabi
  • 120,000 x 2 = 240,000 (First class from Abu Dhabi to Washington DC)
  • Total points needed = 265,000 American Express MRs transferred to Aeroplan (Air Canada’s loyalty program)
  • Transfer was INSTANT.
  • If booked in cash, $20,148 – INSANE!!!

Booking Fees

  • $24 x 2 (Aeroplan booking fee with a rep, online booking won’t work with a stopover)

  • $93 x 2 (taxes and surcharges)

  • Total out of pocket fees: $312

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  • American Express® Business Gold Card – Welcome Offer: 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.*

NOTE: These bonus offers are subject to change

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