American Airlines Aadvantage members should be happy to know that as of today (yesterday?) they are now able to redeem miles on Etihad (if Etihad doesn’t sound familiar, they’re an Abu Dhabi-based carrier and considered one of the world’s best. This is extremely good news for anyone flying to India, where they have extensive service, as well as the Maldives.
This is especially good news for anyone with Oneworld miles looking to go to the Maldives, because it will help you avoid traveling there via Hong Kong and Columbo. Instead, you can hop the nonstop from JFK to Abu Dhabi and a quick (ish) connection down to Male. AA’s mileage requirements aren’t exactly cheap (90k in coach, 135k in business, 180k in First), but Etihad opens up a bunch of locations in Africa and India that weren’t possible before.
(On a side note, remember that ANA is also partners with Etihad — and Qatar — and can get you to the Middle East from the East Coast of the US for 90k miles, though you’re looking at about $650 in surcharges on top of that). AA is not charging fuel surcharges for Etihad redemptions.
You can check Etihad availability on their website – just sign up for their frequent flyer program, then you can see availability (it seems to match what AA can book).