Given the location of Etihad’s hub in Abu Dhabi, I’ve seen a number of questions about what routings are permitted when using American Aadvantage miles for travel on their partners (Etihad, specifically). Here are the highlights:
- Remember that American only allows a stopover at an American Airilnes gateway city. Abu Dhabi is not a gateway city. Also, you’ll be using the “other airline award chart” to research mileage requirements, not the Oneworld Mileage Based Chart (Etihad is not in Oneworld).
- You must travel to Asia via the Pacific (from North America), so you cannot use Etihad to get to Asia using one award. You would have to book one ticket from North America to the Middle East, then another from the Middle East to Asia.
- You cannot make a stop in a 3rd region (with a few exceptions). Meaning, if you are traveling from North America to Africa, you cannot stop in the Middle East. You can see the list of exceptions here, but none are relevant here. You could travel Etihad from North America to Africa, but you will have to purchase two awards (NA to Middle East; Middle East to Africa).
- This means you cannot fly from Asia to Europe on Etihad, because you have to transit in the Middle East, which is not permitted. One exception is that you can fly from Asia 1 to Europe and connect in Asia 2)
- There is some confusion around trips to the Maldives. Although the country is in the Middle East region, AA is pricing the award out as a North America – Middle East (for JFK-AUH) and a separate award from AUH – MLE. That is likely because Etihad does not publish a fare from JFK to MLE. But some have reported getting AA to price it out correctly. Your mileage may vary for the next few days while the rate desk figures this out.
- Seychelles are in the Africa region, which would require two awards from North America (one award to the Middle East; and a second award from Middle East to Africa).
- India is in the same region as Middle East, so Etihad works great for flights from North America to India via AUH.
Post any additional questions in the comments and I’ll update as needed.
CLARIFICATION: Someone in the comments requested clarification around India region vs. Asia region. India and Middle East are the same region (Middle East/India Subcontinent). Asia 1 is defined as Japan, Korea and Mongolia. Asia 2 is Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Saipan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Perhaps the one surprise in there is that Sri Lanka is not part of the Indian Subcontinent. Rather, it’s in Asia 2.