Source: Ginger Around The World

Last year I flew the Etihad First Class Apartment several times and I think it is certainly one of the very BEST First Class out there. The luxury flight between Abu Dhabi and London can cost up to 10,000+ USD. But I will show you how to book it with free miles that come with credit cards in the UAE 😉
Etihad First Class Apartment on A380

Etihad First Class Apartment on A380

Etihad First Class Apartment on A380

Etihad First Class Apartment on A380

Earning loads of Etihad Guest miles without flying?

Champagne, wagyu beef and onboard showers. It all sounds fun but how can you book this for a reasonable price? Well “earning and burning” air miles is the smartest way possible. The cool thing is that you don’t even need to fly to get those miles!   This is just the on board bar by the way:
Etihad A380 "The Lobby" onboard lounge

Etihad A380 "The Lobby" onboard lounge

 

How many miles do you need exactly to fly First class?

First class between Abu Dhabi and London will cost you about 88,000 Etihad Guest miles.

You can also pay just 75% miles plus cash for the remaining 25% of 88,000 miles, which is 66,000 miles plus about 220 USD (0.01 cents per mile for 22,000 miles), this is a even better deal!

Video of my Etihad First Class Apartment Flight

   

Credit cards in UAE are giving free miles?

 

If you fly a lot in Business class you might already have enough miles but if you just do a few economy flights every year then you might never get there. But there is no need to panic!

There is a way to earn these miles instantly! Credit card companies love to seduce you with offers and you just have to take advantage of them. And it gets better because some credit cards give you up to 55,000 miles if you join!

Each card has an annual fee but you get a lot of miles and loads of other benefits. Some cards give you lounge key so you can access lounges in airports for free!

Basically you are buying the miles super cheap, cheaper than on Etihad’s website. On top of that booking with miles is cheaper than paying cash but availability is limited.

Be careful as there are a lot of credit cards with poor travel benefits or misleading miles. I did quite some research and here is a list with the cards that offer the best sign up bonuses.

 
Credit Card Sign Up Bonus points Points Type Annual Fee
Citi Prestige 30,000 Citi Thank You points 1:1 transferable points AED 1,500
Emirates NBD SPG world 35,000 SPG points 1:1 transferable points 5,000 bonus for every 20.000 points AED 1,500
ADIB Etihad Guest Platinum Card 50,000 Etihad Guest Miles AED 1,500
ADIB Etihad Guest Gold Card 35,000 Etihad Guest Miles AED 1,000
ADIB Etihad Guest Classic Card 10,000 Etihad Guest Miles AED 500
NBAD Etihad Guest Infinite 55,000 Etihad Guest Miles AED 2,500
NBAD Etihad Guest Singature 35,000 Etihad Guest Miles AED 1,500
NBAD Etihad Guest Platinum 10,000 Etihad Guest Miles AED 500
ADCB Etihad Guest Infinite 50,000 Etihad Guest Miles AED 2,500
ADCB Etihad Guest Platinum 25,000 Etihad Guest Miles AED 1,000
 

Sign up bonuses change all the time.

During promotional period, I've seen the NBAD Etihad Guest Platinum card is giving as much as 110,000 bonus!

   

Booking a reward flight in First Class

 

So once you have the credit cards, the points will be transferred to your Etihad guest account in 4 – 8 weeks. If you have the Citi or SPG card then you can transfer those points to your Etihad account within a few days. Then all you need to do is logging in to your Etihad guest account and look for availability and book using points. If you are a few thousand miles short you can still buy miles during the checkout. The whole point is that you book with miles which you got for *free* instead of paying cash for it. Even if you calculate the full cost of the credit card which is not even fair because you will use other benefits of the card it’s still many many times cheaper then paying cash for the flight.

Leave a comment if you plan on getting credit cards and let me know when you book your First Class Apartment for dirt cheap!

Source: Ginger Around The World

 

Tips on Smart Travel and finding the best airfare

 

I use Momondo to search extensively across the best airfare before buying it. Have a look at this post to see how it is working for getting a cheaper ticket! Momondo definitely features the best First and Business Class deals of any Flight Search Engine out there.  I have put together many useful travel tips and airfare promotions in my Smart Travel section to guide you travel in more luxury with lower price!