These Overlooked Airline Award Partners Provide Great Value
Just because they don’t get a lot of attention, that doesn’t mean these overlooked airline partner awards don’t have something to offer. In fact, you’ll probably be surprised that some of these offer better value than the way you’re currently booking. Here’s a look at some overlooked airline award partners and what makes them worth your attention.
Etihad Guest & Its Partners
Based in Abu Dhabi, Etihad gets plenty of attention for its aircraft and service. Its loyalty program Etihad Guest is not the best way to book flights on Etihad, however. What it does offer is a massive range of partner bookings, and some are super valuable.
Booking American Airlines Via Etihad Guest
The chart above shows mileage requirements for one-way flights on American Airlines, originating from North America. You’ll notice that multiple categories are cheaper than what American Airlines will charge you. The award chart listed here also has a separate section for flights within North America.
Especially interesting are the interisland flights in Hawaii, which can be pricey, and the ‘within USA & Canada’ section. If you need a flight that’s expensive in cash and don’t have enough AA miles, look at booking with Etihad.
Booking Brussels Airlines Via Etihad Guest
This is an interesting partner that has 2 good options. First, you can book flights around Europe for as little as 5,000 miles in economy / 9,000 miles in business class.
The other interesting thing is that Brussels Airlines flies to multiple cities across oceans. Here are some examples:
- Western Africa: 27k economy / 44k business
- East Coast US & Toronto: 27k economy / 44k business
- Tel Aviv: 20k economy / 32k business
- Mumbai: 29k economy / 48k business
The partner award chart for Brussels Airlines is here. You simply find the flights you want, and there’s a mileage requirement. These numbers are for one-way flights between Brussels, Belgium & the other city. If you need a connecting flight, add the 2 numbers together.
Booking GOL Via Etihad Guest
GOL is an airline that operates mostly in Brazil but has flights to Orlando, Miami, Cancun, Punta Cana DR, and most countries in South America. While GOL has partnerships with multiple different airlines, I want to highlight some quality redemptions this partnership offers.
- Lima LIM to São Paulo GRU – 17k in economy
- Buenos Aires EZE to Rio de Janeiro GIG – 9k in economy
- Domestic flights within Brazil – 3k to 12k, depending on distance
The GOL redemption table is here. GOL does not offer business class, only premium economy. The price values are double that of economy, and I don’t think they’re really worth it in this situation.
GOL is also a partner of Emirates, but the mileage requirements there are significantly higher.
Booking Royal Air Maroc Via Etihad Guest
I’ve talked about this redemption previously and also a devaluation, discussed here. However, there is still value in this pair of overlooked airline award partners. The fact that the distance chart maxes out at “2001 miles and above” means the longest flights will still only charge 22k miles in economy and 44k miles in business class.
That includes non-stop flights from Casablanca, Morocco to these cities:
- New York JFK
- Washington, D.C. IAD
- Dubai DXB
- Doha DOH
- Moscow DME
- Beijing PEK
I’ve booked flights on Royal Air Maroc via Etihad several times. You can read my review of Royal Air Maroc business class here.
Booking Virgin Australia Via Etihad Guest
Virgin Australia flights within Australia or even up to Bali are a good deal when booked via Etihad Guest.
- Cross-country flights in Australia: under 11k miles in economy / 22k miles in business
- Flights to Bali (Denpasar): under 17,000 miles in economy / 34,000 business class
Prices here are similar to Virgin Australia’s own mileage requirements in some areas, cheaper in others. The obvious advantage is that Etihad Guest has multiple point transfer partners that Virgin Australia doesn’t have. The award table is here.
Etihad Guest Transfer partners
Etihad Guest is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Capital One. All of those are at 1:1 ratios. They are also a transfer partner of Marriott points at a 3:1 ratio (with a 5,000 bonus if you transfer 60k to get 20k+5k bonus, for example).
To book a partner award, you’ll need to call (877) 690-0767.
Delta Air Lines & Its Partners
We mentioned previously that Delta bought a 20% stake in LATAM. Delta also offers award redemptions on GOL. Between LATAM and GOL, this means Delta has the largest “within South America” award booking footprint for your miles.
Neither has any particular sweet spots, because of Delta’s dynamic pricing, but it’s worth remembering that flights within South America are now best done with Delta award bookings, due to sheer number of options.
Also, when looking for longer flights on GOL, Delta becomes a cheaper option than booking via Etihad Guest.
Delta Air Lines Transfer partners
Delta SkyMiles is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio. They are also a transfer partner of Marriott points at a 3:1 ratio (with a 5,000 bonus if you transfer 60k to get 20k+5k bonus, for example).
Partner awards should all be available for booking online.
Emirates Skywards & Its Partners
Famous for its ultra luxury, Emirates is also a good option for some of its overlooked airline award partners. Like Delta and Etihad Guest, it’s a partner with GOL. However, the redemption rates for GOL flights via Emirates Skywards are horrible. Here are some good partner redemptions with Emirates.
Booking Japan Airlines (JAL) Via Emirates Skywards
While there were previously some great sweet spots in this partnership, Emirates axed most of them. The remaining routes that make this partnership worth remembering are these:
- Tokyo to Seattle: 38,000 miles in economy / 76,000 miles in business class
- Tokyo to other West Coast cities: 44,000 miles in economy / 88,000 miles in business
Information, booking rules, and mileage requirements are here.
Booking TAP Portugal Via Emirates Skywards
Star Alliance partner TAP has some awesome-looking new business class products on their A330-900neo aircraft. If you’re looking for flights to Europe, TAP flies from Lisbon, Portugal to multiple cities in North America.
- Chicago & East Coast to Portugal: 32,000 economy / 64,000 business
- West Coast to Portugal: 44,000 economy / 88,000 business
From Portugal, you can access all of Europe, most of Africa, and even some of the Middle East. You can see the distance chart & mileage requirements here.
Emirates Skywards Transfer partners
Etihad Guest is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Points at 1:1 ratios. Additionally, you can transfer Capital One points at a 2:1 ratio. Lastly, Emirates is a transfer partner of Marriott points at a 3:1 ratio (with a 5,000 bonus if you transfer 60k to get 20k+5k bonus, for example).
To book a partner award, only some are available online. If not, call (800) 777-3999.
Emirates also has live chat and WhatsApp contact options, found here.
When searching for award bookings, many people first go to AwardHacker.com and type in their to/from cities to see how many miles they need. You’ll see some possibilities for what program to book with and how many miles they require. Unfortunately, not every program and every route shows up there. That leads to some programs getting a lot of attention while others are forgotten. These overlooked airline award partners can still provide good value, whether it’s because of the number of miles required being low or being of multiple transfer partners being available.