Etihad has great business class award space for two passengers between New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare, Washington Dulles and Abu Dhabi for travel from January through end of schedule. You can use Etihad to connect onward to places in the Mideast or destinations in Asia like the Maldives and India. This was first spotted by Thrifty Traveler‘s premium airfare deal alert service.
Here’s a screen shot of an award calendar for New York JFK – Abu Dhabi in June. Note that there’s even better availability for July and August (it’s hot in the Mideast then). And there’s a handful of dates with two first class award seats available, also which I’m seeing on the Washington Dulles route.
Here’s what it looks like in August:
Air Canada Aeroplan charges 90,000 miles each way for this flight and doesn’t add fuel surcharges to awards. Aeroplan is a Chase, Capital One, American Express and Bilt transfer partner. There’s a 30% transfer bonus from Chase to Aeroplan this month so you only need 70,000 Chase points per person each way.
You can add a stopover for 5000 miles, and longer distance itineraries cost more. And it is worth a stopover – even if you don’t fancy Formula One or the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, visit Dubai or the desert beyond. Grab Marriott award nights at Al Maha. Destinations within the U.A.E. are drivable.
American AAdvantage charges 70,000 miles each way for business class to the Mideast and “Indian Subcontinent” though booking Etihad awards has long been a pain through AAdvantage.
The Chicago O’Hare route is scheduled to be operated by Airbus A350s (some New York JFK flights are as well), which have Etihad’s newest business class product – a gorgeous-looking Collins Super Diamond seat with doors (similar to new British Airways business class, but in my opinion better-looking). However their Boeing 787 business class is excellent as well.
Note: Thrifty Traveler is an excellent airfare and award alert service. It comes at a $59 price per year for their annual plan but many readers find it worthwhile. I’ve shared several award availability alerts from their service in the past few months.
On November 3 they’re creating a new premium tier at $130 per year, but signing up now gets you grandfathered in at current pricing for life. So if you’re considering joining, do so now. (I do not receive any referral credit for this, just flagging for those interested.) They promise “even more award alerts…as discounted first and business class fares – plus the cheap domestic and international alerts, mistake fares” and all current $59 members will get this without the price increase.