Air Canada Aeroplan Adds Etihad Airways As Partner, Interesting Possibilities & Value

by Giovanni

Etihad Airways is now an official partner of Air Canada, meaning the two airlines now offer reciprocal mileage earning and redemption for their frequent flyers.

This opens up a number of new interesting opportunities for US flyers. Air Canada is a Star Alliance member while Etihad is not part of an alliance while Aeroplan is a transfer partner for Amex Membership Rewards and Capital One. Meanwhile, Etihad Guest is an Amex, Capital One, and Citi ThankYou Rewards partner.

Etihad Business Studio

Etihad Business Studio (photo courtesy of Etihad Airways)

This partnership has been rumored for a while (including an accidental announcement over a year ago in April 2019) but it’s finally in effect. Read on for some information no the details, idiosyncrasies, and sweet spots for redemption.

Redeem Air Canada Aeroplan Miles on Etihad

Starting today, Aeroplan flyers can redeem their miles for flights on Etihad.

Redemptions can be made on any Etihad route with no regional exceptions according to the Aeroplan rewards chart. The redemptions will come with no carrier-imposed surcharges. Redemptions can be combined with flights by Etihad and other Aeroplan partners.

Members will be able to book Etihad flights online at or through an Aeroplan agent. However, Juicy Miles has discovered that outbound availability from the US to Abu Dhabi is not showing up online but is visible for agents to book.

Etihad First Class

Etihad First Class (photo courtesy of Etihad Airways)

Earn Air Canada Aeroplan Miles on Etihad

Air Canada Aeroplan members can earn miles by flying on Etihad according to the following chart. However, it’s important to note that Aeroplan Miles earned on Etihad Airways flights do not count toward Air Canada Altitude status.

Earning Table for Aeroplan Miles on Etihad Airways

Redeem Etihad Guest Miles on Air Canada

Etihad Guest utilizes a distance-based chart for redemptions on Air Canada. Bookings must be made at least 24 hours in advance by calling a service center (you cannot book online).

The chart below is for one-way redemptions.

Air Canada redemptions are now possible on Etihad Guest

A business-class redemption from Toronto to London would cost 94,000 miles under this chart while a flight from Canada to Australia would be a whopping 170,000 miles. Clearly, these redemption rates won’t be very attractive to most flyers.

Redemption Table: Etihad Guest Miles on Air Canada

Earning Etihad Guest Miles on Air Canada

Etihad has released a table for earning Etihad miles on Air Canada as well.

Earnings Chart: Etihad Guest on Air Canada

Key Benefits of the Partnership

The key benefit from this partnership is clearly the ability to redeem Air Canada Aeroplan miles on Etihad.

As noted above, Aeroplan is a flexible program that is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Capital One. Etihad Guest is also an Amex, Capital One, and Citi ThankYou transfer partner. So you may assume that Etihad Guest will represent the best option for redeeming on Etihad. Counterintuitively, that’s often not the case.

Etihad 787 flying

Given Aeroplan’s region-based award chart, Aeroplan will require fewer points for some redemptions. For example, a one-way New York to Abu Dhabi award would cost 82,500 miles in business class or 115,000 miles in first-class using Aeroplan. Less than it would cost with Etihad Guest.

Aeroplan also allows you to combine Star Alliance segments with an Etihad allowing for more creative award itineraries without increasing costs.

An Interesting Idiosyncrasy

Aeroplan’s chart allows for some interesting quirks.

For example, a single flight from New York Kennedy Airport (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) on Etihad is slightly more expensive than an itinerary between JFK and Male Airport (MLE) in the Maldives connecting in Abu Dhabi (Aeroplan prices based on origin and destination. The India Subcontinent is priced lower than the Middle East).

AUH-JFK redemption on Etihad using Aeroplan

MLE-AUH-JFK redemption on Etihad using Aeroplan

Of course, Aeroplan’s stopover rules are some of the most generous, even with their current restrictions of one stopover or open-jaw.  Imagine JFK-AUH-TYO-JFK all in first class, that’s quite an attractive booking!  Rumor is also that Aeroplan is supposed to bring back two stopovers, then we’ll really have some intersting possibilities!

Also, mixing and matching of partners including Ethiad is super generous. Remember back when ANA allowed Etihad bookings, the biggest restriction was no mixing!

Etihad Residence

Etihad Residence (Photo courtesy Etihad Airways)

The Upshot

This is great news for Aeroplan frequent flyers who have a fantastic new option for their redemptions. As part of the announcement, Aeroplan noted that they’re working on “introducing additional airline partners” and that they’ll have more news in the coming weeks. That’s exciting news for flyers as Aeroplan becomes an increasingly valuable program.

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