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3 ways to maximize Capital One’s improved transfer ratio to Etihad Guest

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 11/25/2021 Ryan Smith
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Earlier this year, Capital One added a slew of new transfer partners and then improved the transfer ratios of most partners to a 1:1 basis.

One of Capital One’s new 1:1 transfer partners is Etihad Guest (it was previously 2:1.5), which I think is one of the more underrated airline loyalty programs since most folks might not realize that you can use its miles to book tickets on various partner airlines, like American Airlines, Royal Air Maroc and others.

So how can you maximize this improved transfer ratio to Etihad Guest? Here are three great redemption ideas to get you started.

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Etihad Guest redemptions

Etihad Guest is the loyalty program of Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways. While the airline isn’t a member of any major airline alliance, Etihad Guest has 21 different airline partners that you can redeem your miles on, in addition to Etihad’s own flights. This includes some big names like American Airlines and Air Canada. Plus, it includes a handful of smaller carriers, like Brussels Airlines, Royal Air Maroc and Bangkok Airways.

As discussed, Capital One miles now transfer to Etihad Guest instantly at a 1:1 transfer ratio. This opens the door for some excellent redemption options and, considering cards like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earn 2 points per dollar on purchases, you can earn the miles required for various high-value awards relatively quickly.

Both of these cards have excellent current welcome offers, too:

  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 100,000 bonus miles once you spend $10,000 on purchases within the first six months from account opening.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Now that you can get more bang for our buck when transferring Capital One miles to Etihad Guest, what can you do with those Etihad miles? While you might want to avoid redeeming Etihad Guest miles for flights on the airline itself, using them for partner redemptions presents some interesting opportunities.

Here are three ideas for getting great value from Etihad Guest miles.

Round-trip to Morocco

(Photo by Ryan Smith/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Ryan Smith/The Points Guy)

Royal Air Maroc is the flag carrier of Morocco, and it’s a redemption partner for Etihad Guest. From the U.S., you can fly the carrier nonstop from Miami (MIA), New York-JFK and Washington-Dulles (IAD) to its hub in Casablanca (CMN). Or, you can connect to other cities in Northern Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Royal Air Maroc redemptions from Etihad Guest are priced according to a distance-based chart. The reason this redemption is so fantastic, though, is because the top distance is “2001 miles and above.” That means you’ll pay just 22,000 miles at most for a one-way economy flight or 44,000 for business class from the U.S. to Casablanca.

© The Points Guy

The downside about redemptions with Royal Air Maroc when using Etihad Guest miles is that they price “per segment.” This means a connecting flight to another city costs extra miles. The airline will calculate the distance of the second flight separately. Add on another 10,000 miles (or 20,000 in business class) if you want to connect through Casablanca to London Heathrow (LHR), for example.

On its long-haul routes to the Americas, Royal Air Maroc flies a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. I’ve flown economy and business class on these flights, and while it might not be a name you hear all the time, it’s a very good hard product – and the award price can’t be beaten.

Related: 10 things to know before you go to Morocco

Fly American Airlines to nearly anywhere

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Ironically, using American AAdvantage miles is one of the best ways to book Etihad flights, and Etihad Guest is one of the best ways to book American flights with miles, though you might not want to use either airline’s miles for its own flights. In fact, it might surprise you that Etihad Airways often charges fewer miles for American Airlines flights than AA charges for its own flights with its own program.

A great example of when you should book American Airlines flights via Etihad Guest is flying to Europe in business class or first class. Compare these one-way prices:

Cabin Etihad Guest AAdvantage
Business class 50,000 57,500
Flagship first class 62,500 85,000

These are huge differences. In business class, you need 13% fewer miles. You get a full 26% reduction in miles needed for first class. You’re flying on the same plane, but you spend a lot fewer miles this way. Plus, Etihad Guest miles are arguably easier to earn given you can transfer them from Capital One and a handful of other transferable points currencies.

This isn’t limited to flights to Europe either. Numerous routes have similarly attractive pricing for American Airlines bookings made via Etihad Guest. You can check the redemption table here. Some other great examples include business-class flights to Asia for as few as 50,000 miles each way and the South Pacific for 62,500 miles. If you’re looking for a domestic getaway, you can book American’s transcontinental Flagship first class for just 32,500 miles one-way.

Related: Etihad Guest miles continue to fly under the radar

Brussels Airlines business class to Europe

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images) © The Points Guy (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Brussels Airlines is a relatively small European carrier in the Star Alliance, but it operates from Brussels (BRU) to New York-JFK and, starting in March 2022, to Washington-Dulles (IAD).

Etihad’s Brussels Airlines award chart is priced by destination, with longer routes requiring more miles. Currently, both the New York and D.C. flights cost 27,000 miles one-way in economy and 44,000 in business class, which is an excellent deal for a transatlantic flight. It’s also far cheaper than booking the same award ticket with Star Alliance transfer partners like Avianca LifeMiles, which would charge 63,000 LifeMiles each way. You can view the full redemption table here.

Brussels Airlines business class is nice too. Seats were recently refurbished with a modern look, and a 2019 TPG review notes that food and drink selections were plentiful. For the price, it’s a great way to fly between the U.S. and Europe, or leverage the airline’s large connecting network to Africa.

Related: The best ways to travel to Europe using points and miles

How to Book Etihad Guest Partner Awards

Unfortunately, you can’t redeem Etihad Guest miles for partner flights online. Instead, you need to find award space first and call 877-690-0767 to book (if you’re outside the U.S., see their list of contacts here). Once you call, listen for the option for Etihad Guest, and the menu will give you a choice for “new redemption bookings.”

Phone agents can find and confirm award availability for you and will send an itinerary to your email for verification before booking. Unfortunately, phone agents can’t put awards on hold for partner airlines. Only once you’ve confirmed availability should you transfer your Capital One miles. Transfers should process instantly.

If you want to confirm award space before calling, here’s how you can check:

Related: Ultimate guide to searching award availability for the major airlines

The Bottom Line

With improved transfer ratios to several partners, Capital One miles deserve renewed attention, and their Etihad Guest partnership is a great example of that. Here, I showed you three solid redemptions that can save you a ton of miles and get you to your destination more cheaply than with other Capital One transfer partners.

Remember to always confirm award space before sending your miles to any loyalty program – because you’d hate for your miles to get stuck there if the seats you want aren’t available. Once you’re ready to commit, transfer your miles and call to book.

Feature photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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