- Part 1: How I Got My $40,000 for $3,000
- Part 2: Flight Review: Emirates First Class
- Part 3: Touring Oman
- Part 4: Flight Review: Etihad Business Class
- Part 5: Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Saigon
- Part 6: Touring Vietnam
- Part 7: Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Siem Reap
- Part 8: Touring Cambodia
- Part 9: Touring Singapore
- Part 10: Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Maldives
- Part 11: Touring Abu Dhabi
After touring Oman I flew business class to Saigon, Vietnam on Etihad Airways with a 3 hour layover in Abu Dhabi. Flying on Oman Air using Etihad miles was a possibility, however I heard it is difficult to get in touch with a phone representative that can actually help book partner awards. So, instead I used my American Airlines miles to book a business class flight between Muscat and Saigon for 30,000 miles. Economy class was 20,000 miles so I figured using the extra 10,000 miles for business class was a no brainer.
In March of this year American Airlines increased the miles required for this route to 40,000 miles for business class. Even at 40,000 miles this is still worth it since the travel time is 11 hours including layover time in Abu Dhabi.
Booking award flights on Etihad Airways using American Airlines miles is not possible online and a phone call is required. You can check for award availability before calling American Airlines by visiting eithad.com.
If “Guest Business” is not sold out, then it is possible to book this flight using American Airlines miles. As you can see above, the flight from MCT to SGN costs 82,319 Eithad miles which is priced much higher than American Airlines redemption rates. Best to use your Etihad Miles for their partners such as American, Czech, or Brussels Airlines.
If you see Guest Business availability on Etihad.com but the phone agent from American Airlines sees no award availability, hang up and call the Australian or UK call centers for American Airlines. For whatever reason, some US based agents do not know how to look up Eithad award availability.
Flight to Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways 385
Muscat (MCT) to Abu Dhabi (AUH)
Seat: 3A and 3C
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
The first leg of this itinerary was on an Airbus A320 from Muscat to Abu Dhabi. Business class passengers had access to the lounge where complementary food and drinks were available. There were not many people in the lounge and we were the only people flying in business class during this flight.
Most flights in and out of Muscat Airport requires passengers to take a shuttle bus to the plane where passengers board on the tarmac. For this flight, economy passengers boarded first and then business class passengers are called from the lounge and are taken on a separate bus to the plane. Since we were the only business class passengers, we had the entire bus to ourselves.
The plush business class seats were a surprise since this flight was less than an hour long.
Breakfast meal was also a surprise considering how short the flight was.
Quick Layover in Abu Dhabi
The business class lounge in Abu Dhabi is one of the best. The lounge is large, has several buffet tables, bars, spas, showers, and plenty of staff members to help passengers along. I didn’t get to take many pictures here since I only had about 45 minutes to stuff my face before my next flight.
Flight to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
Etihad Airways 441
Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)
Seat: 9E and 9F
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Service as was extremely attentive and available to fulfill any request I had in an immediate fashion. This was my second time flying Etihad Airways business class and it seems these flights are always well staffed. Flight attendants were pleasant, smiley and had a sense of urgency when serving passengers.
Plane Atmosphere: 5/5
Having no overheard bins make the cabin feel more open and airy. The airplane was is perfect condition and the seats showed no signs of wear. Best part was the plane was not hot while waiting to take off. Nothing bothers me more then sitting in a hot plane, sweating bullets while the captain waits to turn the AC on until after takeoff.
Entertainment system had live TV, plenty of movies, TV shows, and music to keep oneself entertained the entire flight.
Menu wasn’t as robust as I excepted compared to Emirates First Class but considering this flight was shorter and just business class, it was pretty good.
Heated mixed nuts with soda.
Congee with chicken.
Seat Comfort: 4/5
I found the seat to be very comfortable while in the upright position. Although, with the seats are in the lie-flat position, I had difficulties getting comfortable due to the narrowness of the space. There was no space between my shoulders and the walls and my feet had zero room to move. If I was a few inches shorter I would have been fine, but at 6ft tall it felt like I was in a coffin.
In conclusion, the Etihad Airways business class product is a comfortable why to fly and has great redemption rates using American Airlines miles between the Middle East to Asia, Europe, and Africa. First class awards used to have reasonable rates, however after American Airlines raised the mileage requirements, business class now provides more value for the miles.
The service, food, lounges, entertainment system, and seats are well worth the extra points above the economy class mileage rates. Stay tuned for part five of this trip where I review the Park Hyatt Saigon.