December 31, 2015

Etihad First Class Apartment Booked!

After starting our premium flying careers with amazing Asian carriers, we're just now dabbling with the ME3 (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar).  At the moment, the pinnacle of ME3 premium cabin flying is Etihad's A380 First Class Apartment.  The Residence (literally 3 room accommodations on Etihad's A380) 's pretty sweet but unless you're about to shell at $32K for a one-way flight, it's likely unattainable.  Good news is the First Class Apartment is totally attainable with American Airlines miles.  The catch (at least on the flagship JFK - AUH route) is that award space is now only being release at the very last minute.

Emily and I have been talking (this week) about a trip in early March for my birthday.  Our timing was pretty impeccable as the flood gates opened on Wednesday.  Etihad was releasing up to 3 First Class Apartments available for the Abu Dhabi to New York segment.  Major thanks to Gary and Lucky for posting early on this.

Another catch - AA agents in the US sometimes have trouble seeing award availability. For whatever reason, that's not the case for Australian call center agents.

I found seats on a day that worked for our schedule and Skyped the Australian AA call center centre.  After waiting on hold for an agonizing 35 minutes, my call was answered by an extremely friendly agent.  He was able to see the space and had us booked in under 5 minutes.  This morning, the award ticketed!  Total cost was 90,000 AA miles and $38 USD each.

Etihad A380 First Class Apartment

We are both beyond excited.  We do want to spend a day in Abu Dhabi but not much more than that.  So we'll be looking to spend time in Europe before making our way to Abu Dhabi for the flight home.    I didn't think I'd be able to top my Emirates experience but I have a feeling this is going to be even better.

They say timing in life is everything and that was certainly the case here.  I've been fortunate to catch a few of these (Singapore in 2012 and Asiana in 2014) where impossible award availability become virtually unlimited in a very short period of time.  The trick is taking advantage quickly - don't think, just book.  You'll be happy you did.

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