Forget business class, Etihad 1st class for ZAR 250 on A380

Etihad’s 1st Class for amazing miles and cash redemption.

This is not a mistake fare. The availability seems to be wide open.

AED 80 in taxes (R250)

AED 80 in taxes (R250)

55,354 Etihad Guest miles + AED 80 taxes for a flight that normally runs for half a million Etihad Guest Miles is a unbelievable deal.

or if you had to book it cash..

AED 22020 for cash (R66,000)

AED 22020 for cash (R66,000)

People actually pay these amounts, if only they knew better.

The Residence, a 3 room suite on Etihad’s flagship the A380 runs at a cool R250,000. Read more on the Residence HERE.

How to get Etihad Guest miles fast.

1) Fly Etihad or their partners ( Air Seychelles, Air Berlin, Alitalia, Jet Airways etc) or credit code-share flights to Etihad Guest.

2) Book the double points / triple points / quad points when on offer. ( They often have these specials, sometimes with 3x and 4x tier miles = quicker status climbs).

3) Book using Etihad Gold membership. You earn 50% bonus miles. Etihad offers this time to time in a promotion to match any other Gold airline loyalty programme. Read more HERE.

4) Sign up with family membership. You nominate up to 9 members that will give you, the head, 100% of their miles into your account + all the bonuses above that stack. ( Emirates donates a weak 20% to head in their limit of 6x family members).

5) Book hotels with Rocketmiles ( preferably the unbranded ones that don’t carry loyalty points and perks). Rocketmiles regularly has a 3000 – 5000 bonus booking promo per stay. ( This is where you separate your stays even at one night at a time between your 9x family bonus members in point 4 above to maximise the payout).

6) You can transfer ( preferably when there is a transfer bonus) from many credit cards and other loyalty programs including hotel ones. My fave is using SPG, now Marriott Rewards that yields a 25% bonus on top, so 240k points = 100,000 Etihad Guest Miles. See Etihad partners on their website that’s often updated.

7) Once you have accumulated some miles look for the better planes in your future bookings to upgrade with, such as the B787 Dreamliner and the A380, You can even upgrade certain segments on the better planes for eg. Abu Dhabi to Mumbai is 32000 miles for a 1st class one way with 640AED tax. Upgrading from Business to 1st on this route is only 12600 miles per way with no taxes on the amazing A380.

8) Buy them. Etihad has sales on miles from times to time.

9) Leverage:

Etihad also exclusively allows one to book awards using a slider to stipulate how much miles or how much taxes you would want to leverage on an award ticket. This is unique to Etihad and the taxes earns Guest Miles for your account. Win Win. This is a highly discounted way of ‘purchasing’ or ‘stretching’ miles.

Check the mileage requirement for upgrades with the Mileage calculator HERE.

or NEW:

use codeshare with little to no taxes such as American Airlines, Alaska or the latest and greatest code share partner as of June 2020: Aeroplan that has this relationship dubbed “match made in heaven”

14 Etihad Guest miles in January.

14 Etihad Guest miles in January.

63,000 Etihad Guest miles in February.

63,000 Etihad Guest miles in February.

That’s more than enough to fly Etihad 1st class paying only R250 in tax.

Abu Dhabi has amazing benefits in transit for Etihad Gold members.

Read a AUH transit report HERE.

The closest I've been to Etihad's A380 flagship.

The closest I’ve been to Etihad’s A380 flagship.

ZAR 250 for a flight that costs ZAR 77,000 – lets make it happen.

Update: Read the full trip review undertaken in August 2015, HERE.


Theory into proof.

Trip review: Etihad A380 First Class Apartment.

Flight: EY018

Aircraft: A380

Class: First Class

Route: London Heathrow – Abu Dhabi ( Return Leg )

Normal price:  USD 6,000 / AED 22,000 / ZAR 77,000 per one way

Booking method: Etihad Guest miles + 80 Aed Tax / Zar 266

Putting theory into practical is something TraveLoyalty prides itself on. I’ve documented on how to score this first class redemption for +-R250 since January 2015 in a article: Forget business class, Etihad 1st class for ZAR 250 on A380 and I also wrote: Emirates vs Etihad + 1st class suite booking for R250 in June 2015 with full disclosure how anyone could earn the miles needed through promotions in our newsletters as well as instant Etihad Gold status. I’m glad many readers took advantage of it all.

Exactly what I paid for this flight. There are 2 Guest 1st allocations for reward redemptions for each flight.


Credit card statement for the bookings.

statement for etihad flights

I’ve spent roughly over R1060 for flights worth R308,000. Incredible value.

Leaving London.


You can take the Underground directly into the loop of T4, T2, T3 and T5 at Heathrow or:


Etihad offers complimentary chauffer services. In London they use 7 Series BMW’s. In Abu Dhabi they use Audi A6’s.

Note: You can request to be driven anywhere in the UAE you want. This is worth 1000 Aed / Zar 4000+

Checking in.


Heathrow offers FASTRACK for premium ticket holders. From scanning my boarding pass in a no que line it took me 1 minute 23 seconds to have my bag scanned and I was at the duty free. The fastest I’ve clocked yet.

Etihad took delivery of the A380 only in December 2014 and placed it 1st on the AUH –  LHR route. You can choose your seat immediately upon booking 1st class. No need to wait 24 hours before flight departure.

Etihad Premium Lounge Heathrow.

etihadlounge lhr

I will have the full review of this lounge complete with food and complimentary Six Senses Spa treatments I undertook in a future newsletter.


This flight was packed in all the classes. There was only one free 1st Apartment and The Residence was empty and locked.

DSC00137First and Business class passengers board through the same door upstairs on the A380.

The “Apartment”.

The passage with Apartments on each side. A staircase lies at the end down to the lower deck.

My Apartment 4K.

DSC00155 DSC00141

Its ultra spacious. No other 1st class can compete.


DSC00181 DSC00152seating1There are 9x 1st class Apartments. 4x forward facing suites and 5 x rear facing suites.

Forward facing suites are: 2C, 2H, 4A and 4K.

Rear facing suites are: 1H, 3A, 3K, 5C and 5H.

4A and 4K have the best window views.

DSC00163 DSC00138 DSC00139 DSC00160

There is no overhead bulk bins. everything stows away neatly under the sofa / bed.

DSC00179 DSC00186

Hidden in a cupboard is the vanity mirror with a full kit of every amenity you will need + a toiletry bag.

A hanger storage cabinet lies conveniently in the door way.

Tray table lies in the armrest

Digital everything.

One push and a mini bar comes out.

Bedding cabinet lies under the vanity cabinet.

DSC00161 DSC00153

Slippers are provided as well as organic cotton pyjamas.

IFE controller + HDMI ports and UBS charging stations. I have HD videos made on every trip for a Youtube channel I plan to launch soon.

Ample lighting options everywhere.

Welcome drink, hot towel, welcome letter from cabin manager and some dates upon entering.


Lelabo Bergamorte. Paraben free.


Cabin Manager's welcome letter.


The headphones I had gave off a terrible noise, a second one was brought and it did the same.

3rd strike, the butler gave me Bose earphones from the Residence. These were perfect and crisp.

A mocktail and snacks were brought prior to take off.

Good bye London.

The gourmet treat – order anything at any time.

A gourmet stuffed chicken breast starter was served promptly.


7 course meal at 35000 feet awaits.

Fine China and silverwear. Butlers are Savoy trained in England.


I chose the seafood starter.

Apple sorbet palate refresher.


Fish Biryani is a dish I always have on Etihad. One of my all time favourite.

DSC00173 DSC00170


DSC00211 DSC00212Bed time.

The Butler making the bed.

205cm of lie flat bliss on medium or long haul.

Etihad PJ's

Patchi chocolates on request.

The view of the A380 engines.

A 2nd IFE controller lies on the bed side.

The window blinds are electronic.


One negative thing I found is the charge for the Wifi.

The shower and bathroom.

DSC00188 DSC00192

A digital colour 5minute timer for hot water. Showering at 35,000 feet is an experience.


The lobby.

The Lobby lies between 1st and Business class on the upper deck. It seats 6 people.

I had carrot juice overload here.

This is the staircase at The Residence leading down to the lower deck.


DSC00224 DSC00225


From one A380 window to another.

Although it claims Fast Track its not + SA passport holders are still sent back for eye scanning. UAE needs to jack up on their Fast Track lane quantities too.


Complimentary services offered.


A complimentary shave / trim awaits.

the complimentary chauffer service will take you to the end of UAE.

The voucher presented to driver with the booking details of destination.

I chose Waldorf Astoria the Palm in Dubai where 20mins after this pic was taken I received an upgrade to the best suite I have ever had worth Aed 8,800 / Zar 32,000 per night as a Hilton HHonors Diamond member.

Travel the TraveLoyalty way. Anyone who reads the newsletters can do it.!

UPDATE: it gets better..

View our Youtube compilation below of some of the A380 flights since the inaugural one:

As well as a family trip report to doing Disneyworld Orlando and booking the 1st class Apartments HERE.

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