Middle Eastern Sampler: Introduction

Houston Executive Club Lounge
Qatar Airways B777-200LR Business Class | Houston to Doha
Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge | Doha
Qatar Airways B777-300ER First Class | Doha to Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways Premium Lounge | Abu Dhabi
U.S. Customs PreClearance | Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways B787-9 First Class | Abu Dhabi to Washington
Park Hyatt Washington D.C.

Four months ago, I was chatting on Facebook with a good friend of mine that lives in Australia. I first met this person in 2012, when I flew to Australia for the annual "Oz Fest", and we'd kept in touch ever-since. Unfortunately, my planned trip to Australia and New Zealand for this past May didn't work out, so our visit wasn't going to work...until we started talking about Etihad's recent product upgrades.

My friend was planning to come to the United States for a couple weeks, and thanks to Etihad's partnership with Virgin Australia, he was able to secure Etihad First Class from Brisbane to Washington D.C., via Abu Dhabi, on the Boeing 787-9. I began a search for space from Abu Dhabi to Washington, though ran into a brickwall during one of the periods where many people believe that American Airlines would no longer be able to Etihad awards. Not too long after, reports on FlyerTalk led me to call American and within minutes, I had booked a seat on the flight to Washington.

Getting to Abu Dhabi wasn't as tough, as I was able to immediately confirm in Business Class on Qatar Airways from Houston to Abu Dhabi, via Doha. The flight would be operated with Qatar's Boeing 777-200LR, featuring the 2-2-2 Business product that each of their U.S. destinations currently receive.


The routing looked like this.


At no additional cost, I added flights from Kansas City to Houston, via Dallas. For the return, I added a US Airways flight from Washington-National to Kansas City. Total cost was 157,500 AA miles.

Lower 48 - Middle East: 67,500 miles in Business Class
Middle East - Lower 48: 90,000 miles in First Class

I am a big Hyatt fan, so I went ahead and booked the summer rate at the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi and was able to use one of my Diamond Suite Upgrades to confirm into a Park Suite.


I even got to attend a warehouse sale hosted by Etihad! In the process of updating their branding, everything from amenity kits, blankets and dishes to silverware, pajamas and even model airplanes were being sold at heavy discounts! I ended up taking home a 1:100 Boeing 777-300ER, with the old livery, for 50% off the normal price.


Stay tuned for the next pieces of this report and lots of photos. For a sneak peek, check out my Instagram page below.



Looking forward to it!