Has anyone had issues with Etihad Guest showing phantom seats?

Hey guys,

I have a query about using Etihad Guest Miles.

We saved up as many points as we could on our Amex card.

Eventually, we had enough for a one-way biz class flight from SYD-FRA, for two people, with Etihad.

I did all the research. Found the date I wanted. I could see there were two biz class seats available at the points price we wanted. I was ready to go - almost exactly a year in advance.

I transferred the points from Amex to Etihad (nervous wait for 12 hours as they transferred over, in case the seats were snapped up).

The seats were still there! Yay! So I went through the booking process, and then whole thing froze.

I called Etihad, and - amidst some difficulty - was able to ascertain that just because it shows availability online at that points price, it doesn’t mean it’s actually available.

They did offer me the same flight, biz class, using ALL our points PLUS thousands more in dollars.

As you can imagine, I was not happy.

I ended up booking a flight with them, over the phone, for the points I was expecting - but not on the day we actually wanted to go.

They said we could keep an eye on it, and call back in a few days when new availability appeared, and call them to see if we could transfer dates for the same amount of points. I just did that, and it was only possible by paying another $2k.

Does anyone have any experience of how to manage this?

It’s terrifying, transferring ALL your Amex points to an airline, having done all the research (or so I thought) only to find out the airline isn’t really offering seats at that price…

Is there anything I can do to mitigate this?