Using Velocity points to book Etihad Toronto - Abu Dhabi - Perth, is this not allowed unless priced per segment?

I’m looking at booking an Etihad flight from Toronto (YYZ) to Perth (PER) via Abu Dhabi (AUH) on 6 February next year; and Etihad’s website shows there is plenty of availability for Guest Business seats.

I can find availability on the Virgin website if I search per segment (YYZ to AUH - EY140 on 6 Feb; and AUH to PER - EY486 on 7 Feb), but not if I search YYZ to PER.

The stopover time in AUH is around 11 hours, well under the 24 hour limit I thought applied to ensure it can be processed on a single booking.

Upon calling Velocity they advised that the AUH to PER flight isn’t classified as a connecting flight; so it would therefore be priced per segment at 170,000 Velocity points. I expected it to be 139,000 points.

I’ve not heard of this before, and the agent didn’t explain it particularly well. He mentioned something like New York (JFK) - Abu Dhabi (AUH) - Perth (PER) would be classified as a connecting flight and could be completed on a single booking; but there’s much less award availability for that route. Has anyone come across this before? Any tips for getting around it?

Yes. VA has this secret routing rules that only a handful of selected destinations you can connect in AUH as one award. It’s not transparent and we don’t know which city is allowed and which isn’t. It’s not in their routing rule and T&C. Even the agent don’t know and all they can do is punch in the origin and destination. Whatever pricing comes up is what you need to pay, they can’t do anything with it. So all you can do it try your luck. In my experience, JFK and GRU are allowed to connect in AUH but not IAD. So it looks like YYZ is not allowed too.