Last month a new airline arrived at JFK Airport giving you another means of crossing the Atlantic from New York and possibly using your miles. The new airline is Air Serbia currently operating five times a week except Sundays and Wednesdays.
Based in Belgrade, Serbia, this airline used to be called YAT Airways and only flew in the region and Europe. A 49% ownership with Etihad Airways allowed them to make this journey as they got the 254-seat Airbus A330-200s from Jet Airways who is also partially owned by Etihad Airways.
Let’s look at their offerings:
18 life flat seats in a 1-2-1 herring bone configuration.
Business class fares start at $3,198.72 from New York to Belgrade in October 2016 including all taxes and fees. This is the Business Saver fare. There is also a higher Business Freedom fare with less restrictions. The Saver fare earns at 130% while the Freedom is at 175%. The other difference in the fares is that Saver fare has a $400 date change fee and a $500 refundable fee. So depending on your travel needs and you mileage earning goals the Freedom fare may work better.
In Belgrade you do get to use their premium Lounge which has typical Lounge features including a shower.
236 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. Each seat has audio/video on demand. The inflight meal service offers a hot meal with three choices as well as a complimentary bar service.
For a seven day round trip from New York to Belgrade in October 2016 gives a fare of as low as $649.72 for the Saver fare and as high as $2,378,72 for the Freedom fare.
There are four different types of fares for Economy Class; Breaking Deals, Saver, Value and Freedom. You may mix the different fares inbound and outbound. You earn different levels of mileage from 25% to 100% depending on the fare you choose. They do a very good job of showing you what you get based on the fare you choose. None of the fares offer lounge access and the Freedom fare is the only one without any kind of change fees.
Frequent Flyer Program
Air Serbia does not have their own program, instead they use the Etihad Guest program, which make sense since they are partially owned by Etihad. The program has three tiers; Platinum, Gold and Silver. In addition all the other Etihad partners are also partners with Air Serbia: air berlin (oneworld), Air Seychelles, Alitalia (Skyteam), Etihad, Jet Airways and Niki.
When booking a flight, you can earn miles on the following frequent flyer programs: air berlin, Alitalia, Etihad (Etihad Guest, this is their program) and Jet Airways. This means you can earn in the air berlin program and then redeem the miles in the oneworld network. Similarly, you can earn in the Alitalia program and then redeem those miles in the SkyTeam network. Not a bad deal at all.
Plus you can earn Etihad Guest miles on all the partners of the Etihad Guest program. The additional partner airlines are: Air New Zealand, ANA, American Airlines, Asiana, Bangkok Airways, brussels airlines, Czech Airlines, Etihad Regional, Garuda Indonesia, GOL, Hainan Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Philippine Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, South African Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, Ukraine International and Virgin Australia.
The program also currently have 150 non-airline partners, so you have plenty of ways to earn miles other than flying.
They also have codeshare partnerships with the following airlines. This means that you can also fly on these airlines and still earn miles in the Etihad Guest program depending on the relationship with Air Serbia:
- Adria Airways
- Air Europa
- Air China
- Air France
- Bulgaria Air
- LOT Polish
- El Al
So what does this mean in terms of redemptions though?
It means you can earn miles on all these partners and use it to redeem awards on Air Serbia on that JFK to Belgrade route! Or any other route of course. Which makes it really worth it.
You can redeem for the full class award as well as upgrade your Economy class fare to a Business Class fare. You can find a handy calculator at this page.
Upgrade for the New York to Belgrade route
One Way Economy Saver – 52,210
One Way Economy Value Fare – 43,508
One Way Economy Freedom Fare – 34,807
One Way Economy Class – 44,970
One Way Business Class – 64,082
To redeem an award ticket or an upgrade with miles, its is necessary to call. You can find applicable numbers at this page which is available 24 hours a day. They do have a local New York number as well as a toll free number. When you call you will be transferred to Belgrade if the New York call center is not open. If this is the case, speak slowly since English is not their first language.
All in al this is a great alternative way to cross the Atlantic and enjoy a new culture while using your Etihad Guest miles or purchasing a ticket.