Etihad Airways “Enhances” Guest Program

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Etihad Airways sent out an email today to Guest program members about “new benefits” (read mainly benefit downgrades) coming our way this fall and early 2018.

Etihad Guest Benefit Downgrades

Gold and Platinum status will now be only valid for year (previously two), upgrades will require more miles as will probably most awards (some will require less), business and first class award fuel surcharges will increases by another $50 etc.

You can access Etihad Guest page for current elite benefits here.

Etihad Guest Benefit Downgrades Tier Validity

Someone has come up quite a BS text: “to support the continued growth and evolution of your Etihad Guest membership we have conducted a review on some of your programme benefits. As a result, over the next four months, we will be making some changes to ensure they remain attractive and competitive”.

Well. They are basically devaluing the program by making it both less attractive and less competitive.

The Gold and Platinum tier is now only valid for ONE year instead of TWO.

Etihad Guest Benefit Downgrades Gold Lounge Access & J And F

Gold members traveling in economy will now have access to business class lounge in Abu Dhabi unless lounge is full when they will be diverted to the same third party lounge as previously.

It is unclear from the text if lounge access is for the Gold member only or + 1.

Etihad Guest Benefit Downgrades More Miles

Award seat will require more miles as will upgrade. The fuel surcharge will go up by another $50 for business and first class awards.

Here are the current benefits (before the grid is removed from EY’s page):

Conclusion

Although I have Platinum status with Etihad, I have hardly flown with the airline during the past 24 months (and will not re-qualify). The product, network, and price compared to Qatar Airways combined with no alliance backing has made flying with the airline difficult.

Many of the feeder flights to Abu Dhabi ex-Europe have been operated by Airberlin and Alitalia. Two airlines that I have tried to avoid (especially the former).

Etihad Guest used to have bonus miles promotions every few months for bonus Guest and BusinessConnect miles. These have entirely dried up in the past year.

You also have to bear in mind that you need much higher number of Guest miles for Etihad flights plus need to pay fuel surcharge too than just redeeming AAdvantage miles for the same flight(s). My last award required close to double the number the number of Guest miles compared to American Airlines ones (used Etihad ones because they were about to expire).

There is still some value left with partner awards but who knows for how long. Need to make sure that I burn the close to 300K Guest miles that I have before the devaluation takes place in January.

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