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While doing some random browsing today I discovered, much to my curiosity, a URL from Etihad in German which suggests that Etihad will discontinue it’s Corporate Benefit Program BusinessConnect for Germany and Austria effective October 1st 2015 and offers to move existing customers and points balances over to Air Berlin. You can access this website here. (German Version Only)

EY BusinessConnnect

I haven’t found any such announcement on Etihad’s main website and in fact you can still sign your company up for BusinessConnect as usual.

It is obviously a workflow that suggests the following:

  • Existing customers can link their EY BusinessConnect to a current Air Berlin Business Plus account or alternatively agree to be signed up for one using existing data per August 31st 2015
  • Conversion will be processed under a ‘very good conversion rate XY (not specified)’
  • 600 Welcome Points will be credited (enough for a domestic roundtrip in Germany on Air Berlin)
  • Etihad Guest Members can continue to earn miles and status benefits as usual
  • Alternatively the BusinessConnect account holder can request for the account to be closed and not transferred under which circumstances the existing points will expire October 1st 2015.

I have friends who participate in this program, although not under german registration and they were successful to recently upgrade some longhaul flights to Brazil using their BusinessConnect points.

You can find specific details about Air Berlin’s program Business Points on their website. Looking briefly at the program details, it seems like these points can be redeemed for flights or upgrades on Air Berlin as well as flights on Etihad in Economy & Business Class. Etihad First Class is not available and neither are upgrades of any kind.

Conclusion

First of all this has to be taken with a big question mark because I called Etihad’s general call center in Germany today and they didn’t know anything about this (not surprised).

However, should this become reality either within the timeline mentioned or at a later time I can see only disadvantages here for those customers preferring to fly Etihad whose products are vastly superior to Air Berlin which is part of the Etihad Group. Especially the earning ratio and the lack of available upgrades on Etihad should irk many members if this plan ends up being executed as stated.

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Alitalia and Etihad (which owns a minority share of Alitalia) are the official Expo Milano 2015 airline sponsors. The exposition runs until the end of October.

Alitalia Etihad Expo Milano 2015 Pavilion

The airlines share a great pavilion that also includes a Premium Lounge where Alitalia & Etihad frequent fliers plus some other passengers (read the entry requirement here) have access to. I spent Friday last week at the Expo and a couple of hours at the Premium Lounge as well, which is a good place for refreshments and charging your cell. [click to continue…]

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Alitalia and Etihad are sharing a pavilion at the Expo Milan (or Milano in Italian and some other languages) 2015 where they have a fantastic Premium Lounge as well.

Alitalia & Etihad Premium Lounge Access Expo Milano 2015

What hasn’t been well documented, however, is the lounge access policy that I’ll try to clarify here. Etihad Airways also sent an email with a redemption code for a free tickets to Etihad Gust Gold and Platinum member (read more here). [click to continue…]

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Expedia Australia sent out an email the other day (thanks for a reader forwarding it) advertising 8,000 bonus Etihad Airways Guest Miles per trip originating from Australia June 4 – March 31, 2016.

Etihad Airways Expedia.com.au Up To 8,000 Bonus Miles

The offer is supposedly only valid on tickets purchased from Expedia Australia by June 25, 2015, and is also valid on codeshare flights operated by Etihad Airways Partners or Virgin Australia. [click to continue…]

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WSJ yesterday had a piece about the European airlines of Lufthansa and Air France-KLM trying to upgrade their cabins and in-flight service to better match those of the Middle Eastern rivals to whom they have lost a lot of traffic to Asia over the past few years.

WSJ Europe’s Top Airlines to Spend Billions in Battle to Win Back Passengers

After years of cost cutting (and cutting corners when it comes to the service provided), the airlines are trying to offer upgraded cabins and amenities especially to those that travel in premium cabins. [click to continue…]

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Marriott Rewards has various Travel Packages redemption options where for instance you get a 7 night hotel award + a variable number of airline miles in your chosen airline for a set number of points.

Marriott Rewards Travel Package

In my opinion, this is the best way to use Marriott Rewards points. You get a 7 night hotel award and then can “purchase” airlines miles at ONE Marriott Rewards point per ONE mile with Package 1 airlines. [click to continue…]