Etihad Airways just sent an email detailing changes coming to its Etihad Guest program on July 8, 2015.
These changes are not drastic, but you can expect to pay more in miles for most business class redemptions and all first class ones. Also, the number of miles required to upgrade is going up.
You can access Etihad’s web page for these changes here.
Here are the changes:
You can now earn 25% of the miles flown for the lowest Etihad fare class when previously this was zero. There are two other economy fare classes and one each for business and first that will earn more miles.
The second lowest economy fare class earnings are cut by 50%. Also, you will earn less miles for lowest business class fares.
There are some sectors where Etihad promises to make an additional 20% of seats available as business class rewards on the routes above.
Using Miles For GuestSeats
The number of miles required for economy class rewards on longest flights is reduced by 25%. The number of miles required for business class awards on these longest flights won’t change.
The number of miles required for business class awards on flights less than 6,000 miles and on all first class ones will increase.
Abu Dhabi – London F
The Abu Dhabi to London in F gets hits hard when the number of miles required increases from 55,226 to 87,732. This is a 59% rise.
Abu Dhabi – Sydney F
The required miles for an F award change from 121,598 to 128,780 miles representing a 5.9% increase.
Abu Dhabi – London Business
The number of miles goes up from 43,976 to 65,964, that represents a 50% increase.
Abu Dhabi – Bangkok Business
The current requirement is 39,874 miles and the new one is 59,811 that is a 50% increase.
Abu Dhabi – Amman Business
The new requirement is 23,839 compared to the current one of 15,893. This is a 33% increase.
Using Miles For Upgrades
You can no longer use miles to upgrade “Breaking Deal” fares that are booked in T & E (economy) and Z (business fare classes).
The number of miles required for upgrades is changing but Etihad doesn’t give any estimate how much. They have now three different economy fare class groups that dictate the number of miles required for business class upgrades. All other business class fares besides Z are eligible for first class upgrades.
Abu Dhabi – London
The number of miles for economy upgrades goes up by up to 59%!
Abu Dhabi – Sydney
The business class to first class award pricing goes up by 18%. The number of miles required for economy to business goes up by a lot more.
NEW Carrier Surcharges Added
The airline states that now it will add a $50/$100/$150 carrier surcharge for all awards in Y/C/F and this is per one-way.
The current Abu Dhabi to Sydney doesn’t have any surcharges.
Some of the upgrade price changes in miles are ugly from economy and business to business and first. Also, the number of miles required for business class awards of less than 6,000 goes up significantly on the three routes that I checked (33% to 50%).
Many of these Etihad awards are now available for a lot less miles using American Airlines AAdvantage miles and there are no carrier/fuel surcharge levied on EY flights. Abu Dhabi to London is 30,000 AAdvantage miles + actual taxes versus the new Etihad Guest miles requirement of 65.964 + $50 scam fees.