Air Canada, the “flag” carrier of its namesake country, and Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, have today launched a frequent flier partnership.
Air Canada members can earn and use Aeroplan miles on Etihad flights (Altitude qualifying too). In contrast, Etihad Guest members have the same opportunity (not sure of the elite qualifying part though).
Here’s the number of Aeroplan miles that you earn on Etihad flights:
The standard award chart applies for Etihad flights:
The Etihad flights will appear on the Aeroplan award search and are combinable with all partners. There are no fuel surcharges on Etihad.
Etihad Guest Air Canada earning chart:
Etihad Guest miles required for Air Canada flights:
The Air Canada awards are distance-based, and you need to call Etihad Guest to issue them.
This partnership is suitable for both Air Canada and Etihad frequent fliers that can both earn and use their miles on each other’s flights. Elite benefits such as lounge access and business class checking, however, are not part of the deal.
There were talks earlier that Etihad was inching towards Star Alliance once Qatar joined Oneworld, and Emirates touted that they would never join an alliance.
The airline now has partnerships with six Star Alliance members, four Oneworld, five belonging to SkyTeam, and several independents.
I used to fly quite a bit with Etihad and had their highest elite status. Etihad Guest did some upgrades a few years ago that disabled access for many, including my account. I have not flown with the airline ever since. It is excellent in the air, but like is the case with all ME3 (Emirates, Etihad & Qatar), everything falls apart if there are any issues on the ground.
The other reason why I have avoided Etihad is its shrinking network and collapse of the Equity Alliance (Airberlin, Alitalia, and Virgin Australia have all disappeared or are in bankruptcy).
Being now able to credit the flights to Air Canada Aeroplan as elite qualifying, may make me try them again, but then I don’t need third Star Alliance status.