Etihad Guest announces major changes to award redemptions, elite status and more

Etihad Airways has recently announced a wide range of changes coming to its Etihad Guest loyalty program starting in June 2024. These changes will impact the way customers earn and redeem miles, as well as the benefits and perks available to elite-status members. While some of the changes may be positive for travelers, there are also some aspects of the new program that may be seen as negative.

One of the positive changes announced by Etihad is that the cost of economy and business-class award redemptions on “some popular routes” will actually decrease. Economy redemptions will start from 5,000 miles, and business class redemptions from 15,000 miles. This can potentially make award travel more accessible to a wider range of travelers, especially for those looking to book flights on popular routes.

Another exciting development coming to Etihad is the ability to redeem miles to upgrade to Etihad’s famous A380 Residence between Abu Dhabi and London’s Heathrow Airport or New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. While the upgrade prices and rules have not yet been announced, this is a unique opportunity for travelers to experience luxury air travel at a fraction of the cost.

However, not all the changes announced by Etihad are positive. One of the most notable changes is that Etihad Guest miles will now expire after 18 months, and will only extend if you take a flight operated by Etihad or a partner airline within that time frame. This is a significant change from other loyalty programs that allow any earning activity to extend the mileage expiration. This new policy may make it more difficult for casual travelers to keep their miles active.

Additionally, new redemption cancellation charges are likely to be unpopular among Etihad Guest members. The program will now impose a 25% mileage penalty when canceling a redemption more than 21 days before departure, increasing to a steep 75% penalty for cancellations within seven days of departure. This is a much more restrictive policy compared to other loyalty programs, such as Qatar Airways Privilege Club, which charges just $25 to change or cancel a redemption up to 24 hours before departure.

In terms of elite status changes, Etihad announced that Guest members will no longer need to earn Tier Segments to earn elite status; instead, Tier Miles will be the sole earning metric for the airline. Elite members will be able to choose different types of perks based on their status level, with Silver Tier members able to choose two perks, Gold Tier members able to choose four perks, and Platinum members able to choose five perks.

A brand new status level, Diamond Tier, is also being introduced for members who spend at least $150,000 with Etihad Airways in 12 months. The benefits of this new tier have yet to be announced, but it represents an opportunity for high-spending travelers to access even more exclusive perks and benefits.

Overall, the changes coming to the Etihad Guest loyalty program in June 2024 represent a mix of positive and negative developments. While some travelers may benefit from decreased award redemption costs and new upgrade opportunities, others may find the new expiration policy and redemption cancellation charges to be restrictive. Elite-status members will have the opportunity to choose their perks based on their status level, with additional benefits available to those who reach the new Diamond Tier.

As with any loyalty program changes, it will be important for Etihad Guest members to carefully review the new terms and conditions to determine how the changes will impact their travel plans and redemption options. By staying informed and understanding the new program rules, travelers can make the most of their Etihad Guest membership and continue to enjoy the benefits and perks offered by the airline’s loyalty program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *