Etihad have announced a series of changes to the Etihad Guest program. While a mixed bag, with some improvements, overall it looks like a downgrade to the program.
The changes are coming in two rounds. The first set of changes occurs on October 8, 2017 with another set of changes coming through on January 15, 2018.
October 8 changes
First up, Etihad are pulling back on the validity period for your status tier. Gold and Platinum status will only be valid for 1 year, rather than 2 years at present. This does bring the validity period into line with Silver status, it does mean that you will need to be quicker about requalifying at one of the higher status levels.
Probably a lesser change, but may affect some people. In essence, to get the 500 Welcome miles, you will need to ensure that you first activity with Etihad Guest is with Etihad Airways, Air Serbia or Air Seychelles. Anything else, and you will do yourself out of the 500 welcome bonus miles.
Gold Members Lounge Access in Abu Dhabi
Etihad Guest Gold Members flying on Etihad Airways operated flights will be eligible to use the Etihad Airways Business Class Lounge in Terminal 1 and 3 at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Collecting miles on Etihad Airways
On two Etihad Airways fare classes, there will be a increase in the number of Etihad Guest Miles being awarded. For fare class “J” in Business will go to 200% and fare class “F” in First will go to 275%.
January 15 Changes
The October changes are probably not so bad – but the January changes are probably worse.
Etihad will be increasing the Carrier Surcharge across some of our Business and First Class routes by USD 50. This surcharge is essentially a cash co-payment when making an award. While some airlines refer to a fuel surcharge, Etihad just charge a carrier surcharge.
GuestSeats and Upgrades
The number of Etihad Guest Miles required for a GuestSeat on Etihad Airways will decrease on certain routes and increase on others. It is hard to know the overall effect of this until the figures are seen.
There will also be an increase in the number of miles required for upgrades.