Etihad Guest Program Changes

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Etihad Airways have announced a series of changes to its Etihad Guest frequent flyer program. The changes, while not dramatic, will impact travellers in different ways, with some positive changes, and some negative changes.

The changes were emailed to members of the Etihad Guest program over the last day. The changes are outlined below.

Earning Etihad Guest Miles

Etihad are adjusting the number of points that will be earned in some of the fare classes. In 5 cases earnings will rise, and in two cases, they will decrease.

The fare classes that have an increased earning rate are:

  • ‘R’ – in First Class
  • ‘D’ – in Business Class
  • ‘L’, ‘Q’, and ‘T’ – in Economy Class

The fare classes that have a decreased earning rate are:

  • ‘Z’ – in Business Class
  • ‘E’ – in Economy Class

Etihad have published the full table showing the changes on their website.

More GuestSeats per flight

Etihad write that they are increasing the number of GuestSeats made available, in order to meet the demand from members for seats.

Etihad are promising more GuestSeats to be made available. This includes an extra 20% in the number of Business Class seats being made available on the highest demand routes. They claim this will add a total of 1,000 extra Business Class seats per month being made available.

In addition, there will be a minimum of 5 seats made available in Economy Class.

Using Miles for GuestSeats

From July 8, 2015, there will be adjusments made to the number of Guest Miles needed for GuestSeats. This will vary with sector length, and the booking class.

First up, the number of miles required to obtain a First Class seat will increase across the board.

In Business Class, for a distance under 6,000 miles, you’ll need more miles to get a seat. For distances over 6,000 miles, there are no changes to the points requirement.

In Economy the situation is a little different. There is no change for routes under 6,000 miles. On the other hand, for routes that are over 6,000 miles there will be a decrease of 25% on the number of Etihad Guest miles required.

All flights from Abu Dhabi to Australia fall into the ‘Over 6,000’ miles buckets.

Using Miles for OpenSeats

From July 8, Etihad will add the ability to use Etihad Guest Miles toward payment for the airline’s lowest available “breaking deals’ airfares in business class and economy.

Etihad will also be offering a special member-only discount “of up to 30% on the commercial fare” for business and first class on popular routes. The initial list contains routes such as Abu Dhabi to Sydney, London, Istanbul and Bangkok. However, this will require a number of Etihad Guest Miles to be used towards the fare.

Using Miles for Upgrades

There are two main changes here.

Firstly, the number of points required for an upgrade is changing. While Etihad have not detailed this in great detail, it seems that all upgrades are going to cost more points from July 8.

Secondly, some fares will no longer be upgradeable. These are the Breaking Deals fares and are the lowest available fares in Economy and Business Class. These are all Etihad Airways tickets issued on fare classes T, E and Z.

Surcharge Changes

On the surcharge front, there is some good news, and some bad news.

First, the good news. Fuel surcharges which were levied on some flights are being removed from redemption bookings.

Then, there’s the bad news. Etihad are adding a ‘Carrier Surcharge’ to the cost of the redemption, that will be based on the number of sectors, and the redemption class. This will be added to all GuestSeat bookings and is US$50 per sector in economy class, US$100 per sector in business class and US$150 in first class.

This is a ‘doubly’ bad change for routes where there is currently no fuel surcharge at all. These will just be getting the ‘Carrier Surcharge’ added.

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