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Huge Etihad Guest Loyalty Program Changes Coming in June — What To Know

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Daniel Ross
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Daniel Ross

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Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...
Edited by: Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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The national airline of the United Arab Emirates has announced a slew of changes to its loyalty program that will take into effect this June.

Updates to the Etihad Guest program include reduced GuestSeat pricing and status earning, the introduction of personalized status benefits, and a new elite status tier.

“We are excited to announce a new era for the Etihad Guest program with the experience of being a valued member about to reach new heights,” said Mark Potter, managing director of Etihad Guest.

Let’s jump into Etihad’s sweeping changes to its loyalty program.

Etihad Announces Updates to Frequent Flyer Program

According to the airline, Etihad wants to make members of the program feel like they’re rewarded for choosing to fly with them.

“The more time they invest with us through flying and through our lifestyle partners, the more rewarding and personalized their experiences become, so guests can enjoy on their terms, not ours,” Potter told Upgraded Points in an interview.

Hot Tip:

These loyalty program changes come less than a year after Etihad devalued its partner flights by launching a new zone-based award chart. The positive, however, is that Etihad Guest members can now book American Airlines and Virgin Australia award flights online, as well as over 20 other airline partners.

Etihad to Reduce GuestSeat Prices

Among the changes, Etihad will reduce (yes, not increase) GuestSeat rates with a focus on the airline’s most popular routes. Here are some examples of ways to redeem Etihad miles starting this June:

  • Abu Dhabi to London in economy reduced from 32,000 to 30,000 miles
  • Abu Dhabi to Milan in economy reduced from 27,000 to 25,000 miles
  • Abu Dhabi to Istanbul in economy reduced from 17,000 to 15,000 miles
  • Abu Dhabi to Jeddah in business class reduced from 25,000 miles to 20,000 miles

“We can confirm that around 70-80% of destinations in the [award chart] will see reductions in price in economy and business,” confirmed Potter.

Fortunately, Potter confirmed to Upgraded Points that award charts won’t be going away, but members can now use Etihad’s mileage calculator to know exactly how many miles are required for the route they’re interested in.

Hot Tip:

Even if you’re based in the U.S., there are still many ways of earning Etihad Guest miles. Etihad Guest is a points transfer partner of many major credit cards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Earn the Same Number of Tier Miles and Etihad Guest Miles

Climbing through the ranks of Etihad elite status will also change come June.

In the name of simplicity, Etihad will get rid of Tier Segments and focus on Tier Miles as the sole metric to climb through the elite status ranks.

Etihad AUH Terminal A lounge promo shot
Eithad’s new lounge space at the recently-opened Terminal A of Abu Dhabi Airport. Image Credit: Etihad

“We’ve simplified the way members reach their new tiers by removing Tier Segments, creating a simpler way for guests to track their progress to the next level,” confirmed Potter.

Also in June, bookings will earn the same number of Tier Miles and Etihad Guest Miles.

Personalized Elite Status Benefits

Etihad wants to reward its frequent flyers with more than just the standard benefits, which are unlocked at each status level. Soon, there will be 3 types of perks: Core, Custom, and Beyond.

“It’s about giving members the opportunity to select benefits that they want as part of their journey rather than what we’re dictating to them,” said Potter.

The number of Custom perks available, in addition to Core perks, increases as your elite status level increases: Silver members can choose 2, Gold members can choose 4, and Platinum will get 5.

However, these custom benefits won’t be revealed until we get closer to launch.

The third type of benefit available is Beyond benefits, which will only be available to Gold and Platinum status holders. These perks can be gifted to friends and family members, and include options like Silver or Gold status, lounge passes, or bonus miles.

“We’re aware that there are members who get to the Gold or Platinum tiers and continue to accrue, and we want to say that we’re rewarding you for your continued loyalty beyond just achieving the tier threshold,” explained Potter.

New Elite Tier

And finally, Etihad will introduce an all-new Diamond Tier — an additional level above Platinum.

Etihad says members who attain Platinum or Diamond status will also be able to choose their own personalized membership number.

Final Thoughts

Following the opening of a brand-new, state-of-the-art terminal in Abu Dhabi, and the unveiling of updated economy and business class cabins, the relaunch of Etihad’s loyalty program is the third major customer-centric change made recently.

What’s next, Etihad? Reducing Residence redemptions by half? We can only dream…

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Daniel Ross's image

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.


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