Last September, Etihad Guest announced some program changes, most of which were negative. Some of these changes kicked in as of October 8, 2017, while the rest of the changes kicked in as of January 15, 2018.
The changes we saw last October included updates to how long status is valid for, a new 500 mile welcome bonus for new members after they take their first flight, more lounge access in Abu Dhabi for Etihad Guest Gold members, and an increase in mileage earning for full fare first and business class passengers.
With these changes, full fare first class passengers earn more miles than before
The changes that kicked in yesterday were a bit less straightforward. Specifically, Etihad announced a change to award pricing in many markets:
“The number of Etihad Guest Miles required for a GuestSeat on Etihad Airways will decrease on certain routes and increase on others to keep our fares competitive. You will also notice an increase of the miles required for upgrades.”
The worst part was that they didn’t actually share any of the changes that would be happening, but rather they were all a surprise. So we had no notice of how the pricing would change. On top of that, Etihad announced that the surcharges would be increasing for some business and first class awards by 50USD.
So, yesterday the new Etihad Guest award pricing kicked in. How bad are the changes? For the most part not that bad, actually. When a loyalty program announces award pricing changes and doesn’t reveal what the changes are, I generally expect the worst. However, in this case we’re seeing a mild increase in some award costs, while other award costs are going down slightly.
While there’s no easy way to access the before and after costs, here’s the mileage calculator that will show you how many miles you need for an award now (while I get they’re trying to go for a modern look for their website, I find this new tool to be clunky and cumbersome). To give a few examples of the award price changes:
- The cost of a one-way first class award from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi increased from 143,741 miles to 155,002 miles
- The cost of a one-way first class award from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi increased from 124,660 miles to 136,250 miles
- The cost of a one-way first class award from Washington to Abu Dhabi increased from 121,197 miles to 136,251 miles
- The cost of a one-way business class award from New York to Abu Dhabi increased from 88,391 miles to 100,002 miles
- The cost of a one-way business class award from London to Abu Dhabi decreased from 65,964 miles to 62,501 miles
- The cost of a one-way business class award from Muscat to Abu Dhabi increased from 12,900 miles to 17,500 miles
The cost of many business class redemptions has increased marginally
While the changes are mostly negative, especially when you factor in the increase of $50 per segment in surcharges, this could have been a lot worse. Etihad Guest still has much more attractive redemption rates than Emirates Skywards, though that’s not saying much.
What do you make of these Etihad Guest award price changes?