Etihad Guest’s 2018 Award Price Changes

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.

As a reminder, Etihad Guest is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest, so there are lots of ways to earn miles with them.

What do you make of these Etihad Guest award price changes?

Comments

  1. Interesting that the London-Abu Dhabi route is one of the few that has decreased. I wonder if the pressure from Qatar and Emirates is biting them?

  2. This is probably a very naive question but I’m relatively new (18-24 months) to earning points/miles, but is there ever good news when airlines make changes to their awards programs? It seems to me the answer is no but figure I’d ask the expert(s). Thanks

  3. This is only slightly related to this post, but I’ve always been interested in the strategy difference between the ME3. What do you make of Qatar allowing awards from North America to Asia (via DOH) but Etihad pricing that as two separate tickets (via AUH)?

    I imagine with $60 oil and Qatar’s diplomatic situation that both airlines have probably reviewed this as theyve devalued I dont have a great sense of the relative yields for any of those routes (only flown Qatar once), but if Etihad made some changes to relaxing routing rules I’d have no problem taking a devaluation.

    Curious on your thoughts.

  4. A couple big award price increases are for Abu Dhabi to the Maldives and Seychelles. They cost around 35k miles roundtrip before the change. Now each roundtrip award tickets cost around 57k miles.

  5. Yip. And I delayed booking those legs before the 15th too Alex W 🙁

    Ah well I can generate points for nearly 1c on Etihad so no issues here.

  6. Sad…really sad…but at least I tried the First Apartment 2 weeks ago for 117k. Now 136k and $50 more on taxes. Did redemption with AA went up as well?

  7. Any partners award charts affected and does the $50 business per segment apply to partner airline awards?

  8. Etihad guest is not a program I would like to be involved with as it has the worst customer service. Changes are never communicated beforehand to their customers and retroactive claiming of miles is a nightmare.

  9. As a Guest Gold member over many years I have given up on Etihad. The ticket prices have gone up, mile earnings have decreased, redemption increased, $$ charges per segment introduced, no limo, no pyjamas, no miles bonuses,…etc. Buying cheap miles now (Avianca,…etc) and flying Thai or Singapore in comfort for much less.

  10. Is there any way to search awards via a mobile device? When I use my iPhone or the EY, it says I can’t use a mobile device. Thanks.

  11. @Tom Schneider Alaska Airlines increased earning rates in premium cabins on partner airlines a little while back but 95% of the time, no.

  12. I found it took a very long time for my Citi TY points to get to Etihad. I had to cancel a booked flight due to a hurricane in the US affecting me, and they could care less. Took over 1 month to get points back to use again and they took 10% of those points away.

    My point is to be very, very careful dealing with Etihad.

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