While airline loyalty programs can still be extremely rewarding, we certainly don’t see as many promotions as we used to. That’s because for the most part airlines don’t need loyalty programs to fill seats anymore, so instead they use the loyalty programs as a profit center in and of themselves.
In general US loyalty programs are still more generous than non-US loyalty programs, at least when it comes to elite perks and the ability to easily earn miles.
However, there’s one non-US carrier which consistently has extremely generous promotions with their loyalty program, which doesn’t get enough credit. And that’s Etihad Airways.
Etihad is back with their latest promotion. Etihad Guest is offering the following to members who book by February 20, 2016, and travel between February 10 and June 30, 2016:
- Double elite qualifying and redeemable miles for flights in economy
- Triple elite qualifying and redeemable miles for flights in business/first class
The bonus is only valid for travel on Etihad Airways flights, and not for travel on codeshare flights. Bonus miles should post within two weeks of the end of the promotion. Registration is required by emailing Etihad at firstname.lastname@example.org, which seems like a rather strange system for registering for a promotion. I’m guessing not all that many people take advantage of these promotions, or else they’d have a more streamlined registration process.
As a reminder, Etihad normally awards miles at the following rates:
The above bonuses apply to base miles. For example, this means a saver business class ticket which ordinarily earns 130% of flown miles would instead earn 330% of flown miles. Etihad has some great business class fares, like the below itinerary, which is over 17,000 base miles:
When you factor in the 330% miles you’d earn, you would get a total of over 56,000 elite qualifying and redeemable miles for the ticket. That’s pretty incredible.
As a reminder, Etihad’s elite tiers are as follows:
As you can see, with the promotion, the one roundtrip above would get you Gold status, and you’d be well on your way to Platinum status. The benefits of Etihad status aren’t huge — ultimately you’re just getting priority services, like expedited check-in, security, boarding, lounge access, etc. Platinum status even comes with access to the first class lounge, when it hopefully opens in May.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of status with Etihad is that it increases your odds of receiving an operational upgrade, as they’re often oversold in economy.
While Etihad Guest isn’t my all around favorite loyalty program, they offer more generous promotions than any other program I can think of when it comes to earning miles for flying. This isn’t a one off promotion, but rather we see double to triple miles promotions a few times per year (though usually they’re only offering bonus redeemable miles, and not bonus elite qualifying miles).
If you’re someone who flies Etihad on revenue tickets frequently, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this promotion.
(Tip of the hat to Roger)