Etihad Guest is the loyalty program of Etihad Airways. It is useful for those who fly on Etihad Airways and its partners like Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand.
Etihad Guest miles are earned through credit cards, flying and bonus points promotions, and can be redeemed for award flights in all classes.
This guide is ground zero for those who are just starting off. Read on for how to join the program, earn as many miles as you can, and use them for maximum value.
How to join the Etihad Guest program
How to earn Etihad Guest points
The two quickest ways to earn Etihad Guest miles are by:
- signing up for a credit card with a large sign-up bonus
- using a high Etihad Guest miles-earning credit card on an ongoing basis
American Express Membership Rewards points can be converted into Etihad Guest miles
There are a number of other ways to earn bonus Etihad Guest miles, including by:
- flying on Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia and 20+ other partner airlines (Etihad isn’t part of any alliance, though)
- booking a hotel through Kaligo
- booking a car rental
- participating in the Etihad BusinessConnect program for businesses
You may consider crediting your Virgin Australia flights to Etihad Guest instead of Velocity Frequent Flyer—this guide will help you decide whether to do so.
Pooling your Etihad Guest miles with family members is a great way to build up your balance more quickly.
If you are short on miles for a redemption, you can:
- buy Etihad Guest miles
- top up your account if you already have 75% of the miles required for a redemption
- buy American Express Membership Rewards points
- transfer points over from Marriott Bonvoy
How to redeem Etihad Guest points
Redeeming your Etihad Guest miles for travel on Virgin Australia is often a low-fuel-surcharge option for domestic flights within Australia, but note that it is not straightforward, requiring a phone call and a 14-day booking lead time.
A sweet spot is Sydney to Queenstown in Virgin Australia 737 Business Class for only 13,800 miles + taxes.
When comparing Etihad Guest and Velocity side-by-side, Etihad Guest redemptions are cheaper than Velocity redemptions on almost all Virgin Australia flights.
Etihad’s flagship Business Class on A380 and 787 aircraft is world-class and Australia enjoys many options for points redemptions.
The luxurious First Apartment on the A380 flies to Abu Dhabi from Sydney and onward to destinations like London, Paris and New York.
It’s one of the world’s best First Class products, with a vast amount of space and an onboard shower. It’s a great way to burn your points, if you have enough.
The following flights on partner airlines also get you good bang for your buck:
- American Airlines premium cabins at pre-March 2016 AAdvantage devaluation rates
- Business Class on Brussels Airlines within Europe and between Europe and North America
You’ll want to aim for a cheaper GuestSeat rather than an OpenSeat when making a redemption.
The ultra-exclusive The Residence product requires a lot of miles and is a nice redemption to dream about.
If you are looking for more inspiration for what to do with your Etihad Guest miles, check out our best uses of points series.
Lost as to how to start your search for an award seat? Check out this post.
Etihad Guest offers great-value redemptions on both Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia.
Given that Etihad Guest miles can be easily earned in Australia by using one of these credit cards, any budding frequent flyer enthusiast should consider joining the program and working towards building a balance.
Do you know someone who might get some use out of the Etihad Guest program but needs a little help? Share this guide using the social media buttons below!
Supplementary images courtesy Etihad Airways and Etihad Guest.