Etihad last week announced they are making some material changes to the way that their Etihad Guest frequent flyer members earn and redeem points – notably increases in the cost of all First Class redemptions, and on many Business Class routes too.
I see Etihad Guest as a useful program to keep in your back pocket for redemptions via Credit Card program transfers (such as Amex Membership Rewards) – but not a program to target unless you fly Etihad frequently.
Given that – these changes aren’t all bad news, with Business Class seats to/from Abu Dhabi from Australian ports all staying the same price and more of them available, along with the price for Economy travel coming down by 25%.
The changes come into effect from July 8th, so Etihad has given around a month’s notice – not too bad.
I’m not going to republish what others have already said about the changes, so if you’re into Etihad Guest, have a read of these pieces. The opinion is mixed depending on where in the world you’re coming from:
- Etihad’s official take on the changes they are making
- US: Etihad Guest Devaluation Coming: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
- UK: Etihad Guest announces a HUGE devaluation from July 8th
- Australia: Changes to Etihad Guest frequent flyer scheme are a mixed bag
What I can add to these pieces is my take on what to do actually do about these changes if you have Etihad Guest miles to use, or upcoming bookings.
Here’s what you could act on now:
- For redemptions you already have miles and plans for the promised increased redemption seat availability is already showing, so start researching and seeing if you can take advantage
- If you have an Etihad First Class redemption in mind, book it before 8th July
- If you have an Etihad Business Class redemption in mind from Australia to beyond Abu Dhabi, book it before 8th July, but if to Abu Dhabi only, book when you’re ready
- If you have an Etihad Economy redemption to Abu Dhabi in mind, book it after 8th July
- If you have an Etihad partner redemption in mind, nothing is changing
- If you have future travel booked on Etihad after 8th July, consider if you credit this to Etihad Guest or to an Etihad partner like Velocity.
Generally – I chalk this change up to the natural, ever-devaluing nature of frequent flyer programs. It’s just another example of how the value of points and miles is never set until you actually use them.