Etihad Guest devalues miles with new tables for flight rewards
Massive increases for the partner airline table.
What we'll be covering
Members with Etihad Guest miles will now need to spend more to redeem many flight rewards – especially in Business and First Class – following a devaluation. The move comes after weeks of speculation with the Abu Dhabi-based airline teasing a ‘simplified redemption table’ with one for Etihad-operated flights and another table for all partner airlines. Previously each partner airline had its own bespoke table.
The silver lining is that you can now book American Airlines and Virgin Australia rewards online, rather than having to call up. But with the miles needed for flights on partners increasing by a fair whack, you may find that Etihad Guest isn’t the program for you.
What is the redemption table for Etihad flights?
Starting from 9 March 2023, here are the miles you’ll need to fly on an Etihad GuestSeat (reward seat).
|Distance Range (miles)||Economy||Business||First|
|0-500||7,000 miles||20,000 miles||40,000 miles|
|501-1,000||11,000 miles||25,000 miles||50,000 miles|
|1,001-1,500||13,000 miles||30,000 miles||60,000 miles|
|1,501-2,000||17,000 miles||45,000 miles||90,000 miles|
|2,001-2,500||22,000 miles||50,000 miles||100,000 miles|
|2,501-3,000||27,000 miles||60,000 miles||120,000 miles|
|3,001-4,000||32,000 miles||70,000 miles||140,000 miles|
|4,001-5,000||37,000 miles||75,000 miles||150,000 miles|
|5,001-6,000||45,000 miles||100,000 miles||200,000 miles|
|6,000+||60,000 miles||110,000 miles||220,000 miles|
Unfortunately, Etihad is pricing flights per sector. For example, Sydney-Abu Dhabi-London in Business Class is calculated as Sydney-Abu Dhabi for 110,000 miles and Abu Dhabi-London for 70,000 miles for a total of 180,000 miles. Similarly, Economy is 92,000 miles one-way and First Class (if offered) is 360,000 miles.
Also, note that these are the ‘minimum miles’ required and Etihad may apply a dynamic pricing component on top, depending on ‘demand and availability’. Previously, Etihad GuestSeats were fully subject to dynamic pricing.
What is the redemption table for partner flights?
Here are the miles needed to fly on all of Etihad’s partner airlines. Online bookings are now available for American Airlines and Virgin Australia flights.
|Distance Range (miles)||Economy||Premium Economy||Business||First|
|0-500||6,000 miles||7,500 miles||10,000 miles||14,000 miles|
|501-1,000||12,000 miles||13,000 miles||20,000 miles||27,000 miles|
|1,001-1,500||15,000 miles||19,000 miles||30,000 miles||40,000 miles|
|1,501-2,000||23,000 miles||25,000 miles||40,000 miles||54,000 miles|
|2,001-2,500||28,000 miles||31,000 miles||50,000 miles||67,000 miles|
|2,501-3,000||34,000 miles||37,000 miles||60,000 miles||80,000 miles|
|3,001-4,000||45,000 miles||49,000 miles||80,000 miles||107,000 miles|
|4,001-5,000||60,000 miles||62,000 miles||100,000 miles||134,000 miles|
|5,001-6,000||67,000 miles||74,000 miles||120,000 miles||160,000 miles|
|6,000+||75,000 miles||90,000 miles||140,000 miles||200,000 miles|
Unfortunately, the previous Virgin Australia sweet spots have almost all disappeared. This is partially due to the distance ranges ramping up every 500 miles initially. As Australia is so big, transcontinental flights are most affected.
For example, you could previously fly Virgin Australia Business Class from Perth to Melbourne for only 21,800 miles. Under the new table, that flight is now 40,000 miles – an 83.5% increase. Heading from Perth to Brisbane instead? Expect to fork out 28,000 miles in Economy or 50,000 miles in Business.
Brisbane to Melbourne on Virgin Australia was previously 6,900 miles in Economy or 13,800 miles in Business. But now, you’ll need to pay 12,000 miles in Economy and 20,000 miles in Business, instead.
Other great-value redemptions with partners have also been affected. For example, with American Airlines, all flight awards within the USA were capped at 32,500 miles for domestic three-cabin First Class. But now, it goes by distance so a long flagship flight such as New York-Los Angeles costs 67,000 miles instead.
Some partner rewards are cheaper
There are a few examples of partner rewards becoming cheaper, though it’s mainly affecting the shortest flights sitting in the 0-500 miles price band. Some relevant routes include:
- Virgin Australia Sydney to Melbourne, Business: Was 13,800 miles, now 10,000 miles.
- Air New Zealand Auckland to Christchurch, Economy: Was 13,000 miles, now 6,000 miles.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that all airlines will eventually devalue their frequent flyer programs at some point. But compared to some we’ve seen recently, such as Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Etihad’s changes are more extreme in some cases. While Etihad’s own flights haven’t been affected too drastically, the new partner airline table has practically eliminated all previous sweet spots.
The miles needed for premium cabins increase quite rapidly relative to the distance flown, so you’ll likely find that spending Etihad Guest miles for partner airlines is no longer a good idea since the devaluation.