I thought Velocity were ‘done’ with their latest round of award chart changes that went into effect on June 1st – but no, this latest change is very stealthy and a bit more lethal to your wallet.
For bookings made from 18th June, a new “Etihad Airways Reward Seat Carrier Charge” is being added for Etihad redemptions using Velocity points, set at $50 USD in Economy, $205 USD in Business and $300 USD in First Class.
This latest change from Velocity is essentially a stealth devaluation of Velocity Points for anyone who might have wanted to redeem them for Etihad flights, and is poor form from a frequent flyer program that otherwise has a lot of respect around these parts.
What are the changes?
They are fairly simple – the charges of:
- $50 USD in Economy
- $205 USD in Business
- $300 USD in First Class
are being added to any booking using your Velocity points for travel with Etihad
(except for itineraries departing from Manila).
Etihad were one of the casualties of the recent award chart changes, with all of their redempton pricing increasing.
The killer piece to this change is that the charge applies per flight sector, not per booking.
This means that return flight to Europe in Business Class, with a transit in Abu Dhabi, now costs an extra $410 USD each way. It would be worse in First Class too.
That’s an insane change from the current level were you’ll pay a relatively low amount of taxes and surcharges.
Velocity are reknowned for their excellent award pricing, both in points and additional fees imposed on award bookings. This charge really adds a nice layer of confusion to that perception, where some partner carriers continue have low pricing while Etihad doesn’t.
The page on the changes on the Velocity website is here. H/T to Australian Travel Points for the heads up.
I managed to squeeze in an Etihad A380 redemption using Velocity points from London to Sydney back in March (pictured above) and it was excellent – possibly the best two Business Class flights I’ve ever taken.
We’ll do a deeper comparison battle of the new Velocity pricing (for points and taxes) versus using Qantas Points to travel with Emirates on a range of routes to Europe and the US.