This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Etihad’s A380 Residence may be the best way to travel on a commercial plane. The Points Guy was the first Residence passenger on Etihad’s inaugural flight from New York’s JFK to Abu Dhabi (AUH). With three rooms — including a shower and a full sized bed — and a private butler, The Residence is certainly an over-the-top experience:

However, since Etihad’s grand introduction of the product, the airline has learned that there aren’t that many passengers willing to shell out the $32,000 price to book the experience. And, once it opened the Residence to mileage booking, it also found there are not enough mileage collectors with over 2 million Etihad miles available to book it.

Generally, Etihad bet big on premium passengers, a strategy that it might be revisiting now, amid some notable cutbacks to premium services. The airline lost $2 billion in 2016.

Now it seems that Etihad is trying to score a little bit of revenue wherever it can. After cutting Residence service to Melbourne, the airline started offering access to its Residence lounge there for just A$40 (US$32). Now, Etihad is doing the same  at JFK.

The newly renovated Etihad lounge at JFK for business-and first-class passengers – including The Residence.
The Etihad lounge at JFK for business-and first-class passengers.

When Etihad doesn’t have a Residence passenger, the private Etihad Residence Lounge becomes a “VIP Room” available for purchase. The purchase price? Just $40! According to a statement obtained by View From The Wing — but not yet reflected on Etihad’s website — here’s how it’s going to work:

You can also upgrade to our VIP Room for an additional $40 for you and your family. This is a completely private area, where you can have a bite to eat, rest or simply enjoy time together before your flight. Our New York lounge opens three hours prior to flight departures. Lounge access and use of the VIP Room are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can pay at the lounge on the day by using credit card or Etihad Guest Miles.

That’s right, the VIP Room will be available on a “first-come, first-served basis” with the lounge opening three hours to departure. Considering the cheap price, I assume that Etihad will be able to fill this room at three hours prior to departure most days it doesn’t have a Residence passenger. Before you schedule your airport arrival too early for the chance at getting access, you’re obviously going to want to make sure that the Residence hasn’t already been sold.

The $40 payment will score you and your traveling companions a private space, which includes a restroom and shower as well as a private prayer room.

Unfortunately, the experience won’t come with the special menu — which included black caviar during TPG’s experience — that’s normally prepared for a Residence guest.

H/T: View From the Wing

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.