Etihad Guest Miles will no longer expire, airline says
Etihad Airways announced on November 15 that it had revamped its popular Etihad Guest program, adding chauffeur service for select travelers using miles and removing a restriction that caused miles to expire.
The airline now says Etihad Guest Miles will no longer expire and will remain valid as long as at least one eligible transaction is made every 18 months. Previously, Etihad miles expired after 24 months.
Travelers with Gold and above Etihad status can take advantage of complimentary one-way chauffeur service to or from Abu Dhabi International Airport when traveling in Business and First on miles redemption tickets. Platinum members will now have a dedicated contact number for premium guest service agents who are available to assist.
Travelers will also be able to pay, either with miles or a combination of miles and cash, for economy space, extra baggage and insurance. Upgrades and related services, such as excess baggage and taxes, will also be available to be purchased with miles.
Related: Video: Inside the Etihad Residence with TPG
“We are very proud of the Etihad Guest programme and through its well-timed relaunch are striving to deliver new and more innovative ways of rewarding the loyalty of our millions of guests worldwide," said CEO Robin Kamark in a statement, "by removing restrictions wherever possible, and by providing a wider range of superior benefits and products, delivered to them with the style and professionalism they have come to expect from Etihad Guest."
Etihad Airways is the second-largest carrier in the UAE (behind Emirates) and has its main hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH). The airline operates more than 1,000 flights per week, flying to over 75 destinations with a fleet of 117 aircraft.
Related: Etihad Guest Miles Continue to Fly Under The Radar
Etihad Guest Miles are relatively easy to collect, making it even more surprising that the program hasn’t become a mainstream strategy.
You can transfer both Citi ThankYou Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards to Etihad Guest at a 1:1 transfer ratio. There have also been a few transfer bonuses offered by the banks in the past, which sweeten the deal when they happen. You can also transfer the new Marriott points to Etihad, with a 5,000-mile transfer bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer. Etihad miles are worth 1.4 cents each, according to TPG's latest valuations.
Etihad's famous Residence (which TPG himself flew a while back) can be booked for about 2 million Etihad Guest miles -- which is lofty, but makes for a sweet redemption when you compare it to the cash price of $20,000 – $30,000. But if that's too much, there are several partner airlines you can redeem miles with. For instance, you can book a one-way transcontinental flight on American’s A321T in business for 25,000 miles or one-way to Casablanca, Morocco in Royal Air Maroc business class for 44,000 miles.