It’s March 10, and as expected, Etihad Guest has unveiled a new award chart with standard pricing for all its partner airlines. By doing so, it has removed all of its former sweet spots.
Here’s what you need to know about Etihad Guest redemptions.
Goodbye, sweet spots — and don’t count on published award prices
Etihad Guest has published its new base award rates here.
You’ll notice that each partner has identical award rates. However, Etihad’s own are slightly different, though we’re still seeing the same dynamically priced Etihad awards to the Middle East. In some cases, prices for the carrier’s first-class cabin are still at more than a million miles.
But the real news is that Etihad has significantly devalued many partner awards. A few months ago, I redeemed 62,500 Etihad Guest miles to fly American Airlines Flagship First from Los Angeles to Sydney. Now, that same flight would cost 200,000 miles — more than triple the former price.
We were also big fans of the 44,000-mile Brussels Airlines business-class sweet spot from Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Brussels Airport (BRU). As you may have guessed, this is also gone — now, you’ll need to spend 80,000 miles one-way, which is more than what Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles and even United MileagePlus charge for this award.
Remember the days of 25,000 miles for American’s transcontinental Flagship First? Adieu to that one, too. This flight should cost 80,000 miles, according to Etihad’s award calculator; however, when you try to book this flight, you may find a different price.
As you can see, Etihad has even gone as far as to charge 90,001 miles for this route. By charging 90,001 miles instead of 90,000 miles, you’re stuck transferring 91,000 credit card points to the program.
Hopefully, this is simply a glitch with the launch of the new program, but it’s nevertheless frustrating.
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Related: 9 amazing first-class seats you can still book with points and miles
You can book American Airlines and Virgin Australia awards online
The one (small) positive of this change is that select partners are now bookable online. Previously, you needed to call Etihad Guest to book partner flights. That’s still the case for most of its partners, however, you can now view real-time award space on Virgin Australia and American Airlines and book these two partner awards online.
Granted, that’s only two of Etihad’s 20 partners, and it does little to erase the sting of the massive award chart changes. Hopefully, we’ll see additional partners added in the future, but even then, it will rarely be best to book with Etihad Guest given the new pricing structure.
Related: The ultimate guide to Etihad partners
Etihad Guest has made significant changes to its redemptions. The program’s ample sweet spots are now gone with the new standardized award chart. Unfortunately, it’s looking like Etihad Guest is no longer the friendly American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One and Citi ThankYou Rewards points currency it used to be.
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