Book Sweet Spots Now: Etihad Guest Announces Award Chart Overhaul Book Sweet Spots Now: Etihad Guest Announces Award Chart Overhaul

Book Sweet Spots Now: Etihad Guest Announces Award Chart Overhaul

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Etihad Airways announced changes coming to its loyalty program effective March 10, 2023. So, what are the Etihad Guest program changes going to be? Let's take a look at the good, the bad, and the unknown.

Etihad Guest Award Chart Changes

Etihad Guest sent notice to members that a “simplified redemption rate” will be implemented starting March 10, 2023. This means Etihad rates will be zone-based for both Etihad and all partner airlines. That means any destination in Europe will have one redemption rate regardless of the destination or airline.

By contrast, each airline partner currently has its own award chart with Etihad with various redemption rates. This award chart update will standardize the award chart across all partner airlines.

Etihad Guest Partners
Etihad Guest Partners

Some Good News with Etihad Airways

It’s rarely good news when a loyalty program updates its award chart. However, while the extent of the changes to Etihad Guest is not known yet, it’s not all bad news.

When the new system is back up on March 10th, members can book flights on American Airlines and Virgin Australia directly on Etihad’s website. Previously, these partners were only bookable through Etihad’s call center like all the others.

Just the thought of needing to reach a human at an airline can induce a spike in blood pressure, so this aspect is a welcome update. Hopefully, this means online bookings will soon be available for all Etihad partners.

Etihad Guest Award Chart Sweet Spots to Book Now

It seems logical for Etihad to move to a standardized zone-based award chart, but the downside is that it could mean the end of some sweet spots in the Etihad Guest program. Here are a few you might want to book before this change goes into effect and these opportunities potentially disappear.

USA Transcontinental in American Airlines Flagship First

Etihad Guest program changes: USA Transcon in American Airlines Flagship First

  • Route options: NYC/BOS – LAX/SFO
  • 25,000 miles each way (50,000 miles round-trip)
  • Cash Price: $1,200 each way or $2,400 round-trip

The key here is that Etihad Guest treats Flagship First Class (equivalent to international first class) the same as domestic first class (recliner chairs).

Seattle – Tokyo in ANA Business Class

Etihad Guest Program Changes: ANA Business Class The Room
Travel in ANA's new Business Class “The Room” from 54,000 Etihad Guest miles — before the program change. (Image courtesy of ANA)
  • 54,000 miles each way (108,000 miles round-trip)
  • Cash Price: $6,900 round-trip

In this case, travelers can take advantage of Etihad's distance-based award chart for ANA. Flights up to 5,000 miles in distance cost just 54,000 Etihad Guest miles each way — before jumping to a still-reasonable 63,000 Etihad Guest miles for flights between 5,001-6,000 miles (e.g. San Francisco and Los Angeles to Tokyo).

West Coast to Seoul in Asiana Business Class

Asiana business class on its Airbus A350 (Image courtesy of Asiana Airlines)
  • Route options: SEA/SFO/LAX to Seoul
  • 59,000 miles each way (118,000 miles round trip)
  • Cash Price: $4,800 round trip

Again, this is taking advantage of Etihad Guest's current distance-based award chart for Asiana. Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles all fall within 6,000 miles of Seoul. Flights over 6,000 miles jump to 88,000 Etihad Guest miles each way in business class.

U.S. to Brussels in Brussels Airlines Business Class

Etihad Guest Program Changes: NYC - Brussels in Brussels Airlines Business Class

  • Route options: JFK / IAD to Brussels
  • 44,000 miles each way (88,000 miles round-trip)
  • Cash Price: $3,500 round trip

Etihad Guest publishes a PDF with award pricing by route. And both of Brussels Airlines' U.S. routes cost just 44,000 Etihad Guest miles each way. That's a steal that's surely going to be eliminated in the new award chart.

U.S. – Casablanca in Royal Air Maroc Business Class

Etihad Guest Program Changes: NYC/Washington D.C - Casablanca in Royal Air Maroc Business Class

  • Route options: JFK / IAD to Casablanca
  • 44,000 miles each way (88,000 miles round-trip)
  • Cash Price: $4,100 round trip

Etihad Guest currently prices all Royal Air Maroc flights over 2,000 miles the same: 22,000 Etihad Guest miles in economy or 44,000 miles in business. So, why not fly all the way from the U.S. to Marocco?

What Bank Point Programs Transfer to Etihad Guest?

Several of the major banks have cards that transfer to Etihad, including American Express, Citi, and Capital One. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer as well, but at a rate of 3:1, it’s rarely worth it:

Bottom Line

Etihad is known for excessively high award rates on their own flights, so buckle up because this new award chart could get rough. Regardless of the unknowns, don’t sleep on booking some of the sweet spots listed here for an extraordinary experience and value.

Related: Learn about Etihad's partnership with El Al and their recent announcement of reciprocal mileage earnings and redemptions.

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  • Are there any sweet spots out of the UK or nearby Europe ?

    • Great question. London to Tokyo should *just* fit in the 5k-6k mile range for booking ANA business class for 63k miles. Similarly, London to Seoul should cost 59k miles in business class. There are likely other sweet spots in there, but we aren’t as familiar with those.