AwardWallet receives compensation from advertising partners for links on the blog. Terms Apply to the offers listed on this page. The opinions expressed here are our own and have not been reviewed, provided, or approved by any bank advertiser. Here's our complete list of Advertisers.
Even if you know a punch is coming, it still hurts. Today, Etihad launched its new partner award chart. As expected, many of the sweet spots booked on partner airlines have been gutted. Instead of each partner having its own unique chart with Etihad, Etihad Guest is using one unified partner award chart where flights are based on the “Distance Range.”
Etihad's own award chart went through a change but that hasn't caused quite the stir that the unified partner award chart has created. Take a look at both new charts below, and read more from Etihad on these changes here.
New Etihad Guest Award Chart
Etihad's new award chart for its own flights starts at just 7,000 Etihad Guest miles each way — but only for flights under 500 miles. That's not going to be useful for many flights. And the rates climb incrementally from there.
All Etihad flights to the U.S. and Australia are over 6,000 miles, so one-way prices will be:
- 60,000 miles in economy.
- 110,000 miles in business class.
- 220,000 miles in first class.
Meanwhile, Etihad award flights to London will cost:
- 32,000 miles in economy.
- 70,000 miles in business class.
- 140,000 miles in first class.
For many options, it will now be much cheaper to book Etihad awards through Aeroplan. For example, New York City to Abu Dhabi flights cost a much-cheaper 85,000 Aeroplan points in business class:
New Etihad Guest Partner Award Chart
Partner awards start at just 6,000 miles each way. But again, that's only for flights under 500 miles in distance. And the rates quickly soar from there.
What Are The Implications of the New Etihad Award Charts?
Here is one example. With the old chart, flights operated wholly within the U.S. and Canada would cost 25,000 points in business/first class.
That means you could book American Airlines Flagship First one-way between New York and Los Angeles for 25,000 Etihad Guest miles (as Etihad treated Flagship First like domestic first). Under the new chart, that same first-class flight will require 67,000 miles one-way. That's more than double what it used to cost to fly the route!
This is one example of the demise of a sweet spot booking with Etihad Guest. Because Etihad had around 20 partner award charts there will be many more stories like this one with other partners like Royal Air Maroc, ANA, Brussels Airlines, and others.
To be fair, the new chart is not completely egregious. It's more in step with competitors' pricing on comparable routes and products. But we are sad to see the end of the previous sweet spots.
The Etihad Guest website is expected to eventually allow online bookings of partner awards. For now, you'll still need to call to book partner awards. The Miles Calculator reflects the number of points required based on the new Etihad award chart.
In the release of these new charts, Etihad added that “a premium redemption fare will be applied based on demand and availability.” This seems like a door to allow Etihad to require even more points on high-demand flights. Stay tuned as we learn more about all the implications these new award charts bring.
The Silver Lining in the Etihad Guest Award Chart Changes
In the new Etihad Guest booking system, American Airlines and Virgin Australia flights will eventually be bookable online at etihadguest.com. That will be an improvement over the past when all partner bookings had to be done over the phone.
This is a great first step to what hopefully becomes Etihad making partner award bookings much more simple. And it will make awards a lot more accessible for those that aren't comfortable calling to book award flights.
The other improvement is that short award flights are now less expensive. Take domestic American Airlines flights. Before the Etihad award chart changes, all domestic AA flights cost 12,500 miles in economy. In the new program, flights under 500 miles cost just 6,000 miles each way. That includes routes like:
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Kansas City (MCI)
- Chicago O'Hare (ORD) to Memphis (MEM)
- Charlotte (CLT) to Orlando (MCO)
- Phoenix (PHX) to Aspen (ASE)
- Philadelphia (PHL) to Myrtle Beach (MYR)
There's no other way to put it besides saying that the Etihad award chart changes are painful. The quirky old Etihad Guest award chart offered sweet spots if you knew where to look. With the new award chart, you might be able to find value on short, expensive flights. However, it doesn't offer the outsized value that Etihad Guest once did.
What do you think about the Etihad award chart changes?
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.