Etihad Guest: New Elite Benefits and New Mileage Expiration Policy

Etihad Guest is a transfer partner of American Express, Citibank, and Capital One. As a result U.S. program members are a disproportionate share of the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s 6.5 million program members.

The once-super premium airline has been retrenching in recent years, cutting routes and costs. They fly to Washington Dulles, New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles – but no longer to San Francisco or Dallas Fort-Worth.


Etihad Airbus A380 First Class

Fortunately they’ve made some changes to improve their Etihad Guest frequent flyer program both for general members and for elites.

Etihad Guest miles no longer expire without the ability to extend. You still need account activity once every 18 months to keep miles alive. Previously Etihad miles expired if unused period – they couldn’t be extended through new account activity. So the change in policy isn’t like Delta, United, and Southwest where points don’t expire at all – it’s like the policy of American Airlines where points don’t expire for active program members.

As a result this is a major improvement and also makes the program far more attractive for pooling points something easy for many U.S. members to do since they can put points from 3 of the 4 major bank transferable currencies into their Etihad Guest account. From there it’s great to redeem on Etihad itself or on partners (like Royal Air Maroc US – Casablanca for 88,000 miles roundtrip in business class).

In addition Etihad is extending benefits to elites.

  • Golds and Platinums receive car service in Abu Dhabi again on premium cabin award tickets.
  • PLatinums get a dedicated reservations line
  • Free wifi for Platinums, discounted for Golds
  • Free seat selection in economy for Golds and Platinums (Platinums get free extra legroom seats)

Whether you’re earning 5x on airfare with the The Platinum Card® from American Express, 4x at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and 4x at restaurants worldwide with the American Express® Gold Card, or 2x on everything with Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, your points and miles can be pooled in Etihad Guest to greater effect than before.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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