Etihad Guest changes to roll out on June 1, 2024

Earlier this year, Etihad Guest, Etihad Airways’s loyalty programme, rolled out some far-reaching changes. Some of these changes were already in force at the time of the announcement, and others will take effect on June 1, 2024. I just wanted to touch upon the changes to ensure everyone is on the same page and ready for what is coming their way.

Etihad Guest will modify how status is earned.

Etihad Guest will bring in updates to its elite status programme as of June 2024. Some of the changes that will be rolled out include:

  • Etihad Guest will remove Tier Segments to qualify for elite status. Tier Miles will be the only metric by which one can qualify for status. This should impact those frequently travelling on the airline’s short/medium haul network. (As per Etihad, eligible Tier Segments will be converted to Tier Miles in June. However, the formula is undisclosed).
  • Etihad Guest is one of the rare programmes that grant tier miles for non-flying activities such as credit card spending, retail spending, or Miles on the Go. Effective June 2024, Etihad will also introduce the following flying thresholds to each level of Guest status:
    • Silver: Of the 25,000 Tier Miles needed, earn at least 10,000 by flying.
    • Gold: Of the 50,000 Tier Miles needed, earn at least 20,000 by flying.
    • Platinum: Of the 125,000 Tier Miles needed, earn at least 40,000 by flying.
  • Etihad Guest Tier Miles will be harmonised with how Etihad Guest Miles are awarded. That means that Tier miles earned will no longer just be based on the distance and class of travel but also include the fare family booked, such as basic, value, comfort or deluxe. The higher your fare family, the more miles you earn.
  • A new Diamond elite tier will be introduced above the current Platinum tier. It will require spending USD 150,000 on the airline in a year. The perks associated with this haven’t yet been revealed, but this sounds very much like the British Airways Gold Guest List, which is offered to a subset of Etihad’s Gold Tier customers. One of the known perks is that Diamond tier members can select their own membership number.

However, if you are an Etihad regular and can do with jumping on the higher echelons of Etihad without having to go through the hard work, you can still sign up for the Etihad Guest status match and get Gold Status just for USD 99. Read all about it here (only for India and Australia).

Etihad Guest Miles Changes

It is not just how you earn tier miles and status that changes, but also how you earn and use redeemable miles. Let us go over these changes:

  • Etihad Guest Miles will now follow a strict(er) expiration policy. For instance, earlier, you could keep your miles evergreen if a transaction (debit or credit) was made within 18 months of the miles expiry date. These included transfers via a credit card, etc. Effective June 2024, the only way to extend miles would be with a flight credited to Etihad Guest (whether flown on Etihad or a partner airline). For good measure, one could transfer miles from American Express or Citibank credit cards to have your miles validated through December 2025.
  • While rolling out the policy, Etihad Guest has introduced new award cancellation fees, where members must pay 25-75% of the miles redeemed if they need to cancel.
    • 75% penalty if you cancel within seven days of departure
    • 50% penalty if you cancel 8 to 21 days before departure
    • 25% penalty if you cancel over 21 days before departure
  • But it is not all bad news. Etihad Guest has also adjusted their GuestSeat (saver) award pricing. Some redemptions have seen a decline, including in premium cabins. Per Etihad, first redemptions have dropped by 30%. Business Redemptions have dropped up to 25% in some cases. Here are some examples of reductions in saver pricing. First Class pricing between Abu Dhabi and New York has decreased by 60,000 miles. Similarly, First Class Pricing between Abu Dhabi and Mumbai has dropped 5,000 miles. The base redemptions on the entry-level segments (in economy) have moved to a minimum of 5,000 miles required from 7,000 miles required.

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a seat in a plane

Etihad A380 Business Class

Etihad Residence is now redeemable on Miles.

Since the A380 fleet resumed flights to London and New York, ‘The Residence’ (the double bed mini-apartment at the front of the First Class cabin) has been available as a cash upgrade from First Class. The price starts at USD 2,500.

Etihad is now going to offer the Residence for miles redemption as well. A one-way ticket in The Residence from Abu Dhabi to London costs 300,000 Etihad Guest miles. To bring a second passenger along, the cost will be 500,000 Etihad Guest miles. Rates for redemption to New York are unknown for now.

Etihad Guest Custom Benefits

Etihad Guest will introduce Custom Benefits. Elite members will earn customised benefits as they earn status. Silver members will be able to choose two benefits, Gold members will be able to choose four benefits, Platinum members will be able to choose five benefits, and Diamond members will be able to select nine benefits. Unfortunately, this means that Lounge access is no longer an assured benefit but a “Custom Benefit”.

This also means that if you travel a lot with Etihad and not in the premium cabins, lounge access is no longer an unlimited assurance. For instance, you can only get the business class lounge up to 4 times when flying economy class now, even as a Gold tier member. Unless the narration here means that once you pick the benefit, you can use it all year round (it seems dicey).

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Etihad Guest Beyond Benefits

Additional benefits will be added for elite members who, whilst not flying enough to reach the next tier, are well over the renewal threshold for their current tier. Think of these as milestone benefits. Etihad will call them ‘Beyond Benefits’ and will be available to Gold and Platinum members. For Gold Tier members, these benefits kick in at 75,000 tier miles. For Platinum Tier members, these kick in at 175,000 tier miles.

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My take on Etihad Guest’s changes

Etihad is a pretty good airline that has finally found its footing again. Clubbed with the new aircraft and the move to Abu Dhabi’s Zayed International Airport, the whole experience has become much better compared to the pre-COVID days.

Overall, the move from Etihad seems to be to move the way of rewarding their more loyal guests better (with cheaper premium cabin prices, newer benefits and choice benefits) and rooting out the speculators (by drastically increasing the cancellation fees). However, the  Etihad Guest Award redemption changes are a mixed bag. I find the mileage balance expiry policy very restrictive, which might root out so many people from Etihad Guest and have them look at crediting to a partner mileage programme.


Etihad Guest will roll out major changes to its loyalty programme effective June 2024. How status is earned will change. We’ve already seen some changes to mileage redemptions and their timelines. New benefits be rolled out in the next month as well.

What do you think of these Etihad Guest changes?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. I have taken my business off Etihad, which used to be my favorite airline by far. Thanks to their policies that are becoming less and less loyal customer friendly. On the other hand, I found other airlines like Qatar and even Oman Air are upping their game. That’s where my business went.

  2. It seems like they are moving into alignment with other potential alliance partners.

    Not sure about Etihad, but Emirates costs in points and taxes fees is horrendous for a points ticket. Business class ticket cost in taxes and fees can be nearly double the cheapest coach ticket. Using points for upgrades is just iffy. Not sure how realityon Etihad compares to EK.

    Like the other airlines, they are pushing the top tier up to make it harder to get and increasing perks at that level. For the lower to
    Mid tier flyers, it is mostly negative.

    Just my 2 cents.

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