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ETIHAD AIRWAYS: New points redemption award charts. Some winners, some losers

ETIHAD AIRWAYS: New points redemption award charts. Some winners, some losers

We were warned last month that Etihad Guest, the airline’s award program would be changing its redemption rates. This is rarely a good sign!

However, the new rate charts are a mixed blessing, especially on the new simplified applies-to-all partner redemptions – some are up nearly 125%, and some are lower by almost 50%.

The new award charts take effect immediately (Thursday 9 March 2023) – but, given Etihad is having a huge tech systems overhaul, you won’t be able to make any redemptions until at least tomorrow (Friday 10 March 2023). On the upside you will soon be able to make award bookings for Virgin Australia flights on the Etihad website – other Etihad Guest partner airline booking will still need a phone call.

a table with plates and glasses
New crockery, glassware and flatware on Etihad.

One person’s anomaly is another’s sweet spot

We have lost some of the former sweet spots from the Etihad redemptions, but gained some others. I’ve listed a few later in this post. In the main, however, redemptions on partner airlines such as Brussels, Air Serbia, American, Oman and Royal Air Maroc require more of those Guest miles/points.

New Chart for Etihad Airways Guest Seats

Etihad has introduced fixed award zones for Guest seats on its own flights. See the chart below:

Spend your miles on a GuestSeat with Etihad Airways

A simplified redemption table will be applied starting from 9 March 2023. The rates will be based on zones across Etihad Airways.

A premium redemption fare will be applied based on demand and availability.

Use our mileage calculator to search for a GuestSeat by the number of miles you’d like to spend, or by where you’d like to fly to.

You can also use your miles to book an OpenSeat or to upgrade your flight.

Distance rangeEconomyBusinessFirst
0-500           7,000           20,000           40,000
501-1000         11,000           25,000           50,000
1001-1500         13,000           30,000           60,000
1501-2000         17,000           45,000           90,000
 2001-2500         22,000           50,000         100,000
 2501-3000         27,000           60,000         120,000
 3001-4000         32,000           70,000         140,000
 4000-5000         37,000           75,000         150,000
 5001-6000         45,000         100,000         200,000
 6001+         60,000         110,000         220,000
From the Etihad Website

Like the perhaps more familiar Qantas concept, Etihad has Classic Flight Rewards, which Etihad titles ‘GuestSeats’, and plain old Reward Seats, which make any seat available for a massive amount of points. Etihad has a similar scheme called OpenSeats – more widely available but usually much, much more expensive.

There is also some mystery terminology, which I interpret as meaning they will charge whatever points they want to for Business and First. The actual turn of phrase above is: ‘A premium redemption fare will be applied based on demand and availability.’ – yep, your guess is as good as mine, maybe better?

New Chart for Partner Airline Redemptions

Etihad used to run award charts by airline partner – well now they have smoothed this, and have one chart that applies to all partners:

Spend your miles with our airline partners

Members can book a redemption flight on American Airlines and Virgin Australia using your miles directly through Etihad’s website.

Any other partner bookings can still be done through our call centre.

Distance RangeEconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
From the Etihad Website

OK, OK, so you don’t know how many miles there are between Sydney and London? No problem, there are many websites that will help you out with that. Try Great Circle Mapper or Air Miles Calculator.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

While many trips will now cost your more Etihad Guest Miles, there are a few that will cost you less. Here is a sample of some winners:

AirlineRouteCabin ClassPrevious Miles RequiredNew Miles Required
Air New ZealandAuckland-ChristchurchEconomy13,0006,000 (-54%)
Air New ZealandAuckland-TokyoBusiness210,000120,000 (-43%)
Gulf AirSingapore-BahrainBusiness94,00080,000 (-15%)
Virgin AustraliaSydney-MelbourneBusiness13,80010,000 (-27%)
Sample reductions for Etihad Guest partner redemptions (drawn from a chart published by AFF)
a pillow and a cup on a bed
Etihad Business Class Armani bedding

2PAXfly Takeout

Look is this good? In the main, no. Is it a disaster? Not really, increases of 125% in redemptions are not particularly out of the ordinary, given the trajectory of rewards programs is increased points for redemptions, and decreased points/credits earned for flights.

Finally, if you have a head for figures and a body for travel, and can pan through these award charts and find some gold – tell me about it in the comments.

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