Etihad announced on Tuesday that it is launching the long-awaited alignment of the frequent flyer schemes of eight of the Etihad Airways Parners airlines: Etihad Airways, airberlin, Alitalia, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways and NIKI.
Virgin Australia is not included, at least not for now.
The aim is to make the tier benefits of each programme equal. This is leading to winners and losers depending on which programme you are in.
The main losers so far appear to be Etihad Guest Silver members who no longer get lounge access except in Abu Dhabi, Belgrade and Seychelles.
These changes are already in effect as of Tuesday this week. The only exception is the lounge access change for Etihad Silver members which does not come into effect until 15th January.
And service alignment too …..
Interestingly, Etihad has gone a step further than any of the traditional airline alliances (oneworld, Star Alliance, SkyTeam) and has set common service standards for long-haul Business Class.
Whichever Etihad Airways Partner airline you fly long haul, you will receive:
- a guaranteed fully-flat bed
- ‘dine on demand’ meal service
- the same range of new release films, so you can pick up a film you started on a different carrier
This doesn’t sound like much but it is more than the big three alliances have managed over the last 17 years.
The big question now is when the inevitable clash between Etihad Airways Partners and oneworld / SkyTeam breaks out. With Etihad Airways Partners now operating in the same way as the major alliances, how can airberlin retain its oneworld membership or Alitalia remain in SkyTeam?
airberlin status match available again
As long as they do, status with airberlin or Alitalia becomes incredibly valuable as it gets you benefits with two alliances.
airberlin has relaunched its status match for residents of certain countries although the UK is not included.
You must live in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway or the USA. Note that “Customers with residence in the US must prove a booking confirmation incl. booking number of an airberlin long haul flight between US and Europe (return ticket). This flight must be operated by airberlin and take place in 2016.”
You can claim your airberlin status match here. Remember that the status will be valid on British Airways as airberlin is a oneworld member.