Four interesting bits of Etihad news have popped up in recent days which I have popped together in this post.
Double A380 service to Heathrow from March
Etihad has 10 A380’s on order. Earlier in the year they announced that the first one, due in December, will fly to Heathrow.
This week it was announced that a 2nd A380 will be coming to Heathrow from March 1st. This means that 2 of the 3 daily flights to Abu Dhabi will be A380s with the other one remaining as a Boeing 777.
This is not necessarily good news for reward flights, unfortunately. According to One Mile At A Time, Etihad has blocked out standard level First Class reward availability on these services. This means that you only have one flight option now if you want to snag a First Class Suite.
(Remember that you can book Etihad seats with American Airlines miles, even though they are not a oneworld alliance member. They are even cheaper than a BA redemption – business class to Abu Dhabi would be 80,000 Avios return on BA whilst Etihad is 60,000 American Airlines miles. The tax is £300 cheaper as well.)
For people who find the Etihad First Class suites too downmarket, the Etihad A380 will also feature ‘The Residence’, a private apartment at the front of the upper deck which will feature this double bed:
Double or triple miles promotion
Etihad is currently offering double Etihad Guest miles for business class travel and triple miles for First Class travel.
Travel dates are restrictive so this is only likely to be useful if you are planning business travel. You need to book by August 25th and travel by September 25th. You MUST register for this promotion via the Etihad website here.
Remember that you can redeem Etihad Guest miles for cash via PointsPay at 0.4p per miles so you don’t have to worry about finding a good use for the miles.
Etihad and Alitalia partnership announced
Etihad recently took a 49% stake in Alitalia. This is the latest of their equity partnerships (see airberlin, Virgin America, Darwin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Aer Lingus etc) which Etihad sees as a more valuable way of boosting its network than joining an alliance.
The first fruits of this latest investment are now showing.
As per this page, you can now earn Etihad Guest miles when flying Alitalia. You can also earn Alitalia miles when flying on Etihad.
Reciprocal lounge access does not yet appear to be a feature (I guess it may be in place for Italy – Abu Dhabi flights) although I would expect this to appear in due course.
New Marriott Rewards partnership
Finally, Etihad Guest is now a Marriott Rewards partner and you can transfer your points to the airline. To be honest, I was surprised to learn that they were not already working together.