Etihad Guest had its long-awaited ‘devaluation’ yesterday. Expectations were low, especially as Etihad had refused to tell anyone what the changes were going to be.
And yet it isn’t bad. For UK residents redemptions in Business Class have got cheaper, albeit with a minor uptick in taxes of about £30.
A one-way in Business Class from London to Abu Dhabi drops from circa 66,000 to 62,000
A one-way in Business Class from Dublin to Abu Dhabi drops from circa 71,000 to 62,000
Some routes have gone up a little, others are flat, others are down. Taxes are only modestly up. We really can’t complain. There is some evidence that flight upgrade costs and some economy routes have gone up more sharply but without access to the historical data I can’t be sure.
If you ever redeem on Emirates you will know that taxes and charges are out of control. And I say that as a man who redeem a lot of Avios! I was worried that Etihad Guest would go the same way, but it hasn’t. If you are not already an Etihad Guest member, you can sign up here and receive 500 bonus miles.
This table makes interesting reading:
Cost of a one-way Business Class redemption from Dubai / Abu Dhabi to London:
British Airways (no chauffeur service) from Dubai:
50,000 Avios off-peak or 60,000 Avios peak + £183
Virgin Atlantic (no chauffeur service) from Dubai:
37,500 miles off-peak or 47,500 miles peak + £180
Emirates (chauffeur service at arrival and departure airport) from Dubai:
62,500 miles + £330 (Note that an Emirates Saver reward is 90,000 miles return – so effectively 45,000 miles each way – in Business Class but you can only book it as a return and availability is restricted.)
Etihad (chauffeur service in UAE) from Abu Dhabi:
62,632 miles + £134
Etihad is looking pretty good compared with peak date BA or Virgin when you factor in the great seat. £50 less tax than Avios or Virgin Flying Club, car service in Abu Dhabi to anywhere in the UAE and minimal mileage difference on peak dates. Remember that Abu Dhabi is only a very short drive to Dubai – it took us 65 minutes to get from the airport to Jumeirah Beach in October.
From London, Etihad runs an ‘all A380’ fleet. I rate the A380 Business Class Studio seat very highly indeed. I know that Etihad seems to have cut back on food, drink, amenity kits and quite a lot else in the past 18 months, so I am wary of being too gushing, but the seat itself is excellent.
My review of the A380 seat is here. Note that a) Etihad no longer offers chauffeur transfers in London, only in the UAE and b) the spa in the London lounge has now closed. I am booked onto this again with my family later in the year so it will be interesting to see what has changed.
How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (June 2021)
Etihad Guest does not have a UK credit card. However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards. These are:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 20,000 Etihad Guest miles. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two free airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 Etihad Guest miles
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 5,000 Etihad Guest miles. This card is FREE for life.
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles which is an attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.
Etihad Guest is also a partner with the HSBC Premier Mastercard (0.5 miles per £1 spent) and HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard (1 mile per £1 spent).