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Etihad Guest is moving to variable reward flight pricing with miles – how will it work?

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Just a few months after their last round of reward price changes, Etihad Guest is launching another belt-tightening measure – variable redemption pricing.

From 30th June, the mileage price shown in the redemption charts or the online mileage calculator should be seen as the ‘starting price’.  This is what you will pay if you book well in advance and for a quiet period.  The only exception is First Class where redemption rates will apparently be fixed.

Etihad Guest moves to variable pricing

The price you actually pay will be inflated depending on how near you are to departure and how busy the flights are.

You could arguably say that this method could encourage Etihad to make more reward seats available on full flights, although in those circumstances it would usually make sense for them to simply sell the seat instead.  Increasing pricing close to departure only makes sense to the extent that cash fares will be higher too, but if the aircraft is still half-empty then there is no real justification for it.

What we don’t know is the extent of these increases.  It will also be a problem for anyone looking to transfer miles into Etihad Guest, as there is no guarantee that the price will remain the same by the time the miles arrive.

Fundamentally, it is a bad idea.  With regular devaluations it is already difficult to have certainty over what a particular reward may cost you in 12 months time, but I don’t see how taking away the ability to know what a reward will cost in 24 hours is meant to encourage anyone to credit to Etihad.

Full details can be found on the Etihad Guest website here. If you are not already an Etihad Guest member, you can sign up here and receive 500 bonus miles.

Earning Flying Blue miles from credit cards

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (August 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 cardsThese are:

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).

Comments (104)

  • shd says:

    In your 27 March piece (“My thoughts on Alex’s thoughts for changes to Avios and BA Executive Club”) you seemed ambivalent about revenue-based redemption. You started the redemption section of that article with the claim “Some element of revenue-based redemption is not a problem”.

    Now, you claim that “Fundamentally, it is a bad idea”. What changed?

    I could see Cruz dreaming of a future BAEC model which offered – say – 2 seats in Economy and 2 in Club at the standard Avios redemption rates, 12 months out, and once they’re gone, EVERY other Avios redemption seat on the aircraft has its redemption cost worked out live based on the seat’s current cash price and a 0.5p/Avios “value”.

    • John says:

      I think that’s what Qantas does already?

      • Lyn says:

        Not really. Qantas do offer something that is similar to BA’s part pay with avios, where you can use points to reduce the price of a cash ticket, but still earn points and status. But this is in addition to standard redemptions.

    • Rob says:

      What is OK by me is the old Etihad model, which is standard redemption pricing and then the option to buy ANY seat for points based on 0.5p.

      The new Etihad model takes away standard redemption pricing in effect.

      Your proposed model kills BA for anyone with kids which is the majority of the high spending middle aged business travel market, so that won’t be happening.

      • shd says:

        Doesn’t seem to worry those in charge of Flying Blue…

      • shd says:

        I don’t think the “high spending middle aged business travel market” – at least the London-based part of it – really has any other option apart from BAEC. Business travellers fly BA because of the extensive route network and corporate deals, not because of the loyalty scheme.

        Getting “free flights” for the family holiday is a nice perk for those folks, but if BA were to devalue BAEC to the level I suggest, what are they going to do? Write an angry email to their corporate travel dept to ask them to tear up the agreement with BA and fly “cheapest” J instead? Keep flying BA but credit the flights to another OW FF scheme?

  • Matt says:

    O/T has The Amstel stopped offering the Club Life Package? If so I’m a little disappointed as I have a trip booked there in August. Any tips on how to get a better value breakfast on a reward redemption?

    • Genghis says:

      There’s a decent caf round the corner, Bakhuys

      • shd says:

        Hurrah for “the cafe around the corner”, my go-to breakfast strategy.

      • Genghis says:

        Another tip for you. We had a great time last Sep hiring an electric boat for half a day (buying stuff for a picnic in advance) and cruising the canals / Amstel River

        • Lyn says:

          That sounds like a really good tip. Definitely one to remember. Thank you Genghis.

        • Matt says:

          Thanks for the tips genghis although I’m there during Pride so not sure how relaxing the canals will be for a picnic 🙂 next time though

        • Jon says:

          Off to Amsterdam again in a few weeks. Boat hire sounds awesome!

    • Rob says:

      Yes, I believe it has. I would say that the breakfast service here is exceptional (very much white glove) but there is a baker just down the street which I have also used before.

      • Matt says:

        Breakfast is good at The Amstel I love the Dutch pancakes, however for €35ish I expect loose leaf tea served in a pot, not a tea bag slung in a cup with metal jug of hot water. Alas Europeans (or Americans at that) just don’t understand tea I guess.

        Any word from IHG or The Amstel why it’s been dropped I presume it was unprofitable?

        • RussellH says:

          > Europeans (or Americans at that) just don’t understand tea

          Widely true, yes.

          Of course, the Irish certainly understand tea, as do the Ostfrieslanders in north western Germany (though many Germans maintain that Ostfrieslanders understand nothing – they are the butt of the German versions of our Irish jokes, just as those from Co. Kerry are the butt of the rest of the Irish. And yes, there is a village in Co. Kerry that is the butt of jokes made by those from the rest of the county…)

    • Sapiens says:

      Restaurant Enoteca Pepe Nero is a local neighborhood favourite place for dinner. Just off the Amstel. Highly recommended!

  • Luke says:

    Esso offer can’t be added manually (acording to Amex) and it does not appear on any of my cards.

    • Zack says:

      They’ve told me this before with other offers, I usually try a different advisor and get it added

      • rams1981 says:

        They wouldn’t add in the chat yesterday but have added it when I just phoned now. Interestingly agent seemed to think I should have been able to see it so thinks there’s a bug regarding offers available for me to use.

  • Brian says:

    I have an offer for Hyatt and also for Hertz, so worth checking for those, if you think you might use them.

    • johnny_c-l says:

      +1 Spend £300 get £60 back @ Hyatt on my Plat card

      • Rob says:

        I’ve got this too, albeit as most are outside the UK you’ll be paying £9 in FX fees at least which could otherwise be avoided. Could have used it in Zurich on Monday if it had appeared earlier!

  • Michael C says:

    Cathay almost never have business sales ex Europe, right?

    • shd says:

      It might not say have “SALE!” on it, but like every other airline Cathay offer a range of fares between different city pairs, and some will definitely be cheaper than others – eg £2560 r/t from Stockholm to Sydney, in business (sample dates: out 22 Aug back 27 Aug).

      No idea if you think that’s good value or not.

      Where do you want to go? 🙂

      • shd says:

        …but note that for those specific dates BA is cheaper ex-LON! (£1916 r/t in Club)

        • Michael C says:

          Cheers shd – just looking ahead to a general HKG/Japan trip at some point, maybe Easter (that Sydney price is fabulous!).

  • Nick M says:

    How long do IHG points usually take to post from the credit card?

    They seemed to take 1 day after the first statement. The second statement was produced 23/05, bonus points transferred across the next day, but the points from spending are nowhere to be seen…

    Who should I chase – Creation or IHG?

    • Jimbob says:

      My spend points got transferred the same day as the promotion bonus points

    • EwanG says:

      My points transfer across the day before my statement is produced.

      Chase Creation if yours have not arrived!

    • happeemonkee says:

      I’m having a similar problem. 20,000 points from CC spend in April/May should have hit my IHG account on 23/5. Nothing as yet. IHG are supposedly looking onto it.

  • Zoe says:

    OT Dave Stringer’s blog has gone quiet for the last week or so, hope he is okay.

  • Brighton Belle says:

    Good luck in getting Creation to deliver any customer service.

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