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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)

  • TripRep says:

    Any info on sales for CX from HKG to NZ?

  • Mark2 says:

    Repeating what I said yesterday OT

    If you find an Esso station which has Tesco Express attached you can get this offer on gift cards including Tesco’s own which can be used at Tesco stores and petrol stations at stores.
    So you can buy a gift card at Esso and get 12p per litre off at Tesco. Or get 10% off gift cards for Amazon, Waitrose etc.

    • Zack says:

      Cheers, can’t see this offer anywhere else?

      But I just buy any gift card (minimum spend?) to get the offer?

      • Mark2 says:

        any purchase totalling £50 gets it.

        • Alex says:

          So as it says “valid every time” you can do this multiple times a day?

  • Mike says:

    OT: Has anybody else had the £20 off £125 Avis spend AMEX offer credit correctly?

    I spent about €200 with Avis in Ireland and even accepted DCC -> £ since the offer terms required spend in GBP yet it still hasn’t credited…

  • Frankie says:

    OT. I flew a couple of flights with Aer Lingus two weeks ago for work and added my BA exec number to the booking but have not received any avios. When I try to claim as missing partner miles on I don’t even see Aer Lingus in the drop down list of airlines. Do I need to (or can I) join Aerclub to claim the avios and can I move them to BA later?

  • Ian says:

    Dreadful move by Etihad. Very disappointing.

    • Rob says:

      The only thing that interests me is that F pricing isn’t changing. This implies that there is a cap on how much they will move pricing because they will be hitting F.

      I should say that in January I got 4J (A380 suite) from Abu Dhabi on Etihad for the Saturday at the end of October half term, which was an astonishing result.

      • shd says:

        Well done! Did you book with EY miles or AA miles or some other way?

        Last time we flew EY F we were on an older A340 BUT we were the only ones in the 8 seat F cabin. Air travel doesn’t really get much nicer than that.

  • Optimus Prime says:

    OT – Apologies in advance because I’m basically asking for a guesstimate but I’d like to get your opinion…

    Is it possible to buy and redeem now a Marriott Travel Package for a St Regis property? Guess answer is no, wait till August.

    Would the points needed for today’s Marriott Cat 9 Package be enough for St Regis that is SPG Cat 6 today?

    This is for a potential booking in Langkawi. There’s also Ritz-Carlton and might be safer to book that one if available? I was looking at the St Regis because seems to have better reviews on TA.

    BTW just to add more uncertainty to my question: this booking would be for 2019 – i.e. new redemption chart, etc. 🙂

    • Rob says:


      And no-one knows how the categories will map over anyway so you may find you need to pay some more points.

      Look at the Four Seasons on Langkawi as well which we’ve stayed at, albeit before the RC and St Regis opened and before the Datai was refurbished.

    • Genghis says:

      I’ve been continuing to empty MR points to SPG as part of this churn cycle – bit of a risk I guess, but better value than just topping up avios account. Now have enough for a travel package but not willing to pull the trigger given the uncertainty of using the voucher post Aug.

      • Optimus Prime says:

        Same here. I guess if we get a travel package and book a hotel today even if it is for 2019 they will honor the booking, won’t they? Except for elite benefits going away such as breakfast, etc.

  • Sapiens says:

    Will be in HK with partner for two nights in early August. Looking for a 5* hotel. Not fussed about earning points. cash booking. Marriott gold, Shangri-la jade, and usual Amex plat statuses.

    Does anyone have a favorite / preferred option?

    I have stayed at Millennium in TST before, and prefer nearer TST MTR or on the island (central/wan chai etc). Sheraton is cheapest by far @ £145 pn, but reviews lately have been poor.

    • Genghis says:

      I’ve heard good things about Hotel Icon, though not stayed there myself.

      • New Card says:

        Hotel ICON is lovely, we’ve stayed there. Small rooms but everything done well. Above and Beyond restaurant on the top floor is exceptional too.

    • Roberto says:

      Enjoyed my time in the Shangri La in TST. If you are on the late Ba flight home look to see if the 3 nights for the price of 2 deal is on and you can stay in your room on the last day until you leave late in the evening.

      Horizon club is worth the extra cash but be aware is not cheap ( like KUL ) but nothing 5* is unfortunately …

  • Chelseafi says:

    O/T re max card referral points, if I’ve done 5 referrals on my plat card, can I also do more referrals from another card BAAP or SPG and get those points in same 12 months period? Thanks

    • shd says:

      Isn’t the limit for referrals just a theoretical limit anyway?

      • Rob says:

        No, it now 100% enforced. Last year you could often go a little over, eg 99k instead of 90k, but now they are 100% watertight.

    • Rob says:


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