This article is sponsored by Etihad Airways
We have covered several different airline loyalty schemes for small and medium sized businesses on Head for Points, primarily BA’s On Business programme. What many don’t know is that Etihad also runs its own scheme, called BusinessConnect.
With Etihad just announcing a permanent 4th daily flight from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi, as well as the twice daily Manchester services, it is worth thinking about joining if you are not already a member.
At the moment, there is sign-up bonus of 5,000 Etihad Guest miles for joining BusinessConnect and crediting two one-way flights within three months.
All members, new and existing, will also earn double miles on all new bookings made from 1st August to 30th November, for travel before 10th December.
What is BusinessConnect?
BusinessConnect is Etihad’s loyalty scheme for small and medium sized businesses. It is also open to large companies that don’t fly with Etihad enough to justify a negotiated contract. All of the BusinessConnect miles earned by employees are pooled in one central BusinessConnect account.
You can credit Etihad-operated flights to BusinessConnect as well as those operated by Alitalia which carry an Etihad (EY) flight code.
Signing up for BusinessConnect is a no-brainer if you qualify and are flying with Etihad, as you can effectively ‘double dip’ on miles via both Etihad Guest and BusinessConnect.
In premium cabins, double dipping will increase the Etihad Guest miles earned between you and your business by 75%.
Who can join BusinessConnect?
To be eligible for an Etihad BusinessConnect account you must have a registered business in a country to which Etihad flies to. That’s it.
For clarity, you DO need to have a Limited Company but (unlike On Business) you do NOT need a VAT number to join.
This means that BusinessConnect is available to many smaller companies that are not big enough to register for VAT or which operate in a VAT-exempt sector such as charities. Contractors who operate through service companies, for example, would be able to join.
Travel agents and companies that have existing corporate travel agreements with Etihad are not eligible, although travel agents have a separate similar incentive programme called SuperSeller.
How to join BusinessConnect
Your application will be reviewed within 48 hours and a BusinessConnect number issued. You can add both your Etihad Guest account number and your BusinessConnect account number to your bookings.
You can easily manage your BusinessConnect account from the online portal here.
How to earn miles
Unlike many business rewards schemes, Etihad BusinessConnect does not have its own reward currency. Instead, you earn Etihad Guest miles, the same points you earn if you were to book your own leisure travel with Etihad.
Like other programs, both the business and the individual are eligible to earn miles although the rates are slightly different. Here is what both the business and the individual flying on Etihad or Alitalia will earn, based on the number of miles flown:
The Residence (fare code P): 300% with BusinessConnect and 400% for the traveller
First (R, A, F): 200% with BusinessConnect and 250%-275% as an individual
Business Flex (D, C, J): 150%, 175%-200%
Business Classic (W): 110%, 130%
Business Saver (Z): 75%, 115%
Economy Flex (H, B, Y): 55%, 100%
Economy Classic (L, Q, M, K): 40%, 75%
Economy Saver (U, V, G): 20%, 50%
Economy Deal (T, E): 10%, 25%
In general, your business will earn three quarters of the miles that the passenger earns, although this rate is significantly reduced on economy tickets. This means (to put it another way) that a premium cabin passenger will earn roughly 75% more miles by double dipping with BusinessConnect.
Spending BusinessConnect miles
Because BusinessConnect uses the same rewards currency as Etihad Guest, your business can spend miles in the same way as you would as an individual.
This means you can book reward tickets, upgrade with points or use your miles to purchase items in the Etihad Guest retail store. You can even turn your miles into cash via PointsPay at a surprisingly attractive rate – see our article here.
As well as redeeming on Etihad for its excellent Business Studio (pictured above) or First Apartment (reviewed here), Etihad also has some very interesting partner redemptions you can easily miss. How about, for example, Prague to Seoul for just 25,000 miles each way in Business Class on Czech Airlines? Or redeeming on Oman Air?
For clarity, there is no way of combining your own personal Etihad Guest miles and those earned by your company via BusinessConnect. However, you can obviously book – as an example – a one-way redemption flight from your personal Etihad Guest miles and book a return using the BusinessConnect miles earned by your company.
Earn 5,000 bonus Etihad Guest miles for signing up
Etihad BusinessConnect is running several promotions to encourage businesses to sign up:
New applications get a welcome bonus of 5,000 Etihad Guest miles if two qualifying one-way flights are taken within three months of account registration.
You will earn double miles on new bookings from 1st August until 30th November 2019 for all travel from 2nd August until the 10th December 2019
You can join Etihad BusinessConnect on its website here. You can also read more about the benefits or read through the FAQs. If you have any more questions, the UK account manager is more than happy to assist – you can email them at [email protected].