Back in 2017, Gavin Halliday resigned as CEO of Avios Group to move to Abu Dhabi, to run all of Etihad’s loyalty businesses.
He has had a lot on his hands since then. First there was the collapse of Air Berlin and its Etihad-owned topbonus loyalty programme, and more recently the collapse of India’s Jet Airways and its (still functioning, now renamed) loyalty scheme InterMiles.
Gavin and I had (still have) a good relationship and would meet up to bounce ideas around. Once of his pet peeves was enforced mileage expiry, which he felt was unfair and which stopped people building up their miles to use in retirement.
Etihad Guest had one of the most extreme enforced mileage expiry policies. Your miles expired three years after you had earned them, and there was nothing you could do to stop it.
Etihad Guest was relaunched last week, and mileage expiry is no more. As long as there is activity on your Etihad Guest account every 18 months, your miles are secure.
Spending Etihad Guest miles
You should take Etihad Guest more seriously now. Etihad’s First Class Apartment on its A380 fleet is an amazing experience as I reviewed here. The Business Class Studio is also impressive. Here is our last Business Class Studio review but I have flown it twice more since, most recently last month. They have funky Aqua di Parma amenity kits now too! Etihad also has daily flights from Manchester.
Whilst not in an airline alliance, Etihad Guest has its own partnerships. I recommend Oman Air from London and Manchester – this article looked at how to book it with Etihad Guest miles.
There are plenty of other partners too as you can see here.
Earning Etihad Guest miles
Etihad has more partner earning airlines than you might think – take a look at their website here. You’ve got Air New Zealand, Air Serbia, Air Europa, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, ANA, American Airlines, Asiana, Bangkok Airways, Brussels Airlines, Czech Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Philippine Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, SAS, Sri Lankan Airlines, Virgin Australia and GOL.
Etihad Guest offers regular bonuses, usually 20% or so, on transfers from hotel loyalty schemes.
Etihad no longer has its own UK credit card. However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards. These are:
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile.
Etihad Guest is also a partner with the HSBC Premier Mastercard (0.5 miles per £1 spent, reviewed here) and HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard (1 mile per £1 spent, reviewed here). You could also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points earned via the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express.
You should obviously look into the programme more carefully before deciding whether it is for you. However, the ability to build up miles slowly via – say – the HSBC Premier Mastercard is now a realistic option given that you no longer need to watch the clock ticking down on their expiry.
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 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).