A couple of days ago – on November 15th – Etihad Airways announced a relaunch of its loyalty program Etihad Guest via a press release. While this might sound like a real game-changer at first, it’s more an adjustment than a real make-over.
Effective immediately, the airlines will offer some new perks to its passengers, namely:
- A new mileage expiration policy
- Free or discounted inflight WiFi for Gold or Platinum members
- Complementary on-way chauffeur in Abu Dhabi on award tickets
- Dedicated contact center for Etihad Guest’s top tier Platinum members
Even if you are a Gold or Platinum member, the biggest and most exciting news will be the updated mileage expiration policy. While the new benefits for top tier members are a nice touch, the majority of travelers will never be able to use them.
Miles no Longer Expire
But the fact that miles might no longer expire in the future is something even passengers flying once or twice a year can profit from. Now, saying that miles will never expire is exaggerating. And actually not true. There are three different ways that loyalty programs handle this topic. Your miles either expire after a while, you can save them from expiration by keeping your account active, or miles do not expire ever. Under no circumstance.
Etihad actually just added the option to keep your miles from expiring. If you have at least one qualifying experience within 18 months, all your miles will stay where they are. So they can still expire. But now it’s up to you if they do.
We think that this is a nice change and a fair way to handle mileage expiration. You can choose to spend some miles on an award seat, transfer them from your American Express card or simply donate them to meet the new requirements. Even though we think that the word relaunch is a rather strong one – especially people who don’t travel Etihad that often will see it is a welcome change.