Last month, I wrote about Etihad’s plan to introduce a single award chart for its Etihad Guest programme, consolidating more than 20 separate charts into one. While the simplification was welcome, an unfortunate by-product was that it would almost certainly nerf the sweet spots lurking amongst the various charts.
Well, Etihad Guest has now published its new award chart (two actually: one for Etihad and one for partners), and it’s basically what was expected- the programme is now simpler, and much less lucrative.
Etihad Guest’s new award chart
From 9 March 2023, Etihad Guest will be introducing two distance-based award charts for travel on Etihad Airways and partner airlines.
Travel on Etihad
|Y= Economy, J= Business, F= First|
Travel on Partners
|Y= Economy, PY= Premium Economy, J= Business, F= First|
While the new pricing technically kicks in from tomorrow, it’s not possible to make any bookings based on the current charts today as the system is undergoing an “upgrade” of sorts.
This means it’s effectively a no-notice devaluation. I don’t care if Etihad broke the news last month; I consider notice to be given only when the new award charts are published in full.
How bad is it?
Etihad previously promised to introduce zone-based award charts, but instead has gone with distance-based charts.
With distance-based charts, we like to see as few bands as possible because the broader the bands, the greater the opportunities to find sweet spots (just look for destinations at the upper end of a given band).
Unfortunately, Etihad has really salami sliced this, with 10 different distance bands (for comparison, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles has six). These fine distinctions don’t leave much room for outsized value.
Moreover, it means the end of existing sweet spots:
- Royal Air Maroc Business Class flights maxed out at 44,000 miles previously; under the new chart they can cost up to 140,000 miles
- American Airlines Business Class flights from Hong Kong to the USA cost 55,000 miles previously; under the new chart they will cost 140,000 miles
- ANA Business Class flights from Japan to Seattle cost 54,000 miles previously; under the new chart they will cost 100,000 miles
- Oman Air Business Class flights from Muscat to London cost 44,000 miles previously; under the new chart they will cost 80,000 miles
It’s not all bad news:
- Air Serbia short haul Economy flights cost 5,000 miles previously, they’ll now start from 6,000 miles
- Virgin Australia Pacific Island flights cost 6,900 miles previously, they’ll now start from 6,000 miles
Moreover, you’ll soon be able to book American Airlines and Virgin Australia awards directly on Etihad’s website, which offers more convenience if nothing else. However, what’s clear is that the juicy premium cabin sweet spots have been nerfed.
Etihad Guest has unveiled its new distance-based award charts, which take effect from 9 March 2023. While the pricing for travel on Etihad isn’t terrible, the net loss to the programme is significant because of how partner awards have been devalued.
As much as I hated navigating Etihad’s 20+ award charts, I kind of wish they’d stuck to them now!