As of 15 January, Etihad Guest has made some minor changes to award pricing on its own flights—here is how they affect you.
Marginal increases in long-haul awards
Etihad don’t fly direct to New Zealand, and instead partner with Air New Zealand on the Trans-Tasman leg to Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney. This is unlikely to change anytime soon, especially with their well publicised cost-cutting.
From my calculations, it seems that most long-haul redemptions from Australia to Abu Dhabi and beyond to Europe and the US are increasing in price, albeit not by a huge amount. For example:
- Sydney to Abu Dhabi in Business Class increases from 97,229 to 99,999 miles
- Melbourne to Abu Dhabi in First Class increases from 124,660 to 136,250 miles
- Brisbane to London in Business Class increases from 162,441 to 162,503 miles (very small increase)
- Perth to New York JFK in Business Class increases from 179,030 to 200,002 miles
As to be expected, the increases are larger the more distance you travel and the further towards the front of the plane you are seated.
There could be (and probably are) increases to shorter flights too but they don’t affect travellers from New Zealand and Australia so much, so we don’t have the previous award pricing handy.
You can calculate the new award pricing using Etihad’s updated online tool.
(Almost) uniform Australian pricing
Previously, award pricing differed according to the Australian city you departed from. For example, flying to London from Perth in Business Class would be ~6,000 Etihad Guest miles cheaper than flying from Sydney or Brisbane.
Now they are all priced within 1-3 miles of each other, meaning that East Coasters get an extra three hours or so of travel for the same price as Western Australians.
On some Business and First Class awards, there will be an additional surcharge of $50 USD per segment.
Upgrades increase in price
Upgrading your seat from Economy to Business, or Business to First, from Sydney to London will now cost ~5,000 miles more than before. Again, not a huge jump on an upgrade previously costing anywhere from 70,000 to 150,000 miles but still worth noting.
Using Etihad Guest miles for long-haul redemptions on Etihad previous to this change did not represent good value and, with this minor devaluation, awards are even less valuable.
One of the best uses of Etihad Guest miles is for redemptions in Virgin Australia Business Class, with your Velocity points or American Airlines AAdvantage miles better directed towards long-haul Etihad redemptions. Two cautions though: Velocity has a per-segment fee on Etihad flights too, and AAdvantage prices Etihad flights between two regions as separate awards.
We’ll be updating our existing Etihad guides and reviews with the new pricing over the next week or so.