Etihad Guest Gold and Gold Elite members will soon enjoy perks such as lounge access, priority check-in and boarding when flying with South African Airways as part of an extended bilateral agreement that also encompasses new routes, codeshares and connections.
In return, South African Airways’ Voyager Gold, Platinum and Lifetime Platinum frequent flyers will be able to kick back in Etihad’s lounges in Abu Dhabi and across the globe, while members of both schemes can earn and redeem points on either airline.
“Since our codeshare flights were first on sale in July last year, we have placed more than 20,000 passengers onto each other’s flights,” said James Hogan, President and CEO of Etihad.
“There is huge potential to significantly increase that number as the cooperation is developed in the coming years,” giving travellers “a more seamless experience.”
As part of the tie-up, SAA is launching daily non-stop flights between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi on March 29 2015, complementing Etihad’s existing daily services and creating added flexibility for business travellers bound for South Africa.
Served by an Airbus A330 aircraft, SA278 will push back in Johannesburg at 10:05am to reach Abu Dhabi at 8:25pm that evening.
On the return, SA279 is wheels-up in the UAE capital at 2:05am and returns home to Johannesburg at 8:15am.
As you’d expect, Etihad will codeshare on SAA’s new flights from the Middle East, and then onwards from Johannesburg to 16 destinations across the African continent – while SAA will codeshare on 32 routes beyond Etihad’s hub in Abu Dhabi.
The move comes just weeks after a similar move by Etihad partner Virgin Australia, allowing Velocity Frequent Flyer members to earn points and status credits on South African Airways flights atop reciprocal lounge access.
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