Etihad Airways is adding a little extra shine to the travel experience of Gold and Platinum members as it relaunches its Etihad Guest frequent flyer scheme this week.
Headlining the improvements: inflight WiFi is now free for Etihad Guest Platinum members, with a 75% discount for Gold card-holders.
However, a spokesman for Etihad has confirmed to Executive Traveller that the free allocation for Platinums – and the 75% discount for Golds – applies only to the first of any of the three packages on Etihad's cutely-named 'Wi-Fly' service, which is measured by how much data you use rather than how much time you spend online.
Etihad's Wi-Fly packages are as follows:
- 50MB for US$6
- 150MB for US$16
- 300MB for US$30
According to the Etihad spokesman, the Platinum (free) and Gold (75% off) offer is valid for "one free on each of the options, then you can pull out the credit card or use miles to redeem for additional data."
In other words: a Guest Platinum member could claim a freebie on each of the packages for a total of 500MB, after which the full price will apply for any subsequent WiFi purchases. (Just in case the spokesman's advie proves not to be correct, we suggest you start by claiming the top-shelf 300MB package).
Etihad previously based its packages on time spent online rather than data consumed, with US$22 buying unlimited WiFi for up to 24 hours (even including an onward connecting flight), but the airline shifted to data-based pricing in June 2017.
Also, Etihad's chauffeur service is once again available to Guest Platinum and Gold members who have booked their business or first class ticket using frequent flyer miles – a privilege which was removed in April 2018 to favour travellers who actually paid for their flight.
However, your complementary driver is available only at Abu Dhabi, as Etihad axed its worldwide chauffeur service (with some exceptions, such as jetsetters in The Residence) in July 2017, and just for a one-way ride to or from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Etihad has also removed the use-by date for miles: these will will no longer expire, as long as there's one eligible transaction made every 18 months.
Finally, Etihad Guest Platinum and Gold members flying in economy will also enjoy free seat selection.
The airline also says that "members will soon be able to pay with Etihad Guest Miles for more travel ancillaries, using either their miles or a combination of miles and cash, and ancillaries like economy space, extra baggage and insurance through the etihad.com booking engine. Upgrades and related services, such as excess baggage and taxes, will also be available with miles on Etihad.com."
Etihad Guest has over 6.5 million members worldwide and includes a range of reciprocal benefits with Virgin Australia's Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme.