Etihad launches frequent flyer programme

ABU DHABI — Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, yesterday launched its frequent flyer programme — Etihad Guest Programme — that offers instant cash and miles rewards aiming to serve 100,000 members to be enrolled over the next one year.

By Haseeb Haider

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Published: Wed 30 Aug 2006, 8:40 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:04 PM

"It's a unique proposition that revolutionises airline loyalty initiatives and echoes the airline's personalised and customer-focused approach to travel," said Geert Boven acting CEO Etihad Airways, at the launch Press conference.

The initiative has been rolled out throughout its global network of 35 passenger destinations simultaneously.

"At the core of the programme's creation is the absence of uncompromising restrictions traditionally associated with existing loyalty schemes, replaced instead with a flexible range of features and services designed to cater to public demand," Geert Boven said.

He said that the guest programme will certainly raise a few eye brows amongst its peers, many of whose frequent flyer-related schemes remained relatively unchallenged by the industry until now.

The key features of the programme are flexible travel, choice of payment, immediate redemption, value addition and earning miles on reward flights also.

Peter Baumgartner, head of marketing at Etihad, said that recognising that travellers' biggest criticism of frequent flyer programmes is that accrued miles are not always easily redeemable for the flights they would want, Etihad programme has done away the blackout periods and flight redemption restrictions. Every flight has an allocation of guest seats throughout each of the three zones which offer the best value for miles and can be booked for a fixed mileage rate. The concept of open seats has been introduced to ensure that guests are still able to choose when they would prefer to travel and redeem their miles on the flight of their choice. While the mileage required is determined according to the fare level travelled in, as long as there are seats available guests have the option to redeem their miles according to convenience.

He said that the guest using the online slider tools can calculate which proportion of the cash plus miles will work best for them at the time of redemption. A wide range of partners have been carefully chosen to ensure best rewards from the moment they accrue mileage, as a network of airline, car rental, financial, retail and leisure partners will offer spending opportunities alongside an attractive range of discounts.

Added to this, with three tiers to qualify for — Etihad Guest, Etihad Guest Silver and Etihad Guest Gold — members are entitled to extra benefits the more miles they earn, ranging from priority check-in, lounge access and up to up to 15kg excess baggage allowance to complimentary Limousine service and fast track immigration.

An extra advantage of the programme is that Etihad Airways is the only airline to offer members the chance to earn miles on their reward flights. Essentially, guests are able to make their miles work even harder for them by enjoying a flight reward redeemed through a combination of miles plus cash and accruing extra reward miles through the cash element.

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