etihad-loungeEtihad Airways will no longer offer lounge access at most airports for Silver tier members of the Etihad Guest program. The changes, to be implemented from 15 January 2017, come as Etihad aligns the benefits available to members of its partner airlines’ frequent flyer programs. These include Airberlin Topbonus and Alitalia’s MilleMiglia loyalty program.

The Etihad Guest frequent flyer program has three status tiers: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Currently, Silver status flyers receive access to all of Etihad’s own lounges, as well as third-party contract lounges, when flying Etihad Airways. But from next year, lounge access for Silver members will be restricted to lounges in just three airports: Abu Dhabi, Belgrade and Mahé. The latter airports are hubs for partner airlines Air Serbia and Air Seychelles respectively.

Unfortunately this means that Silver Etihad Guest members will no longer be able to use any of Etihad’s lounges in Australia. Not surprisingly, the news has angered numerous members.

Etihad have announced that Silver status members won’t have lounge access except in Abu Dhabi and two other airports. Sadly this will probably be the end of my loyal relationship with Etihad, as less and less sets them apart from other airlines. Now they’ll have to compete for my custom, I won’t be looking at them first and with preferential treatment. I don’t fly often, generally once a year, but that’s probably the same for most people. Just another airline now, rather than one which genuinely rewards loyalty…

Sorry Etihad. Business class excellent but the economy class and no Melbourne/ Manchester lounge access doesn’t cut it.

Admittedly, it is relatively rare for an airline to grant lounge access to its Silver-level members. This benefit is usually reserved for flyers with the equivalent of Gold status or above. (Cathay Pacific is one notable exception for offering lounge access to its Silver members in Hong Kong.) Nonetheless, this generous benefit is offset by the difficulty of earning Silver status with Etihad compared to other airlines. Now, Etihad flyers will still need to fly more to earn Silver status than they would on other airlines, yet receive the same benefits.

While most FF programs don’t give lounge access to the lowest elite status level, Etihad status isn’t one of the easier programs to earn status with and as such, Silver is almost on par with ‘Gold/2nd tier’ level with other programs in the region.

Join the discussion HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]