A key benefit of the Coles Flybuys loyalty program has been its partnership with Etihad Airways. Until recently, it was possible to transfer Flybuys points to the Etihad Guest frequent flyer program. But last month Flybuys suspended Etihad Guest transfers indefinitely and without notice.
Until further notice, it is also no longer possible to earn Flybuys points when booking Etihad Airways flights via the Flybuys travel portal. But Flybuys members that have already linked their accounts to Etihad Guest will continue to earn Tier Miles when shopping at Coles.
Flybuys suspended Etihad Guest transfers from mid-December 2017 with no warning. A notice on the Flybuys website says that transfers to Etihad Guest are no longer available “until further notice”. But it is not yet clear whether the change is temporary or permanent.
A Flybuys spokesperson told Australian Frequent Flyer:
“The Etihad benefits for flybuys members aren’t currently available due to systems issues, but unfortunately we don’t currently have a time frame for when this may change. We apologise for the inconvenience to our members and continue to work with Etihad regarding this. The incidence of system issues meant we were not able to provide advance notice to members.”
It would appear that Etihad is responsible for the current issues as some airlines have also recently blocked Etihad Airways redemptions.
Must be something going on at Etihad. One Mile at a Time have also reported that ANA have suspended redemptions on Etihad.
Problems with Etihad miles not transferring correctly were reported on AFF as early as November 2017. It appears that Flybuys eventually decided to pull the plug until it could resolve the issue with Etihad.
The Flybuys partnership with Etihad has been popular because Etihad Guest has some great value flight redemptions, including for travel on Virgin Australia. Etihad charges significantly fewer miles for short-haul Virgin Australia award flights than Virgin’s own Velocity program.
Transfer from Flybuys to Velocity Frequent Flyer are still available. 2,000 Flybuys points can be converted to 870 Velocity points.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: How to redeem Etihad Guest miles for Virgin Australia flights