(EXPIRED) Earn Etihad elite tier miles with mileage transfer

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Etihad Guest is allowing members to earn elite tier miles through mileage transfers through August 30th: those who transfer a minimum of 5,000 miles will earn 1 tier mile for every mile transferred up to 20,000. As you’ll see below, this is something I kind of predicted just a few hours ago — though it seems that this was already available and I just hadn’t heard about it. To be clear, though this coincides with the ability to get 30% off on award tickets, this won’t be a deal for most people. Nonetheless, I find it interesting.

I miss Etihad first class — and this wasn’t even the apartments that Greg flew!

The Deal

Key Terms

  • The offer is valid for all Points to Miles transfers made between 15 Jul and 30 Aug 2020 both days inclusive.
  • Points transfer partners included: Accor Limitless, Hilton, IHG, Radisson, Hyatt, Marriott, Shangri La, Joyalukkas, Smiles (Etisalat), AIMIA (Air Miles/My Reward Points), AMEX Membership Rewards (note: see below), Hana Bank in Korea, Capital One in USA, Barclays in USA, Livelo in Brazil, Inbursa in Mexico, CITIC Bank in China, Ping An Wan li tong in China, SPDB in China, ICBC in China, Jing Dong coin in China, Cathay United Bank in Taiwan, Krungthai Card in Thailand, Commonwealth Bank in Australia, Standard Chartered Bahrain, UAE and Singapore, Citibank Global, ADCB Touchpoints, Al Hilal Bank (Joud points), Emirates Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, FAB Stars, HSBC, National Commercial Bank.
  • Etihad Guest members who transfer their points during the campaign period. Will receive 1 tier mile for every mile transferred with a minimum threshold of 5,000 miles transfer and the Tier Miles will be capped at 20,000 tier miles.
  • Once the Miles transfer request in initiated it cannot be reversed.
  • This offer is subject to the Terms & Conditions of the Etihad Guest Programme.
  • A valid Etihad Guest membership number is required to successfully perform the transfer.
  • The Etihad Guest member will be responsible for quoting the correct Etihad Guest membership number to the participating transfer partners for the transfer activity.
  • Terms and conditions governing the existing transfer partners will apply.
  • The promotion is applicable for any member who converts their points from a qualifying Partner loyalty programme to Etihad Guest Miles. The eligibility of the bonus tier miles for a specific member will be done based on the validity of the promotion and the date of transfer provided by the partner for that respective member.
  • Base Etihad Guest Miles converted by the member will be awarded as per the applicable transfer ratios of each respective partner
  • Bonus Etihad Guest Tier Miles earned during this promotion will reflect in the member’s Etihad Guest membership account within 10 working days of the end date 30th August 2020 of the promotion
  • If an Etihad Guest member holds credit cards and/or Hotel loyalty programme cards of different banks and hotels and converts the rewards points to Etihad Guest Miles under this promotion, then the number of Bonus Guest Miles he/she will earn will reflect separately in the members account for each partner
  • The above promotion construct is valid only for all Points Transfer Partners which fall under the Points Transfer partners listed above and governed by the transfer ratios and minimum thresholds applicable for these respective partners.
  • Etihad Guest reserves the right to withdraw or cancel the promotion or modify or alter the terms and conditions of such promotion at any time.
  • Participation under this promotion is purely voluntary for the members.
  • The decision of Etihad Guest will be final and binding under this promotion and no disputes will be entertained in this regard.
  • This offer cannot be clubbed with any other transfer offer.
  • See full terms on promotion landing page

Quick Thoughts

Earlier today, in response to our post about Virgin Atlantic now allowing members to earn elite status credit by redeeming miles for award flights with Virgin Atlantic, reader Aloha808 asked:

Thanks Nick. Interesting that this is the 2nd frequent flyer program we’ve seen recently to incorporate the use or accrual (Air Canada) of miles/points in gaining elite status. Who’s next?

Here was my response, condensed slightly:

It makes sense given the current landscape. When business travel is expected to be pretty lean for quite a while, it makes sense to me that airlines need to put some focus on extracting loyalty from leisure travelers.

And in the case of transfers, this clearly brings money into the program since the issuers obviously buy miles from the airlines. It essentially brings in a no-interest loan, and in Virgin Atlantic’s case they are making you redeem the miles on their airline (where their incremental cost of carrying you on a flight they are already operating and don’t expect to be full is very low) rather than having to reimburse a partner . . .

I don’t really know if anyone else will follow the lead, but if any airlines do my guess is that it would be an airline with a robust frequent flyer program that does not expect huge government bailout funds to persist. In other words, I wouldn’t expect this kind of move from Delta, United, or AA . . . The more than I think about it, maybe “next up” will be Emirates or Etihad since they already have the credit card program partnerships and it is known that both have had their financial struggles? It could create an influx of dollars for them….

I didn’t expect this to come true quite so fast, but here we are.

In fairness, I didn’t really predict this. You can see in the key terms above that this apparently began on July 15th, though I wasn’t aware of it until this afternoon.

The full list of partners can be found here. Some of the included partners from which you can transfer are:

  • American Express
  • Citibank
  • Capital One USA
  • Hilton
  • IHG
  • Marriott
  • Radisson
  • World of Hyatt
  • ALL (Accor Live Limitless)

Oddly, under the heading for American Express, they list information about converting Membership Rewards points to Etihad Guest miles by region and they don’t list the USA. This is odd since they do list the USA under the regions/options for earning miles through Citibank. I’m not sure if this means that American Express is excluded from the promo.

Also notably absent from the pictures of partners on the landing page is Capital One. However, as you can see under “Key Terms” above, transfers from Capital One USA are included as per the fine print.

All that said, this won’t be a deal for most folks for a couple of reasons:

  1. This promo is capped at 20,000 tier miles. That’s not even enough for the first level of elite status (which requires 25,000 miles to earn or 20,000 miles to maintain). If you have some elite status miles earned this year, great — but otherwise, this won’t get you anywhere.
  2. Etihad elite status benefits don’t get you much. With the higher levels of status, you’ll get lounge access for you and a guest worldwide. At the Silver tier (the one that requires 25,000 tier miles), you’ll only get it for yourself and only at some lounges. Other benefits are pretty standard things like seat selection, priority check-in — but with Etihad not a member of a major alliance, your benefits on partner airlines will be spotty at best.

Frankly, I’m kind of surprised that Etihad is capping this at 20,000 tier miles. I’d think they’d be happy to sell a boatload of miles in exchange for elite status that most members won’t be able to use for at least the next few months and likely not enough over the first year to cost them what they stand to earn. Apparently, Etihad’s accounting team thinks differently.

Still, I’ll count it interesting that there are chances to earn elite status through point transfers. Like I said in my response to Aloha808, I think this makes sense and I won’t be surprised to see other airlines give this a shot as a way to get an influx of cash when they aren’t otherwise earning a ton from ticket sales (particularly from those airlines who don’t have an unending supply of bailouts at their disposal). I wouldn’t be surprised to see a truly interesting option come along at some point, but this one doesn’t look like it to me.

H/T: Sam Chui

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