Etihad has announced that from July 31, 2020 the validity of Etihad Guest Miles will be extended based on qualifying member activity.

Miles will be extended for a period of 18 months after making one eligible transaction, including earning, spending or buying miles. Miles can be extended to a maximum period of 18 months.

Etihad has informed customers about this change is an email sent to members today:

Sebastian, we’re updating our terms and conditions to give you more flexibility.

From 31 July 2020, every eligible transaction you make will extend your balance by another 18 months*. That includes earning, spending or buying miles. You can only extend your miles balance once per month and by a maximum period of 18 months.

Earn or redeem miles to extend your miles balance and have more time to redeem your miles.

Terms and conditions apply.

Right now the expiration of miles is status based and varies by membership level between 2-3 years which is confusing and doesn’t help to keep the program simple for the membership to understand and follow the rules.

The detailed ruled about the  expiration period for Etihad Guest Miles are as follows (per Terms&Conditions):

  • 5.1.12. The validity period of Etihad Guest Miles is based upon your Etihad Guest Tier Status as follows:
  • 5.1.12.1 Etihad Guest Miles are valid for 2 years from the date they are earned for Etihad Guest Members;
  • 5.1.12.2 Etihad Guest Miles are valid for 2.5 years from the date they are earned for Etihad Guest Silver Members; and
  • 5.1.12.3 Etihad Guest Miles are valid for 3 years from the date they are earned for Etihad Guest Gold Members and Etihad Guest Platinum members.
  • Unused Etihad Guest Miles will expire on the last date of the month in which they are due to expire, at 23:30 (GST time).

This will be history effective July 31, 2020 according to the email outlining the new rules:

  • The validity of Etihad Guest Miles will be extended based on qualifying member activity. Miles will be extended for a period of 18 months after making one eligible transaction, including earning, spending or buying miles. Miles can be extended to a maximum period of 18 months.
  • Etihad Guest Miles will expire if there is no qualifying activity within a period of 18 months after the last qualifying activity. If an Etihad Guest member does not qualify for the extension, the Etihad Guest Miles balance will expire on the last day of the 18th month after the last qualifying activity, at 23:30 (GST time).
  • The definition of qualifying activities is specified on etihadguest.com and/or as otherwise specified and extant in our valid publications, as issued from time to time.
  • The definition of qualifying activities to extend the Etihad Guest Miles balance is subject to change at any time without notice.
  • The Etihad Guest Miles balance of Etihad Guest Platinum members will not expire as long as the Etihad Guest Platinum Tier Status is maintained.
  • Once a Platinum member is downgraded to Gold tier, total miles balance validity period will be calculated 18 months from the tier downgrade date.

Can one really be an Etihad Platinum member and not have any qualifying activity within 18 months in which case the Platinum protection clause would make a difference?

Conclusion

Broadly speaking this is a genuine improvement because even though 18 months are shorter than the previous period at least now you can push out the validity of the balance by simple transactions such as of course a flight activity but also just buying a thousand miles, transferring points or staying at a hotel. Redemptions also count as qualifying.

Several U.S. based airlines have a similar model and so far it has worked well for me as it’s easy enough to do one transaction if for whatever reason I shouldn’t utilize the program within that period.

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