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AA Kills Free Chauffeur Service On Etihad Business/First Award Seats
One of the great perks of flying Etihad in business or first class, is the included free chauffeur service that they offer in all the major cities that they serve. Far from a gimmick or indulgence, the complimentary service provides hassle free airport transfers, up to 100 miles in some cities.
For example if you are flying out of London/Manchester, Etihad will pick you up and return you to your home anywhere within 100 miles of the airport. Flying into Abu Dabhi (AUH) is another notable example. The service will take you from the airport to a location anywhere in the UAE. I’ve used it on several occasions arriving in AUH to transfer on to Dubai, a distance of over 100Km. The car used each time was a well presented Audi A6. You could easily pay £100 each way for such a transfer.
It’s a benefit that is also provided on Etihad tickets booked using miles. And until recently it didn’t matter if you booked your Etihad flight with AA using AA miles, the complimentary service was offered.
No Longer Qualifying
But alas no more. Starting with flights on the 10th of August 2016 and beyond, Etihad biz/first class seats that you book using AA miles, no longer qualify for the complimentary chauffeur service. I’ve seen this confirmed on several forums and blogs. At this time Etihad haven’t indicated that they intend to remove it on seats booked with Etihad miles, but it would not surprise me if that happens too.
It’s always disappointing when a good redemption gets devalued. I reported a couple of weeks ago that AA has dramatically increased the AA mileage required for an Etihad award seat to the Maldives from the UK. This latest change adds more pain. An Etihad business class return, booked with AA miles from LHR to the Maldives via AUH with a few nights in Dubai as a stopover, could easily cost £400 in transfer expenses, which previously would have been complimentary.