Etihad Silver Losing General Lounge Access

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A few days ago I received an email from Etihad which on the face of it looked like good news. However, the real detail is that a significant benefit is being withdrawn from Etihad Silver status.

The Good

The email opened with “exciting news”. Basically the benefits of Silver status would now be consistent across all of their airline partners such as  Airberlin, Alitalia, etc. Which of course is a good thing. My silver status now gets me extra baggage allowance and 25% bonus tier points when I fly with any of their partners.

eithad silver card

The Bad

But what they really wanted to tell me was in the 2nd paragraph. From the 15th of Jan, Etihad Silver status holders will lose access to Etihad Lounges, except at Abu Dhabi, Seychelles and Belgrade.

I’m guessing it’s all about capacity controls. Alitalia for one has historically been very generous with status matches to elite levels. With status getting equalised across their range of partners, Etihad had to pick a lounge access policy that would protect the lounges from becoming too crowded. Clearly when they worked the numbers, Etihad Silver and the equivalent level on the partner airlines  resulted in potentially too many people in the lounges.

If you happen to have the MBNA Etihad credit cards, a perk is you can get Etihad Silver status by paying for 1 return flight using you card. So this announcement effectively devalues this perk.  In related news, MBNA recently announced an enhanced sign-up bonus of 15,000 miles on £2K of spend for taking out the Etihad Amex/Visa dual pack card.

Etihad Silver
Eithad Lounge, Dublin

Personally, this downgrading of benefits won’t affect me. I do have Etihad Silver guest status that expires in March next year. However I don’t have any plans to fly with Etihad or their partners between now and then.  But having used the excellent Etihad lounge in Dublin on several occasions, it’s a significant downgrade of benefits to lose access to it.


    • Ian Macky says

      Have a play on, and price the details for flying on Etihad. Click on the details and you’ll get the breakdown. The taxes and fees should be pretty similar when booked using AA, except AA doesn’t charge fuel surcharge (noted as YQ)

      AA charge a phone fee that is something like £15 or so. THese can’t be booked online.

      For example LHR-AUH on 17th of Nov in economy is £351 (a pretty good price actually), of which £120 is taxes and fees. Almost no YQ, so AA should charge the same.
      DUB-AUH is €460 on the same date. Of that €153 is taxes, but €139 of it is YQ. AA should charge about €14 plus the phone fee.

      For example, This time last year I booked dub-auh-mle, mle-auh, auh-dub in biz, and for 2 people the total was £92 including the phone fee. see here

      I’ll look up what I paid for our Maldives holiday flights this June, and post this evening.

  1. Adam says

    Thanks Ian, i read somewhere else today whilst researching my Q that AA waiver the phone booking fee if you ask them to as you cant book online the redemptions, is this not true anymore?

    • Ian Macky says


      I haven’t heard that, I’ve always had to pay the booking fee. Your source may be talking about / confusing with BA, if you are supposed to be able to do something online, but cannot, they will refund the telephone fee. However BA will charge the fee, for example if you phone to book Aer Lingus award flights, as this functionality isn’t available online.

      My latest two bookings (booked Dec ’15, flying June ’16) using aa miles for EY awards were:-
      DUB-AUH for 2 in biz 1-way cost £43 in fees.
      MLE-AUH-DUB for 2 in biz 1 way cost £69 in fees.

      I don’t have a note of the phone fee, but its something like £10-£20.

      • Adam says

        Cheers Ian, good to know how low those taxes really are. It was definitely on the subject of using AA miles redemption on EY but was dated late last year the article stating you just ask to not be billed for the phone booking fee.
        Might be worth giving it a go next time, no harm in trying!?

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