Just exactly how efficient is Etihad Guest as a loyalty program?

I have to say all the money to run two massive airlines in a small country has not brought the best of systems and processes to the airline which wants to be the next Emirates. My first brush with the Etihad Guest loyalty program was when they announced a status match, and I applied for it. It took Etihad 2 months or more to process my Status Match request, and they only informed me in June 2012 that my request was confirmed. Now, hypothetically, Etihad is putting you in an elite tier (Gold), and wants to be a classy airline. Which should mean you should get your membership kits in time, no?

Guess what, after many emails, I received my kit in October 2012, a full 4 months after matching up. Here is the email they sent to me in August 2012, asking me to wait till September 2012.

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And then in October, they tell me my kit was gone in August 2012. Have a look!

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And then, when I received the kit finally in late October 2012, it had a date of dispatch which mentioned 15 October 2012… Surprised smile

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By this point of time, they’d already lost some of my business on a quick trip I had made to their territory, because they were not impressing me with this delay.

How long does it take for partner miles to credit?

Now, while I am already not impressed with their speed, they’ve been doing everything in their power to keep me engaged, but in a negative manner you see! Back in June I’d made a work trip to Dubai, Kuwait City and Muscat. One of the segments I flew was on Oman Air (Muscat to Dubai), which was the only airline that worked for me at that point of time due to my scheduling. Oman Air only has a frequent flyer program partnership with Etihad, and so, I decided to credit my miles to the Etihad program rather than accumulate some ‘Sindbad miles’.

Now, even in the worst of cases, I have not seen the kind of delays to points posting like here. I posted the correct account number before the boarding pass was generated, and it came on the BP as well. Then I waited and waited and waited. 3 months later, when there was no credit, I sent a retrocredit email, and then a complaint, to which I got a response saying they had ‘escalated’ the retroclaim.

Now, in November, I reminded them again that they owe to post me some miles, and this is the email they sent me, saying they are STILL working on it. Oh come on, 217 miles, just 217 miles EY. Either you think I am out to scam you, or you really have something wrong and I can’t trust you with my business, and hence, my loyalty.

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And it turns out, I am not the only one. There is a whole thread on FT with similar issues, started all the way back in March 2012. Wow!

Should I just write these precious miles off? Have you got any experiences to share with EY?

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About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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