The year started on a not so great note, with Citibank announcing the devaluation of the PremierMiles transfer options. Over the next few days I am hoping to write posts evaluating in brief the options for transferring your PremierMiles, in case you are not happy with the new redemption rates of (2:1).
Let us go straight off the bat with evaluating Etihad Guest. Since Jet Airways pulled out from the redemption options of PremierMiles in 2012, the only option for PremierMiles transfer for flying around India on award tickets was Air India or Kingfisher (since defunct). But Etihad joined the PremierMiles transfer options a while ago, and this seems like a great option to be able to fly in India, considering they own 50.1% of the JetPrivilege program.
I did a post a few weeks ago, where you can see that it makes great sense if you want to redeem tickets for travel around India on Jet Airways. The Etihad redemption chart is much sweeter than the JetPrivilege redemption chart, and as long as you can book 14 days out, you get almost all the sectors on the cheap. For instance, just last week, I made a Lucknow-Mumbai trip for all of about 5600 miles and INR 563 in taxes, while my parents travelled to Delhi from Lucknow for all of about 2000 miles and INR 700 or so in taxes. This gave me an average redemption value of INR 1 or so per mile.
While if I would have booked the same tickets using JetPrivilege, I would have had to spend 8500 miles for LKO-BOM and 5000 miles for LKO-DEL.
Also, on international segments, Etihad’s chart has a much lower redemption rate than Jet Airways. I’m not sure if they charge a fuel surcharge on booking international segments on Jet Airways, but even if they do, it is just like the old days of booking up with Jet Airways where you paid a fuel surcharge. Consider this, while it costs 15000 JPMiles for an AUH-BOM one way on JetPrivilege, it only costs 9500 Etihad Guest miles to redeem on Jet Airways using EY.
Update: A few readers have pointed to me that you cannot redeem for flights which are operating as S2 codeshare still (flights with 4 digit flight numbers such as 9W xxxx). You should be aware of this as well.
And do not forget, with EY, you can book on various other airlines using EY miles as well, such as Air Berlin, Air Seychelles and others. The full list is up on www.etihadguest.com.
My rating is 4.5/5 for Etihad Guest as a transfer partner. The 0.5 I am taking away is for the 14-day limit to be able to book a JP ticket.
What are your thoughts on Etihad Guest as a transfer partner for PremierMiles?