Etihad Airways has added a payment currency conversion feature onto its Etihad Guest membership card.
"Walletplus" allows members to put money onto their Etihad Guest card and convert it into 11 foreign currencies to spend when travelling.
Partnered with Visa, the card can be loaded in advance, allowing members to take advantage of competitive exchange rates before travel.
Up to 11 currencies can be held on the card, one of which must be UAE Dirham. The other currencies are the US dollar, UK pound sterling, euro, Indian rupee, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, Singapore dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Japanese yen and Thai baht.
Members can earn one Etihad Guest Mile per US$2 spent in the UAE, and one Etihad Guest Mile per US$1 spent abroad when paying with Walletplus.
There is also a Walletplus app for iOS and Android devices with features including account balance, transaction history and the ability to transfer money to other Etihad Guest members with an activated Walletplus account.
The Etihad Guest card with Walletplus will start being rolled-out to UAE-based members in early March. It will become available to members in other counties in due course.
Yasser Al Yousuf, Etihad Guest's managing director, said: "The new Etihad Guest Card with Walletplus is innovative in that it combines the functionality of a reloadable payment card with the benefits of Etihad Guest membership in a single piece of plastic, a first in loyalty and travel payments in the Middle East."
Earlier this week, Etihad officially acquired a 75 per cent stake in Alitalia Loyalty, which operates the airline's frequent flyer programme MilleMiglia (see news, February 3).