Etihad Airways has overhauled its Etihad Guest loyalty programme with a range of amendments that come into effect on July 8.
The changes include adjustments to earning and redemption rates, and an increase in the number of miles needed to upgrade to business and first class.
Elsewhere, there will be 20 per cent more business class award seats on the highest demand routes, and the fuel surcharges currently charged on some "Guest Seat" awards into Abu Dhabi will be abolished in favour of a carrier charge on all Guest Seat bookings.
Etihad said in a statement: "We're making these changes in light of the increasing demand from our members for seats, particularly in business class and first class cabins.
"These changes will ensure that the programme remains attractive, competitive and sustainable."
The number of Etihad Guest miles earned will change when booking travel in seven of the airline's 13 fare classes.
Earning rates from July 8
Five fares — first class R, business class D and economy classes T, L and Q — will offer more miles, while two — business class Z and economy class E — will offer fewer.
In economy, the number of miles required for a Guest Seat will fall on flights over 6,000 miles, and will remain the same for flights less than 6,000 miles.
In business, the number of miles required will increase on all sectors, except for on flights over 6,000 miles, when it will stay the same. In first class, redemption rates will increase on all sectors.
This is bad news for business travellers. To cite one example, a one-way business class ticket from Abu Dhabi to London will increase from 43,976 to 65,964 miles.
USING MILES FOR UPGRADES
The number of miles needed for an upgrade will increase.
Etihad said that, from July 8, the "route, cabin and fare class of the original booking will determine the number of miles required for the upgrade but, overall, the number of miles required for an upgrade will increase".
And members who buy a "breaking deals" fare will no longer be able to use their miles to upgrade.
Etihad said the fuel surcharges that have "traditionally been levied on some Guest Seats into Abu Dhabi will be removed".
Instead, a new "carrier charge" will be added to all Guest Seat bookings at a cost of $50 per sector in economy, $100 per sector in business, and $150 per sector in first.
MORE GUEST SEATS
The airline said it will increase the minimum number of Guest Seats avaialble in business class by 20 per cent, a rise that equals an additional 1,000 business seats "on popular routes" each month.
There will also be at least five economy class Guest Seats on every flight.
USING MILES FOR OPEN SEATS
Lastly, members will be able to use their miles towards the "lowest available 'breaking deals' fares in economy and business class".
A member's only discount of up to 30 per cent will also be available to use for a business and first class Open Seat on ten popular routes including Abu Dhabi to London, Istanbul, Bangkok and Sydney.
Etihad said: "On all other routes and classes, members can still contribute as little as one Etihad Guest Mile towards the price of the Open Seat ticket."
To find out more, visit Etihad's FAQ page here.