Etihad Guest Hugely Devalues Award Redemptions On Brussels Airlines

Filed Under: Awards, Brussels

Etihad Guest is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest, and I tend to think it’s the all around most valuable loyalty program offered by a Gulf carrier, thanks to their mostly reasonable redemption rates.

Beyond that, they had some great partner redemption opportunities. No doubt the single best partner redemption value they had, and arguably the best award prices offered by any loyalty program, were for travel on Brussels Airlines.

To quote what I said last May:

There’s one partner award opportunity which is outrageously generous. Specifically, redeeming Etihad Guest miles on Brussels Airlines is an incredible deal. The rates are so low that it almost doesn’t make sense. Here’s the Etihad Guest award chart for redemptions on Brussels Airlines, quoting roundtrip redemption rates:


Well, I guess it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but Etihad Guest has devalued award redemptions on Brussels Airlines, unfortunately without notice. Here’s the new Etihad Guest award chart for redemptions on Brussels Airlines, which reflects one-way redemption costs:

EY-1 EY-2

Ouch! To give a few before and after examples of roundtrip redemption rates:

  • Brussels to Paris in economy used to cost 930 miles, and now costs 10,000 miles
  • Brussels to New York in economy used to cost 21,972 miles, and now costs 54,000 miles
  • Brussels to New York in business used to cost 36,620 miles, and now costs 88,000 miles
  • Brussels to Tel Aviv in business class used to cost 20,160 miles, and now costs 64,000 miles

Brussels Airlines A330 business class

One benefit — if you can even call it that — is that one-way redemptions are now allowed. That’s not of much benefit when you consider that almost across the board one-way tickets are now more expensive than roundtrip tickets.

The only other positive change is that Etihad has added more cities to the Brussels Airlines chart. Previously not all Brussels Airlines destinations were listed on the chart, while now they seem to be.

Bottom line

This devaluation was inevitable. Anytime you seem award prices that seem too good to be true, they usually are. This value had been around for years, so it’s not surprising to see that they finally changed it. However, I am very disappointed that they chose to make this change without any sort of advance notice, and without really acknowledging the change, other than updating the PDF with award prices.

Did you ever have the chance to redeem Etihad miles on Brussels?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

  1. yes when they give notice, ppl will book it immediately.. i guess they make a ‘loss’ when that happens compared to slashing more miles from their books by not giving notice.

  2. Ah, snap. But lucky me: I snagged a ticket Brussels – East Africa for June a few weeks ago, which literally was a $750 value.

  3. Well, that was hardly surprising. I managed to book several trips last year, including JFK-BRU and some BRU-europe hops. The intra-europe redemptions are now generally a much worse deal than before because economy flights are so cheap to buy. There simply isn’t much point in spending this high amount of miles plus taxes that are often close to the economy cash fare amount.

    The transatlantic awards are still reasonably priced (as opposed to crazy-reasonable), but the problem is finding availability (low for TATL, although maybe that will improve with the new redemption rates) and waiting for your points to transfer from Citi, during which availability can vanish.

  4. I find that availability with Brussels in J is hard to come by, so shouldn’t be a huge deal to most people.

  5. Bad news for me. I have two tix in J JFK-BRU that i booked through Etihad. I need to move them to another date. Any chance at all they can do a like-exchange without having to pay the increase instead of a reissue at the new rate? I’m not hopeful.

  6. I have a JFK-BRU round trip business seat booked for October. I’m pretty flexible so I just took whatever dates they had at the time. When I booked, their availability was almost nothing. The prior week they didn’t have a single round trip available the whole calendar.

    I’m going to guess availability will be better now at more than double the price.

  7. Was anyone able to book a partner ANA award in F before they killed that deal? Wasn’t it 47K one-way between New York and Tokyo in F? Man, it seems like by the time agents get trained well enough to book a partner award Etihad responds by doubling the costs of that award…

  8. A devaluation? Wow, it’s been so long since we’ve seen one of those from an airline that it’s tough to remember what it’s like.

  9. @Matt

    A change fee is 100 UAE or about $27 so you may not have a problem as you are already ticketed. Availability is another question…

  10. Oh well. I missed 2 Bus. seats in late May, early June, waiting for TY points to transfer. 44K is still less than the most any other airline for Bus. Class. Their chart shows Washington now. Maybe I can snag a couple seats that way. Right now I am doing coach back and forth, but Bus. class for 14K over the United points would be much better. TY points are easier for me to get than UA miles.

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