In February of 2012 Etihad invested in Air Seychelles and bought a 40% stake in the airline. Now Etihad is upping the ante and incorporating Air Seychelles more than ever before. The first adjustments were Air Seychelles flights to Abu Dhabi and code shares on Etihad’s extensive route network, the carriers now fly 8x a week (4x a week by Air Seychelles and 4x by Etihad) between the two destinations, up from zero in 2011! However, on June 16, 2012 the tiny Air Seychelles will be engulfed by the gulf airline Etihad. Air Seychelles Plus will be fully integrated with Etihad Guest Frequent flier program and Air Seychelles frequent flier will soon find added benefits and new partners to earn and redeem points on.
The tiny Air Seychelles is the resortists dream airline and has focused more on Leisure markets then connecting people point to point or business travel. However with the new investment from Etihad, business practices are changing and Air Seychelles is adding easy connections and new destinations, such as 1 stop service between Johannesburg, SA and Beijing, China. With such an investment, the Air Seychelles Plus loyalty program needed a major redesign, in order to lure over the lucrative business travelers.
As previous stated, on June 15, Air Seychelles Plus will cease operation and Etihad guest will be the new airline of the two airlines. Per the media release:
Some of the features that are available to airlines supported by the Etihad Guest program include:
· Immediate rewards – with the 1MileRedemption feature, fly once and enjoy instant rewards.
- · No blackout periods – GuestSeats are available on all flights. If a seat is available, guests can book it.
- · Anytime availability – all seats on a flight, including the very last seat, are available at any time. OpenSeats can be redeemed at a mileage cost equivalent to the commercial price of the seat.
- · The widest choice – redeem for flights, products or services using the exclusive Etihad Guest Reward Shop that features over 3,000 miles redemption opportunities.
- · The widest choice – using the Miles+Cash feature, redeem flights using a mix of miles and cash and even earn miles on the actual cash spent on redemption flights.
- · Expanded partner network – earn and redeem miles on over 3000 routes worldwide with Etihad Airways, Air Seychelles, and a total of 15 partner airlines, including airberlin, Virgin Australia and American Airlines.
The overall integration is pretty great for those who are current Seychelles Plus members. Those who do have status will have instant Etihad Status and will be able to enjoy all the same amenities and perks on Air Seychelles flights!
Although this doesn’t effect most US travelers. Those who do fly Etihad a lot and have status need to be aware of the new changes. Etihad guest program has a number of perks including cheap upgrades and confirmed reservations on oversold flights for elite members. Furthermore Etihad guest is one of a few program that offers household accounts. For more information read my friend’s Brian’s post, “The Basics of Etihad’s guest program“