Etihad Expands Its Partnership With Gulf Air

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Gulf Air has partnered up with Etihad to share benefits across both loyalty programs.

Gulf Air
Etihad has partnered up with Gulf Air. Photo: Etihad Press Release

What are the details?

Members of Etihad Guest, the loyalty program of Etihad, can now use their membership to redeem benefits across Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain. Likewise, those frequent flyer members of Gulf Air’s Falconflyer program can now use their points across Etihad’s vast network.

Specific benefits include

  • Members of either loyalty program can now earn full points on each other’s flights.
  • Members can redeem miles reciprocally on all flights across both networks.
  • Gulf Air members can access the Etihad/USA pre-clearance before boarding flights to the USA.

This partnership is a natural next step after the previous codeshare agreement between the two airlines.

Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer for Etihad Aviation Group, said,

“Our recently redesigned, upgraded, and relaunched loyalty program, Etihad Guest, welcomes another valued partner that offers our members even more opportunities to earn and redeem their miles. This new and exciting partnership helps us continuously evolve and improve our loyalty program based on the needs of our guests and in line with our ever-changing industry.”

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Etihad Airways heathrow slots
Etihad operates the A380 which Gulf Air has none. Photo: Etihad Airways

Etihad offers flights to 81 destinations and allows travelers to easily fly across the world.

Vincent Coste, Chief Commercial Officer for Gulf Air said,

“Gulf Air entered into a strategic codeshare partnership with Etihad Airways in March 2019. As an additional value proposition, we are delighted to build upon our successful partnership by further providing our Falconflyer members with the opportunity to earn and spend their Gulf Air miles on the Etihad Airways’ network.”

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It is believed that this partnership takes effect right away. What is unknown is the status of code-share flights. As Etihad codeshares with Virgin Australia, can Gulf Air passengers use their miles to redeem code-shared flights on the Australian airline?

Simple Flying has reached out to Etihad for further clarification.

Is this a good deal for Gulf Air?

Surprisingly, this deal is relatively one way in Gulf Air’s favor.

With 81 destinations on the Etihad network, it overshadows the smaller 48 destinations that Gulf Air flies too. Falconflyer loyalty members will be able to fly on any Etihad flight across the world, but I believe there are few destinations that Gulf Air flies too that are not already served by Etihad’s aircraft.

Additionally, Etihad operated bigger aircraft like the A380 and can offer a better premium experience (Gulf Air’s biggest aircraft is the Boeing 787-9, you can read a review here).

Gulfair
A Gulf Air Boeing 787-9. Photo: Steve Lynes via Wikimedia

Lastly, Etihad operates four flights to North America, which is a noticeable gap in the Gulf Air network.

From the other point of view, it seems that Etihad has simply welcomed Gulf Air into the loyalty program family and leverage its network access just as an ‘on-paper’ advantage to win over new members.

What do you think? Is this a good move by Gulf Air? Let us know in the comments.

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