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Etihad doesn’t belong to an airline alliance but, thanks to its investment in a number of other airlines, it does have what it calls “a partnership”. The partnership is made up of 8 airlines, contains Alitalia and, more surprisingly, airberlin which is a member of the oneworld alliance. Up until now, from a flyer benefits perspective, the partnership hasn’t been that well coordinated…but Etihad has just changed all of that.
As of today, 4 October 2016, Etihad has aligned the tier benefits that Etihad Guest members receive when flying with any of the eight Etihad Airways Partner airlines and this is what they look like
*Entitled to one guest except in Jet Airways lounges. oneworld and SkyTeam Lounges excluded. Etihad Guest Gold members will have access to the Al Reem Lounge in Abu Dhabi International Airport when travelling in Economy.
**Baggage allowance is based on a piece and weight concept and is dependent on airline and destination.
This is what Etihad has to say:
As an Etihad Guest member, you can now enjoy your membership benefits and privileges to over 400 destinations when you fly with Etihad Airways Partners. You can collect and redeem your miles when flying with any of the Etihad Airways Partners and enjoy the same privileges whether it’s priority check-in, priority boarding, lounge access or excess baggage.
In addition to aligning the status benefits the fare options across the Etihad Partnership have been aligned too:
[W]e’ve also standardised our Fare Choices and outstanding levels of service. Relax in Business Class with a fully-flat bed on all long haul flights and the option to dine on demand. Fly with Etihad Airways Partners and enjoy a seamless journey across multiple destinations with one ticket taking you and your luggage to your final destination.
The Etihad Airways Partners is looking more and more like a full-blown airline alliance – I wonder what oneworld thinks of airberlin being a member of both?
The airlines forming Etihad Airways Partners are…..
- Etihad Airways
- Air Serbia
- Air Seychelles
- Etihad Regional
- Jet Airways
…and one airline in that list stands out – airberlin.
Making The Most Of This News Through airberlin
Based on the way Etihad has phrased this news the benefits across the Etihad Partnership are reciprocal so, if you have status in one airline you get those status benefits across all the Etihad partnership airlines.
We’re all already used to arrangements like this through the three major alliances (oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam) but, now that Etihad is offering this, there could be an easy way for non Etihad elites to get Etihad benefits.
Airberlin has, historically, been very generous with status matching from other airlines (as long as they’re not oneworld alliance airlines) and they even have a dedicated Status Match page on their website:
If you have a non-oneworld airline status (like United Airlines or Delta status for example) then you can apply to airberlin to have that status matched to airberlin topbonus.
If you’re successful in your match you’ll not only have oneworld status (good to get you into Admirals Clubs if you’re matched to Gold or Platinum) but you’ll also have access to all the benefits of the Etihad partners network.
That’s almost like having status in two alliances.
The only airline status I have that’s worth anything is with American Airlines and airberlin isn’t about to match the status of a fellow oneworld partner…so that means I’m probably out of luck with this (although I may see what my United Silver status courtesy of Marriott will get…just out of interest).
If, however, you have status with a non-oneworld airline then an airberlin status match is definitely something you should consider. If you have mid-tier status with United or Delta then you could easily find yourself with mid-tier airberlin status and that’s good enough for American Airlines lounge access in the US, Business Class oneworld lounge access worldwide (when traveling with oneworld) and lounge access at all of the Etihad partner airlines too (plus all the other extra benefits if you happen to fly with an Etihad partner).
If any readers go for the status match please report back in the comments with how it worked out for you – that will help the rest of us gauge how easy the status match is right now.