Etihad Guest Is Changing Its Mileage Expiration Policy

two airplanes flying in the sky

Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site. Traveling For Miles has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling For Miles and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities. For more details please see the disclosures found at the bottom of every page.

In a move that will please a lot of its members, the Etihad Guest program has announced that it will be changing its mileage expiration policy from the end of this month. On the way out is the policy under which miles expire regardless of account activity and in comes a policy where miles can be kept alive indefinitely.

As things stand, Etihad is one of a handful of airlines whose miles expire after a given period of time regardless of how many miles are credited or debited to/from an account during the intervening period. The length of time miles remain valid depends on a traveler’s Etihad Guest status…

a white text with black text
Click to enlarge

…but, ultimately, everyone’s miles expire.

From 31 July 2020 things are changing and transactions involving the earning and burning of miles will extend the life of Etihad Guest miles by a period of 18 months regardless of a person’s Etihad Guest status (mostly).

Here are the new rules that are coming into force:

  • The validity of Etihad Guest Miles will be extended based on qualifying member activity. Miles will be extended for a period of 18 months after making one eligible transaction, including earning, spending, or buying miles. Miles can be extended to a maximum period of 18 months.
  • Etihad Guest Miles will expire if there is no qualifying activity within a period of 18 months after the last qualifying activity. If an Etihad Guest member does not qualify for the extension, the Etihad Guest Miles balance will expire on the last day of the 18th month after the last qualifying activity, at 23:30 (GST time).
  • The definition of qualifying activities is specified on and/or as otherwise specified and extant in our valid publications, as issued from time to time.
  • The definition of qualifying activities to extend the Etihad Guest Miles balance is subject to change at any time without notice.
  • The Etihad Guest Miles balance of Etihad Guest Platinum members will not expire as long as the Etihad Guest Platinum Tier Status is maintained.
  • Once a Platinum member is downgraded to Gold tier, the total miles balance validity period will be calculated 18 months from the tier downgrade date.

Essentially, Eithad Guest miles never expire for Platinum members and everyone else can extend the expiration date of their miles by 18 months by earning, burning, or buying miles.

Quick Thoughts

This is very clearly a positive move by Etihad guest as there’s now no real excuse for anyone’s miles to expire. It’s not hard to ensure you have some kind of account activity during an 18-month period so the new rule now reduces the risk of being left with miles that you can’t use (and that expire) considerably.

The fact that Etihad Guest miles can now be kept alive indefinitely will make the frequent milage sales that the program runs more attractive as, not only will the purchase of miles extend the validity of any miles already in a member’s account, there will no longer be a risk that any excess miles that a member buys will expire unused.

The fact that miles belonging to Silver and Gold members will now expire after a period of 18 months (rather than 2.5/5 years) shouldn’t be an issue for the overwhelming majority of people because, presumably, just about everyone holding those statuses is crediting trips to Etihad Guest often enough to keep their miles alive indefinitely (under the new rules).

Bottom Line

From 31 July 2020 Etihad Guest miles will no longer expire after a predefined period of time. The mileage balances of Platinum elites will no longer expire at all, and the expiration date of the miles held by all Etihad Guest tiers will be extended by 18 months each month an account shows some qualifying activity.