You Can Now Use Etihad Guest Miles To Bid For Etihad Upgrades

a group of airplanes parked at an airport

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Etihad introduced the concept of allowing flyers to bid for a one cabin upgrade back in 2012 but, up until now, the only form of payment Etihad recognised for upgrades was cash. This has now changed.

Etihad says it has now upgraded its systems to allow passengers to use Etihad Guest Miles to pay for upgrades through the bidding process and, in time, the airline plans to allow flyers to bit with a combination of miles and cash.

a seat in a plane
Etihad A380 Business Class

Customers receive email invitations to bid on one cabin upgrades 7 days ahead of an Etihad flight while the auction itself takes place between 48 hours and 6 hours prior to departure (to ensure Etihad has a full understanding of what passenger loads for the flight will look like).

Travelers who don’t receive an email (for whatever reason) can still bid by visiting the ‘manage your booking’ page on

Travelers can see real-time notifications of their bid(s) from within the Etihad app or on the Etihad website and they’re kept informed of the status of their bid(s) through regular email and SMS updates.

Jamal Al Awadhi, Etihad’s Vice President of Products & Guest Experience, is quoted as saying:

“Etihad Guest members are important to us and offering them a new opportunity to redeem their earned miles is a sign of our commitment to them. Our customer experience philosophy is centered around choice and how our guests choose to enhance their journey with us.”

a bed in a plane
Etihad A380 First Class

Travelers bidding on Etihad upgrades are still encouraged to check-in online up to 48 hours prior to departure as the optimised system will still process successful upgrades. If an upgrade offer is accepted, a new boarding pass will automatically be available on the Etihad Airways Mobile App or will be provided at check-in.

Etihad hasn’t said what the minimum required mileage bid is or what range most successful cash bids have fallen into since the ‘bid for upgrades’ program started….but I’m sure we’ll see reports appearing on FlyerTalk very shortly.


  1. This is a pretty terrible deal in the instances I’ve seen. Upgrading AUH to ORD from Economy to Business is normally 44,000, 66,000, or 88,000 miles (depending on if it’s Economy Saver, Classic, or Flex) if you call in and request an upgrade using miles. A bid upgrade using cash usually works in the $1250-$1500 range. This miles upgrade starts at 166,000 miles, so pretty terrible point value all around.

    • At those price points I don’t see the point of the program – if a traveler is prepared to pay those sums they’re probably prepared to pay the roundtrip premium cabin fare in the first place.

      It will be interesting to see how many points are required.

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