Etihad Airways now allows passengers the benefit of a last-minute upgrade through a bidding process that accepts Etihad Guest Miles as a form of payment. An enhanced upgrade system gives customers the choice to bid on their upgrades using miles in addition to the existing credit card option. During the bidding process, guests can see real-time notifications of their bid displayed on their screen, allowing two or more individual bids at the same time. To keep passengers up to date on their seating options, regular email and SMS updates will be sent to notify them of the status of their bid.
Once they have booked their ticket, Etihad Guest members will receive an email invitation to bid for a one-cabin upgrade seven days prior to their flight. They can also visit theetihad.com ‘Manage Your Booking’ page, or etihadguest.com.
The auction will take place from 48 to six hours prior to their flight’s departure. Once the auction closes, successful winners are notified immediately.
Bidding guests are encouraged to still check-in online up to 48 hours prior to departure on the Etihad Airways Mobile App or on etihad.com via the Self Service Hub, as the optimized 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. Guests should call the airline to choose their new seat location.
Future enhancements will enable Etihad Guest members to bid with money and miles on Neighbor-Free seats as well. Etihad Airways has been offering guests bidding upgrades since 2012 on a cash/credit card basis or non-bid, full-tier miles expense.
“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,” said Jamal Al Awadhi, Etihad Airways Vice President of Products & Guest Experience, said in a statement.
Etihad recently reported a loss of just under US$1.3 billion for its core airline operations in 2018. The airline is in the midst of a five-year transformation strategizing program that is changing benefits and operations on various elements of the airline experience.