Yes, Etihad Guest miles expire after 18 months of no qualifying activity for Bronze, Silver, and Gold members. Per the Etihad Etihad FAQs page:
“Etihad Guest Bronze, Silver and Gold members – From 1 August 2020, your miles are valid for 18 months plus an additional 18 months with any eligible miles transaction.”
If you are an Etihad Guest Platinum member, your miles will never expire. Again, per the Etihad Guest FAQs page:
“Etihad Guest Platinum – Your miles will never expire.”
When it comes to what activity qualifies to extend the validity of your miles, Etihad is generous. Earning, spending, or even buying miles will extend the validity of your mileage balance. One thing to note is that you can only extend your miles once per month, regardless of how many qualifying activities you have.
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Reset Expiration with Points Earned from Credit Cards
Unfortunately for U.S.-based members, you can’t just apply for an Etihad Guest co-branded credit card to extend your miles — unless you also hold residence in the United Arab Emirates. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. You can transfer the following types of points to Etihad Guest:
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Capital One Miles
- Citi ThankYou Rewards
These all transfer at 1:1 ratios and within an hour — often immediately.
Additionally, you can transfer 3:1 from Marriott Bonvoy (with a 5,000-mile bonus for each 20,000 miles received in your Etihad Guest account).
American Express Membership Rewards (Immediate Transfer – 1:1 Ratio)
These are among my favorite, because there are so many different ways to earn them. Amex transfers are a great way to reset your Etihad Guest miles and ensure they don’t expire. Transfers are instant.
Rates & Fees
Capital One (Immediate Transfer – 1:1 Ratio)
Like Amex, Capital One Rewards transfer to Etihad instantly. Moreover, heavy spenders will earn rewards faster than with Amex, since many of the Capital One miles-earning cards earn 2x miles on purchases. If your goal is simply to reset your mileage expiration, Capital One is a great first choice.
Citi ThankYou (Less Than 1 Hour Transfer – 1:1 Ratio)
If you can put the award on hold or are confident those seats won’t disappear, Citi is another option. You can use these transfers to ensure your Etihad Guest miles won’t expire. You can find more detail on the other Citi transfer partners in our dedicated post.
On the earning side, there are several good options for accumulating points, but not all cards have access to Etihad as a transfer partner. Be sure to review the post linked above.
Marriott Bonvoy (3-5 days Transfer – 3:1 Ratio)
Transfers from Marriott Bonvoy won’t happen immediately. Marriott has by far the largest list of transfer partners. Plus, for many programs, it is the only option to transfer points. In addition to being the slowest option, Marriott transfers are at the worst ratio.
With that said, you get a 5,000-mile bonus when you transfer in increments of 60,000 points. For example, 60,000 Marriott points would become 25,000 Etihad Guest miles after a transfer. Here’s our roundup of the credit cards that earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
Reset Expiration by Earning or Redeeming on Travel
Redeeming or Earning on Flights
Although Etihad’s own flights can be a great way to spend or earn miles, the airline also has a superb lineup of partner airlines. To keep your miles active, just enter your Etihad Guest member number into one of the partners below, and you’ll earn more miles according to their terms/charts when flying. Redeeming your miles via Etihad Guest to fly on these partners will also ensure your miles don’t expire.
You can redeem Etihad Guest miles on all of these partners. Each airline has its own award chart (you can find them here), so there are lots of sweet spots to be found.
Earning with Partner Hotels and Car Rental Agencies
Hotels and car rental agencies can help keep your Etihad Guest miles from expiring. These partners include Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Radisson, and Shangri-La. You can even use OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) — such as Booking.com, Tripadvisor, and Rocketmiles. With car rentals, well-known partners include Avis and Budget.
Reset Expiration by Buying Miles
Purchasing miles — from Etihad Guest or any other airline — is rarely cost-effective for booking awards. However, it can reset your expiration date so your miles don’t expire. Miles typically cost two cents each with Etihad Guest. Also, there’s a minimum purchase of just 1,000 miles. However, Etihad does occasionally sell miles with a discount or bonus. Mile purchases are limited to 100,000 miles per year, but you’ll only need the minimum to reset your expiration.
While 18 months is not the most generous expiration policy, it still is better than other airlines that only give you 12 months of validity. That being said, Etihad Guest is very generous with what it classes as an eligible activity for the purpose of helping your miles not expire.
As a worst-case, if you have been unable to extend your points by other means, you can simply transfer some points from any number of credit card currencies. Then, the validity of your miles is extended from the comfort of your desk. With so many ways to extend their validity, there is no excuse for letting your Etihad Guest miles expire.