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Etihad is one of the ‘big three’ Middle Eastern carriers; the other two being Emirates and Qatar Airways.

US airlines, particularly Delta, have complained that the Middle East airlines have an unfair advantage as they are state-owned and don’t have to make a profit. It certainly seems that they are trying to build routes and increase passenger numbers without regard to cost.

These new airlines also benefit from new staff contracts and new aircraft – probably a bit like Virgin Atlantic did when they first started. There has been some controversy about the treatment of their staff; Qatar in particular has banned female crew from getting married and can also sack them if they become pregnant.

If these airlines are offering a good product at a lower cost then shouldn’t we all be happy? I guess it’s fine until they wipe out the competition and can then decide what to offer and to whom they offer it.

In the meantime, why not take advantage of Etihad’s latest attempt to lure passengers – a status match to their Etihad Guest Gold tier. You’ll need to be Gold in another airline alliance (except Aer Lingus, airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia and Jet Airways as they are all part-owned by Etihad). Etihad also don’t say exactly what they mean by ‘Gold’ as airlines use Gold differently; can be the lowest or highest tier. I’m  assuming they are looking for top-tier status.

All applications should be received before 15 March 2015.

Normally, you need to accumulate 50,000 Etihad Guest Tier Miles or travel 40  Etihad Guest Tier Segments within any consecutive 12 months period to become an Etihad Guest Gold Member. So it’s not an easy card to obtain.

What does Etihad Gold offer:

  • 50% Extra Bonus Miles
  • Extra Baggage Allowance – 15 kilos additional baggage allowance
  • Lounge Access – You and a guest.
  • Fast-Track Access – Upon arrival at your destination, skip the queue at border control to enjoy a speedy exit. I’m not sure if you also get fast-tract security on departure

I think you would also gain benefits when flying with Air Serbia and Alitalia. Even if you don’t plan to fly with Etihad or their affiliates, it’s still worth applying for a status match to Gold. You never know when it might come in useful, if only to obtain another status match offered by another airline at some later date.