We travel quite frequently, especially since we moved to the UAE. Abu Dhabi (as well as Dubai) is a hub for international flights, and a lot of expats who live in the UAE make good use of this fact to ‘decompress’ in a different country every three months or so. Also, we are lucky to have a lot of public and religious holidays, that allow for several long week(end)s throughout the year 🙂
When we first moved here we started looking for a frequent flyer program from a reliable airline that connected to our destinations of interest and many many more. We decided to join the Etihad Guest program. Etihad’s hub is Abu Dhabi airport, their service is (mostly) second to none, their flight crew is generally not only courteous but also stunningly beautiful, and their frequent flyer program allows you to gain tiers and benefits more quickly than with Emirates, for example, who’s hub is in Dubai. Personally, I prefer Abu Dhabi airport anyway.
If you want to collect Etihad miles, I suggest you get the ADCB Etihad Guest Credit Card. Pay all your bills with it. And pay it off at the end of every month to avoid incurring fees. If you have any self-control with plastic, this is your quickest way to earn Gold status. When we first signed up for the credit card, we immediately got Silver status, and using the ADCB Etihad Guest credit card for our groceries, fuel, plane tickets, and other purchases, we quickly racked up enough miles for Gold status. The best thing about the credit card is that you don’t have to have your bank account at ADCB. We banked with them for a while, and there are several reasons we changed banks, but the credit card has not been an issue at any stage. You can also get an Etihad Guest Credit Card through other banks. Click here to see the nice list of benefits you get when you join Etihad Guest.
If you use the ADCB card a lot, they also email you upgrade vouchers, which allow you to upgrade your plane ticket by using only 50% of the miles that the upgrade would usually cost. Abu Dhabi to New Zealand in Business Class? Paid for by only 50% of the miles the upgrade would usually cost??? That is SOOO worth it.
Problem being, once you fly Business Class, you’ll never want to spend a 14 hour flight in Economy again. Spoilt for life!