Members of Etihad Airways’ loyalty programme, Etihad Guest, have donated more than half a million ‘miles’ to humanitarian and environmental charities and projects across the world through the scheme’s innovative reward shop.
Four humanitarian charities and one environmental organisation have become partners of the programme since its 2006 launch to provide members with the opportunity to donate their miles to more than 10 projects worldwide.
The projects vary from helping AIDS orphans in Thailand, to children needing open heart surgery in Sri Lanka, as well as matters closer to home such as the Special Care Centre in Abu Dhabi which aims to provide support and learning for physically and mentally challenged children.
Among the different environmental projects the most popular is the CO2 emissions project from “Climate Care” which allows Etihad Guest members to use their miles to offset the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ executive vice president marketing and product, said: “Charity donations, whether humanitarian or environmental, have become incredibly popular with members of the Etihad Guest programme as it provides an ideal opportunity for them to contribute to those less fortunate or to environmental projects across the world.
“The Etihad Guest reward shop has been specifically designed to offer our members maximum flexibility on how they spend their miles whenever they are accrued, whether it is in the lifestyle, shopping or donations section.”
The donation section of the Etihad Guest reward shop works by converting the accrued miles into cash which is then donated to the specific charity in the name of the member.
One of the charities that members can donate their miles to is the Special Care Centre in Abu Dhabi which offers comprehensive educational and therapeutic assistance, social and vocational skills for physically and mentally challenged children.
Members can also donate to the House of Hope which includes three key projects such as a programme for orphans with Aids in Baan Gerda, Thailand which provides the children with accommodation and medicine.
House of Hope also operates its Save Life project in Sri Lanka which finances open heart surgeries for children living in families with very low income. The charity also operates an education project in Sri Lanka supporting children who lost their school in the 2004 Tsunami.
The Etihad Guest programme also has a partnership with the Zubeda Trust which brings medical help to some of the most remote areas of Pakistan. Members can donate their miles to a Zubeda Trust medical centre and mobile hospital in the Sirmik region.
In addition to specific charities Etihad Guest members can donate their miles to the leading global charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.
The Etihad Guest programme also has a partnership with the environmental charity Climate Care which allows members to donate miles toward reducing CO2 emissions as well as specific climate projects in India, Uganda and Mexico.
Etihad Guest was recently voted “programme of the year” at the ‘Freddie’ awards, organised by the respected US-based InsideFlyer magazine to recognise the travel industry’s best loyalty programmes.
Etihad Guest also picked up the ‘Best Website’, ‘Best Award Redemption’ and ‘Best Customer Service’ awards for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.