Airlines are having to come up with some creative ways to get us spending on travel again, and Etihad has just released details of its latest idea.

Etihad Travel Vouchers are now on sale

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad is now selling vouchers which come with a 50 per cent bonus. That means if you buy a voucher for USD 1,000, you’ll have USD 1,500 to spend on your next trip.

In order to buy an Etihad Travel Voucher, you must be be a member of the Etihad Guest loyalty programme, and you must call to purchase (which seems a little odd) by June 24.

Vouchers are valid for two years and can be used to pay for flights and extras such as seats, upgrades or extra bags. The minimum voucher amount available for purchase is USD 250 while the maximum is USD 65,000.

Upon purchase, the value of your voucher (plus the bonus) will be credited to what Etihad calls a “travel bank account”. When you’re ready to book, select Travel Bank as your form of payment at etihad.com (or call and let the agent know that you’d like to pay with Travel Bank).

Flights booked with vouchers will still be eligible to earn Etihad Guest Miles. Vouchers can also be used to pay for travel for somebody else.

The phone numbers to buy a Travel Voucher can be found on the Etihad website. From India, the number to call is 1800 123 3901 (24 hours service).

What are the risks?

First up, Etihad’s financial issues are well documented. The airline lost USD 870m in 2019 and has racked up losses of more than USD 5bn in the last four years. There has been consistent speculation that Etihad could be merged with the other major UAE airline, Emirates.

In the unlikely event that Etihad went bust (it is owned by the UAE government, after all), don’t expect to get very far with your credit card provider. Technically, providing the voucher completes Etihad’s side of the bargain.

My other worry would be if Etihad decides to jack up the prices of flights in the short-term - though in a global market, where Etihad has to compete with other airlines on the routes it serves, that seems unlikely.

On the other hand, if Etihad responds to any aggressive price war with its competitors, your voucher becomes even more valuable.

You should note that the vouchers are non-refundable and non-transferable (though they can be used to pay for somebody else’s travel, as mentioned above).

To find out more, head over to this page of the Etihad website.

Summing up

If you use Etihad on a regular basis, this promotion might be worth a look as a 50 per cent increase on the value of the voucher is a substantial bonus.

The other question is whether you see an opportunity to travel with Etihad in the next two years, given its route network isn’t as large as its rivals in the Gulf.

Anyone tempted to buy an Etihad Travel Voucher?