Etihad Airways’ award-winning loyalty program, Etihad Guest is making travel more convenient by introducing a new payment feature onto its membership card. walletplus™, powered by Visa, allows members to load travel money onto their Etihad Guest card and convert it to 11 different foreign currencies to spend whenever they are travelling abroad.
The membership card can be loaded in advance, enabling card holders to better manage their travel budgets by locking in competitive exchange rates in real time before they travel. Pre-loading the card also means that members are immediately able to spend in the local currency upon arrival in another country, without having to first exchange or transfer funds at a bank or foreign exchange.
A maximum of 11 currencies can be held on the card at any one time, one of which must be UAE Dirham. The 10 other currencies to choose from include: US Dollar, Pound Sterling, Euro, Indian Rupee, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Singapore Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Japanese Yen or Thai Baht.
Yasser Al Yousuf, Managing Director, Etihad Guest LLC, said: “The Etihad Guest loyalty program focusses on providing features and benefits that enhance value to its members. The new Etihad Guest Card with walletplus™ is innovative in that it combines the functionality of a reloadable payment card with the benefits of Etihad Guest membership in a single piece of plastic, a first in loyalty and travel payments in the Middle East.”
Additionally, Etihad Guest members can download the walletplus™ mobile application, available for iOS and Android users, to access a range of functions that include checking their account balance and transaction history, transfer money to other Etihad Guest members with an activated walletplus™ account (AED only), and report a card lost/stolen.
Philip King, UAE Head of Retail, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), said: “This is a highly innovative product and the first of its kind in the region. ADIB is proud to assist Etihad Airways in developing a multi-functional card which vividly demonstrates ADIB’s ground-breaking product development capabilities.
Etihad Guest also partnered with Rêv Worldwide, a global leader in multi-currency prepaid processing, to develop the product, utilising Rêv’s proprietary prepaid multi-currency processing platform and global experience in pioneering similar successful products.
“Well before starting work on this new product, we knew we were dealing with a partner that focuses on delivering excellent value and first class service to its members,” said John Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Rêv Worldwide, adding “we have great alignment on the value that innovation provides to further customer engagement.”
Etihad Guest members can earn one Etihad Guest Mile per US$ 2 spent in the UAE, and one Etihad Guest Mile per US$ 1 spent abroad when paying with walletplus™.
Introduced in partnership with Visa, the Etihad Guest card with walletplus™ can be used to pay at tens of millions of global merchants, and card holders can withdraw cash at more than 2.1 million ATMs across the world.
Marcello Baricordi, General Manager UAE and Global Accounts Lead at Visa Inc. MENA, said: “Visa is delighted to partner with one of the world’s leading premium airline brands – Etihad Airways – to launch here in the Middle East a first of its kind travel card that promises Etihad Guest members the most extensive global reach.
Etihad Guest Tier members in the UAE will begin receiving their new Etihad Guest card with walletplus™ in early March, with roll-out of cards to Etihad Guest members in other countries taking place in the future.