Airport Lounges

Dad’s Review: Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi

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Dad’s Review: Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi

Miles has REALLY spoiled us with First Class everything on this trip!  Any one of the five location stops on this trip would make a wonderful destination vacation by itself.  And he made the travel to each location a remarkable and truly enjoyable experience by booking us in First Class or better on elite international flights. At little or no cost.  Unreal!  We had just spent 4 days in the UAE enjoying Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It was time to move on to the south of France and I was looking forward to seeing what the Etihad First Class treatment was like.  

IMHO the ground experience prior to the lounge leaves much to be desired.  

The airport is old and very congested.  The First Class check-in and security areas are too small and too slow.  After clearing this area, First Class passengers are merged with a heavy stream of other passengers into an undersized, poorly marked passageway. If you’re not alert, the flow of people will sweep you right past the entrance to Etihad’s First Class Lounge without you even seeing it.  As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression.  This made a bad one on me.

The Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa is located on the second floor.

As soon as you clear security you need to keep to the right to enter a marked hallway that leads you to a Etihad rep checking credentials for admittance.  Then you can head upstairs to the reception area, which is roomy, richly appointed and staffed by 2 people.  They will assist you with reservations and access to any of the Spa’s facilities and services and answer any questions you might have.  We skipped the Spa and headed left into the Lounge.

Upon entering the inverted U-shaped Lounge, the main menu dining area and bar stretch out down the left side of the inverted U. After that there is a buffet area  and another bar with windows overlooking the airport along the cross member of the U.  Then on the right side are seating areas, a TV room and a self serve beverage area.  In general I would say the Lounge is very clean with a place for everything and everything in its place.  The service staff is friendly and helpful.  The chairs in the sitting areas are large but not very comfortable and there are too few chairs in the TV room.  We did not eat while there so no opinion on the food.

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It is my understanding that this facility is new – having been open only a little over a year. And granted we did not check out the Spa facilities or services.  But I have to admit I left somewhat disappointed.  

I have seen traveller polls and read many traveller comments praising Etihad as the best airline in the world. I assumed the ground experience and the lounge at their Flagship location would be the best as well.  But what I found was a ground experience that was only tolerable and a lounge that was really nice, but lacked the WOW factor that we experienced earlier on this trip at The Private Room in SingaporeThe Wing, and The Pier Lounge in Hong Kong.

You don’t have to stop here. Check out how we paid $5k and took a $125k Surprise trip Around The World to celebrate my Mom’s 75th

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Afternoon Tea


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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

Super solid welcome offer.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
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  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
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There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

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