Beginning on October 8, 2017, Etihad Airways will begin making changes to its Etihad Guest loyalty program. These changes will be followed by additional changes that will go into effect on January 15, 2018. The first change will occur with Guest status. When a client attains Silver, Gold or Platinum status, they will no longer have extended benefit dates. This status will only be good for one year from the time that status is granted. In the past, Gold and Platinum members could hold on to their status for three years.

The new program will only grant the 500 welcome bonus miles when you have your first flight on Etihad Airways, Air Seychelles, or Air Serbia. Prior to this change, flyers were given the 500 mile bonus on any partner airline's flight.

Clients holding Gold Memberships will have access to the Business Class lounge at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 in Abu Dhabi. If the lounges are filled, members will be granted access to the Al Reem Lounge in Terminal 1 at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

"J" and "F" fare classes will begin awarding additional Guest Miles for all Etihad flights. Class "J" Business Class travelers will be awarded 200 percent while Class "F" First Class travelers will be awarded 275 percent. At the same time, the number of miles needed for an Etihad Airways Guest Seat will increase on some flights and decrease on others.

Some of the Business and First Class routes will experience an increase of $50 for carrier surcharge. Etihad Airways has not announced which flights this will apply to and why only certain flights will be charged extra.

Adam Luehrs is a contributing writer at GET.com based in California. He likes traveling to new and exciting destinations, preferably on his credit card company's dime. When not on the road, Adam enjoys hiking around the mountains of San Diego, trying out new food and reading history books. Email: adam.luehrs@get.com.