Now, because we are not rich and I don't have a huge flight allowance from my company (unlike some) we always travel in economy. Once we upgraded with our Etihad points when we were both feeling rough and wanted an additional level of comfort, but that was an exception. But having used Etihad for all our flights home and all our kids flights when they come out, we have both managed to get Etihad Silver cards. As I had also used Etihad for some business flights, I got mine first and recently Caz got hers. So when we return to the UK in August it will be the first time we would both be flying on Silver, thus gaining entry to the Etihad lounge before our flights.
I know it is only a little thing really, gaining access to the Etihad lounge. After all its just some food and drinks in comfy chairs, but the airport wait is the worse thing about travel for me, so any improvement in this boring, uncomfortable time is welcomed. Also at a base, human level, there is also the warm feeling of superiority you get when you walk into the lounge, knowing that so many others are not allowed in. I think many people will not admit that, but whether it is conscious or sub-cosncious, it is there. Of course Etihad play on this big time in their advertising and marketing.
Alas, however, apparently we are not so special anymore! As once coveted, loyal travelers with Etihad - fawned on as frequent flyers - now we are relegated to the "not quite so special" lounge with the frequent flyers of Yemania Airways and those who bought their way in by buying one of the airport pass cards that are advertised. It will be ram-packed and will probably just have dry sandwiches and assorted nuts - not the sumptuous buffet on offer by Etihad.
So basically, Etihad are only interested in FFs if you are rich enough, or have a corporate travel budget big enough, to travel in Business or First class. I for one, will not be making the 15 minute walk to join the crowds in the "reject" lounge. So, it looks like it will be Burger King for me and the smoking room for Caz!
Ah well - you can't beat a Wopper Meal at 6am ......