Airberlin once positioned itself as a budget airline, but it seems they have reconsidered. Now their transatlantic flights feature in-seat entertainment in economy and lie-flat seats in business. If you’re looking for comfortable flights and good award seat availability between North America and Europe, then consider joining airberlin’s loyality program, topbonus.
As a oneworld alliance member, airberlin also offers easy access to flights all over the world. Plus airberlin topbonus members have the added benefit of several valuable airline partners outside the oneworld alliance, including Alitalia, Virgin Australia, Etihad and Niki.
- Berlin Tegel Airport
- D¼sseldorf Airport
Airberlin has a good, but not phenomenal award chart for flights on partners. However, it has a very liberal stopover policy that allows you to break up your journey and visit more places for the same amount of miles. You can have two stopovers on one award ticket.
An award ticket between the U.S. and Germany costs 50,000 miles on airberlin, and 60,000 miles on partner airlines. However, the fuel surcharge on airberlin’s transatlantic routes tends to be higher than on partner airlines except British Airways. If you are not taking a long-haul flight, the fuel surcharges on airberlin are reasonable.
The program regularly runs offers called the topbonus Topdeals that can be booked for as little as 3,000 miles on some routes. This is a great way to explore Europe at dirt cheap rates.
Another bonus is the companion certificate. It allows you to book an award companion ticket at 50 percent off, but only on airberlin and Niki.
In addition to its two hubs, airberlin has four focus cities that offer more flights. They are Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. If you’re looking for flights to or from these cities, airberlin topbonus miles are even more valuable.
- Good mileage redemption rates
- Generally good availability
- One-way awards
- Liberal stopover policy
- Topdeals offering cheap award rates
- Companion certificate worth 50 percent off
- Taxes, fees and fuel surcharges can be paid for with miles
- High fuel surcharges on long flights
You’ll get the best value for your topbonus miles by flying short and medium-length flights on airberlin while using the companion certificate and the inclusive redemption rates that cover additional taxes, fees and fuel surcharges.
As you can see below, a round-trip flight between D¼sseldorf and Tel Aviv normally costs 40,000 miles and $324 per person.
If you choose the inclusive option in the right column, the flight will cost 62,500 miles per person. However, with the companion certificate the second person will only pay 31,750 miles. That’s two tickets between Germany and Israel for only 94,250 miles with no taxes, fees or surcharges.
Remember that the companion certificate and inclusive redemption rates are only available on airberlin and Niki flights, and not with any other partners.
On some long-haul routes, you can’t pay for taxes, fees and fuel surcharges with miles. In the example below, the flight between D¼sseldorf and New York City only costs 50,000 miles roundtrip, but there’s a $536 fuel and security surcharge and no option to pay for it with miles. On long flights, you’ll be better off using most of the other airberlin partners except British Airways.
Upgrades to business class start at 15,000 miles for a one-way flight between Europe and the Middle East. An upgrade between Europe and North America costs 25,000 miles.
Achieving topbonus elite status requires 24 flights or 25,000 status miles for Silver, 60 flights or 50,000 miles for Gold, and 100,000 miles for Platinum.
Each subsequent level includes the perks of the previous level, unless stated otherwise.
- Silver: Oneworld Ruby status, priority check-in, security fast lane, free seat reservation, 20% bonus award and status miles, double miles on select routes, waiting list priority, discount on XL seats, additional baggage allowance, exclusive waiting and parking areas at select airports
- Gold: Oneworld Sapphire status, business class and frequent flyer lounge access, free access to phone agents, priority seating, guaranteed booking 48 hours in advance, miles don’t expire, seat next to member’s seat will be held free as long as possible, free XL seats for member and companion, two free carry-on bags, pre-boarding at select airports
- Platinum: Oneworld Emerald status, two business class upgrades, access to Platinum phone agents, gourmet menu and drinks on select flights, guaranteed booking 24 hours in advance, oneworld First Class Lounge access, Silver status for a companion
Airberlin does not currently offer a co-branded credit card in the U.S.