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WebFlyer Home > Programs > Ratings & Reviews

Ratings & Reviews

(Program Reviews - Side by Side Comparison - Website Reviews)

airberlin topbonus

(9 ratings)


This program was reviewed and rated by our editors in June 2011. Changes in the program past this date are possible, especially program partner information. We recommend you subscribe to the #1 source of frequent flyer information, Inside Flyer Magazine, to get the most current information possible.

Ich Bin Ein Airberliner

For travelers living outside of Europe, airberlin may not be as well known as Lufthansa, but the airline is the second largest in Germany and the sixth largest in Europe in terms of passengers. And when the airline joins the oneworld alliance in 2012, more frequent flyers will start to pay attention to the topbonus program.

The program currently has only four airline partners with which members can earn and redeem miles but that number will more than quadruple when it becomes a member of the oneworld alliance. With hubs at Berlin-Tegel and Dusseldorf and focus cities in Nuremberg and Palma de Mallorca, airberlin serves 163 destinations in Europe, North Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the U.S. The airline is considered a "hybrid" carrier and passengers receive complimentary in-flight snacks and drinks and hot meals on long-haul flights. A business class section is offered on flights operated by Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The topbonus program was introduced in 2004 and currently has 2,500,000 members.



Members earn a fixed number of miles that is based on the travel class on short-haul flights with airberlin and NIKI. On long-haul flights, miles are earned based on the flight distance. For example, travelers on flights within Europe (excluding flights solely within one country) earn 250 miles in Eco Saver, 1,000 miles in Eco Basic and 1,500 miles in Eco Flex. For flights within a country, members earn 125 miles in Eco Saver, 500 miles in Eco Basic and 1,000 miles in Eco Flex. On long-haul flights, members earn 25 percent of the miles flown in Eco Saver, 100 percent in Eco Basic, 150 percent in Eco Flex and 200 percent in business class. Members can also earn miles for free flights on partner airlines, through hotel stays, car rentals and for making purchases with a co-branded credit card or debit card. You will earn 500 Welcome Miles when you join the program.



One-way coach flight awards on airberlin and NIKI start at 7,500 miles for a domestic flight within one country. Flights within Europe are 10,000 miles and flights from Europe to the Middle East/North Africa are 15,000 miles; to the Gulf States are 20,000 miles; to North America, South Africa or East Africa are 25,000 miles; to Central America, Caribbean or Indian Ocean are 30,000 miles and to Southeast Asia are 35,000 miles. Business class flights can be booked for 150 percent of the miles required for coach flights. The topbonus program has received high ratings on award flight availability. A report published by IdeaWorks ranked the airline as the third best in award availability and it was second best last year.

The program regularly offers discounted Topdeal tickets that can be booked for as few as 3,000 miles on select routes. Only a limited number of tickets are available at the reduced prices.

Companion awards can be booked for 50 percent fewer miles. Both award tickets must be booked at the same time for the same flights. Companion awards are only available for flights in coach and discounted awards like Topdeal tickets are ineligible. Only one companion ticket per booking is allowed.

Upgrade awards are available starting at 15,000 miles for a one-way upgrade from coach to business class between Europe and the Middle East or Africa. Flights from Europe to the Gulf States can be upgraded for 20,000 miles; to North America, South Africa and East Africa for 25,000 miles; to Central America, Caribbean or Indian Ocean for 30,000 miles and to Southeast Asia for 35,000 miles. Upgrade awards can only be booked by calling the service center.

Members can redeem between 5,000 and 10,000 miles to cover all of the taxes and fees on an award ticket even on long-haul routes. For example, a roundtrip flight between Berlin and London is 20,000 miles and around 150 euros. Redeem 32,000 miles, an extra 6,000 miles for each segment, and the award flight will be completely free.

Miles can also be redeemed for flights on partner airlines. Other types of awards, such as hotel stays, car rentals, mileage donations or merchandise are not available. Members may take out insurance for their award flights.



Partner airlines include Bangkok Airways, Finnair, Hainan Airlines and S7 Airlines. Members earn between 25 percent and 200 percent of distance flown on partner flights, depending on the airline and booking class. The miles earned when flying a partner airline will not count toward earning topbonus elite status. Once airberlin joins oneworld, topbonus status miles can be earned on all oneworld airline partners.

The airberlin Visa Card with Business Package is available to members with a bank account and address in Germany. Cardholders earn one mile per euro spent (one mile per two euro spent with the Visa Card without Business Package). The card has a 49.90 euro annual fee with the business package; 47.90 without the business package. From June 1, 2011 members earn status miles for all credit card purchases made via airberlin.com. The credit card annual fee is waived for Gold topbonus elite members.

For members living in Austria, the airberlin & NIKI Visa Card is available, while members in Spain may choose the airberlin Euro 6000 MasterCard.

Topbonus has a robust number of hotel partners that includes most of the major hotel groups, including Starwood, Best Western, InterContinental Hotels Group, Choice, Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Accor, Radisson and Wyndham. Smaller hotel groups, such as The Luxury Collection, Barcelo, HRS -- Das Hotelportal, Sol Melia, Lindner Hotels and Resorts and Microtel Inns & Suites also participate in topbonus. In general, members earn the standard 500 miles per stay or one or two miles per dollar spent.

Topbonus partners with car rental companies Alamo (500 miles per rental), Avis (from 500 to 1,500 miles per rental), Europcar (500 miles per rental), Hertz (500 miles per rental), holiday autos (500 miles per rental), Sixt (between 500 and 2,000 miles per rental) and Sunny Cars (500 miles per rental).

Several magazines and newspapers partner with topbonus where members can earn miles.

The program also partners with Shell CLUBSMART loyalty program and members can exchange Shell CLUBSMART points for topbonus miles at a 1:1 ratio in Germany and 2:1 in Austria and Switzerland. DeutschlandCard members can convert DeutschlandCard points into topbonus miles at a 1:1 ratio. American Express Membership Rewards members in Germany and Austria can convert Membership Rewards points into topbonus miles at a rate of 5:4 with a minimum of 1,000 points. Additional partners include Binoli, Deutsche Postbank and ERGO Direkt Versicherungen.

The topbonus program also offers a business program for small and medium-sized companies. Companies can sign up for the program and permanent employees will earn points into a joint account for business routes on airberlin and NIKI. The number of points earned ranges between 10 and 160 points per flight, depending on the fare, class and flight distance. At least three employees must earn points for at least 10 business flights per year. The company's managing director or travel manager can access the account and redeem points for flights. Individual employees will also earn miles for their flights through topbonus.



The airberlin topbonus program has two tiers: Silver and Gold. Members who earn 20,000 status miles or 24 flights on airberlin or NIKI will receive Silver status. Qualifying for elite status is based on a rolling 12-month calendar and an upgrade to the next elite level is possible at the end of each month, depending on the number of miles collected in the previous twelve months.

Silver members receive 20 percent flight bonus miles irrespective of the booked fare; double miles on their favorite flight route within Europe; priority security, boarding and check-in and the ability to reserve their seat assignment. Other benefits include an additional baggage allowance of up to 10 kg and the option to bring one sports baggage item, such as a bicycle or skis, at no charge. Silver members traveling from Berlin-Tegel, Cologne and Dusseldorf have access to an exclusive waiting area with complimentary beverages, Internet access and newspapers and magazines. Additional exclusive waiting areas will be opened at additional airports within the next few months.

Gold elite status is awarded after a member earns 40,000 status miles in a 12-month period. Gold members receive all of the benefits of Silver members plus waitlist priority, an exclusive Gold hotline, guaranteed booking if reservation is made at least 48 hours prior to departure, award miles that do not expire, 40 percent flight bonus miles on every flight, ability to book premium XL seats free of charge and members also receive a service charge waiver on flights booked directly with airberlin.

The topbonus program also offers the Service Card, a membership with an annual fee of 59 euros, offering some of the benefits given to elite members.



Miles are valid for three years and unused miles expire at the end of the quarter in which they were earned. Unlike programs in the U.S., earning or redeeming miles will not extend the shelf life of miles. Gold elite member miles do not expire. Missing flight miles can be requested up to a year from the flight date or within six months for a partner transaction. Miles can be purchased starting at 60 euros for 2,000 miles and a maximum of 10,000 miles can be purchased per year. Miles cannot be gifted or transferred to other members.

Award flights can be transferred to anyone but are not transferable once booked. If you need to cancel your flight award, miles will not be redeposited, but you can change your award ticket and pay a rebooking fee of between 30 and 50 euros, depending on flight length.



To contact topbonus service support, you will need to call the German call center at 49 30 3434 5959. We called the U.S. airberlin service center and were directed to the number listed above. The representative spoke English very well and was courteous and knowledgeable. You also can also send an email to topbonus@airberlin.com. We received a response to our email within 24 hours.



Missing mileage requests can be made online for flights on airberlin and partner airlines. If you choose to receive communication about special offers and news from topbonus via email, you'll receive a one-time bonus of 500 miles. Award flights on all airberlin and NIKI flights can be booked online; however, you will need to call the service center to book flights on partner airlines.

Members can register for topbonus and manage their account online. The expiration date for miles is on the mileage account page so it's easy to see when your miles will expire.

Airberlin topbonus has some attractive features, such as a 50 percent discount on companion awards and the option to redeem miles to cover all of the taxes and fees on an award flight. Discounted Topdeal tickets are also a worthwhile ongoing feature and members who are flexible can find flights starting at 3,000 miles. While the number of airlines currently partnering with airberlin is limited, the number of additional earning and redeeming opportunities on partner flights will greatly improve soon when the airline joins oneworld.

Members earn only 25 percent of the distance flown on the cheapest, Eco Saver fares. Only flight and upgrade awards are currently offered. While most members will redeem miles for air travel, some may prefer the flexibility of non-flight awards. Miles expire within three years and this policy is waived only for Gold elite members who can retain their miles indefinitely as long as they are Gold elite. Miles will not be redeposited if a member cancels an award, although changes can be made to an award flight after it is booked.

Air Berlin PLC & Co.
Luftverkehrs KG
Saatwinkler Damm 42-43
D-13627 Berlin
49 30 3434-5959
[link] http://www.airberlin.com/site/tb

  Earning Ability Award Choices Partnerships Elite-Level Rules & Conditions Service Support Online Services Overall Rating
7.00 6.00 6.50 6.50 6.50 7.50 7.50 6.86
6.44 5.33 6.22 5.88 6.55 5.11 5.22 5.82

(9 ratings)


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