Since AirBerlin joined the oneworld airline alliance in March 2012, it has become an excellent option for low-tax Avios redemptions. Avios are travel reward points that can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, upgrades and much more. One of the great things with Avios is that they are very easy to earn via your everyday spending. While most associate Avios with British Airways, you can use Avios to book reward flights on more than 30 different airlines. Click here to see all airlines.
Note: In August 2017, Air Berlin filed for insolvency, resulting in several long-haul route being dropped. The German government issued a €150 million loan to Air Berlin, meaning the company will stay afloat until after the German elections. However, I would be cautious about booking any Air Berlin reward flights unless you want to book last minute. There are a lot of availability at the moment.
AirBerlin is a somewhat strange airline. They market themselves as a low-cost carrier, but serve a number of long-haul routes and offer a business class product. airberlin is the second largest airline in Germany after Lufthansa. While struggling financially for quite some time they have continued keeping faith with its long-haul routes. Ethiad, the national airline of Abu Dhabi, is a 29% shareholder in the airline.
- Cheap, low surcharges
- Good availability
- Decent business class product
- Ethiad chauffeur service in Abu Dhabi
- Can´t use 2-4-1 voucher
- Priced at peak Avios
- Flights to Germany needs to be book separately
- Only two business class seats per flight
The main reason to redeem Avios for flights on airberlin is to avoid the crazy surcharges British Airways slaps on its flights. A return trip in business from London to New York on British Airways will set you back more than £500. The same from Berlin on AirBerlin will be a modest £72. The surcharges are even lower if you book TO Germany, with New York to Berlin costing just £4 in taxes!
How many Avios do I need?
In the table below I have listed all AirBerlin long-haul routes (as of May 2017). I have also included the number of Avios needed for a return trip in economy or business as well as the surcharges. You can of course redeem Avios on short-haul AirBerlin flights as well, but this only makes sense if you live in Germany due to British Airways beneficial short-haul Reward Flight Saver programme.
Some of the routes in the table below are new and are only available as of the fall of 2017. You can find the full details in this article.
The number of Avios required for some destinations differ between AirBerlin out of Germany and British Airways flights from the UK. Naturally, this is due to the distance from Berlin and Dusseldorf to the destination will be different to a similar flight from London. In addition, British Airways peak and off-peak pricing also plays a role. All partner airline redemptions booked using Avios are priced at peak day pricing, regardless of when you fly.
|Departure||Arrival||Mileage One-Way||Avios Economy||Cost Economy||Avios Business||Cost Business|
|Dusseldorf||Fort Myers, Florida||4,750||50,000||£72||150,000||£72|
How do I book?
Redeemptions can be booked on BritishAirways.com. However, pay attention to the fact that British Airways always show their own flights first, so you might need to scowl down a bit. Also, some routes are only flown a couple of times a week, meaning you might have to fiddle around a bit with dates in order to get it to properly display AirBerlin availability.
Why is redeeming Avios on AirBerlin a great idea?
It´s cheap! It is as simple as that. The surcharges with AirBerlin are a lot lower than flying from London. This is due to lack of Air Passenger Duty and lower fuel surcharges. Naturally, some of this saving will be offset by the cost of getting to and from Germany. Unless you live there, if so, you lucky duck! Another benefit is that reward availability on airberlin tend to be excellent.
Which is the best AirBerlin Avios redemption?
Berlin to Abu Dhabi return in business class for a meagre 75,000 Avios plus £64 in taxes is probably the best redemption. A peak date British Airways Club World (business) flight from London will cost 120,000 Avios plus a staggering £526. In addition, you also get access to the Ethiad chauffeur service to and from Abu Dhabi airport. They are happy to drive you the hour or so to Dubai if you please!
What is the downside with redeeming Avios on AirBerlin?
The downside, apart from having to get to and from Germany, is that you cannot use the American Express 2-4-1 voucher on AirBerlin redemptions. In addition, all AirBerlin flights are priced at peak Avios pricing irrespective of day. This mean that you might end up spending more Avios than you would with British Airways.
Re-routing also tend to be a major concern for redeeming Avios on AirBerlin. In order to avoid Air Passenger Duty, the ticket to and from Germany needs to be booked separately. This mean AirBerlin has no liability to you if your flight is delayed. As such, you most likely need to include an overnight stay in Germany in order to avoid any risk of missing the long flight.
Lastly, business class redemption seats on AirBerlin are capped at two per flight. More seats occasionally open up later on, but you should not rely on this. This mean that it is not an option for a family wishing to travel in business class.