Very few Avios collectors will pay much attention to Air Berlin’s loyalty programme called TopBonus. But this promotion might be worth considering, particularly for those with points from a couple of hotel chains. Unfortunately the deadline for signing up is TOMORROW, 31 March! [EDIT: Now extended until 30 April]
This is how the promo works:
Collect award miles on flights with airberlin and its airline partners (Oneworld + Etihad, among others). You can also convert hotel loyalty points to Topbonus miles. The best options are: Starwood Preferred Guest and Melia Rewards, as both convert on a reasonable basis.
Redeem your miles against an award flight
Use your accumulated miles to book an award flight to fly on or before 31st December 2016.
Miles will be credited to your account
50% of the miles for your first award flight will be credited back to your Topbonus account.
Here are the main terms and conditions from the promo website:
- As part of the “Mileage discount” new member promotion topbonus members will receive a 50% credit of miles for their first airberlin (one-way) award flight. The miles will be credited to the member’s account.
- Participation in the “Mileage discount” promotion is open to all new members who sign up to the topbonus programme on or between 1st January 2016 and 31st March 2016. Members registering outside this period or those who were already members last year are not permitted to participate. Customers may register either by clicking on the link on this landing page or by completing the form on the promotion flyer. Registration for the topbonus programme and participation in the “Mileage discount” promotion are free of charge.
- Participants must have accrued in their account the full number of miles for the award flight.
- The travel date for the award flight must be on or between 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2016. The flight date is decisive.
- The award miles will be credited within 8 weeks following the date of the award flight.
- This promotion is valid only for award flights marketed and operated by airberlin (AB code) or NIKI (HG code). Charter flights (including airberlin holidays) do not qualify.
- The award flights must be for the topbonus member in person. Award flights booked for a third party do not qualify for this promotion.
- If multiple award flights are booked simultaneously the credit will be given for the first one-way award flight flown.
- No credit of miles will be made in the event of a cancellation or no-show. No credit of miles will be made if the award flight is rescheduled for a date after 31st December 2016. In the event that the member does not fly on a qualifying award flight in the time period of 1st January 2016 to 31stDecember 2016 no credit of miles will be made as part of this new member promotion.
How Best to Take Advantage
The best Air Berlin awards are long haul flights to the Caribbean (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Cancun, and perhaps others) or Abu Dhabi / Maldives. This would cost 45,000 miles one-way in Business Class. (Only the first flight receives a 50% discount)
The easiest way to accumulate 45,000 Topbonus miles would be to make a Starwood Preferred Guest transfer of 40,000 Starpoints, which will become 50,000 miles thanks to SPG’s 25% bonus for transfers in blocks of 20K. Alternatively, you could do a Nights & Flights award as I explained here. If you don’t have that many Starpoints, you might consider buying 30,000 here during the 25% discount promotion.
If you make an award booking before the end of 2016, you will spend 45,000 miles one-way, eventually receiving a 22,500 mile refund, which you could spend on some other award in due course. Presto! A one-way award in business class for 22,500 miles!