New airberlin options for low-tax Avios redemptions

German airline airberlin offers one of the best options for spending your Avios points without incurring high taxes.

Whilst little known, airberlin is a full member of the oneworld alliance alongside BA, Qatar, Cathay, Qantas etc.  All of its long-haul aircraft now offer fully flat beds in business class.

I have flown airberlin business class from New York and I was perfectly happy with it.  Given the tax was under £2 for a one-way ticket, it would be churlish to have complained!

Abu Dhabi services from Berlin doubled

On October 26th airberlin introduced a 2nd daily flight from Berlin to Abu Dhabi.

This is fantastic news as this is one of the best value Avios redemptions available!  Because Berlin to Abu Dhabi is just under 3,000 miles, a return flight in business class is only 50,000 Avios plus £51 of tax.  Economy is only 25,000 Avios return.

airberlin also flies to Abu Dhabi from Dusseldorf but that is 80,000 Avios per person.

It is also about to launch services from Stuttgart (1st December) and Vienna (24th November) to Abu Dhabi using short-haul aircraft.  These will be 50,000 Avios and under £50 of tax return in business but I have not yet seen what seat will be used.  The Vienna flights will be under the NIKI brand.

Etihad is a 29% shareholder in airberlin if you were wondering why it flies to Abu Dhabi so heavily.

airberlinOther US routes improved

airberlin has also announced increased frequencies to the USA.  Dusseldorf will see its New York services increase to daily during the Winter timetable and twice a day from the Summer 2015 timetable.

Services to Los Angeles from Dusseldorf next Summer will increase from four to six per week.

To provide the aircraft for this, the Miami to Berlin service is being dropped from next Summer.  Miami to Dusseldorf will remain.

Full schedule

You can learn more about redeeming on airberlin in my ‘Avios Redemption University’ article.

This is the full list of airberlin long-haul routes together with approximate taxes.  The Avios prices are for return flights in business class.  Halve the Avios number for economy redemptions.

This list was put together a few months ago so may contain some errors – I will update it when I re-run our ‘Avios Redemption University’ series soon.  Some of the holiday routes were due to be losing business class seating this year.

Abu Dhabi from Berlin – 50,000 Avios + £51

Abu Dhabi from Dusseldorf – 80,000 Avios + £52

Abu Dhabi from Stuttgart (starts 1 December) – 50,000 Avios + £48 (short-haul plane)

Abu Dhabi from Vienna (starts 24 November) – 50,000 Avios + £46 (short-haul plane)

Cancun from Munich – 120,000 Avios + £88

Cancun from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £86

Chicago from Berlin – 100,000 Avios + £65

Curacao from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £46

Dominican Republic (3 airports) from Munich, Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £105

Fort Myers, Florida from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £66

Los Angeles from Dusseldorf – 120,000 Avios + £66  (Summer only)

Miami from Berlin (stopping Summer 2015) – 100,000 Avios + £65

Miami from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £66

Mombasa, Kenya from Munich – 80,000 Avios + £82

New York from Berlin – 80,000 Avios + £65

New York from Dusseldorf – 80,000 Avios + £66

Varadero, Cuba from Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £53

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

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Comments

  1. As Rob knows, I flew TXL-AUH in Business during September and I had nothing to complain about. Nice big LCD TV at each seat too. I also used the free chauffer service from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. I did try getting into the Etihad arrivals lounge but had no luck.
    Already have new York to Dusseldorf booked for next July in Business with Air Berlin again. 40000 Avios + £3.

    • goglobalnz says:

      So chauffeur service is available on avios redemptions? Interesting..

      • Yes, you are treated the same as a revenue passenger. 70 mile radius I think.

        • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

          Do you get the chauffeur at TXL? That could make a transfer to SXF very painless indeed.

          • Yes, I believe so

          • Yes definitely. I didn’t use it as my parents were with me but it’s definitely available. Only allowed 1 other person in the chauffer car with you.

          • Interesting.. So you could arrive at SXF and get chauffeured to TXL… Right? That would solve the major issue with flights ex TXL for us since LH dropped MAN – TXL last year

          • I know someone who lives in Cardiff who Etihad happily chauffeured to Heathrow on a reward so I doubt SXF is a problem! (NB. I’m not sure that Cardiff still works because I think Etihad reduced the free pick up radius last year.)

  2. I’m finding that Business redemptions to Florida are very much harder to find than previously. Maybe more people are discovering the value now.

    I tried for months to find 2 seats to Fort Myers in October this year without success. I ended up going in Economy which I vowed I would never do again. the seat pitch is dreadful for such a long flight.

  3. Hi Rob,

    I’m interested in using my Avios to book a return to Varadero with airBerlin in 2015. Can’t seem to get BA.com to recognise the airport (assuming because its in Cuba). Any tips on how to check the avios redemption availability and book this?

    • See if airberlin lets you check topbonus reward availability on its own site (you may need to register for topbonus and log in) if you don’t have enough miles to book. If so, you can see what dates have seats – BA should be able to see the same if you call.

    • friendofbiffin says:

      Not sure why but if you search by airport code (VRA) on the Executive Club website it will recognise this and give you the results, e.g. it’s showing availability in both economy and business on the DUS-VRA route for a trip 19-26 June.

  4. goglobalnz says:

    On the Airberlin topic – I successfully status matched from Flying Blue Elite+ last week and will have Topbonus Gold until 31.12.2015

    The merry-go-round continues!

  5. Andi Hawes says:

    Assume you cant use a BA companion voucher on Air Berlin [or any other Partners for that matter]?

  6. Lady London says:

    Wow. Right under Lufthansa’s nose.

  7. If Airberlin has rewardseats under their loyalty scheme, can they always be used/booked with Avios points? Would I need to ring BA in that case, if not showing on BAEC?

    • Assuming you are looking at base level awards (ie not paying a premium to open up extra space) then probably Yes. I have never heard anyone say that airberlin holds back seats for its own members. Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa are the main guilty parties who play this game.

  8. This is a really lazy question as I’m sure I could find the answer out for myself, but if I book an airberlin flight with my avios do I still have to pay the £70 seat reservation fees? The BA taxes are bad enough, but with the seat thing on top it really is getting ridiculous. It’s probably better value to book 2 reward flights with non-BA airlines now rather than trying to use the companion voucher with BA.

    • No, only BA charges seat reservation fees. airberlin seat reservations are free.

      • Fantastic, thanks. So that’s an additional £280 saving for flying on non ba aircraft then.

        • http://www.airberlin.com/site/faq.php?LANG=eng&et_cid=2496&et_lid=1131478&et_sub=eng_Sitzplatz&q=XL-Seat

          Seat reservations are free of charge for families with infants and for the severely disabled (German disability code “B”, i.e. companion pass) and an accompanying person. If you have a topbonus Card Silver/Gold/Platinum or a topbonus Service Card, seat reservations are free of charge for you, as well as for one adult travelling companion and any children under 12 travelling with you.
          As a topbonus Silver Card or Service Card holder, you can reserve XL seats with a €10 discount on short and medium-haul flights or a €15 discount on long-haul flights. topbonus Gold/Platinum Card holders plus one adult companion can reserve seats free of charge.