Since airberlin joined the OneWorld airline alliance on March 20th, it has opened up a new range of long-haul routes from Europe that can be booked with Avios. (In some ways, it makes up for the loss of opportunities when Malev of Hungary went bust last year.)
airberlin is an odd airline. It markets itself like a low-cost carrier, but is generally well regarded for its seating and service. It serves a number of long-haul routes, whilst easyJet and Ryanair are strictly 100% short-haul. It also has a business class product, unlike most low-cost airlines.
It also has a lot of code share arrangements, most importantly with Etihad of Abu Dhabi. It sometimes makes wild claims about the number of long-haul destinations it serves, but in reality these mainly involve changing to an Etihad aircraft in Abu Dhabi – and these routes are not available for Avios redemptions.
However … strip out the code shares and you are left with a decent selection of routes served with airberlin planes. And there are some good deals to be had!
How many Avios do I need?
Below I have listed the core airberlin long-haul routes, together with the number of Avios needed for a return trip in business class and the taxes required. For economy or one-way business class tickets, halve the number of Avios shown. (I have ignored a couple of routes which are ending in October, such as Namibia.)
Looking at the number of Avios required, some destinations require more than a BA flight from London, and some require less. This is because the distance from Berlin, Dusseldorf or Munich to your destination will be different to a similar flight from London, and this sometimes tips the flight into a different pricing band.
Looking at the taxes required, you will notice that these are a lot lower than flying from London. This is partly due to lack of Air Passenger Duty, and partly due to differences in fuel surcharges. Some of this saving will be offset by the cost of getting to and from Germany to start your trip, of course – more on this in Part 2 of this post tomorrow.
airberlin long haul routes (business class return price):
Abu Dhabi from Berlin – 50,000 Avios + £48
Abu Dhabi from Dusseldorf – 80,000 Avios + £49
Cancun from Munich – 120,000 Avios + £85
Cancun from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £82
Chicago from Berlin (starts 3/13) – 100,000 Avios + £62
Curacao from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £43
Dominican Republic (3 airports) from Munich, Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £105
Fort Myers, Florida from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £63
Las Vegas from Dusseldorf (Summer 2013) – 100,000 Avios + £63
Los Angeles from Berlin (Summer 2013) – 120,000 Avios + £62
Los Angeles from Dusseldorf – 120,000 Avios + £63
Miami from Berlin – 100,000 Avios + £62
Miami from Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £63
Mombasa, Kenya from Munich – 80,000 Avios + £79
New York from Berlin – 80,000 Avios + £62
New York from Dusseldorf – 80,000 Avios + £63
Phuket from Abu Dhabi – 80,000 Avios + £27
Vancouver from Dusseldorf (Summer 2013) – 100,000 Avios + £79
Varadero, Cuba from Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf – 100,000 Avios + £50
There are also non-EU flights to various destinations in Egypt, Israel, Morocco and Tunisia, although I don’t class them as long-haul for the purposes of this article. You can use ba.com (I will explain how in Part 3) to look up pricing to these places.
Tomorrow, in Part 2 of this article, I will discuss important things to consider before booking on airberlin. Part 3 will look at the process of booking partner awards on ba.com.